💪Books & Biceps - Issue 177

Your Brain & Body Flex

Every Friday I write an email recommending books & workouts including regular exclusive interviews with your favorite authors. Get smarter & stronger for free.


Glory Days: The Summer of 1984 and the 90 Days That Changed Sports and Culture Forever by L. Jon Wertheim

You didn’t realize that the summer of 2021 would turn into the battle of books celebrating the greatest years in sports, but here we are. First, my book for the entire 90s generation of sports and pop culture fans came out (1996: A Biography - hey, it’s my newsletter, I can drop a plug here) and now longtime Sports Illustrated writer/editor Jon Wertheim released Glory Days this week for the 80s version…and I love it.

I’ve been a fan of Wertheim’s work for a long time and I’m going to hopefully set up a fun collaboration with our books soon, but in the meantime, I’m happily recommending Glory Days because ‘84 and ‘96 complement each other so well. Both books feature Jordan, Magic & Gretzky… but in ‘84 Jordan didn’t yet have the titles to go along with the talent, Magic was in his prime (rather than coming back from his HIV hoops hiatus) and Gretzky was the center of the hockey universe, albeit not in New York City as in ‘96.

And while the two books juxtapose the different stages of the careers of these icons (and a few others) nicely, we also have plenty of parallels between the 80s and 90s generation.

We have Mary Lou Retton in ‘84 and the Magnificent Seven in ‘96. We have the Karate Kid in ‘84 and Happy Gilmore in ‘96. We had Game hats and No Fear shirts in ‘96 and in ‘84 they had, as Wertheim writes in a section, “acid-washed jeans and Lacoste shirts (collars upturned) and black rubber bracelets…”

This part in particular made me smile because one of the things I really tried to do with my book was “take readers back to ‘96” and that was clearly Wertheim’s goal with ‘84 as well. Nostalgia is one of the strongest drugs around and Glory Days is a powerful hit for anyone who wants to relive the heart of the 80s sports and pop culture world - or experience it for the first time. Grab Glory Days here.


Back when I was on staff at Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness we’d joke every spring about how we were going to recycle last year’s big summer abs workout with new names and a new theme…because at the end of the day, having a legit six pack is 70% diet, 25% compound full body movements that activate the core and maybe (MAYBE) 5% actual ab work.

I’ve been trying to get back in the pool more regularly and I’ve noticed for my kicking, especially in the butterfly, I need to strengthen my abs, so I’ve started doing this tried and true routine a few times a week on cardio days. Can’t promise a washboard stomach, but if you do it right, it’ll hurt when you laugh for a bit:

25 full sit-ups with a weighted medicine ball

25 speed crunches

50 bicycle crunches

25 leg lifts on a bench, weighted

10 dragon flags slow (this is what they are)

1 minute plank

1 round beginner, 2 intermediate, 3 Finkel (Ha!)


“Everybody pities the weak; jealousy you have to earn.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger


  • As the resident Sly Stallone expert at Muscle & Fitness, when it came time to compile a list of the seven times he dominated Instagram, well, it was my responsibility. From golfing with LT, lifting with Drago on the set of Rocky IV and life-sized Rambo statues, you’ll want to check out this piece.

  • I posted a Little League photo of mine on Twitter and my wonderful followers were quick to point out how much I looked like Squints from The Sandlot back then and I honestly can’t argue at all. Here’s a side-by-side comparison.

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