• Your life and health are your own responsibility.
• Your decisions to act (or not act) based on information or advice anyone provides you—including me—are your own responsibility.


My AHS 2013 Bibliography Is Online (and, Why You Should Buy An Exercise Physiology Textbook)

First, for those who haven’t seen it already (it’s been online for about a week), the bibliography of my 2013 AHS presentation “What Is Metabolic Flexibility, and Why Is It Important?” can be found here. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s made available.

Not An AHS 2013 Recap

If I try to list everyone who contributed to my experience, I’ll no doubt forget several important people. However, I have a few observations about the AHS, and the state of the community in general:

  • The Ancestral Health Symposium, the Society that created it, and the Paleo and Primal movements that help give it strength, are here to stay. The quality of the presentations, and the size of the audience, grows steadily each year.
  • This is not an accident: it’s due to a great deal of hard work by the organizers and presenters. Congratulations to everyone who put in the long hours.
  • Naysayers, gadflies, and grousers: the train has left the station and continues to gather steam.

  • Speaking of which: just because someone eats beans, or corn, or wheat for a few months, and feels fine, doesn’t mean those of us who avoid them are disordered eaters. I wrote that article long ago: The Limitations of N=1 Self Experimentation.
  • Rule of thumb: the more restrictive the diet, the more evangelistic its adherents.
  • Yes, relentless calorie counting and exercise logging counts as a restrictive diet! And while I’m not going to gainsay anyone who decides they’re happier doing that (and/or performing pathological volumes of exercise) than restricting carbohydrates or doing a Whole 30, I don’t believe it creates any moral high ground to lecture from.
  • I still eat like a predator. It works.

Why You Should Buy An Exercise Physiology Textbook

Next, the alert reader will notice that the first four sections of my bibliography don’t feature a forest of Pubmed citations: they reference a basic exercise physiology text.

W. Larry Kenney, Jack Wilmore, David Costill
Physiology of Sport and Exercise, 5th Edition
2011, Human Kinetics Publishing, ISBN 978-0736094092

If you wish to dig deeply into the science of nutrition and health, but lack the academic background, I recommend you find a copy and read it. Yes, it’s expensive, because it’s a college textbook…but consider the following:

  • Reading a textbook written for undergraduates is far easier than trying to piece together an understanding of human metabolism from Wikipedia and Pubmed articles. The presentation and organization are worlds ahead. How much is your time worth?
  • I’ve found it extremely valuable to have all the basics presented in one place. The sixteen pages of Chapter 2 alone are worth the price even if you never get any farther. (They describe bioenergetics—how our bodies store, transform, and use energy.)
  • There is very little bad nutrition advice…only a few pages out of several hundred. (Caveat: much of the rest is aimed at endurance athletes looking for maximum performance in competition—not strength athletes, or normal people trying to maintain health and lose fat.)
  • Most importantly, you’ll be able to quickly pinpoint and discard large quantities of speculation, woo, and nonsense. Once you’ve read a basic text like Kenney, it’ll become obvious who hasn’t…an observation which includes several bloggers with a penchant for name-checking scientists, burying their readers under an avalanche of references, and/or selling expensive books and programs.

Why am I recommending sports and exercise physiology, instead of nutrition, general physiology, or biochemistry?

  • Exercise physiology stays mostly at the functional level. Thus, I believe it to be far more useful for the layman than a general physiology text like Vander’s—which starts at the level of the individual cell, and goes so deeply into the gory biochemical details that you’re unlikely to ever finish all 700 pages. Even if you manage to plow through it, that level of detail can easily obscure your understanding of real-world issues.
  • Exercise physiology helps us understand how our bodies adapt to the changing demands we place on them every day.
  • It’s easy to derive basic dietary principles from basic bioenergetics and functional physiology—and I find this approach far more productive than trying to wade through the swamp of bad epidemiology that comprises most modern nutrition “science”.

Summary: if you’re deeply interested in the science of nutrition and health but don’t have the academic background, I believe you can save yourself substantial time and confusion by starting with Kenney et.al. (And if you’re a cheapskate or on a tight budget, you can find the 4th edition for far less.)

Either way, if you buy it through any of the links above, you’ll support gnolls.org at no cost to you.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.



