Fitness for the future This time, it's going to be different. Think about it. One year from today, you could be 70 pounds lighter and ready for a marathon or triathlon. Whether you're a beginner who's new to weight loss and aerobic and strength training, or whether you've already made proper diet and exercise a part of your lifestyle, there's enough information in the following books to motivate and invigorate you over the next 12 months.

Joanie Greggains, author of Fit Happens (Villard, $19.95, 0375500367), focuses on the fundamentals of weight loss and physical fitness by demystifying fad diets and demonstrating that you can make time in your day for fat-burning exercises. She also gives you the latest information on 13 health foods that really aren't healthy and offers helpful suggestions for handling your food cravings. Greggains believes that losing weight and staying fit are simple processes that anyone can learn. The official Chub Club Coach's Workout Program that Judy Molnar features in her new book, You Don't Have to Be Thin to Win (Villard, $19.95, 0375504141), will move you from an unfit to a physically fit person in no time. Molnar transformed her 330-pound body, and at the end of her two-and-a-half year program, began participating in triathlons. The goal of her program is good health and fitness not thinness. She offers strategies for finding a way to exercise that's right for you and even includes a 12-week marathon training program and an eight-week sprint triathlon training program for beginners who are ready for a new challenge.

The Tae Bo Way (Bantam, $25, 0553801007) by Billy Blanks provides the dynamic blend of martial arts, dance, and boxing that has been called the most energizing workout in America. No matter what your level of physical fitness, you'll find his program exhilarating and simple to learn. Blanks's strength is that he motivates as he explains. Will is everything to him, and his message to people of all ages is inspirational. If you have his video workout programs, this book will give you even more information to assist your total body conditioning. Don't miss this one.

As aerobic and strength training become a part of your life, add Arnold Schwarzenegger's paperback The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (Fireside, $25, 0684857219) to your library. Seven-time Mr. Olympia and winner of three Mr. Universe titles, Schwarzenegger has written what is universally recognized as the definitive sourcebook for bodybuilding. You don't have to be a bodybuilder (or a man) to learn from this pro. Anyone in a simple strength-training program can benefit from this information. The book covers every facet of the sport, and methods of training are outlined to take the novice from early to advanced stages of training. You'll refer to this book often.

Fitness expert and personal trainer Brad Schoenfeld has written an excellent book for women who want to strengthen, streamline, and shape their bodies. Sculpting Her Body Perfect (Human Kinetics, $19.95, 0736001549) involves a three-step program that is based on the unique needs of women. Loaded with training tips, illustrations, special maintenance programs, and safe workout routines for pregnant women, the book is a perfect guide to sculpting a beautiful physique in ten to 25 minutes, three times a week. This is a good book for women who are just beginning a strength-training program.

Fitness, however, isn't limited by age. In Slim and Fit Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Fast-Food World, Judy Mazel and John E. Monaco tackle the serious problem of overweight children. Surprisingly, more than 30 per cent of American children are presently overweight, and one in five is considered obese. The authors discuss combining foods to maximize a child's energy and meet nutritional needs, along with kid-proof recipes and suggestions on how to talk to your child about this sensitive subject. Their 28-day exercise program (designed by a personal trainer) could set your child on the wellness path and perhaps create an interest in fitness that lasts a lifetime.

Pat Regel pumps iron in Nashville.

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