Harvey Walden’s No Excuses! Fitness Workout Review
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Thursday after work, and there on the coffee table sat the exercise book I was supposed to review. I was excited. I was pumped. I would start working out immediately…after Family Guy. I decided to start working out the following Monday, as I already had some previous engagements planned. My goals for working out have changed over the years, from trying to look good to trying to not look bad. What I had hoped to accomplish with this workout plan was to limber up before returning to karate in the new year.

This book is well laid out. The first section has some history on the author, Harvey Walden IV, a Marine drill instructor and T.V. fitness personality. This section also has some motivational stories and some ideas for how to motivate yourself. There are also some tips and tricks from the author, including keeping a journal detailing how you feel and your stats for each week.

The exercise section is rammed into the middle of the book, and that’s the right word—rammed. There are a ton of exercises in this book—enough that even I, a brown belt in karate, was surprised to find myself doing new things. The exercises are broken down into three levels. Even if you’re in decent shape already, I recommend starting at level one. These workouts are complete, and, depending on the pace you set for yourself, they can be pretty intense.

There is also a small section on weights, though it helps if you have access to them. Unfortunately, a good portion of the exercises in this section use universal systems that are really rather expensive. Perhaps a revised version might have free weight variations for those exercises.

The back portion of the book is dedicated to general health, diet, and mental conditioning. There are some recipes and other tidbits here as well. It’s important to note that the author is not a dietician (nor does he claim to be), but there are some common sense rules that can keep you from swaying too far to the unhealthy side of the road.

If you follow the instructions in this book and really watch your food intake, you’ll get yourself back into shape. There is a lot of information in this book, but the layout makes it an enjoyable read. The author isn’t trying to show off his skills with a thesaurus. He’s writing an exercise book, and he doesn’t forget that.

I have just a couple of gripes with this book. The first one is that the author asks you to record your weight at the beginning of each week to keep your progress in check. I strongly disagree with this practice. There are too many variables with your weight to accurately gauge your progress this way. There’s nothing worse for your psyche than to work your tail off for a week and find you actually gained a pound or two, which is very common. If you must weigh yourself, do it once a month. But if you’re working out, you won’t need to weigh yourself to know you feel better.

The only other problem I have with this exercise program is its impact. My joints don’t like high impact anymore, and I think it’s safe to assume that someone suffering from obesity is going to have the same problem as me. Knees, ankles, and hips already strained from years of abuse or too much weight are not designed to go from couch potato to side straddle hop and half jacks overnight. The number one reason that so many workout plans fail is because of pain. If you hurt yourself too much, you don’t do it any more. The author could have added a preconditioning section to get you ready for the changes your body is going to go through.

Apart from that, though, Harvey Walden’s No Excuses! Fitness Workout is a good read and a good workout regime. I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to start getting back in shape—but it will also appeal to conditioned athletes who are looking for some new ideas to work into their routine.

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