Video Fitness

Getting Better All the Time

I think this would be a great book for someone without any direction as far as eating and exercise is concerned. I've read lots of books on fitness and eating. I was really looking forward to this book because I like Kathy Smith and wanted to see what advice she could give me (I'm still trying to lose some bodyfat after 2 pregnancies). Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed.

The book is divided into 3 parts: setting goals, food, and exercise. I enjoyed the introduction and the section on setting goals. Although I already know alot of this stuff, it was well written and helped refresh my memory. The section on food was pretty thorough, but I'm not sure I like her eating plan. She says there are 3 ways to eat. Each plan differs on the percentage of fat, carboyhdrates, and protein. This is nice, because most books will just give you one set way to eat. She points out that different people do better on different amounts of each nutrient. She introduces menus for each eating plan. I didn't like this part. She doesn't give snack ideas, and it seems as if she expects you to just eat 3 meals a day without snacks. I tried eating one of her meals, and it was so big I couldn't finish it. I think it would have been better if she had just given guidelines on how to build menus yourself instead of giving specific menus. The next part of the food section was pretty good. She talked about "diet mentality" and how to break lose of it.

The last section was on fitness. This was the most disappointing part for me because it was the area I was looking for the most direction in. This part would be great for a beginner, but those who incorporate fitness in their lives already know this stuff. This section pushes her Lean Walk System. She gives a "periodization" schedule using her Lean Walk System (she say you can use any aerobic activity in place of walking). She never discusses Target Heart Rate, but only "perceived exertion". I personally think THR is too important not to be mentioned (I'm one of those people who has difficulty estimating my "perceived exertion"). Her strength-training section is definitely beginner, but she does show some good basic exercises which either use body weight or dumbbells. She claims only 1 to 2 set per exercise is enough, and that moving to 3 or more sets has diminishing returns. The stretching section is good and show all basic stretches for most muscles.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who is a beginner and planning to use her Lean Walk System casettes to exercise. Otherwise, I recommend checking it out from the library before purchasing it.

Chris Jackson


This is a well-done book that seems oriented towards the over-30 woman who is looking to start on a healthy eating/exercise program. The focus is on changing your attitude and working towards a healthy mind and body, rather than say, how to flatten your abs. As is typical of Kathy Smith, there are no wild promises or claims, and the advice is down to earth. The book includes sections on taking stock of your life, goal-setting, the seven keys to fitness success, nutrients and water. "optimal" eating and how to get there. It includes three food plans for three different types of eaters, along with recipes. The exercise plan focuses mostly on walking. Several pages are also devoted to demonstrations of strength training moves. I was a little irked by this part of the book, because the photos appeared identical to those used in "Kathy Smith's Fitness Makeover" except that Kathy appears to have a different hair style. I felt I had paid twice for the same information.

The book is illustrated with many photos of Kathy in different stages of her life (though not many from childhood/adolescence). I found them fascinating (what a VFer I am) but I can see how someone might be irritated by them-there's a real "look at me, I'm happy!" theme going. I especially love one cover from Shape magazine that shows Kathy with Gin Miller, Tamilee Webb, Candice Copeland and Kari Anderson. I can't say this book changed my life but it is interesting and inspirational, and has lots of good tips. Also, for those of you who may have skipped buying it in hardcover, I saw it recently at Barnes and Noble in paperback.

Stephanie Waite


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