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ACSM Fitness Book

As the January New Year's Resolution exercise phase nears, it's time to take a look at some simple, solid books for those who really just need to know the basics about what to do for fitness and health. One of the best of the bunch is the ACSM Fitness Book, now in its third edition, that is done by the researchers and experts at the American College of Sports Medicine. No personal agendas or attempts to sell gadgets or videos here. Just proven advice on the basics.


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As the January New Year’s Resolution exercise phase nears, it’s time to take a look at some simple, solid books for those who really just need to know the basics about what to do for fitness and health.

One of the best of the bunch is the ACSM Fitness Book, now in its third edition, that is done by the researchers and experts at the American College of Sports Medicine with Human Kinetics. No personal agendas or attempts to sell gadgets or videos here. Just proven advice on the basics. No, this little handbook won’t demonstrate six ways to do bicep curls or the likes of medicine ball exercises. There are plenty of others that do that. Instead, it holds somebody’s hand from start to finish and remains a reference book along the path to success for an exerciser as well as for sports professionals.

Photos are friendly with real people wearing non-techie clothing and perhaps even looking a tad geeky (but don’t tell them we said that); illustrations are almost cartoonish but entertaining; and the book is full-color with larger print and lots of white space so it’s not intimidating.

You get the basics, including the definition of fitness, the primer on hydration and nutrition (no science, mind you, but easily understandable), as well as information about getting ready to workout and how to assess your current fitness level. Then you get beginner exercises using mostly chairs, wall, floor, dumbbells, balls or tubes for not only muscular conditioning but also stretching and aerobic exercise. For anyone even buying a home gym or equipment, this is a great supplement to figure out how much to do as well as get some basics on stretching.

What the book could also use is a section on fad diets or trendy exercise programs since many beginners want the magic pill. This would be a super format to debunk such programs.

No glitz, just the simple, basic facts presented in an understandable and respectable way. Oh, and another piece of fun: The forward was written by now-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, two years before he was anything more than a weight-lifter, actor and fitness advocate. In it, he calls the book, which was released in spring 2003, “a real program for real people.”

SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $17

For more information:www.humankinetics.com or 1-800-747-4457