Thursday, August 07, 2008


Well, I've finished another book, and I doubt that I'll top this one for a long time. I've read many books on improving one's body (I have over a dozen sitting on the shelves of my library right now); this is, by far, the VERY best book on starting a fitness program, achieving wellness, improving oneself to whatever level of potential that's desired, and maintaining that high level of physical fitness. I would highly recommended Faster, Better, Stronger: 10 Scientific Secrets to a Healthier Body in 12 Weeks to everyone that is the least bit interested in their health.

There are very few "cons" about any part of this book. The only one I can think of (other than the fact that I got a pre-publication yellow-paper-covered reviewer's copy... rather than the full Monte) was the main title: Faster, Better, Stronger. It just doesn't convey the full scope of the expertise relayed in this book. The subtitle is somewhat better: 10 Scientific Secrets to a Healthier Body in 12 Weeks, but it has still taken me several minutes of explaining the book (to avid readers) to pique their interest in purchasing the book.

However, having explained the crux of the book and letting those others look at it (with my highlighting and bookmarks throughout), each has been excited about the possibility of reading it. Even my Dad wants to read this one, and other than the Bible, he rarely reads more than one book a year! After reading a few paragraphs, he said he'd be willing to PAY for this book! I don't ever remember hearing him say that about any other book.

So what, you may wonder, is "the crux" of this book? It starts by explaining the reasons behind exercising -- even the easy, common sense stuff that we all should know -- and builds from there. It explains how to tailor the sports you play to exactly what your body- and muscle-type can excel at the most. Do you have primarily "fast-twitch" or "slow-twitch" muscle fibers? Give yourself a "twitch test" to find out. Not sure how fit you are? copy the risk score sheet, look yourself up on the BMI charts, and assess your personal fitness level -- comprehensively -- including a VO2max test that will rival what you would get in a full-blown lab. Not only that, but the book will also assist you in preparing nutritious meals, planning a 12-week workout schedule, and even go so far as to make recommendations of the frequency and intensity of the exercises you should be doing for maximum improvement -- no matter what level of physical fitness you start at!

Faster, Better, Stronger should not only be required reading for EVERY high school and college coach in America, it should also be placed in EVERY library from coast to coast -- whether in elementary schools, retirement homes, or on military bases. This is a MUST read for anyone that is the least bit interested in improving their life.

Faster, Better, Stronger is a keeper -- for life!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Missions Trip

Amidst the general busy-ness and difficulties of the past few weeks, I've been remiss in my blogging. I'll attempt to rectify that this month, but if you know me even a little, you know I'm so chock-full of good intentions that I tend to run a little bit light on round-to-its.

The trip my Dad and I took to Puerto Rico (July 20-25) went well. We traveled to Ceiba, to work at a small Baptist church. This was my very first trip to the island, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Fixing a leaky (concrete) roof over the fellowship hall/school lunchroom took much of our week, but we were also able to move an air conditioner, organize some of their tools, hang chalk boards, change ballasts, build a cover for the kitchen water heater, and teach the Pastor how to not only preserve his tools in that high-humidity climate (I live in south Florida, we have a similar climate), but also how to do some of the easier maintenance around the property. (Some maintenance we were able to start, like the ballasts, but other things we had to explain and leave for him to do when he had more time.)

The weather was absolutely gorgeous; breezy all of the time. The daytime temps were on the warm side, but still cooler than S. FL (the beating sun was quite a bit more intense though), while the night-time temps were in the 60s and 70s, and we only had 2 light showers run through the entire week. The missionaries live very close to the top of a small mountain. Their balcony overlooks the city and the bay (and that helps keep the breeze from being blocked by other homes). If I lived there, I'd have a hammock and sleep outside often (being on top of the mountain, they had few mosquitoes and no-see-ems). One other bonus, it was mango season, and they have three different types of mangoes in their yard! I had 1 to 3 mangoes every day!

My only regret was not being able to stay longer and do more. Bright-Eyes was only a week old when I left, and I didn't like leaving my wife and the Varmints 4. (I wouldn't have gone if my M-in-law hadn't been down to help her.) Plus, not being there "leaves a hole" at church: I teach the Teen/College & Career Sunday School, run the Wednesday night kids' club (ages 3 to 12) go on the church van route (every service), sing quite a bit of the special music on Sunday mornings, keep up the grounds, and quite a bit more of the day-to-day behind-the-scenes stuff around church. Not to mention, I still need to work to keep food on our table. =) Going to Puerto Rico was quite a bit of work, but in some ways, it was also a vacation!! =)

If you get the chance, a missions trip to anywhere in the Caribbean would be a plus for you. (Provided, of course, rain doesn't pour down on you, the island you're working on doesn't get hit by a hurricane, and you don't stay in an area that the breeze is blocked.)