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Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed.

Author: Bushman B, et al.
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Consumer
Length: 436 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2017
List Price: $24.95® Rating: Good

American College of Sports Medicine's Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed. is a comprehensive resource on exercise and nutrition for consumers.

This book is designated a 2nd edition, however, it's really the 5th iteration of this work. It started out under the title ACSM Fitness Book":

  • 1992: ACSM Fitness Book, 1st ed.
  • 1998: ACSM Fitness Book, 2nd ed.
  • 2003: ACSM Fitness Book, 3rd ed.
  • 2011: ACSM Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 1st ed.
  • 2017: ACSM Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed.

In 2011, the title was changed to "ACSM Complete Guide to Fitness & Health." This marked a huge increase in length (from 175 pages to 396 pages), and the book became much more detailed and more academic in flavor. This 2nd edition of the new title continues with that detailed and academic presentation.

Recommended for: All adults, at any fitness level.


This is a multi-authored book: no fewer than 23 academics contributed to this book. All of the authors are qualified experts. The editor is Barbara Bushman, PhD, an exercise specialist and professor at Missouri State University. She received her PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Toledo. Dr. Bushman has many editorial accomplishments and is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine. She was also the editor for the 1st edition.


The 436-page book is organized as follows:

PART I: Fit, Active, and Healthy

  • Chapter 1: Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Physical Activity and Nutrition
  • Chapter 2: Embracing Physical Activity: A Complete Exercise Program
  • Chapter 3: Balancing Nutrition: Recommended Dietary Guidelines
  • Chapter 4: Promoting Healthy Habits: Getting Started and Staying Motivated

PART II: Exercise and Activity for Building a Better You

  • Chapter 5: Improving Your Aerobic Fitness
  • Chapter 6: Enhancing Your Muscular Fitness
  • Chapter 7: Increasing Your Flexibility
  • Chapter 8: Sharpening Your Functional Fitness

PART III: Fitness and Health for Every Age

  • Chapter 9: Children and Adolescents: Birth to Age 17
  • Chapter 10: Adults: Ages 18 to 64
  • Chapter 11: Older Adults: Ages 65 and Older

PART IV: Fitness and Health for Every Body

  • Chapter 12: Cardiovascular Health
  • Chapter 13: Diabetes
  • Chapter 14: Cancer
  • Chapter 15: Alzheimer's Disease
  • Chapter 16: Osteoporosis and Bone Health
  • Chapter 17: Arthritis and Joint Health
  • Chapter 18: Weight Management
  • Chapter 19: Pregnancy and Postpartum
  • Chapter 20: Depression


  • the length has increased from 396 pages to 436 pages
  • chapters on Cancer, Depression, and Alzheimer's Disease have been added
  • chapters on High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol have been folded into the Cardiovascular Health chapter
  • the price has increased from $21.95 to $24.95


Other details:

Documentation / Accuracy: Documentation is clearly one of the strengths of this book. An extensive list (25 pages) of citations to published research appears at the end.

Photos & Illustrations: This book contains tons of color images of "regular people" demonstrating proper exercise technic. These are well done.

Tables & Graphs: There are lots of tables throughout. These enhance and support the written content. There are only several graphs.

What I Liked About This Book

This book is comprehensive and based on current research. Each of the authors is highly-qualified. Readers should feel confident about the advice and recommendations.

What Could Be Better


There are 23 contributors, and almost every one of them holds a PhD. Obviously, this gives the book a very strong academic flavor. All of the chapters are "evidence-based," which means the concepts, advice, and recommendations are validated with published research.

In general, that's good...if that's what you're looking for. However, I feel this book is just too much material, and, too academic for the average weekend warrior, or, more importantly, people struggling to improve their health. This book is over 400 pages. Because of its length, and its academic presentation, "Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed." is really more like a college textbook than a consumer book.


Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 9/18/2020 10:59:39 AM

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