NFL superstar Tony Gonzalez and sports nutritionist Mitzi Dulan present a rarity in today’s diet-obsessed world: a lifestyle-modification program lacking any outlandish promises or questionable gimmicks. The All-Pro Diet consists of solid, often common-sense advice about how having more energy and endurance, better focus, and faster recovery times can lead to better performance, whether you are an NFL tight end or an office manager.
Gonzalez begins the book by setting himself up as an extreme, in that NFL players eat a tremendous number of calories each day, meaning that the real challenge for him, as it is for all of us, is eating quality foods and then converting those calories into usable energy.
The authors do a wonderful job of avoiding “all-or-nothing” thinking. Since this is not a “diet,” the authors encourage readers to gradually embrace the program. Gonzalez even states that it took him six months to follow most of the guidelines in the book. His weakness prior to making the lifestyle changes that he credits with improving his on-field performance and lengthening his career were cheese and red meat (sound familiar?). For this reason, he and Dulan created a program that allowed for an occasional indulgence, but within established rules (for example, no more than 18 ounces of red meat each month). Other guidelines include eating very little dairy, avoiding empty calories, and eating more plant-based and fewer animal-based products.
What we liked:
- The authors repeatedly encourage readers to try new foods and flavors, especially when on vacation. You can treat yourself without going crazy and overindulging. The program is not about deprivation.
- Common-sense principles are the backbone of this program. Examples include: eat lean protein and whole grains at every meal, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, practice portion control, and avoid drinking your calories.
- No calorie counting: Eat the right food most of the time and watch your portions.
- The book approaches eating right as a skill that must be learned.
What we didn’t like:
- Gonzalez offers several smoothie recipes, each of which includes lots of protein powders in various combinations. These might not be right for everyone and make things a bit too complicated for many people.
- The exercises presented toward the end of the book are intense! After a quick word about warm-ups, the first exercise is a series of 250 crunches, soon followed by complex exercises like power cleans. A more beginner-friendly program would have been a great addition.
October 9, 2009