Bergers Book Reviews

Don’t Be a Schwoe: Fitness

Don't Be a Schwoe Fitness
Author: Barbara E. Mauzy
Illustrator: Bob Stuhmer
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4295-0
Price: $16.99

Schiffer Books
Buy it at Amazon

In the land of Par-zee-no live the Schwoes. One of these, a boy named Franklin, is overweight. His many chins sag and his tummy shakes like a bowl of Jell-o. Franklin likes to eat… and eat… and eat.

One day his parents take Franklin to the doctor, who suggests Franklin exercise more and eat less. Then he whispers something in Franklin’s ear that makes him smile. Franklin decides to follow the doctor’s suggestions, and makes significant changes in his life. Motivated by the prize the doctor promised him, he returns to normal size, fit and healthy.

Don’t Be a Schwoe: Fitness is a story about an overweight Schwoe who makes healthy changes in his life to become fit. But these changes wouldn’t happen as quickly and easily as they’re presented in this book. An overweight child would face many obstacles to losing weight that aren’t addressed. I would rather see Franklin overcome these obstacles in his weight-loss journey, instead of jumping into this new lifestyle willingly and effortlessly.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 6, 2013 Posted by | children, fitness | Leave a comment

A Girl’s Guide to Fitting in Fitness

A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness
Author: Erin Whitehead & Jennipher Walters
Publisher: Zest Books
Genre: Teen / Fitness
ISBN: 9781936976300
Pages: 128
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
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Teen girls have so much going on that it’s hard to make time for health. But to be happy and successful in all areas of life, it’s important to take care of themselves. In A Girl’s Guide to Fitting in Fitness, authors Erin Whitehead and Jennipher Walters show girls the changes they can make to be more active.

Fitness begins with healthy eating, and proper diet is presented, with an understanding that we all occasionally indulge in foods that aren’t good for us. But since teen girls are also prone to anorexia and bulimia, this book also shares the signs of an unhealthy eating obsession. Developing a fitness routine is encouraged, and sample fun workouts are included. We all know it’s harder to stick with a program when real life interferes, and tips are provided on how to succeed at school, on weekends and during the summer.

Today’s teen girls are busier than ever, so it takes some planning to fit healthy habits into their schedules. Speaking in their language, A Girl’s Guide to Fitting in Fitness is perfectly suited to their needs as they learn to take better care of themselves.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 11, 2013 Posted by | fitness, teen | Leave a comment

Wake Up!

Author: Michelle Pearl
Publisher: Imperfect Fitness
Genre: Fitness / Health
ISBN: 978-0-557-27290-7
Pages: 124
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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How many of us join a gym in the hopes of acquiring six-pack abs and losing the cellulite? We see the ads that tell us in only 30 minutes a day, we can look just like the model pictured. But is it really possible for us to have a perfect body or are we fooling ourselves?

Michelle Pearl provides a sensible look at exercise and weight loss in Wake Up! Subtitled You’re probably never going to look like that; How to be happier, healthier and imperfectly fit, this book is a realistic look at what we can achieve if we work out consistently.

Pearl knows what it’s like to be seriously obese, since she’s battled her weight since childhood. But after gaining and losing the same pounds, she developed a method that worked for her in keeping them off. Not perfectly, of course, but good enough. And she provides her insights on how you can develop your own plan.

If your goal in achieving fitness is the perfect body, don’t bother reading this book. But if you really just want to be healthy, have more energy, and look good at a reasonable size for your height, her encouraging words may be just what you need. Use diet and exercise for the right reasons, and lose the image of perfection you’ve been chasing. You’ll be much happier in the long run.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 6, 2010 Posted by | fitness, health | Leave a comment

My Gym Trainer

Author: LeAura Alderson & Jill Coleman, MS, ACSM, CPT
Publisher: MTF Publishing
Genre: Fitness
ISBN: 978-0-9821822-1-5
Pages: 80
Price: $50.00

Author’s website

Choosing and following a workout program can be confusing and overwhelming, especially to those who are new to fitness. But hiring a personal trainer can be expensive. LeAura Alderson and Jill Coleman have come up with an alternative, in their My Gym Trainer program. Consisting of three levels, these guided workouts provide several months of training programs, tailored to beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

These books are set up in a three-ring binder, with sturdy laminated pages, each providing a full workout. The binder is arranged in four week sections, with six workouts per week. Each week you’ll work out the upper body, the lower body, and the core twice, in addition to a cardio workout every day.

I received the beginner level workout program and began instituting it in my own gym. I liked the portability of the cards, since they’re meant to be removed from the binder and carried with you. But I found that the photos of the exercises were very small, and I wasn’t always sure what I was supposed to be doing. This program assumes that you’re very familiar with both your gym and the exercises themselves, and I would have liked to see a section just for explanations of the exercises.

I also found that the cardio program was much too difficult for a beginner. On day four, the treadmill intervals involved running, and I’m not sure how many beginners would want to advance much beyond a brisk walk at this stage.

If you’re not that new to fitness and you’re looking for a change of pace in your workout, or you’ve simply been away from the gym too long and want to get back, this program will help structure your program for you. But if you’re a total novice to working out, you may find it doesn’t adequately address your needs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 30, 2010 Posted by | fitness | Leave a comment

Size 2 For Life

Author: Ashley Marriott & Marc L. Paulsen, MD
Publisher: Stance Publications
Genre: Diet/Fitness
ISBN: 978-0-9821047-4-3
Pages: 211
Price: $21.99

Buy it at Amazon

As a culture that’s become obsessed with weight management, we continue to seek out new and improved methods of shedding unwanted pounds. Size 2 For Life offers a diet and exercise plan which is designed to bring women back to their “frame-adjusted size 2” figures.

At the introduction to this book, the authors address unhealthy weight loss methods and a dangerous increase in anorexic and bulimic behaviors. Yet this very title is one that leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Most women would probably be a very healthy size 6 or 8. Size 2 feels like an unattainable and dangerous goal to me.

The 21-day eating plan also disturbs me. It is made up of mostly steamed vegetables, egg whites, chicken and turkey. There is almost no fat and very few carbs. We may be a culture who eats too many of these foods, but healthy fats and carbs are a necessity in our diets. The program also assumes the reader can understand the authors’ lingo. One item on the plan is a “protein smoothie.” This item is not explained beforehand, so the reader would have no idea what would go into one.

The main focus of the exercise program is aerobic movement and muscle toning. Since there is considerable toning of the legs in dance or other aerobic activities, the authors recommend only upper body toning. Some exercises are provided, but they suggest following the circuit at your local gym. While this may be simple, it assumes that the circuit has been properly designed for a total upper body workout.

Once the size 2 figure has been achieved, a maintenance diet and exercise program is recommended. Several chain restaurant foods are analyzed for the best choices to make when dining out.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book. I felt the diet could have been explained in terms of allowable foods that one could pick and choose from, rather than a specific plan one had to follow each day. The diet is bland, and shows no imagination in creating tasty and healthy meals that won’t feel like deprivation eating. Weighing in twice every day as recommended would create unnecessary emotional stress when body fluctuations show weight shifts. The strongest feature of this book is the recommended exercise, which is a basic strength training and aerobic program.

If you’re looking for a sensible weight-loss and exercise program, I’d suggest Body For Life, which I feel is still probably the best book on the market.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 21, 2009 Posted by | fitness, health, self improvement | Leave a comment