Lately a lot of you have been asking me which fitness blogs I read. Well okay, only a couple of you have asked me that, and that’s a shame- any time you get to talk to someone who you’ve learned a lot from, the best question you can ask them is who they learn from. So in this article, I’ll be answering the question you all should have asked.
And the answer to that question is that there are ten that I read fairly regularly, and feel totally confident in recommending to my own readers.
There are only two things all of these blogs have in common: I read them, and each of them have given me at least one piece of advice that I found highly effective. Aside from that, they’re a mixed bag. Some cite a lot of academic science, some focus on broscience. Some focus on diet, some focus on exercise, and a couple focus on straight-up body wizardry. Some of them say fuck a lot, and some are too uptight for that.
So before we get to the list, one word of advice: ten blogs is a lot. I read a lot of fitness blogs because I’m a fitness blogger and I have professional reasons to read them. Reading other fitness blogs helps me think of stuff to write about, keep my pulse on the state of fitness these days, and learn how to hone my writing.
Unless you also work in fitness in some way, you don’t need to read ten fitness blogs. You need two to four blogs at most, including mine. Beyond that, more information is not your friend. So that said, look these over, check out all ten, and pick out the one or two you like best. There’s something in here for everyone.
Tim Ferriss- The Four Hour Work Week
I had to start with Tim Ferriss, because he’s the first person who really got me questioning conventional fitness wisdom and learning about all the ways the human body can be hacked into awesomeness. He also lead me, directly or indirectly, to discover several of the other writers listed in this article.
Tim’s Four Hour Body is still the best fitness book I’ve ever read, particularly for beginners, and it’s what I used to get into shape five years ago. I found his fat loss method program particularly effect, the diet portion of which can be found in this post. I also saw strong results from the muscle-building chapters of The Four Hour Body, but I now believe the method in this article is actually more effective at producing fat-free muscle gain. His blog got me to start using the sauna after most of my workouts, and I did indeed experience apparent boosts to testosterone and recovery speed.
Finally, I want to provide a special mention to this article about helping your friends and loved ones get healthy by leading by example. I suspect many of you could benefit from it.
I first found out about Robb through a guest post he published in Tim Ferriss’s blog (told ya). The article was an excerpt from his book, The Paleo Solution, which I promptly purchased and devoured in the space of two days. Implementing the paleo diet, even just partially, had massive benefits for me: chronic gastrointestinal symptoms and brain fog both virtually disappeared, my waistline went down, and I had more energy.
Robb used to be a hardline carbohydrate-hater, but he’s softened on that a lot over the years. He’s also shown a willingness to rethink his position on gluten intolerance- though he still maintains, and I agree, that eliminating gluten is a good diea even if we don’t quite understand why it works.
Robb and his team are also among the very, very few fitness writers who give sleep the attention it deserves, instead of letting it take a backseat to diet and exercise. In fact, they seem to prioritize sleep above exercise, which brings the list of people who do soto them and me. I also just recently came across this article about how people naturally tend to follow a divided sleep schedule, and am working to implement that right now.
Honorable mention: this article about how dieting shouldn’t suck, shouldn’t make eating a gruelling chore, and shouldn’t just give you another reason to feel bad about yourself. I didn’t need this by the time I read it, but I know a lot of you do.
John Romaniello- Roman Fitness Systems
John Romaniello makes people sexy. He made me sexy. If you’re into chicks, he’ll make you question your sexuality. He also taught me how to do butt stuff (not like that you guys- he gave out some advice on it.)
Known as Roman to his army of ripped, nerdy fans, he’s known for blending explicit sex talk, comic book references, and a highly detailed and scientific (well, bro-scientific, but it works) approach to personal training that tends to focus on density- that is, doing a lot of work in a short period of time. What I really like about him is that he understands and supports that most people work out to look sexy, and also his workouts tend to be very short and intense, making them easier to fit into your schedule. He also produced the only shoulder workout that has ever allowed me to add size specifically to my shoulders, without bulking up across the board- like Roman, shoulders are my favorite body part.
