Beyond Training - Ben Greenfield
Here's how I think you should approach Beyond Training instead of making the mistake I did by sitting on this book for so long: go listen to a few podcasts with Ben Greenfield, either on his own podcast or as a guest on a show like Joe Rogan. He's a quirky guy and you may not like him enough to want to buy his book. I know people who think he talks too arrogantly. I found that I came to like his writing style even more than his audio persona.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book and disappointed that I was initially reluctant to give it a shot for a long time. I had read many negative reviews about Beyond Training that said that is was nothing more than a glorified infomercial and rife with pseudoscience and biased plugs for supplements and products. Having already been unsure about Greenfield, since I know him to be a quirky and overzealous guru of biohacking and believer in earthing, grounding, and the dangers of EMFs, I didn't want to waste my time on something if I didn't really like or agree with what he had to say.
Reading Greenfield's book totally changed my mind though and I wish I had bought the hardcover of the book instead of a digital copy from the get-go since it's a biohacking bible for athletes looking to maximize their performance. I don't deny that there is some pseudoscience in this book but Greenfield does something I think is super awesome by admitting that the evidence is lacking for certain things he says or suggest but he feels better doing them and that's why he still recommends it and does it himself. How many people have superstitions or funny rituals that calm their mind or set them at ease but don't actually do anything verifiable by science? Almost everyone right? As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, I don't see what's wrong with most of the pseudoscience claims like only using hardlines to avoid wi-fi signals in your home. And if he recommends a goofy talisman to shield you from the harms of EMF, be logical and decide whether you think it's important enough to waste money on something like that or simply discard that idea and make use of many of the other great suggestions found in this book.
Some people hate on his chapter titles and say that the chapters are like really long blog posts - like many great modern business models, Greenfield gives away 99% of his material for free through blogs, podcasts, and videos and you can probably read about a lot of this book material on his blog if you don't want a single compendium of awesomness and are willing to spend many hours more digging thruogh his free material. I thought the writing style with light and informal enough to make it feel like an enjoyable conversation with Greenfield instead of a dry and humourless book of information. And the chapter titles were descriptive of exactly what they entailed; what more could you ask for?
Many people seem to think that Greenfield turned the book into a glorified infomercial with all the gizmos, products, and services he refers to in the book. I actually think it was the best thing he could possibly have done for the book. For one thing, Greenfield doesn't beat around the bush about disclaiming his affiliations and the people griping about him plugging different products and services must not know how online businesses work. More importantly though, Ben has built his reputation around being a biohacker and self-experimenter in the fitness industry and he cares deeply about quality, especially when it comes to foods and supplements, so who better than him to make recommendations to the general public about these things? You don't have to listen to his suggestions but it certainly helps those who are uninformed about the fitness industry start off on a better path than going straight for the cheapest quality product on the shelf and not getting anything of benefit out of it.
Oh yeah, I'm not even a typical endurance athlete, which is what the training section of this book is geared towards, but I think that there is enough outstanding training advice in the training chapters to up the game of any athlete. I compete in strongman and I have already started applying the information for my betterment.