Sean Lerwill's Body Transformation Manual (Book Review)

Last week Sean Lerwill's guest post offered tips for getting fit and staying motivated. Forthoese who didn't catch this post, Sean Lerwill is an ex-Royal Marines Commando Physical Training Instructor, international cover model, Maxinutrition ambassador, celebrity trainer and author of three Haynes manuals on fitness. 

Sean's new book, Haynes Body Transformation Manual provides a step-by-step guide to body re-composition, equipped with a full 12-week workout plan for both men and women, nutritional information and plenty of advice and tips derived from the experiences from a top London trainer.

What I like about this book is that it cuts the usual bulls**t that comes with workout and diet plans - there are no promises of 6 pack abs within 12 weeks - instead Sean takes a brutally honest approach while tackling the common myths, such as the misconception that women will get bulky from lifting weights (this makes me want to bang my head against the gym wall every time I hear it!). Sean's plan will take full commitment to workouts, weights that really challenge you and no room for slacking in the nutrition department to get results. He also reminds you throughout the book that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

The book begins with a guide to setting realistic goals, planning your workouts around your lifestyle, getting the kit you need and measuring your progress using photos and measurements. The general advice regarding the scale is to forget it and focus on losing body fat instead of simply 'weight'.  

It's refreshing to see photos of both men and women throughout the workout plans in a book about strength training and body re-composition. It makes a very welcome change from only ever seeing women pictured with teeny pink hand weights instead of a heavy barbell! 

In terms of nutritional plans, Sean recommends tracking macronutrients - that's your carbs, protein and fat intake - using MyFitnessPal (my favourite tool!). Generally speaking he advocates for the high protein, high fat, low carb diet while eating at a 5-20% deficit for body fat loss. Sean also recommends 'refeed days' or 'carb cycling' where you eat a 'cheat' meal high in carbs in order to reset hormonal balance and suggests timing this day for when you have a tough workout planned, such as a leg session. 
Snippet from page 45 of Sean Lerwill's
Haynes Body Transformation Manual (2014)
The recommended frequency of these refeed days depends on your body fat percentage - the higher it is, the less frequent your refeed days need to be (twice a month for higher percentages, compared to twice weekly for lower body fat percentages). What confuses me about this part of Sean's book is that the body fat percentages are very much geared around males. We know that women need a higher body fat percentage than men and that absolute minimum essential body fat percentage for women is 10-13% where as for men this is just 2-5%. Sean's book doesn't really highlight this important fact and disregards this completely where he talks about cheat days. 

This aside, the book has very detailed workout plans and delicious sample meal plans to refuel with. I particularly like the in-depth chapter on supplements and protein sources, as this is often something heavily debated over in health and fitness circles and leads to all kinds of strange misconceptions among those just getting started, for example, I'm sure you'll know at least one person who believes drinking a protein shake is the equivalent of taking steroids! (If this is you, then please, please, please read this book and a few others on this topic to educate yourself!) 

I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who is serious about reducing their body fat, increasing their strength and gaining muscle mass to fire up their metabolism. It's about time the diet books were ditched and replaced with real nutrition and fitness! 

Be sure to read Sean Lerwill's tips for Getting Fit & staying motivated.

The Haynes Body Transformation Manual is available now and can be found on Amazon for around £15-£22.

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