But at the moment, I mainly want to thank him for this article about why list articles like this usually suck. It perfectly illustrates why I’ve limited this article to ten entries, even though I read more fitness blogs than that, and also why I’ve limited this article to blogs that have actually produced results for me.
The description on his front page is pretty dope too.
Steve Kamb- Nerd Fitness
Whereas Roman drops a fair amount of comic book and movie references, Steve Kamb has made it his entire schtick. Most of his articles use comic book, movie and video game metaphors to explain fitness concepts, which makes his blog extremely entertaining and engaging if you’re a nerd who gets the references.
He does a great job of explaining fitness concepts that you may have heard of before, but had trouble understanding or were hesitant to accept. For instance, I had heard about intermittent fasting for years, and most of the people I’m listing in this article advocate it, but this guide was what convinced me to finally try it. I do IF on and off depending on my fitness goals, and in the past two months I’ve dropped about five pounds of fat in part thanks to fasting.
One of Steve’s rules is to be skeptical about everything, and in that vein he recently published an excellent article about why GMO’s probably aren’t the bogeyman they’re made out to be, complete with a comparison of genetic engineering to old-fashioned selective breeding. He’s also published the best explanation I’ve yet seen about how and how much genetics matter.
Will Owen- TravelStrong
I found out about Will just a few months ago, when my mom told me about him. My family travels a lot, and this entry stands out on the list because my parents have actually used Will’s advice more than I have. Will specializes in fitness advice for people to utilize while traveling- he focuses on bodyweight exercises, keeping a healthy sleep pattern while traveling, and eating healthy even when surrounded by unfamiliar foreign cuisine.
Like intermittent fasting, carb cycling was a concept that I had heard tossed around for a while but didn’t really “get.” Will’s explanation convinced me to give it a try, and along with fasting, it has helped me lose about five pounds of fat in the last 6-8 weeks.
Since half the stuff Will writes about can only be used while traveling, I’m going to slightly break my rule about focusing on stuff that’s worked for me. His advice on jet lag is genius, and based on what I know about travel, circadian rhythms and the role of anticipation in sleep/wake cycles, I have no doubt that it will work for me. He also has a great article about not getting sick while traveling- technically in Southeast Asia, but most of what he says applies in any developing, tropical country. I can vouch for about half of what he says there, albeit in the Americas rather than Asia, and I plan to make full use of his advice when I visit SE Asia next year.
Finally, Will occasionally publishes some excellent travel advice that isn’t really fitness-related. I’ve read about budget travel, backpacking and the digital nomad lifestyle for years, but this guide still taught me a couple new tricks for finding travel bargains, which I’ll be making heavy use of over the next year.
Nagina Abdullah- Masala Body
Nagina is unique on this list, in that I’ve actually spoken with her a few times. After years of poor eating and two babies, she was severely overweight. She lost over 40 pounds in less than a year, all while working very long hours in one of the big management consulting firms, and taking care of those two kids.
The name of her blog refers to masala, an Indian term for a spice mix. Her blog is geared mainly towards working women who want to lose weight, and focuses mainly on diet. However, most of it is useful for men, and I’ve learned a lot from her about how spices can help you lose weight or even fight off cold and flu infections. Although I don’t really love cooking, I have learned some great recipes from her as well.
Where Nagina really shines though, is in her understanding of the psychology of fat loss. She understand the need to have a plan and a system, as well as the psychological barriers and body image issues that hold people back from losing weight.
Mark Sisson- Mark’s Daily Apple
One of the first bloggers to become well-known for advocating paleo dieting (well, primal, but that’s a very fine distinction), Mark holds the distinction of being the oldest fitness writer I read- he’s well into his sixties, and still totally ripped.
