I don’t care about abs. Visible abs are obsessed over and highly overrated. If they indicate one’s fitness and body-fat levels accurately then they are a bi-product of hard work and a good diet and discipline and as such are not necessarily a bad thing But as a specific goal, I don’t see the point. For starters, you have to take off or lift up your shirt for anyone to even see them! At a certain age, this is never an attractive prospect no matter what’s underneath the shirt. But I do understand that authors have to sell books and they must appeal to the interests of the readers to do so. This is why Diamond Cut Abs by Danny Kavadlo, which is my absolute favorite fitness, diet and exercise book, seems to be specifically about abs and how to get them. But it is SO MUCH MORE, and it is the perfect combination of irreverent, pithy and larger-than-life humorous writing, BS busting, honest truth, and plain and simple minimalist punk wisdom. No holds barred and no punches pulled.
I have read this book three times and you know what? When I get to the part that specifically describes how to train abs, I start skimming or stop reading altogether. Like I said, I don’t care about abs, and I don’t think most people should care about abs as much as they do and to the exclusion of other things. Although, if you DO care about abs, this is the right book for you, because it ALSO dispels the myths and busts the BS in the fitness industry about how to train abs. I mean, it includes squats, push ups and pull ups in abs training! That’s beautiful! But this book is SO MUCH MORE than an abs training book. It is my go-to resource for nutritional rules and it is my homing device. I get distracted like everyone else, and I lose sight of the truth. And when I do, I turn back to this book. In fact, it’s a perfect compendium of knowledge and wisdom on how to avoid the rampant BS that the fitness industry is full of, how to think clearly about what to eat and when and how much and why, and how not to get caught up in needless obsessing about components of food and measuring things and weighing things and worrying about nutrients of dubious value that you’ll never see, taste or feel and frankly, don’t know why you should even care about. Ever tasted an anti-oxidant?
Are you worried about whether or not you should be paleo, keto, vegan, OMAD, carnivore or any one of the many other variations on a theme? Forget about it! Throw it out the window! You gotta eat and when you do, you should be hungry, and you should eat real freaking food that grew under the ground or above the ground or flew around or ran around or swam around or popped out of the business end of a chicken. You should eat food as close to its source as possible and you should eat the whole food and lots of different varieties of it. If it comes in a canister, ignore it. If someone extracted it from something else, leave it alone (most of the time). If it’s been pounded, bleached, dyed, pulverized or partially hydrogenated, throw it away. You get the idea.
Through the ages most diets that gain popular appeal follow a simple set of rules that usually involves the vilification of a single macro-nutrient and/or food group, some kind of dubious justification for that vilification (when there actually is a hidden one, such as farm subsidies), and the attempt to apply this rule to everyone across the board. The particular macro-nutrient or food group that is the target du jour tends to vary cyclically. It may be fat, then carbs, then protein or it may be grains or sugar then red meat or animal products or fructose or cholesterol, etc. What’s always less loudly trumpeted is the accompanying advice to avoid junk and processed food and eat real food, which of course is the real reason that any diet actually helps you. But it’s not a gimmick to avoid junk and processed food and eat real food and it doesn’t have any obvious financial rewards for those doing the advising, so it’s not generally the focus of the diet. I recently watched three documentary nutrition films within the span of about two days. This is a valuable exercise that is not for the faint of heart. The documentaries I watched were Forks Over Knives, The Magic Pill, and Cooked. Forks is a vegan film and The Magic Pill is a paleo/keto film that both follow very similar scripts until it comes to the one enemy, whether that be animal products or carbohydrates. Cooked is Michael Pollan’s four-part documentary series that takes a common sense approach to food and celebrates a reverence for its origins, its cultural, social and nutritional power, and its true value outside of gimmicks and dishonest money-making schemes. It’s a true thing of beauty and Danny Kavadlo’s book fits right in here in addition to providing a set of rules to follow in order to get to the “core”, so to speak, of eating sensibly and getting stronger. Get Diamond Cut Abs, read it, re-read it when you start to stray, get on those squats, push ups and pull ups for a strong core!
You know what I think Danny should do? Take the first half of the book (before the abs training) and update it, and expand it, and bring it in line with his current thinking, and make it an entire book itself.