Review of Thomas Calkins's Epic Warrior Diet and the Muscle Building Workout Guide By Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
The Epic Warrior Diet and BuiltFit Workout Guide were developed by fitness coach Thomas Calkins. He was inspired to develop his own approach to nutrition and fitness after years of struggling to find a program that delivered what it promised. Thomas says that at 5'10" and 140 pounds, for years he had a particularly difficult time putting on muscle. Like many of us, he read about programs that promised tremendous results, fell for the hype, followed the plan but was ultimately sorely disappointed with the results. By developing his own approach to nutrition and fitness Thomas was finally able to achieve the results he always wanted.
Thomas opens Epic Warrior with an excellent discussion about how most people are catering to their 'inner wimps' rather than their 'inner warriors.' The inner wimp is afraid of the unknown, doesn't like to be exposed to new things and avoids discomfort at all costs. As a result, as a society we've become fat, lazy and weak. In sharp contrast to the inner wimp, the inner warrior is strong, rises to new challenges and enjoys doing what it takes to be strong, powerful and healthy. He also talks about how nutrition truly is the foundation of bringing out the inner warrior because without the proper nutrients, you can lift all the weights you want but you won't see any results.
The first chapter of the book discusses the evils of processed foods before providing a good overview of the nutritional basics such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. In the second chapter we learn about the importance of hunger and how it can help to develop the inner warrior. This is much like a tactic employed by the Spartans—among the world's greatest warrior cultures. In this chapter and the one that follows, Thomas also lays out the basic foundation of his plan to bring out the inner warrior.
A lot of so-called 'fitness gurus' rally against carbohydrates mistakenly leading millions of people to believe that they are mostly an evil to be avoided. It's refreshing to see an author like Thomas take the time to devote an entire chapter to carbohydrates, allowing the reader to separate fact from fiction and learn for himself the important role they play in maintaining health and building muscle. This is followed by similarly thorough chapters that provide in-depth discussions about proteins, fats and water. In each of these sections of the book Thomas offers up a tremendous amount of useful information without getting too technical.
In chapter eight we learn about Thomas' approach to developing an eating schedule that is right for you. This section is great because it addresses eating whenever we want—an important aspect of modern society that significantly contributes to our growing obesity epidemic. Our inner wimp wants to be satisfied whenever it feels the slightest pang of hunger, but catering to these whims just makes us fat and lazy. To cultivate the inner warrior we need to eat according to a regular schedule that maximizes the body's ability to get lean and strong. Chapters nine and ten present some great information about the ideal foods to eat pre- and post-workout in order to build the inner warrior. These are followed by chapters that discuss alcohol (avoid it), building your inner warrior on a budget and how many calories you should be consuming each day to get big but lean. The last chapter of the books outlines meal plans and recipes so you can launch right into bringing out your own inner warrior.
Thomas' Epic Warrior Diet is accompanied by the BuiltFit Workout Guide, a brief but thorough manual for developing the ideal training strategy to enable you to achieve your fitness goals. In fact, it is Thomas' particular focus on goal-setting that really sets this workout guide apart from many others. Ask successful people around the world how they got to where they are today and 99% will say that keeping focuses on their goals is the key to their success. Thomas' guide opens with an excellent discussion about the importance of goals and provides an explicit strategy for setting your own and keeping them at the forefront of your daily thought patterns. The rest of the book covers topics such as establishing a baseline, measuring progress and training strategies to build mass and get lean.
On the whole, I have to say that I think that Thomas is on to something with his overall approach to nutrition and training. His plans are easy-to-follow and don't require a lot of previous knowledge—I'm happy to say that I can recommend his approach to bringing out the inner warrior and getting fit.