IM readers know Lee Labrada as the symmetrical pro bodybuilder who was ranked as one of the top four bodybuilders in the world during the last seven years of his pro career. More recently he was appointed fitness czar of Houston, Texas, where his company, Labrada Nutrition, is based. Houston used to be consistently ranked as one of the fattest U.S. cities. Lee put a stop to that, and his book, The Lean Body Promise, outlines the tools he used on that successful mission.
The book was first published in 2005, but it’s worth a current look. It’s based on what Lee calls Banex—a short term for “balanced nutrition and exercise.” In the book he shows how a person can get lean using 30-minute exercise programs along with five balanced meals a day. The book is much more, however, than that.
After introducing himself and chronicling his rise to bodybuilding prominence, Lee reveals the two reasons people fail to get in shape: 1) they use the wrong map, and 2) they can’t sustain the motivation. Obviously, The Lean Body Advantage has the right map. It contains diet analysis and simple meal plans along with tips on eating out without pigging out.
In addition to diet coaching, Lee provides workouts, identifying aerobic and anerobic work and explaining why you need both but not too much of either. Lee explains that “cardio training alone can’t give your body the muscle it needs to burn fat more quickly, nor can it give you the lean body you desire.” Amen to that.
The weight-training workouts are simple, very circuitlike, with little rest between exercises. Lee outlines an easy-to-follow break-in program with nine different exercises. You do one set each, pausing between exercises just long enough to catch your breath. The next day you do 30 minutes of cardio.
After the two-week break-in, you get the full Lean Body cycle: day 1, weight training; day 2, more weight training; day 3, cardio; repeat. Lee outlines three different weight workouts, push muscles, pull muscles and legs and abs. You move through that sequence in order, but after every two workouts you have a cardio day. As for the exercises, you get start and finish photos of each along with descriptions and performance tips. The exercise section is nicely done, with all the info you need.
Lee’s cardio prescription isn’t just walking a treadmill or riding an exercise bike in a steady-state fashion, although he says that’s okay. He prefers the high-intensity method, which he explains in detail, including graphs.
The back of the book features an extensive FAQ section, daily planners and lots of scrumptious recipes. But let’s rewind for a moment. Everything I described involves following the right map. What about the second reason people fail to get in shape—losing motivation?
If you need to be inspired—and who doesn’t?—the beginning of the book includes a number of success stories, complete with before and after photos of real people who did it. No, they aren’t competitive bodybuilders but average folks who reshaped their bodies. You’ll read each one’s story and see the before and after photos and stats.
Is the book for hardcore bodybuilders? Not really, although there are things in it that add to the muscle-building knowledge base. If you know someone who needs a kick in the pants and a precise road map to a body metamorphosis, however, The Lean Body Advantage makes a great gift. It’s hardcore-bodybuilding concepts whittled down for the average trainee for real-world results.