It isn’t often we do book reviews at FitTechnica, but I was recently sent a couple of books in the Dummies series that cover fitness topics. This is the more general of the two. Fitness for Dummies sounds like a very generic type of book, so what does it actually cover?
Well, the base is broad. The book is divided into seven sections:
- Getting your butt off the couch
- Going cardio
- Building muscle and strengthening bone
- Limbering up with flexibility, balance and mind-body exercise
- Getting fit in health clubs and home gyms
- Exercising for all ages and stages
- The part of tens
There are two things you’ll spot immediately from that contents list. One: that this is clearly a Dummies book is given away by the final section, a couple of chapters which are effectively ten point lists which are a Dummies standard feature. Two: that this is an American book – we’d never say ‘butt’ would we?
The American focused content both matters and doesn’t matter. A lot of the information works just as well wherever you happen to be. I imagine that the number of calories burned in one hour of golf, running, swimming or tennis don’t change depending on where you are in the world. On the other hand there’s what could be a really useful few pages on how to evaluate reports on various fitness information sources by finding trusted sources and learning how to avoid hype. Unfortunately for anyone outside the US, the list of reliable sources is US based.
All that noted, there’s an awful lot of content here that could be very useful. The book covers a very broad scope from introducing common injuries to how to work out a cardio based programme, from describing the various muscles in the body to giving advice on how to tone them. There’s a chapter on yoga, one on pilates, plenty of information on using gyms and setting your own gym up at home.
The sections on gyms cover the bases of deciding whether or not to use one, and the different kinds of equipment you’ll find and what this equipment can do for you. There’s also useful advice on buying smaller equipment like dumbells or barbells but here while the advice is all sound and universally applicable it’s worth noting that the companies mentioned are US based and the pricing in dollars.
Importantly, Fitness for Dummies offers more than just blather. There are real exercises for toning and strengthening, for pilates and yoga. There are photos that help show what you should be doing in each. You could use this book to set yourself up with a nice little set of workouts to do at home to help you reach a set of goals you set yourself.
If you’ve never done much more than run for a bus, if you have no idea where to start and think the whole fitness thing is far too complex to get into, then it might be worth reading Fitness for Dummies to get an overview of what you could do, think about what you might like to do and then just get on with something.
- Covers a lot of ground
- Has real exercises you can use
- Lots of good advice
- Great for the absolute beginner
- Pricing, suppliers and some other material US focused