book review – The Dolce Diet: Living Lean by Mike Dolce

Known as “the patron saint of weight cutting,” Mike Dolce can be seen alongside his high profile UFC fighters such as Thiago Alves, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, and many other elite MMA athletes. Dolce doesn’t just show up when the cameras are rolling. He is there living with them. When they are cutting weight, so is he. As a peak performance coach, he is an extension of his athletes, and his latest book The Dolce Diet: Living Lean has been an international bestseller in 2011.

“The Dolce Diet” has been proven under the rigorous demands and stresses of professional athletes, but what does it do for the average person?

The introduction says it all:

Living Lean is proudly based on ideals derived from my personal experiences, observations, and continued results with the world’s most recognized athletes. I’m thrilled to share them here, so you can immediately begin leading a healthier life at your own pace — one positive choice at a time.

The primary theme of the book is “Don’t count calories — Make calories count.” In that sense, it becomes apparent that Living Lean is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

The first five chapters explain how Dolce got where he is today. From his early childhood memories of choosing a muscle magazine over a candy bar, to talking about his father’s stroke, Dolce explains his journey to becoming the top peak conditioning coach in MMA today.

As thrilling as it is for Dolce to work with the elite athletes of MMA, he explains in Chapter 6 that it’s the everyday man and women that brings him the most joy. Letters of inspiration and success have poured in since the release of 3 Weeks to Shredded, and Living Lean has continued that momentum, resulting in a tight-knit community of fans from across the world that have shared their triumphs using The Dolce Diet.

In Chapter 7, Dolce gets into the actual nutrition principles and explains what he means by “Don’t Count Calories — Make Calories Count”:

The Dolce Diet works because it is not a diet. It is a set of common-sense principles that, when applied, outlines a way of eating for longevity. The results are energy, increased vitality, overall vibrancy, and a brighter outlook and yes, when portioned correctly, weight loss.

Dolce goes on to give readers an invaluable grocery list of foods and ingredients that are critical to properly preparing the recipes in the following chapters. A meal plan is also given to the readers, along with an easy-to-follow timeline on when to eat. The recipes are coded to be used by different groups, such as athletes, or those following a gluten-free diet. The recipes can even be followed by strict vegans.

I have personally tried almost every recipe in the book, and have to say that they are among my favorite meals. I have adapted many of recipes into my daily and weekly routines, and even my children enjoy eating them.

After interviewing John Alessio before his last fight in November, I decided to order Living Lean and write not only this review, but a blog about actually following the plan for three weeks. After starting at 236 pounds, I finished the first full week at 221 pounds. I have to say that this book has changed my lifestyle, and the principles I have learned have been implemented in my daily life. The changes that I have made with Living Lean have me well on my way to living up to my full potential as an athlete in 2012, whether I am running marathons, playing basketball, or training at the gym.

This nutrition plan works — plain and simple — whether you are a competing athlete or a father that just throws a baseball around with your kids.

No nutrition plan is complete without a workout plan, and Dolce covers that in the remaining chapters. From explaining the basics of sets and reps, to full blown workout plans that his fighters use — the book is highly instructional, including photos of Dolce himself doing the exercises so that the reader can properly execute the movements.

The support and knowledge of Mike Dolce doesn’t end with the pages of Living Lean. Dolce takes his coaching to another level with his readers, by answering and encouraging all that reach out to him on his website, and in real time on Twitter. If you have read the book and have something to tell Mike, mention him on Twitter @TheDolceDiet and you WILL get a reply back!

For more information on The Dolce Diet: Living lean, visit Mike’s website, or follow him on Twitter @TheDolceDiet. Living Lean is available online at Barnes and Noble, or at

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