Fitness Confidential Book Review (PDX Bloggers Book Club)

As my friends will tell you, I don’t do book clubs.

They involve a lot of guilt. The first half of the month is the guilt of not acquiring the book, and the second half of the month is the guilt of not reading it.

I prefer social situations whereby I don’t have to prove I’m literate.

But I made an exception recently because I wanted to meet some local bloggers from Cascadia Connect who were getting together to review Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich (celebrity trainer, ultra-sport die-hard, and cancer survivor) and Dean Lorey (Hollywood writer–Arrested Development & other cool stuff).

This is Vinnie.

Vinnie Tortorich

He’s hardcore.

I have no aspirations of being hardcore, and I don’t really read fitness books, but Beeb Ashcroft, the book club organizer, promised this was a one-time event and I would never have to prove I was literate again. And I could download a free copy of the book straight to my laptop.

So I set aside my Us Weekly emails (“Breaking News! Kim Kardashian wears her hair down near a yogurt shop”), and set about figuring out how to work an ereader.

Given my low investment, I had very few expectations for Fitness Confidential.

But loved it. I stayed up late three nights to read it; And it’s given this healthy, active, pseudo-vegetarian a lot to think about.


The basic ideas:

  • If you want to lose weight, cut out sugars and grains from your diet.
  • If you want to feel toned and build muscle, exercise.

Vinny is a no-nonsense kind of guy:

  • “If you can afford paper, you can write a book. If you can afford shoes, you can run a marathon.”
  • “The health and fitness industry has stolen your good intentions and left you fat and out of shape.”

Here’s my favorite Vinnie one-liner: “Just like being out in the cold doesn’t give you a cold, eating fat doesn’t make you fat.”

Finally! Someone’s making some sense around here! Fats have been vilified, and although in my kitchen I give political asylum to butter, coconut oil, bacon, and olive oil, they generally arrive battered and demoralized.

There are so many crappy, processed “health” foods out there that are snagging us based on low-calorie and low-fat claims. Vinnie skewers the dieting and diet food industries (as well as the gym and fitness equipment industries). His philosophy is eat whole foods and be active, no special equipment necessary.

This book was envisioned as the health and fitness version of Kitchen Confidential (you know, Anthony Bourdain’s non-fiction kitchen masterpiece). Dean writes a great behind-the-scenes blog post about this idea and writing the book with Vinnie here. And they succeeded: Fitness Confidential is fun to read, approachable for anyone, makes you laugh out loud, and leaves you thinking.

My only issue is that I find it really hard to go grain and sugar free while raising a family. We eat tons of whole foods (organic vegetables and fruit, sustainably raised meat, nuts, etc.). But my kids are obsessed with treats and I have a sweet tooth. Even harder than sugar is grain. Sugar we can do in moderation.

But grains. How do I raise a family without pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and tortillas? There’s a practicality issue. I can’t just throw a snap-n-go container of ground beef and beans at the backseat, but I can throw a burrito, and it will be easily gobbled up by the gremlins.

My friend Jodi of The Mama Gut suggested Vinnie do a follow-up for applying his simple philosophy to our snack- and kid-filled lives. I hope it happens–blog posts, pod casts, whatever. I need more ideas!

Here’s our little “book club.” Now disbanded.

PDX Bloggers Book Club, MomsicleBlog

Find Fitness Confidential here.

Learn more about Vinnie on his website or Facebook.

Check out Dean Lorey’s page here.

And here’s my favorite green smoothie recipe that is grain free (without the honey it can be sugar free, too). 🙂

8 responses to “Fitness Confidential Book Review (PDX Bloggers Book Club)

  1. I wish i could have participated! This sounds like a great read – if, you know, I actually download the book 🙂

  2. ok, forgive me for the obnoxious act of commenting without reading the book itself… but is it saying that you should cut out grains to be healthy, or to lose weight?
    The press that came out about the Mediterranean diet a few months ago got me thinking about this, and I am still strongly in favor of whole grains as a very legitimate, healthy part of our diets. It’s the super processed stuff that gets us in trouble. I vote for keeping the pasta, the burritos, and fresh-baked bread. And sweets can be a “sometimes treat” (to quote cookie monster)…
    i’m just not hard-core enough, I guess!

    • Hey P! I’m with you, and I feel like when it comes to eating, it gets kind of confusing when you get away from processed foods. Less meat or no meat? Organic or local? Good grains/bad grains… We were doing a good job eating more vegetables and less meat. Even though I really loved this book and Vinnie’s philosophy, it’s thrown me for a loop food-wise because I can’t take on guilt for eating oatmeal, and it feels weird to add more bacon into my diet. (Although I have enjoyed giving myself a free pass on the bacon this last month!)

      And to answer your question: Vinnie says no sugar and no grains for losing weight.

  3. Evelyn, since you are already such a fabulous shape, I wouldn’t worry too much about moderate whole grains in your diet! It was so much fun to see you all. We may have to do another book club, we can just skip the books. 🙂 #noguilt

  4. Evelyn, it was wonderful getting to meet you – thank you for this fun and fab post, and I look forward to seeing you again, books or not!

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