Interview with David Penney

Published 2017-11-10.
When did you first start writing?
I suppose I first starting writing regularly for the purpose of publishing when I started my PhD back in 1994, though I had my first published contribution back in 1986. Since then, I have been constantly writing research papers and books ... I enjoy it and don't see an end to it!
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is based on my own remarkable success at losing weight and getting strong and fit. In my late 40s I was very badly out of shape and obese. One day I just decided to join the gym where I took my daughter boxing and I found that I really enjoyed it. I had no idea what I was doing so had to learn everything as I went along. I soon realized that there was a massive amount of conflicting information about the best approaches to fat loss and strength gain, but as a scientist I was able to critically assess the information and tease out what was likely to work and tweak it where necessary to fit my needs. I am now fitter and stronger than ever in my life to the point that I am now a competitive powerlifter. Weight loss and strength development is actually a very simple process, but most people get distracted by the constant stream of new fad diets and celebrity work-out routines, which are geared more at making a fast buck than generating any sustainable success. My latest book cuts through all this nonsense and explains, in simple terms, what you need to know and do in order to make rapid success towards your weight loss goals.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Positive feedback from my readers, especially when it relates to how much progress they have made and how much better they feel.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The idea of going to the gym in order to make myself fitter and stronger than I was the day before. My kids also inspire me daily and I love spending time with them.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In the gym or with my family ... sometimes both at the same time! Kids grow up so quickly these days, so I try and spend as much quality time with them as I can. I really enjoy watching my eldest daughter play in her football team.
Describe your desk
I tidy it up after the end of each project. It gets progressively messier as each subsequent project develops.
How does your new weight loss book differ from all the rest?
First, I have been through the process first hand, so fully understand the mindset required at the outset and how this should develop over time in order to make sustained progress. Second, as a scientist and biologist, I did a great deal of background reading and research as I progressed and there are some great books out there (reference to these are made throughout my book). However, most are written by fitness coaches (who have not themselves been in the position of being totally out of shape). Most overweight people have a fixed mindset with regard to what they believe they can realistically achieve. My book promotes the ideas of hope and possibility rather than focusing too much on the end result when you are starting out. This serves to transform a fixed mindset into a more progressive one, and once that has been achieved anything is possible. Furthermore, many existing books contain too much superfluous information with regard to physiological processes, anatomy, biomechanics, etc., which will confound readers without a reasonable background in science and may lead them to put the book down before they have got to the really useful stuff. Of course, such information is absolutely necessary if you want to understand exactly why what you are doing works, but knowing this theory it is not a prerequisite to actually doing what works – that can easily be added later if the reader feels so inclined. Hence, what is presented in my book is basically a manual that has been stripped down in order to streamline its efficiency for the task at hand: weight loss and strength development. Finally, none of the existing books provide a complete and holistic approach as presented here, incorporating mindset, nutrition, training and rest, pitted at a level that will be easily understood by a general readership. The aim is for it to be read in just a day or two (and subsequently to serve as a reference guide) in order to promote the holistic concept and encourage rapid engagement with the process.
What feedback have you had?
Lots and I'm very happy with the feedback to date, including from some folks who I respect very highly. Some people have commented on how the holistic approach has put everything they need to know in a ready and easily accessible form that has given them the inspiration to get started on their weight loss journey. Others, who are already training have commented on specific chapters that have helped them to focus their mindset more and prioritize their goals, manage their nutrition better, or even significantly increase their max lifts in just a matter of six weeks. My book was also recently covered in the news:
What are your future goals?
Once you start a body physique transformation and become successful with it you soon come to realize that it is the most important and inspiring project you will ever work on. There is a great feeling about being self-empowered to the extent that you can sculpt your body however you like through a little trial and error. My current bodyweight is around 85kg, with about 10% body fat (estimate). As I am 50-years-old next year, I am eligible to compete as a Masters 2 powerlifter, but I want to do so in the under 83kg weight group, so I need to work on shifting a little more body weight whilst still increasing my strength levels. I also want to be able to do 50 chin ups by the time of my 50th birthday.
Can readers get an idea of the content before they commit to buy it?
Yes, of course, I have made the entire preface and Chapter 1 (50 pages) available for free on my website. Just click on the button as indicated and in return for a social media share you will be directed to the free download. This should let readers know if the book is right for them. Here is the link:
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Books by This Author

Escape the Fat Trap: It's Not Rocket Science!
Price: $8.00 USD. Words: 42,490. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Exercise, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Dieting
(5.00 from 1 review)
This book provides all the information needed to set anybody on the road to achieving a great physique in a relatively short period of time. It is not complicated because it does not need to be. As the title states, ‘it isn’t rocket science!’ There are four main elements that combine to make the program effective: Mindset, Nutrition, Progressive Strength Training and Rest.