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free+style by Carl Paoli & Anthony Sherbondy

"Maximize sport and life performance with four basic movements"

Simply put, the title says it all. Learning and practicing proper movement in every aspect of daily life should be a goal for all of us. It certainly is for me, all the more as I age. 

Forget about being good at doing things inside the gym; who really cares? I want to garden, walk the dog, maintain my home, feel and look good, and yeah, kick ass in the gym. I want it all. free+style will help me with my wishes.

Carl Paoli, a gymnastic legend in the CrossFit world courtesy and a massive YouTube presence, also wants everyone to move and live as well as possible. Carl wants readers to understand how the human body is designed to move through space. Sounds basic, but my long experience in the gym (and frankly, watching people everywhere) has taught me many people have no clue how to stand straight, much less propel themselves across the earth. 

As a coach and trainer, helping people learn how to move and control themselves is paramount when teaching exercise. Paoli is a master at this. In this book, and interviews I’ve read and listened to, he consistently talks about how he is working to help people with life, not with sport-specific goals. I doubt Carl Paoli is hoping reading free+style will lower anyone’s Fran time!

This gigantic, heavy, 430-page work breaks movement down to four basic bodyweight movements. Consider this a manual, a guide. Here’s an indication of how much depth Paoli goes into. It’s not until page 98 that the first of the four movements comes in for intensive coverage. When he gets started, you’ll feel the detail and cues essential to learning.

In free+style, everything is broken down to the pistol, handstand push-up, muscle-up and burpee. Don’t be alarmed if the thought of a muscle-up progression sounds scary; Paoli doesn’t expect all his readers to be performing that gymnastic move. Forty pages of variations and progressions are involved just in that section; the simple pull-up is part of this category, for example. 

Those initial 98 pages cover everything related to positioning and moving with purpose. Controlling one’s movement is huge, of course, and covered in detail. Progressions are always involved. Carl is up-front with his philosophies about life and movement; they are  intertwined. 

Carl Paoli’s free+style is the second invaluable life guide (in and out of the gym) published in the past year or so. Kelly Starrett wrote the first one, and guess who penned the introduction to free+style? Yes, the Supple Leopard himself. Part of me thinks Paoli is now my life coach.

I fully realize my review is rambling and non-specific, but this book is immense and takes a bunch of effort to assimilate and put to use. I’m only touching upon the coolness and value I assign to Carl Paoli’s free+style in this write-up. You’ll have to invest in a copy for yourself. Read free+style, absorb his words, soak up his experience, practice the progressions, and improve your life, in and outside of the gym.

 @carlpaoli, @victorybeltinc, @mobilitywod, #freestyleconnection    



Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck

If you’ve watched the Thug Kitchen trailer I posted a while back, you’re aware these crazy food and cooking lovers curse like sailors. Watch it if you haven’t yet; it’s entertaining. Swearing like this, in a cookbook no less, appears to be a giant grab for attention. Yeah, perhaps. It’s working. But get beyond the headlines, let their passion wash over you and the real essence of Thug Kitchen becomes clear.

I’ve been reading this cookbook like a novel. Their messages are real, they’re serious, and I’m smiling. Emotion pours from the words of M.D. and M.H., the authors. I’m learning, enjoying the process, and don’t even know who these people are.

Nowhere in the advance publicity for the book did I get the message it’s a meatless - animal-product-free universe Thug Kitchen inhabits. Paging through the book when it arrived, I was startled to realize this. But I relaxed after reading. These folks aren’t anti-meat-eating. They’re so pro-vegetable consumption, they’re going overboard to make the point. 

I agree. Few people eat enough vegetables, in any manner.

Let’s get back to passion. Thug Kitchen takes readers by the hand, beginning with the premise you may have stumbled into your kitchen for the first time and found the book! They lay out the necessary steps to succeed preparing food. Many of their tips are essential; do you really know how to read a recipe? Thug Kitchen makes a clear case for succeeding in the kitchen with minimalist equipment. Sharpen that knife, get your hands wrapped around a wooden spoon, find a big mixing bowl set at a garage sale, and you’re ready to go! Common sense is the prevailing theme of everything they write about.

