Most helpful critical review
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2006
Let's be straight about something -- Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a remarkable man and is a national treasure. If any of us could accomplish 1/10th of what he has, then we could consider our lives well lived indeed.
It is a shame, then, that I found this particular title so underwhelming. I purchased it on the back of the plethora of five star reviews on Amazon, but must confess to feeling slightly misled.
A lot of reviewers trumpet the motivational aspects of this book. Perhaps I'm becoming less perceptive over the years, but I saw no motivation of value. If anything, Fiennes comes across as a scaremonger and somewhat elitist; as another review pointed out, there is enough finger-pointing towards our imminent ills, ailments, diseases, inferior genetics and death that I almost wanted to give up the reading halfway through.
Then there is the practical stuff. I found his "Food Control" method disorganised, unclear and a touch dodgy (skipping breakfast anyone?). There are no set meal plans, but rather a long list of foods with a potted biography of each one. You will know what to stock your kitchen with, but do not expect to learn how to put together a dietary plan. I also did a bit of digging online, and found a review where Fiennes confessed that he didn't actually follow the nutritional guidelines he laid out in the book; to say I found it a touch hypocritical is an understatement. I mean, the guy has accomplished some remarkable physical feats, so why not be upfront about what he *really* does.
The exercise section is fairly bloated and uneven. Most of Fiennes' emphasis is on aerobic training, particularly walking and running. The strength training chapters seem to be spread thin, with set exercises, set repetitions, set weights, and no real program of how to progress. It is also worth noting that you won't get tailored plans for fat loss, a muscular body or anything like that. I have seen *much* better manuals around (and have had great results from them).
Meh. There is more that I could write, but I think it is unnecessary. The general gist is already within the review. Fiennes is an outstanding individual, but this is a second-rate book in the tough fitness genre. To be fair, the fitness genre is a hard art to master; it is so packed with niches and nuances that it is impossible to do an effective all-in-one fitness manual.
Fit For Life could have done with a sterner editing job and a more streamlined vision of goals, and a bit more candour and a bit less preaching from Fiennes.