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From the Library

May 13, 2019

Storing Food Without Refrigeration by Carol Shearlock

I found this one on the shelf at Cabela’s. It was alright, but even though it includes “Off grid” living in the subtitle, it’s really geared towards RV life and camping in the short term. I don’t think I saw much that was legitimately “long term” food storage ideas that wasn’t the typical “put dried foods in a bucket with an oxygen absorber.” Meh.

Irish Folk Ways by E. Estyn Evans

I found this at a local used book store. It’s a really cool look at the way the folks of Eire dealt with life. Think “The Foxfire Books” for Ireland. I love old folk ways books like this, because even if they’re not tutorials, they give us ideas to explore, to discover ways of doing things to prepare for a post-grid environment. Recommended.

531 Forever by Jim Wendler

This is the fourth or fifth book Wendler has done on his 531 strength training programming. It’s really not a stand-alone book. While it CAN be a standalone book, a lot of it makes more sense if you’ve read at least his first 531 book, and his second one, Beyond 531 is even more useful as a prequel. I’ve been using 531 off-and-on, for several years now, with great success. This book specifically is really, really good, because there’s basically a lifetime of programming in here, and he describes how to mix-and-match the different programming formats to best effect over the long haul.

I don’t think 531 is a Beginner Program, although folks have used it as such. I think it’s better used after developing a basic level of strength using basic 5×5 programming like the Stronglifts or Bill Starr’s methods. It does work really well for intermediate lifters. I suspect it works really well for advanced lifters as well, but since I don’t consider myself an advanced lifter, I can’t speak to that for certain. The advanced lifters I’ve asked about it prefer to do their own programming, basing it largely on what they feel like. I’m not gonna argue with them about it.

The only issue I have with Wendler’s 531 is not really a beef with it at all. His conditioning recommendations are probably spot on for the recreational weightlifter, or the competitive lifter. They’re nowhere near adequate for our needs, in this context. What I do—and for people who follow Wendler, I’m well aware that, by his definition I’m NOT “following the program”–is use the 531 programming for my basic strength training, and use Convict Conditioning calisthenics and CrossFit type circuits for my supplemental work, and then add in the sprint intervals (I’m currently doing intervals two days a week, a longer run once a week, and CrossFit WODs two days a week. Combined with 3-4 hours of boxing or Muay Thai a week, and the physicality of our weekly range days, I’m getting a LOT of conditioning work in…)


52 Unique Techniques for Stocking Food for Preppers by David Nash

This was another Cabela’s impulse buy. I didn’t expect much out of it, but was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t anything particularly novel in it, although his bacon curing method seems a lot less complicated than the others I have, and will probably get tried. What I did like about this book—besides being surprised that I didn’t waste the money—was that it really is 52 different, relatively simple projects that didn’t revolve around “put food in a bucket, and add an oxygen absorber.”

Some of the projects are stuff we don’t need to do, because we have different methods already working for us, but some of them will be tried out.


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  1. Berglander permalink

    I wasn‘t impressed with 531. Using 90% of my max as the new max to calculate lift weights from had me lifting lower weight and fewer reps than before. For example, using 90% of my one-Time bench max as my new max put it at 315 (350 x .9 = 315, and then 90% of 315 = 285-a significant difference on the upper Limits of weight to use.) The program had me lifting lighter than before and I wasn’t getting stronger on the DL, squat, or bench press. I did make gains on military press, and really liked the upper back work that he recommends. I went and re-read it a couple weeks later to see if I was dicking something up and couldn‘t find where I messed up.

    A lot of folks really like it and see gains from it; and I‘ve never understood why it didn‘t work for me. I‘m still thinking I screwed something up, just not sure what it was.

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