I’ve not followed through and prepared any recipes from Thug Kitchen yet. And here I am writing about it. It’s clear to me these people know what the hell they’re doing, write with clear passion and excitement, and want readers to succeed. My confidence in my ability to add some bacon or meat to these dishes, when I feel like it, pushes Thug Kitchen to the top shelf of my kitchen bookcase.

After all the shock effects, Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F@#K, is the genuine deal., @thugkitchen, @rodalebooks, #thugkitchen


Perfida (James Ellroy) is amazing me...

 I'm only 100 or so pages into Ellroy's gripping Perfida, but the hooks are in. Even when I have only a few minutes, I'll grab it and read a few pages. Perfida is heavy enough that I'm forced to sit up in bed to read, but it's worth it. World War II, Los Angeles cops and robbers, a clash of cultures, memorable characters, woven together as only Ellroy can do. Full review when I'm done.

If you don't have Perfida in your "gotta get to pile," shame on you!

#Perfida, #JamesEllroy, @AAKnopf


Deadline by John Sandford


Coming late to the Sandford Prey novels (I’ve only been reading them for a few months), I wasn’t aware some of his other non-Prey books were spin-offs featuring Virgil Flowers. Thanks to the nice folks at Putnam, sending me an advance of Deadline, I’m in the loop and excited.

It was already great knowing a backlog of Prey novels were out there for me to buy and enjoy (I’m a half dozen into the archives already). After reading Deadline, I’m sold on Sandford’s Virgil Flowers titles, as well. What a great situation for me, the reader!

Flowers is a recurring sidekick of Lucas Davenport’s, star of the Prey series. His role there is muted and often non-essential, though I know he’s always ready to stand by Davenport in any situation. Deadline finds Flowers, absolutely the lead character of the novel, investigating a series of murders that initially draw him away from the case he originally was involved with. Only time working hard at the little things involved in crime solving, and plenty of hard thinking, and digging into what people tell him, help him to fully understand the magnitude of the case.

Who to trust of course is important. Flowers begins with a mystery involving dozens of stolen dogs, seeing possible motivation on the part of a small community of meth-producers removed from society. That quickly blows up in his face, and it’s all he can do to handle the animal owners, who are prepared to take the law into their own hands.

As if this isn’t enough, a deep embezzlement scheme slowly comes to the surface, accompanied by a growing checklist of dead bodies. Flowers, a captivating character himself, and a memorable cast, live a dangerous game of cat and mouse as the two story-lines come together.

Deadline is an engrossing tale, populated with people coming alive on the page, moving a good story along at a nice pace. I found it exciting, with some passages worth reading a second time just to savor the writing, and a great story. Nicely done, John Sandford.


@PenguinUSA, @J_Sandford, #Prey, #VirgilFlowers, #Deadline


Gluten-Free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot

Considering many CrossFit participants, Paleo disciples, and others heavily invested in their health and fitness dislike the spectrum of “gluten-free fake foods” clogging social media, it’s also safe to say that everyone succumbs to the temptation of pancakes, muffins or cookies on occasion. Be truthful with yourself. You do, and you know it.

When this craving descends upon you, if you’re the type that’ll wait long enough to haul your butt into the kitchen and make whatever it is your brain is yelling at you about, Gluten-Free Flour Power is absolutely the book you want to reach for. Subtitled “Bringing Your Favorite Foods Back to the Table,” the authors have skillfully re-created recipes for timeless treats. Whether cookies, pizza dough, breads or other comfort foods, their self-imposed mandate was flavor. 

I’ve certainly suffered through my share of bland, flavorless gluten-free products. Bread is the first coming to mind. Based on the the author’s careers and reputation (I’ve not attempted any recipes in the book yet), I’d gamble on a copy of Gluten-Free Flour Power and put it to work in your kitchen. The flavor can be restored to gluten-free baked goods; the map is in this book.

@wwnorton, @akikamozawa, @ideasinfood