Working out on the road By Pat Regel After the holidays, you had a serious talk with yourself and decided to take action. So far, you've dropped ten pounds, and your personal commitment to getting back in shape is starting to pay off. But, now you have a problem. How can you exercise while you're traveling? You don't have to check into a hotel that offers gym facilities just tuck one of these books into your luggage. Each is relatively small and describes in words and pictures exercises that you can do in your hotel room without any special equipment.

Karen Bressler's compact Workout on the Go (Andrews McMeel, $10.95, 0836265319) is the smallest of the three books and even comes with a fitness band that you can use while doing the exercises. Anyone who has used a fitness band can attest to its effectiveness in toning and firming muscles. A band increases the intensity of your workout, and intensity makes the difference between a workout that yields results and one that doesn't. Not wild about exercising with elastic? Bressler also includes upper and lower body exercises that use only the furniture in your hotel room. Fitness bands have been around for some 30 years and haven't changed much. They're still perfect for travelers because they weigh practically nothing, are easy to pack, and simple to use.

A Flat Stomach ASAP by Ellington Darden explains not only how to tighten and shrink your stomach but also guarantees inch loss all over your body. Dr. Darden is a nationally renowned fitness expert with some 40 health and fitness books to his credit. His new step-by-step program details a method that helps you lose from 7 to 11 pounds of fat and 2 1/2 inches from your midsection in two weeks. His no-fad strategy is based on eating five mini-meals a day, superhydrating, and performing super-slow strength training exercises for 30 minutes a few days a week. His program is designed especially for busy people on the go who don't have access to gym equipment. The book's remarkable before-and-after pictures provide enough encouragement to keep you dedicated and pointed in the direction of your goal. If you need extra motivation to stick to an exercise/diet program, Patrick The Sarge Avon provides it. His book, Boot Camp: The Sergeant's Fitness and Nutrition Program (Simon ∧ Schuster, $12, 0684848996) gives you more than just pep talks: . . . spare me your whining and hit the deck, soldier. Get the idea? The Sarge combines military-style humor with sound instruction in his three-week fitness and nutrition program that has worked for thousands of real-life civilians. This program consists of 15 workout sessions that take 45 minutes each. As Avon states, . . . health and fitness are about progression, not maintenance. If you only do as many repetitions as you can until you start to feel the exercise, you will not progress. You must push beyond that point. Get used to it now! Good advice. The idea that fitness is a journey, not a destination, becomes crystal clear. Take a lesson: If your only goal is to fit into a smaller dress or jeans, it's a shortsighted goal that will not help you get fit. Sooner or later, anyone who stays in shape is struck by a simple truth: There will never be a time when you can stop exercising or monitoring calorie intake. These three books keep you on the road to good health that must be traveled daily no matter where you happen to be.

Pat Regel writes, gardens, and weightlifts in Nashville.

comments powered by Disqus