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Publisher's Summary

Gina Kolata, science reporter to The New York Times, takes a fascinating journey into the fads, fictions and genuine innovations that have defined the world of physical fitness.

By examining fads through the decades, from weight lifting for men and women in the early days, to jogging, cycling, aerobics, and now spinning, Kolata explains the science of conditioning and the objective evidence behind commonly accepted prescriptions. Among the questions she addresses are:

  • What is the best way to exercise for maximum effect?
  • Is there really a "fat-burning zone"?
  • Why is that some people won't become fit in spite of exercise?
  • Are there foods, drinks or supplements that can help you exercise longer or harder?

    Kolata profiles researchers who successfully challenged conventional wisdom and marketed their inventions, and some who resisted initial criticism only to back down from their claims. With lively sketches of many of the mavericks who have influenced the industry, Kolata presents an eye-opening view of the inside workings of a multimillion-dollar business.

    Lively and engaging, Ultimate Fitness spotlights the machines and machinations and cuts through the marketing hype, not only to assess what is healthy, but also to understand what our obsession with staying healthy says about American culture today.

  • ©2003 Gina Kolata; (P)2003 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrick Publishers, LLC.

    Critic Reviews

    "Kolata brings both personal enthusiasm and journalistic skepticism to her subject." (Publishers Weekly)
    "Kolata challenges many prevailing fitness assumptions." (The New York Times Book Review)

    What members say

    Average Customer Ratings

    Overall

    • 3.1 out of 5.0
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    Performance

    • 3.6 out of 5.0
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    Story

    • 3.6 out of 5.0
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    Sort by:
    • Overall
    • Hilary
    • Los Angeles, CA, USA
    • 04-22-03

    Really Bad

    I thought I would get something more than the narcissistic ramblings of the author. I kept hoping it would get better, but with a good hour spent on her and her husband's spinning class, it was truly a waste of time. Trust me, the time listening to this book would be better spent working out.

    36 of 38 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Kelly
    • San Francisco, CA, USA
    • 05-27-03

    waste of time

    I too was hoping for some substance. I couldn't believe how boring and trivial most of this book was - a love letter to the author's current obsession (spinning), with very little of the serious analysis and insight I was hoping for. There are a few gems - a few cites studies - buried in this book, but they are not discussed with the scientific rigor I would expect from a science writer.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Could have been good

    The book is 1/4 to 1/3 about deconstructing commonly held beliefs about fitness and exercise (the valuable part) and the balance is devoted to weaving an autobiographical narrative about her love of intense exercise. Although the narrative makes it more readable, I didn't buy it to learn all about her individual exercise passions and habits--I wanted to know about what's true and false about fitness. Too bad she didn't stay on point.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    great!

    Fitness buffs will appreciate this book. Kolata uncovers the scientific research (or lack thereof) behind such fitness standards as interval training, max heart rate = your age - 220, and certified physical trainers. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a hard copy so I can find out what I missed from this abridged audio version. The reader for this book is excellent too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    What a waste

    Little more than a few, very thin NY Times articles linked together by tedious descriptions of the author's spinning classes. Frankly, it's hard for me to believe that any publisher would have gone through the trouble to publish this book. If you have almost no knowledge of even the basics of exercise, then you might find this book useful. Otherwise, it's not worth the time or money.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    this is okay if you have no prior physical exercis

    the reading of this book was quite poor, I found myself getting bored with how she was speaking.
    This Book might have been beneficial between high-school and College comma however quite a poor read after having any college education. I do not recommend this book to the majority of the individuals that I know. it might be ok for a high schooler to read. I would have read this book if you have any experience with exercise comma education in exercise physiology comma or really if you played any sports in high school.

    • Overall
    • Shari
    • whittier, CA, United States
    • 07-20-10

    Pretty casual, but informative

    This is more like listening to an exercise fanatic discuss her regime than a scientific expose. As a fellow fanatic, her questions made sense as did her search for perfect workouts. I really enjoyed the listen, but can understand where some might be disappointed.