Book review: The Drunk Diet by Luc Carl

The Drunk Diet by Luc Carl

Here I am reading The Drunk Diet on my recent vacation to Cuba. My Dad looks on disapprovingly in the background.

Ok, ok. I know what you’re thinking. The Drunk Diet? You’ve got to be kidding me. But here, my friends, is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I got this book for Christmas. Not by accident. I asked for it. I read about it in a recent edition of Runner’s World, and it sounded like a great story. It’s basically the story of a crazy rocker turned marathon runner and how he lost an incredible 40 pounds while managing a bar, drinking and smoking every day. I love memoirs. I love rock n’ roll. So, why not?

The book is written by Luc Carl, a bar manager in New York’s Lower East Side. After growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Luc moved to New York to pursue the all too common dream of becoming a rock star. He spent years working insane hours. He lived on nothing but fast food. And he drank and partied like a rock star literally ever day. Not surprisingly, this kind of lifestyle eventually took its toll. Seven years after moving to New York, Luc found himself 40 pounds overweight, unhealthy and totally out of shape. He hated his body and felt disgusted with himself. And for a guy that likes to wear spandex pants, getting sexy was serious goal.

Coming from the home cooking of his mom back in Omaha, his idea of “healthy” was a can of peaches. Yes, a can. He literally had never gone to the produce section of a grocery store, so understandably, learning how to eat healthy and get fit were totally foreign concepts to him. Vowing to get better, he turned to self-help books and found them to be completely useless. They weren’t written for him. They were written for people who were already thin and athletic. He also noticed a recurring theme: every book told him that you can’t drink alcohol and lose weight. So, naturally, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Not only would he get fit his own way, he would write a book on how he did it.

And not only does he do it, he culminates his fitness journey by running a full marathon on his 30th birthday.

This is obviously not a how-to book, and the preface makes it abundantly clear that you shouldn’t use this book as a substitute for real medical advice, but Luc Carl is really an inspiration. He’s charismatic and motivating and makes you feel like you can, and should, go out running right now, or drop and do 20 push ups, just because you can. His enthusiasm is totally infectious. He’s hard on himself, but he so accurately illustrates how you can push your limits to become better, fitter and healthier. You just need some will power and determination.

His book isn’t about rigid rules or traditional diets or exercise plans. It’s more about understanding how your body works and what things you can control. Not only is the book a motivating memoir, but he also weaves in legit running advice and several informational call-outs about things like carbohydrates, omega 3’s and cardio exercise,  and explains them in simple, no-nonsense terms that even a complete dummy can understand.

If you don’t like the f-word, this book is not for you. Luc Carl is unapologetic and writes just how he speaks, or so I assume. There’s a lot of gratuitous swearing so if you’re sensitive, you may want to pass on this one.

However, if reading about how a self proclaimed “out of shape, bloated asshole” turned into a marathon runner, cyclist and health guru sounds intriguing, pick up this book. As soon as you’re done, you’ll want to get out there and prove to yourself that you can rock any workout. Because seriously, if a bartender who gets drunk everyday and smokes cigarettes can run a marathon, so can you.

For more info, you can check out Luc Carl’s website here.

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