Permalink: My AHS 2013 Bibliography Is Online (and, Why You Should Buy An Exercise Physiology Textbook)
  • […] / Posted on: September 03, 2013GNOLLS.ORG – First, for those who haven’t seen it already (it’s been online for about a […]

  • neal matheson

    Looks good but pricey, a library trip I think. I’m looking forward to seeing your talk from this year.

  • James Steele

    Was great meeting you at AHS J! My diary is now covered in the stickers you gave me.

    Great shout on the Exercise Physiology textbook too. I second the recommendation….not like my opinion is biased though being an exercise physiologist and all 😉

    Looking forward to next year already!


  • eddie watts

    the bibliography looks like it will take forever for me to work through.

    so i better get started!

    thanks for this

  • Ash Simmonds

    I bought the “Physiology of Sport and Exercise – 5th Edition” last year at fairly large expense and with great anticipation, only to find that they simply kick the same “eat less move more and make sure you get a balanced diet” BS.

    Go to page 366 and they seem to completely misunderstand the role of ketones and carbohydrates – how is this possible in a tome all about physiology?


  • Beowulf

    After three years of paleo, I’m really a fan of Eat Like a Predator and The Primal Blueprint (the book, NOT the forum currently held hostage by idiots) minus any sort of actual counting. It keeps me healthy, happy, and full of energy without overtaxing my brain just to figure out a meal.

    As for restrictive eating, I find it amusing that many consider my diet to be very restricted without pausing to think that their own diet is based almost entirely on wheat, corn, and soy. Oy.

    I can’t wait for the AHS 2013 videos to be posted. I learned a LOT from that last time.

  • eddie watts

    yes many people say something to me like “but that is such an unvaried diet, i like variety”
    and i’m like “what like cereal for breakfast (wheat and sugar), sandwich for lunch (wheat), pasta for dinner (wheat) and dessert (sugar and wheat)???
    whereas my daily diet is bacon and eggs with vegetables for breakfast, extra matured beef with 3 vegetables for lunch, sweet potato and spare ribs with fruit for dinner?
    seems like my diet has more variety than yours?”

    they never seem to take that in though

  • Ash Simmonds

    @Eddie Watts

    To me that’s a “varied” diet – all I do is load up on either 2-4lb of steak or bacon and eggs once a day.

  • neal:

    Since it's a college text, older editions are usually available for a substantial discount.



    It was a pleasure to finally meet you!  I'm glad you've put the stickers to good use.  If you need more, let me know.

    Also, I went back and re-read the paper you sent — and it makes a lot more sense to me now that I've done so much more reading on mitochondrial bioenergetics and compensatory adaptation.



    The bibliography will make a lot more sense once you've seen the presentation!



    That's exactly why I disclaimed my recommendation with “There is very little bad nutrition advice…only a few pages out of several hundred.”  And yes, the bad advice starts on page 366.

    It's also funny that all their nutrition recommendations are aimed at “make sure your muscles are absolutely stuffed with glycogen at all times”.  While full reserves are best for optimum performance in competition, fasted training and glycogen-depleted training are proven to increase the basal rate of fat oxidation, and consequently maximum aerobic capacity…so they're definitely behind the curve.


    Beowulf, eddie:

    People claim paleo is “restrictive” because of the lack of hearthealthywholegrains, while forgetting that the Nutrition Guidelines for Americans restrict the entire food group that made us human — meat.  And eggs.  Hint: if you have to “fortify” foods with vitamins because the people who try to survive on it die of deficiency diseases, they're not worth eating in the first place.

    And don't worry about me turning into a Peatarian.  Based on my own reading and research, I agree with Emily Deans: “Peat has some interesting ideas, but I've seen him write with great authority on a few subjects he clearly had absolutely no experience with, and so I don't trust him at all.”  (That observation also applies to his many popularizers.)


    Thanks, everyone, for your support!  I too am looking forward to the videos from this year, and I'm assured they'll be done sooner than they did last year.


  • Heather

    V***ns remove the meat group (or meat AND dairy). They commended on making such a healthy choice. Primal/Paleo folks remove the grain group (sometimes also dairy). Yet we get accused of “unnecessarily removing a food group”. Apparently my body thought it was necessary. Heck I weigh less now than I did when I went through puberty!!

  • Matt

    I’m finding quite interesting the free coursera lecture, ‘Introduction to Human Physiology’ that is offered by Duke. Free, but only available for a limited time.

  • Heather:

    Veg*anism is religious in origin.  Think of it as a religion and it'll make a lot more sense.



    Thanks for the pointer!


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