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Fitness Tip of the Day!
Exercise Recommendations For: Healthy Adults
In 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued new exercise recommendations: all adults should engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes per day on most, if not all, days of the week.

ACSM Fitness Book, 3rd. ed.

Author: Thompson WR, Benardot D, Jonas S
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Consumer
Length: 175 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2003
List Price: $16.95

AthleteInMe.com® Rating: Good

This is the 3rd edition of American College of Sports Medicine's Fitness Book (2003). The first edition was published in 1992. This is an excellent consumer book based on solid scientific principles and recommendations. (NOTE: In 2011, ACSM published an extensively-revised version and gave it a new name: "Complete Guide to Fitness & Health." However, even though a newer version now exists, we still like the 3rd edition because it is short, succinct, and easy-to-read.)


This edition of the book was written by Walter Thompson, PhD (professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State U.), Dan Benardot, PhD, RD (associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition, Georgia State U.), and Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS (professor of preventive medicine, SUNY, Stony Book).


This book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: An Active Lifestyle
  • Chapter 2: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health
  • Chapter 3: Getting Ready to Exercise
  • Chapter 4: Assessing Your Fitness: The ACSM Fitness Test
  • Chapter 5: Beginning Exercises
  • Chapter 6: The ACSM Fitness Program
  • Chapter 7: Staying Active

The book begins with a brief overview of the health benefits of regular exercise. Chapter 2 covers issues such as proper nutrition and hydration for exercise. In doing so, the authors stress the importance of carbohydrates, and downplay focusing on either fats or protein as the primary energy substrate. The book concludes with information on selecting health equipment.

This book is intended for the consumer, however, some of the content could be challenging for some readers. In some places, the content is more complicated than it needs to be. The book has a decent index, but does not list citations to the primary literature.


ACSM's Fitness Book is loaded with charts and tables and 25 pages of full-color photographs demonstrating the proper way to perform specific exercises. Charts and tables are provided for determining existing fitness level and for specific exercise plans and for tracking progress. The charts, tables, and photos are definite strengths of this book. However, the reader has to jump back and forth in the book as they move through the assessment-planning-tracking steps. Layout and presentation could be better which would make the book more user-friendly.


This book stands to be one of the most important consumer-health books ever published. First, not only does it carry the credentials of the most significant sports medicine organization in the world (ACSM) and a foreword by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, it provides readers with the exact "recipe" for improving their health through regular exercise. The general state of health of Americans is poor. We are a society of sendentary overeaters and this explains the excessive rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a relatively new condition known as "metabolic syndrome". Exercise can not only solve, but can prevent all of these conditions.

Despite some of the minor issues pointed out above, this book is highly-recommended. Literally, every adult should read this book, and it should be included in a health-fitness class in every high school curriculum. At only $16.95, it is a small price to pay to ensure you are on the right track towards taking care of your health.


"Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 1st ed."

"Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed."

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 1/13/2018 9:39:01 AM

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