Most of what you’ll find on Mark’s site focuses on the primal diet- he’s published the most comprehensive diet guide I’ve ever seen posted for free on the internet, complete with hundreds of recipes. Also well worth a read: this thorough explanation of why grains are bad for you, and why you should cut them out of your diet- or at least eat less of them.
Most importantly, Mark has published two short articles that I think everyone should read as they’re putting together their fitness plan for the next few months. First off is the best guide I’ve seen to assessing your current fitness level. He provides eleven ways to assess your fitness- I recommend doing two or three of them when putting your fitness plan together, then re-doing them every month or so.
Second, I recommend reading Mark’s carbohydrate recommendations. He suggests 100-150 grams a day for maintenance and 50-100 for weight loss. Obviously the amount you should eat depends on your lean body mass, carbohydrate tolerance and activity level, but I believe his guidelines are very accurate for anyone who has struggled with fat loss.
Dave Asprey- Bulletproof Executive
One of the world’s foremost experts on biohacking, Dave Asprey provides a wealth of advice on how to get into amazing shape, boost your IQ, and become downright superhuman. Yet somehow he’s mainly known for selling coffee.
Dave recommends what he calls the Bulletproof Diet, which is pretty much just the paleo diet combined with intermittent fasting, plus his coffee. His step by step guide to getting started on the diet is genius though- if you can implement even half of the steps he lists, you’ll be in better shape than 80% of people.
I’ve been following his intermittent fasting plan almost every day for four months now- unlike other IF schedules which have you not eating at all during the fast periods, Dave’s schedule allows and encourages consumption of a small amount of saturated fat during the fast period. I’ve found this invaluable for giving me more energy in the mornings, as well as aiding in fat loss. His advice on fighting stress has also been a real lifesaver for me in the past month.
Shannon Kelly- Shannon’s Kitchen
I found out about Shannon this year when one of my friends posted this hilarious article about coconut oil on Facebook.* Shannon’s profanity-laced articles aren’t for everyone, but…ummm…they’re for people who like to cook healthy food that doesn’t taste like shit…while saying fuck a lot.
*Meaning my friend posted the article on Facebook, not that Shannon rubs coconut oil on Facebook. She only rubs coconut oil on titties.
Most of Shannon’s articles are recipes for food that’s, if not strict paleo, then at least close enough. I’m not big on cooking, but I did try her salmon and broccoli recipe and it was delicious. Like most everyone else I listen to, Shannon advocates eating mostly healthy without insisting that they be perfect, which is why she suggests eating healthy dark chocolate on occasion, rather than avoiding it altogether.
Finally, this delicious and simple formula for flavored water is a must-read for anyone who doesn’t drink enough water because they don’t like the taste.
Charles Poliquin- Strength Sensei
Last but definitely not least, we’ve got Charles Poliquin. I can’t even remember how I first found about about him; I just know that I’ve been following him for years, and Strength Sensei is the site I turn to whenever I hit a plateau and don’t know what to do. He delivers some amazing plateau-busting tips, along with the best answer I’ve yet seen to how often you should change up your workouts.
Unlike every other blogger I read, Coach Poliquin speaks mainly to an audience of advanced trainees and fellow coaches, so a lot of what he writes won’t be relevant to you. Still, he writes a lot of stuff that’s geared towards beginners, such as why high volume cardio is a bad idea, a few ways to stave off aging, and a full explanation of the importance of sleep for fat loss.
My favorite article though, is a guest post by coach Wolfgang Unsoeld. His advice- to drink a little bit of lime juice and salt water every morning- is one of the most bang for your buck fitness techniques I’ve ever seen. If you suffer from both low energy and stubborn bellow fat that won’t go away, there’s a good chance this will be the fix you’re looking for.
All ten of those blogs are awesome, but you don’t need to read ten fitness blogs on a regular basis. Check them all out, then pick no more than two to follow and subscribe to. Prioritize taking action over taking in information, and don’t collect more fitness information than you can act on, and you’ll do just fine.