Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health

I read a galley of Bruce Perry's new book, Fitness for Geeks, and found the advice and explanations about diet and fitness to be fascinating. His program of self-tracking, ancestral diet, and high-intensity exercise are right on target, at least for me!
201204190947If you’re interested in how things work, this guide will help you experiment with one crucial system you usually ignore -- your body and its health. Long hours focusing on code or circuits tends to stifle notions of nutrition, but with this educational and highly useful book you can approach fitness through science, whether it’s investigating your ancestral health or using the latest self-tracking apps and gear.

Tune into components of your health through discussions on food, exercise, sleep, hormesis, and other issues -- as well as interviews with various scientists and athletes -- and discover healthy ways to tinker with your lifestyle.

-- Learn to live in the modern digital world and still be physically vibrant
-- Examine apps and widgets for self-tracking various fitness issues
-- Zero in on carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals
-- Find and choose food, and learn when to eat and when to fast
-- Reboot your system through movement in the outside world
-- Select from more than a dozen techniques for your gym workout
-- Fuel fitness by focusing on the science of nutrition and supplements
-- Apply lifestyle hacks, such as high-intensity exercise and good stress
Read an excerpt of Fitness for Geeks. Buy Fitness for Geeks on Amazon



  1. On page 2: ” a bunch of scientists, fitness experts, philosophers, economists, anthropologists, medical doctors, and overall outside-the-box thinkers have come up with the sensible hypothesis that we are designed for our ancestors’ way of living…”

     NO. No, no, no, no, NO. We were NOT designed. We EVOLVED. As much as I like the idea of this book (and might even buy it, if it improves over that major mistake), a book that claims to hack biology and yet uses the word “design” with respect to that biology has an immediate credibility gap. Working at a university, I have yet to meet a single scientist or anthropologist who would even casually use the phrase “we were designed”.

      1.  Not even so much as that; rather we evolved to design.  (..self-help books among all else)

    1.  I agree, as that mentality (and wording) also implies that we have not evolved further from the diets of homo sapiens living 50,000 years ago. Not to mention wiggle-words like “a bunch.” What about the scientists who state clearly that our changes from the prehistoric diet have allowed us a calorie surplus, giving us time to pursue activities in life outside of the basic hunting and eating?

      Processed food includes twinkies, sure, but it also includes asparagus, artichokes, avocados, and more. They were grown on a farm, processed, and packaged for shipping to my local area. Because of these changes, we are taller, fitter, faster, and smarter than we were even a mere 100 years ago. I think you’d have to be pretty blind to assume that the “best” diet is what was eaten by homo sapiens in a period where if they didn’t hunt/harvest it, they didn’t eat it.

      1. Our diet didn’t start to change until appx 5000 years ago AFAIK – when we learned how to do agriculture. 5000 years / 20 years per generation = 250 generations. Is that enough for significant evolution?

        Taking modern medicine out of the health equation is a major omission too.

        Regarding processed foods, asparagus, artichokes, avocadoes etc are not processed foods when bought whole. Processed foods means something more like “chopped up, mixed up with other ingredients, added preservatives, artificial coloring and distributed in a jar”.

        1. Not to mention that plenty of major dietary changes happened in the past ~5 generations: refrigeration, refined grains, trans fats, out of season produce, TV dinners, pesticides, antibiotics, etc. etc.

          1. (MrEricSir’s reply to your comment seems to have hit the “no reply link for you” level of thread depth in my browser.)

            Unless someone’s prepared to offer a heretofore-unknown model of paleolithic man hunting for milk, then yeah, we know that dairy postdates agriculture, which was the question at hand.

    2. I think if you look at the process of evolution from a physicist’s point of view on the atomic/subatomic/quantum mechanical level then the word design would do very well. Culture is the process which allows us to act with nature to design and redesign ourselves.

    3. I have yet to meet a single scientist or anthropologist who would even casually use the phrase “we were designed”.

      I don’t think they meant that we’re spec’d out according to blueprints. I think “designed” was just an imprudent choice of words, like Einstein saying “God doesn’t play dice” and having it taken as evidence of his belief in Jehovah.

    4. “Working at a university, I have yet to meet a single scientist or anthropologist who would even casually use the phrase “we were designed”.”

      Really? It’s not that uncommon, in my experience.

      The mental hurdles and careful phrasing necessary to always speak of evolution, adaptation, and physiology as emergent/undirected processes operating without intent or design can be incredibly cumbersome in natural conversation.

      As long as everyone understands the proper context and concepts, I don’t see a problem with using “designed”.

  2. Rather than nit pick on the exact words which deliver the message, ask yourself, after a thorough read, is the message valid in spite of some poorly chosen words along the way?

    1. They have the nerve to plaster the words “Real Science” in big grey letters right smack on the front cover.  They better be bloody well prepared to back that up properly. Boosting “ancestral diet” does not do it for me.

      …On the plus side, I do appreciate that they have refrained from plastering some shirtless and/or flexing underwear model on the cover. (“Everyone In This Book Wears a Shirt” would be a great title for a stand-out exercise book, I say.)

  3. I’m really interested in learning about fitness from a geeks perspective. The idea of a book like this generally appeals to me; I’ve got a thing for DIY gadgets, self-quantification, graphing, science, etc. However, a lot of these “geek fitness” type things seem to start with the assumption that most or all of us are unheathy, that we drink lots of diet coke everyday and stay up till 3am coding on a regular basis. Geeks are not a monolithic group.

    Also, sometimes there it seems like there are forced metaphors (“software”, “operating system”) just for the sake of keeping the interests of geeks or in the case of Nerd Fitness, regular geek culture name dropping, to make what would otherwise be a regular exercise program seem relevant.

    Maybe that is what some folks need, and if that’s the case, I don’t want to knock it, but is there something else out there for those of us who want to *geek* out about this stuff? There seem to be hints of it in the excerpt.

      1. Crossfit, maybe, but  Mr. Ferriss’s work has been torn into quite badly on comments hereabouts before.

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