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GIFT GUIDE: BOOKS

Packed with action

December 17, 2007|Jeannine Stein

Finding gifts for the exercise-minded people on your list can be tricky. A new workout outfit? Too tough to guess the size. A home gym? Too lavish. A better idea is to choose from this list of fitness books, sure to jump start or energize anyone's workout plan.

-- Jeannine Stein

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Harvey Walden's No Excuses! Fitness Workout

By Harvey Walden IV

307 pages, $26.95

Fans of VH-1's "Celebrity Fit Club" are familiar with resident trainer Harvey Walden IV, the ex-Marine with a tough-guy exterior wrapped around a soft, gooey center. Able to motivate the laziest celebs to work out, and to hand a smack-down to anyone who dares comes up with lame excuses, he is now available to the masses via this new book.

Most of Walden's exercises use body weight for resistance, making them doable by almost anyone. Starting with a warmup and stretch, the program progresses to cardio and strength moves. Don't miss the Q&A section in the back, where Walden really shines. To a 36-year-old man who says he has little time to exercise away the 20 pounds he's gained, Walden replies, "I could come around there and whup your . . . . People always come up with this trash."

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7 Minutes of Magic

By Lee Holden

197 pages, $24.95

In "7 Minutes of Magic," author Lee Holden, founder of Pacific Healing Arts, a wellness center in Los Gatos, devises a series of non-impact exercises that borrow from his years-long practice of yoga, tai chi, qi gong and meditation. The prescribed seven minutes of stretches and exercises can be easily worked into the day.

The morning routine includes core-strengthening moves, then targets the upper body with yoga standbys such as cobra and mountain poses. Full-body movements stretch the body's major muscles, especially good for those who sit all day. The de-stressing nighttime routine emphasizes stretching and breathing.

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The About.com Guide to Getting In Shape

By Paige Waehner

277 pages, $17.95

Need a guide to the often-confusing fitness realm? This is it. Author Paige Waehner, a personal trainer and writer, provides copious information for the novice and beyond.

The book begins with ways to set goals and how to suit up in proper gear. A chapter on cardio workouts includes how to do them, why to do them and handy charts for interval training. The strength-training chapter contains individual exercises that, although accompanied by a single illustration, are easy to follow. The guide even offers up recommendations on how to avoid exercise ruts.

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Run Your First Marathon

By Grete Waitz and Gloria Averbuch

168 pages, $17.95

Who better than Grete Waitz, renowned marathoner and nine-time winner of the New York City marathon, to take a runner through that first 26.2-mile race? Waitz's conversational style makes this book less like a dry manual and more like having a friend tell you what to expect. She provides a few charts, such as a beginning training program that starts with a 22-minute combination of walking and jogging and progresses to 50 minutes of jogging by week 12.

More valuable are her tips on how to maneuver race day, maintaining proper running form, breathing, training for long runs, staying motivated, eating well, choosing shoes and preventing and dealing with injuries. The book is peppered with anecdotes from Waitz and other runners in which they share the thrill of victory and the agony of well, you know.

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Men's Health Power Training

By Robert dos Remedios

333 pages, $19.95

One warning: Only those serious about starting or improving their training programs need crack open this tome, written by the director of speed, strength and conditioning at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

Dos Remedios begins with a rundown of the training program and a list of training tips, then explains the specific exercises, each with photos and detailed instructions. Workouts are divided into explosive exercises, knee-dominant exercises, hip-dominant exercises, vertical and horizontal push exercises, and all the core workouts a person could want. The book is rounded out with some nutritional information, cardio strength exercises and detailed week-by-week training programs. Although some exercises require minimal equipment, such as dumbbells, more serious equipment is necessary to achieve good results.

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