book review

New Fitness Reviews - Dolph Lundgren's Fitness Autobiography & Theraband CLX Loops

Train Like An Action Hero - Be Fit Forever

Dolph Lundgren: Train Like an Action Hero - Be Fit Forever—his autobiographical training guide—is out in a brand new edition, featuring weekly training programs with photos of each exercise, menu planners, guides to equipment and gear, stories from his life, and fantastic photos from behind the scenes of Hollywood action movies.

I have always liked Dolph Lundgren, from his debut as Rocky's opponent, his dating Grace Slick, and his current projects as writer and director. He is an academic (always close to my heart), a Fulbright scholar with a Master's in Chemical Engineering, served in the military as an officer, and is an internationally renowned black belt karate champion. Now, at 60, Lundgren has revamped his book for his peers, the older generation.

"[Y]ou are the star of your own life. Play it well and enjoy the movie."

1. Briefing: The reasons you need to get fit
2. Mission: Personal training and health philosophy
3. Weaponry: How to best combine strength exercises, cardiovascular, and flexibility training
4. Special Ops: Stick to your goals even while away traveling
5. Fuel and supplies: The best foods and supplements to build your body
6. Fit forever: Stay in shape for the rest of your life!

Like Joseph Pilates, Lundgren was a sick child, with croup, asthma, and allergies. He also was bullied, and part of his fitness journey was simply being able to breathe. His father was bipolar (like my mom) and abusive. Lundgren was sent to live with his grandparents in the country, and that is probably what saved his life.

Lundgren promotes a holistic approach that includes strength training, cardio, stretching, and relaxation. He suggests meditation, breath work, and even legs up the wall! The workouts are pretty basic - a back body day (pull), front body day (push), and arm/shoulder day, and then a full body circuit workout for when you don't have time to separate parts.

Most of the exercises are gym and equipment-based, so if you want bodyweight-only exercises, this is not the book for you. My biggest issue with his approach to fitness is the classic, No Pain, No Gain mentality. He even asks readers to compare their measurements to the classic body builder Steve Reeves!

All in all, Train Like An Action Hero is worth it for the photos, the basic information, and Dolph Lundgren's stories. And the information he gives is sound and useful.

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Theraband CLX Consecutive Loop Bands

I LOVE the new Theraband CLX Consecutive Loops! My Black loop is arranged around Dolph Lundgren's book in the above photo. These bands are so useful, and are the first resistance bands I have tried that I believe really could replace weights.

Yes, you heard me, the CLX bands can actually replace weights for FASTer Way To Fat Loss or even Dolph Lundgren's workouts!

They come in 6 levels, ranging from Beginner to Elite, and are created with unique reinforced loops that give the user greater control and freedom when using the bands. The resistance levels pretty much match the standard Therabands.

But it is the loops that make the difference! The 5' band has loops built into it every few inches, and each loop can fit a hand, foot, arm, or leg. You can work many things at once! If you have a door anchor, you can literally do any resistance cable exercise. Want a longer band? They sell a 25' roll!

I used my black one for a strength training session a few days ago, and was able to do resistance squats, lunges, chest and shoulders, and all arm work, And then I was able to lay down and use it for hip and glute work. The bands are strong and it just really works!

The best part is TheraBand’s free CLX Exercise App, which guides you through a ton of different exercises, showing exactly where to place your hands and feet. With the CLX being as small and light as any resistance band, now there’s no excuse for skipping a workout! You can carry a few for different exercises.

Book Review: Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core


Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core is a complex and smartly written book for experienced Pilates teachers.

I generally dislike Pilates books, especially ones that focus on functional anatomy. While this may sound odd coming from me, let me explain.

Most functional anatomy books end up modifying Pilates exercises to the point where they are unrecognizable as Pilates, while at the same time writing off the classical Pilates exercises as dangerous. By taking that approach, the books end up being useless for Pilates teachers.

But Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core manages to promote Pilates while discussing movement and functional anatomy. Instead of changing the exercises, the authors give teachers strategies for how to address movement dysfunction from within the Pilates system via a functional understanding of how our Powerhouse works.

Anatomy expert Dr. Evan Osar and Pilates Teacher and bodyworker Marylee Bussard approach Pilates as functional exercise and approach anatomy and movement from the standpoint of biotensegrity (a concept which I cannot explain well in a short review, but check out more on biotensegrity here). The book is written for teachers who already have a good understanding of anatomy and Pilates. This is not a book to read during your teacher training or even first year of teaching.

But once you know Pilates, anatomy, and have been teaching for a while, this book is indispensable. Seriously! Fabulous discussions of motor learning, fascial connections, and breathing. Clear photos of real clients doing Pilates exercises that show breakdowns in core support and how to address them. And best of all, a whole list of cues that can help your clients connect with their bodies within the Pilates system.


Book Review: Listen...Till You Disappear


Book Review: Listen, Till You Disappear by Martin Kettelhut, PhD

Rating - 5/5 Stars

Martin Kettelhut's Listen...Till You Disappear is an extremely practical, step-by-step guide to uncovering your limiting thoughts and beliefs, reconciling your past, connecting with others, and crafting your very own awesome future.

