Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

There really is nothing quite like the great outdoors.

Tina Vindum’s Outdoor Fitness

Tina Vindum and her camp sent this to me and I’m really grateful for it. Though, I will admit right now, it took me a year to find time to read this *EEK*. With the career change and a bunch of other life changes, everything got put on the back burner.

But I’m back to reading! YAY!

This book is all about getting into shape—mentally and physically—using the gym nature provides.

What I Liked: Tina explains how liberating it can be to work out outside and how beneficial it is to your mind, emotions, and physical health. She mentions how her body completely changed thanks to working outdoors, and I don’t doubt that! She’s a former Alpine skier and competitive mountain biker, so she knows how to listen to her body and understand what really works best. She gives ideas for how and where to find places to exercise, how to be safe, what to expect, what to eat, as well as workout plans for single site, multisite, and traveling sites. I also liked the last part—“Going Inside Your Body”—where Tina explains how to take care of your body by taking measurements and eating intuitively.

What I Didn’t Like: She spent two chapters about how to connect mentally to the outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting stuff, however, I would rather she have talked about things to focus on outside as opposed to describing a bunch of them. Everything she talked about was beneficial and there are fascinating facts behind it, but I just thought it got a bit wordy.

My Concluding Thoughts: If you’re dropping your gym membership, but not sure where to go now or what’s possible in the wide world of outdoor fitness, then this book would be a smart investment because of the workout moves and ideas in the last two parts. It gives you a wide variety of ideas of what you can do and where you can do it and with what props you can use. I love how she explains how to use nature’s tools to work out—trees, stumps, rocks, logs, and hills—but she also explains  how to use an urban city’s tools to your advantage, too—parking meters, curbs, stairs, and walls. If you’re happily in a relationship with your gym, there’s no huge need to grab this book. It’s definitely a fun way to spice up your exercise routine, so you should definitely look into her approach either way. Another idea is if you have a personal trainer, mention this book to him or her and request an outdoor session to try things out!

Yep, working out can suck. But you have to get over that because of how dang good for you it is!

WORKING OUT SUCKS! (AND WHY IT DOESN’T HAVE TO) By Chuck Runyon, CEO and cofounder of Anytime Fitness, Brian Zehetner, and Rebecca DeRossett

I’ve never wanted to dog-ear so many pages in a book before. This is the ultimate Devil’s-Advocate, bust-all-excuses book. (And it has an awesome blog to go along with it.)

Coming in at 261 pages of reading material, with a 21-day fitness and nutrition outline in the back, WORKING OUT SUCKS! is broken into four sections. The first is titled “Part 1: Working Out Sucks, But…” and is written by Chuck Runyon. This is the excuse-busting section. The second is “ “Part 2: Changing Behavior Sucks, Too, But…” and is written by Rebecca DeRossett, who is a MSW and LICSW (which are acronyms for a professional in social work). This is all about the social, emotional parts of health and fitness. The third section is “Part 3: Nutrition Sucks, Too, But…” and is written by Brian Zehetner, who has an MS, RD, and CSCS (which basically means that he has a masters in science, is a nutritionist, registered dietician, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist), and is all about the food side of health. The fourth and final section is “Part 4: Fitness Sucks, Too, But…” and is again written by Brian Zehetner. This is a special section devoted to why moving is so important and then a comprehensive, non-depriving diet plan as well as a simple, effective workout plan to get you through the first 21 days.

What I liked: The chapter lengths—they’re only 1-4 pages long! The sections—I love multiple points of view. The facts—this is crazy-packed with true, hard-hitting facts and statistics. The summary paragraphs—don’t have time to read 2 pages? Read just the last paragraph of each chapter and swallow the hard true. The meal and fitness plan—it’s all about variety, real foods, and no crazy-low calorie restrictions (they’re all 1500-2000 calorie plans!).

What I didn’t like: Honestly, I can’t think of anything outright that I did not like.

My concluding thoughts: I know I work for an Anytime Fitness, but this book needs to be read by all. Seriously. Do you feel a little unmotivated? Buy this book. Do you feel like you’re throwing out excuses left and right? Read this book. Are you fascinated by health, fitness, and the current obesity epidemic? Read WORKING OUT SUCKS! Are you a fitness professional? Buy this book and read it once for yourself, and then continuously for your clients and your business. I read it in about 3 days—and that was just with the little bit I had before I went to bed every night. Oh yeah, and all of the proceeds go to Limbs for Life.

