Turn The Page

Hello.  My name is Jen and I am addicted to fitness magazines.  Specifically, women’s fitness magazines.  Shape, Fitness, Women’s Health, Runner’s World (I know, guys can read this one too, but at my house, it’s pretty much my very own porn), Self, Oxygen…I love the newness of the workouts, the athletic models with smiling faces (as opposed to those morose and angry models I find languishing about in my fashion mags), and the fresh recipes to be tried.  It’s glossy motivation delivered right to my mailbox.  But magazines aren’t the only reading materials that get my legs twitchin’ and my feet jumpin’.  I love books, too! 

That’s right – books.  On those much-needed rest days, I like to curl up with a new novel, but I also like to snack on lifestyle books.  Not diet books (anything that pronounces I won’t need to exercise is automatically banished from my bedside table, as is any title that guarantees FLAT ABS FAST!).  I like to dive into the beefed up versions of my magazines, chapters filled with menu plans and intense workouts.  Here’s a list of my favorites…

1.  Push by Chalene Johnson…A 30-day plan to get your butt in gear on every level, it also offers fitness direction and Chalene’s “throw-and-go meals” for those of us too busy (or too disinclined) to spend much time in the kitchen.  She’s just as motivational on paper as she is on DVD.  I actually found it difficult to limit myself to one chapter each day because I was so pumped to set and accomplish goals.  There’s a good reason she made it the NY Times Bestseller list.  Seriously…make it your next goal to get this book.

2.  Making The Cut by Jillian Michaels…Another 30-day plan to get your posterior goin’, but this one soley focused on the physical side of doing so.  Hubby and I started our combined fitness journey with this book back before I found myself in a delicate state (read: ballooning into a blubbering ball of hormones that ransacked not only the kitchen but the kids’ party bags in search of KitKats).  The one caveat: you need a gym, either fully stocked with equipment at home or fully stocked with lines for equipment in public.  I still refer to this book on a pretty regular basis because the recipes are insanely delicious.  Even the older beasts enjoy them.

3.  Body Confidence by Mark MacDonald…Here we find a lifelong plan of eating and exercising according to your individual metabolic type.  I, like many women my age, have a slight obsession with Chelsea Handler, and this book was recommended on her show because she has used MacDonald as her very own nutritionist.  Basically, you learn how to load your plate no matter where you are, be it your humble abode or your local watering hole.  Also, he too offers recipes!  I love recipe sections despite hating to cook.  I figure as long as I have directions, I can accomplish what I need to accomplish.  And it’s true…most of the time…

4.  Marathon: You Can Do It! by Jeff Galloway…He is the omnipotent power runners turn to in times of doubt.  Galloway offers easy-to-follow advice on distance running, avoiding/treating injuries, and (of course!) nutrition leading up to and following the Big Race Day.  I am currently reading this book, but it is the second training plan I’ve used from the Great Galloway (as he shall henceforth be known within the confines of this blog) and I gotta say, I really dig the guy’s style.  Straightforward and so simple even a Queen could do it.  If you are contemplating adding some serious mileage, get this book FIRST and then register for a race based upon the program.  My only regret is that I didn’t find this book five months ago.  (My only regret concerning this book…There are a few fashion choices made in the late 90’s I’m not so proud of.)

So the next time it’s raining and you want to slow it down and enjoy a nice little cuppa green tea, might I suggest flexing your brain muscles with one of the founts of knowledge listed above?  More information makes you a stronger athlete.  (Hey, if you’re training for anything, consider yourself an athlete.)  Those PSA’s from my youth were spot on: Knowledge is power.  It is also the key to your fitness success.  I have learned from experience that jumping too far without checking the ground below only leads to a face in the dirt (or, more literally, intense soreness and near-injury that can risk all of that hard work not meaning anything).  So, see?  Jocks and nerds really can get along!


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