Martin Kettelhut, PhD

Spoiler alert - I went to graduate school with Martin Kettelhut at Temple University. We were very, very close until the later 90s, when we lost touch.

Then in the way of social media, he showed up one day on my LinkedIn "People You May Know" list. Like me, Dr. Kettelhut chose a path outside of academia. To date, he is an extremely successful executive coach who has co-founded two companies. His focus today is on listening as the key to innovation. Check out his website - Listening is the Key.


Mindfulness and Listening

Dr. Kettelhut focuses on meditation, on internal listening and journaling, as a key to self-understanding and success. He draws from many traditions, including Western Philosophy, Eastern Philosophy, and Yoga to create a very simple, yet highly sophisticated approach to mindfulness and success.

Basically, you refine and deepen your internal listening, which helps refine and deepen your external listening, which helps refine and deepen your communication skills. This then leads to more clarity around what you really want and how to get it.

Getting through the noise in our heads and in the world, getting past our own internal voices and the competing advice we get from outside, is not so easy. Dr. Kettelhut doesn't pretend that it is, which is refreshing. But he does promise that if we are willing to put in some effort, we will have a better life.

Listen Exercises

Listen...Till You Disappear is a practical guide. In the course of the book there are 32 exercises that are aptly named, "Listen Exercises". They start simply, with basic mindfulness meditation,

Simply notice all of the thought and feelings moving around inside of you. ...Stay in the mode of observing these thoughts and sensations, rather than becoming involved with them, until you witness them subsiding and are left in deep peace with yourself.

There are very practical exercises, like de-cluttering your calendar, and more complex exercises that involve recognizing and releasing expectations and finding allies among friends.

Every exercise is journaled. Towards the end of the book, you refine prior answers based on new information and continue to refine your beliefs, expectations, and agreements.

The Techné of Listening - Do the Work

Basically, this is a workbook. Listen...Till You Disappear is about the techné of listening, the work. You can read the book without doing the work, but that would be silly and short-sighted.

Finally, we have a guide to meditation that speaks to the Western analytical mind. Martin Kettelhut pulls together many meditative traditions along with some contemporary neuroscience and personal stories from his own life and his clients' lives, to prove that this works.

Even if you only do a third of these exercises, you will benefit. But I say, trust Dr. Kettelhut's knowledge and experience. And trust me.

Do this work and your life will transform for the better!

"Listen...Till You Disappear" By Dr. Martin Kettelhut ISBN: 9781483422565 Paperback: $25.00 Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu

Review: Healthy Joints for Life by Richard Diana, M.D.


Review: Healthy Joints for Life by Richard Diana, M.D.

Highly Recommended 4/5 stars

Inflammation is a word that seems to be on everyone's tongue lately, responsible for everything from tendonitis and back pain to rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), like naproxyn and ibuprofen, have become the painkillers of choice for many Americans. Unfortunately, these medications also have side effects that make them a problem for some people.

In Healthy Joints for Life, Dr. Richard Diana makes the case for a lifestyle change to support healthy joints, including a change in diet, the addition of supplements, and a regular, joint-friendly exercise program. Dr. Diana is a clinical instructor at Yale School of Medicine, a private medical practitioner, and a former professional football player for the Miami Dolphins who played in Super Bowl XVII.

Between watching helplessly as his mother's life was severely compromised by rheumatoid arthritis and seeing the effects of football on his fellow players and himself, Dr. Diana felt a need to alleviate joint pain in his medical practice.

Dr. Diana begins by outlining the causes of joint pain and degradation, including the main cause of inflammation, and then lays out an easy to follow, eight week program in Healthy Joints for Life, offering scientific backing for every suggestion he makes.

What he offers will not be new for many people. What is different here is how clear and simple his program is to understand and follow.


Book Review: Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal


Learn the best foods to eat to support good health with any condition, as well as the foods to avoid, in this new book from Reader's Digest.

5/5 Stars

When I agreed to review Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, I was not prepared for the size of this food and health tome. At close to 400 pages with lots of color photos, sidebars, and descriptions, this is bigger than many phone books.

Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal is divided into two sections, one focusing on foods and the other one ailments. Each is organized alphabetically, which makes it easy to navigate. Plus there is a long index in the back.

With each food you will find guidelines for food preparation and storage. You will also find information on GMOs (genetically modified foods), BPA and other additives (good and bad), mercury, and pesticides. And in case you forgot what vitamins do what, there is a breakdown of vitamins and minerals and an example of an "ideal diet".

Even foods we tend to think of as always good for everybody, like bran, are bad for some. While bran is great for diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids; it is bad for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and impedes mineral absorption.

Any food that someone can be allergic to is clearly labeled. While we are used to hearing about peanuts and dairy, I didn't realize that pears and jicama are also common allergans.

While food may not completely heal you of all ills, nutritional support is always helpful. For example, did you know that mushrooms and soy sauce are bad for folks with asthma? Or that women with fibroids should cut their beer consumption and eat more greens?

I gave this book to my health coach, Keren Hawkins, and she LOVES it! An easy tool to help her clients (like me) figure out what to eat and why.

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal, Revised and Updated: The Best and Worst Choices to Treat your Ailments Naturally

Love this book!