Evaluating Mike Dolce’s Living Lean Book

When I started designing my own Fighter’s Diet, one of the first things I looked into was Mike Dolce’s Three Weeks to Shredded.  I liked a lot of the ideas in Mike’s book, but it was really more of a weight cutting manual than an optimized diet for a fighter.  While there was a lot of good advice, it left me wanting more.

Late in 2011, Mike published a new book called Living Lean.  This book has a lot more of what I was looking for.  I get a ton of hits on my site for people googling the Dolce Diet, so I thought I’d add some info on Mike’s new book too.

There are three main sections to Living Lean:

Here’s what you’ll find in each section:

The biographical information is interesting and Mike tells some good stories.  While there is some entertainment value here, I think it’s really just to deeply establish Mike’s credibility in the area.  He doesn’t take the time to explain the science of what’s he’s doing — unlike many other diet books.  He’s pretty much making the claim that he knows what works and he’s going to share the secrets with you.  You don’t need to worry much about the “why” part because he’s an expert.  Given this, I can see why it’s important for him to set up this context.

In the diet section, Mike lays out some basic principles about eating good, whole food.  He doesn’t believe in calorie counting — which is good because I don’t either!  Instead, if you eat the right things the rest will take care of itself.  Next, you get a lesson in shopping for the right things. If you only buy good stuff then you’ll only be able to eat good stuff!  And finally, you get a set of meal plans and recipes.

I like Mike’s approach on the recipes.  While he doesn’t spend any time on the issues with grains, like you’ll get from Robb Wolf, he does offer gluten free options for all the recipes.  That’s simply a decision that’s left up to you (although many of the recipes are gluten free by default).  He also offers vegan options if you’re eating that way for moral reasons (I feel sorry for you, but that’s your call).  I’ve tried cooking some of the recipes and they’re generally easy to follow and tasty.  My favorite so far is the Chicken and Asparagus stir fry.  You can put this together in just 10 minutes if you have the (easy to find) ingredients on hand.

The last section is about exercise.  While it’s hard to substitute a book for time with a real strength and conditioning coach, Mike offers sound advice in this secion.  Some of the workouts are killer.  My favorite is the Fighter’s Treadmill Workout.  It gives you a ~30 minute interval training routine to get you the kind of endurance you’ll need for a MMA fight.  When you first try this workout it will bring you to your knees. If you can get through this without wanting to die then you’re ready!

So, is this book worth the investment?  The price per page is pretty steep.  At about $40 for a 160 page book it seems expensive when you compare to some other diet books.  However, would you even think twice about paying $40 for even just 30 minutes with a coach that has Mike’s qualifications?  I wouldn’t!  When you think about it that way, it’s a steal.

I’m working several of the Living Lean recipes and workout tips into my own program.  It think it’s worth checking out for yourself.

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