This wide-ranging book covers far more than its title promises. Beyond the cardio/weight debate, Hutchinson covers fitness gear, physiology, flexibility, aging, injury, weight management, and the mental aspects of exercise in this question-and-answer-style offering. Hutchinson, editor at Popular Mechanics and Canadian Running and columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail, is certainly a subject matter expert and a thorough researcher, clearly explaining scientific concepts for the average reader. He doesn't promote snake-oil paths to fitness, but rather promises and provides up-to-date, research-based health and fitness news. He touches on trends like barefoot running and Wii workouts and includes fitness oddities like the risk of water intoxication. End-of-chapter cheat sheets and helpful boxes, charts, and graphics will be more immediately salient to most readers than literature-review-centric body text, which sometimes feels prohibitively citation-laden. This book will work best when occasionally dipped into or when referenced in answering a specific question; a cover-to-cover read feels dense and overlong. Still, it will also be enjoyed by cerebral athletes who want the why behind the workouts. (June)
“Authoritative and easy to use. . . . This book answers all the big questions.”
“Once in a while in the crowded fitness & health genre a book comes out that stands out from rest...[I]f there’s only one fitness book you ever buy this should be the one.”
A comprehensive "evidence based" guide on exercise, health and performance for aspiring athletes and pros alike.
Hutchinson, a journalist and physicist, offers a refreshing perspective on fitness and well-being. Instead of adding to the list of manifestos on the perfect fitness regimen, the author sets aside conventional wisdom for scientific exploration and invites readers to form their own opinions. From the outset, Hutchinson clearly states his intentions: "This is an important point: there's no single 'best' exercise program or technique that applies to everyone. You'll have to take into account your background, current level of fitness and goals in designing an appropriate workout regimen—not to mention more subtle considerations like the types of activity you enjoy. After all, the most effective program is the one you can stick with!" With that in mind, the author leads readers on a path that methodically disentangles myth from fact regarding exercise, performance and healthy living. But Hutchinson isn't only concerned with what works and what doesn't; he's interested in the why as well. The author's scientific training serves him well in referencing hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 100 interviews with researchers worldwide. However, he carefully balances the scientific data with a blend of tips and helpful diagrams. For example, readers may enjoy learning the mind-body connection and how listening to music or watching TV can affect a workout. Each chapter closes with a "cheat sheet," a clearly defined list of the key points.
Factual, informative and empowering.