My “go to” equipment, and my all-time favorite and life-changing books. Affiliate links galore . . .

 

Best Equipment:

 

Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar — Hands down the best $30.00 I ever spent! This is the original Iron Gym pull-up bar; easy to set up, even easier to use. Multiple grip handle covers most bases, though it lacks a true wide grip option. This is easily my most used and abused piece of equipment and it’s still going strong after 4 years. I can’t imagine my life without this baby. I LOVE this thing!

 

Iron Gym Extreme Pull-Up Bar This is the upgraded version of the original. Same great design, but with additional grip positions and angled wide-grip handle extensions. I’ve used this thing and have to admit it is pretty sweet. I love my original Iron Gym, but if that thing ever breaks (no signs of that yet) then this is what I’ll replace it with.

 

Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand — This thing is awesome! Next to my Iron Gym pull-up bar this is my second most used piece of equipment. It’s light weight and easy to assemble and disassemble (for convenient storage). I use it for dips and body/inverted rows, but it can be used for other exercises as well. It can be a little wobbly at times, but you can’t beat the price to quality ratio of this thing.

 

V-Force Weight Vests — These adjustable weight vests are without a doubt the highest quality weight vests around. Made from 1000-D Dupont Cordura, these things are nearly indestructible. I’ve brutalized mine over the years and it hardly shows a hint of wear. Incredibly well designed, these vests are neither bulky nor cumbersome. While there are plenty of cheaper brands out there, for those who are serious about their workouts, and plan to use theirs on a frequent basis, I strongly suggest buying the best. These are the best. The 30 pound and 45 pound versions are more than enough weight for most people, but if you are looking for more options then go straight to the source: Weightvest.com

 

Best Books:

 

Good Calories Bad Calories — This book completely changed my worldview. I mean that. No other book has had such a profound effect upon my life. After reading this book my views on diet and nutrition did a complete one-eighty. And after implementing the low carb lifestyle I can verify that it works. Some people have found this book to be too science/history heavy, but in my opinion that is what makes this book so powerful. Gary Taubes takes his time in thoroughly demolishing every myth we believe today regarding fat/carbs/cholesterol and what truly constitutes a healthy diet. If you read the reviews for this book you’ll see I am not the only one so profoundly affected by this gem.

 

Why We Get Fat — Gary Taubes’ follow up to “Good Calories Bad Calories.” This is basically just GCBC lite. This book is shorter and far less dense than its predecessor. For those who just want the big picture without having to sort through all the history and details this book will be a much easier read. By virtue of its reduced content it loses the authority that made GCBC so powerful, but it’s still an excellent book and is more accessible to those who might find “Good Calories Bad Calories” dry reading.

 

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration — The classic text by Dr. Weston A. Price. This book chronicles Dr. Price’s journeys across the globe as he studied “primitive” cultures and compared their extraordinary health to the sickly populace of the “civilized” world. This book was written back when there were still cultures uncorrupted by the advance of civilization so it is a far cry from an up to date scientific journal. Still, many of his insights are applicable to the modern day. And the amazing collection of photos he gathered of all the cultures he visited is downright incredible. The pictures alone are worth more than the price of this book.

 

Nourishing Traditions — From the founders of the Weston A. Price Foundation, this cookbook sets out to show how Dr. Price’s ideas should be applied. Contrarian and controversial, with in-depth discussion on topics such as fats, modern food processing, and the health benefits of traditional food preparation. I found this book highly enlightening. I never thought I would eat liver and sauerkraut, but this book changed all that. Now, I enjoy liver and make my own (damn fine) sauerkraut. Seriously, my sauerkraut is the best.

 

Think and Grow Rich — Napoleon Hill’s famous blueprint for success, this quirky book is both odd and wondrous. Written during the later years of the Great Depression, this instructional was intended to help people achieve financial success, yet its message is applicable to all areas of life. Full of auto-suggestive text, quasi-mysticism, and out-dated examples; this book nevertheless manages to pack more profound truths onto each page than most self-help books contain in their entirety. There is a reason this book has been credited for helping more people to achieve success than any other. If you’re plagued with the desire to be more than you are now, but feel stuck and don’t know how — then this book, more than any other, can help you transform yourself from daydreamer to achiever. Highly recommended!

 

A Life Unburdened — This Eric Hoffer Award winning book is the truly inspirational tale of Richard Morris, who managed to shed 150 pounds after (re)discovering the concept of simply eating real food. By following a common sense approach to eating, he and his wife turned their difficult lives into something worth living. A must read for the severely overweight, and eye opening for those who aren’t. Chapter One, “A Day in the Life of a Fat Man,”  should be required reading for all those who feel the obese have only themselves to blame for their affliction. This book exposes the folly of the eat-less-exercise-more advice generally given to the overweight populace. If you are severely overweight and don’t want to emulate the methods of “The Biggest Loser” (because they’re stupid and reckless) then read this book for some inspiration and as a blueprint to turn your life around.