So…. Buy the book. Be friends with Anytime Fitness on Facebook. And read my blog posts on Anytime Health.

The very ripped, very likeable Jackie Warner.

I’ve been a fan of Jackie’s since I saw her Bravo show Work Out because I thought was just as good of a trainer as Jillian Michaels, she just didn’t—and still really doesn’t—get the attention. Not to mention her Timesaver and Abs DVDs are WOW-AWESOME. However, the book made me frown a bit.

Ten pounds in 10 days is a super-lofty claim, so of course, I had to check this out. Jackie’s crew sent this to me and thus I began my journey into Jackie’s world of how I can “be thinner by next week!” In her 320-page book, which honestly could have been cut by about 30-40 pages if she didn’t repeat the same workout-move pictures every single time, she gives you three 10-day plans for dropping pounds and maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Let me first clearly state two things I quickly noticed about this book: 1) The first 10 days is NOT maintainable and in all honesty, not very healthy; 2) This is a book for people who are transitioning from no to light exercise to moderately intense exercise, not for everyday gym attendees.

Now, the book describes why Jackie’s 10 X 10 system works; what the difference is between fats, carbs, proteins, sugars, etc.; what and how your metabolism works and how you can “reset” it; different kinds of cardio workouts and plateau busters; all of the exercises, including five warm-up exercises, four exercises each of chest, back, legs, biceps, triceps, and shoulders, six ab exercises, and five cool-down stretches; the different superfoods and why they are good for you; shopping lists; Phase I, II, and Maintenance workout plans; and 10 tips for long-term success.

Instead of going into crazy descriptions about everything, I’ll break it down like this….

What I liked: The explanations on what superfoods are and why each food is special; the shopping list at the end; her 10 tips for long-term success. My favs—“It’s not how long; it’s how strong. Shorten your cardio and always apply HIIT.” And “Muscle is the quickest way to a healthy body. It helps speed up metabolism so that you can burn calories while resting.” And, of course, “Don’t overthink it. Just do it.”

What I didn’t like: There is no deviation from the workout moves in 30 days; There are no combination moves (a lower body move paired with an upper body move); There is no variety in the meal plans during each 10-day phase; Jackie talks a lot about her supplements, which I know is a business move, but honestly, a fat-burning water mix-in is not healthy, long-term tested, or going to make you instantly slim.

What scared me: Phase 1 requires you to eat only 950-calories a day!!! That’s ridiculous. Really!? Less than 1000 calories a day!? That is not healthy. Sure, for a day or two it may be, but for 10 days…. I worry that your body would start to go into starvation mode and hold onto some of its weight, or that your metabolism would get a little freaky. Granted, I have not researched this and Jackie apparently has, but in all sincerity—and I think you all know this—that is not a sustainable diet plan, nor is it realistic. She goes up to 1200 calories during Phase II and 1500 calories for the Maintenance Phase, which is definitely more realistic.

In conclusion: Basically, the reason people lose 10 pounds in 10 days is because they go from barely exercising to do higher-intensity-than-they’re-used-to cardio with weight lifting and pairing that with a very healthy, clean diet, which includes crazy calorie restrictions. That’s why it “works.”

My concluding thoughts: You’re better off to try Jackie’s workout suggestions a few days a week, but mix it up with workout classes, longer bouts of steady and interval cardio, more short bouts of physical activity during the day (pushups and sit-ups in the morning, a walk at lunch, the gym after work, and an after-dinner walk or bike ride), and a blend of the 1200- and 1500-calorie diet plans from the start. This is will ensure that you won’t get bored, you’re teaching yourself to eat a lower number of calories from the beginning, but nothing crazy, as well as how to stay active more often during the day and week.

Buy it?: If you’re really new to all of this workout and diet plan stuff, this is a good REFERENCE. It explains enough to educate you, though not too much to bore you; it has good meal and calorie comparison ideas; it gives you workout tips, tricks, exercises, and plans; and there are extra tips in the back to keep pushing you through rough patches. If you already go to the gym, eat pretty healthy, but are looking to lose a few pounds, this book IS NOT for you. Sorry. There’s no magic pill, just cleaner eating, working out a little longer and harder, and being conscious of the little things that add up, good and bad.