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Customer Review

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good fitness manual but with some remarks....., 15 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Official British Army Fitness Guide (Paperback)
First I would like to say that I have been a fitness enthousiast for more than 20 years so I have some experience.

Keeping my personal fitness experiences in mind I have the following remarks about this otherwise very good book:

First my positive remarks:
1. this book will tell you how to get fit in a balanced way, that is aerobic endurance, strength and flexibility are all developed. (the fashionable word these days is crossfit)
2. no need for using a gym to develop your strength, all strength exercises are calisthenics, i.e. bodyweight only exercises, you can do them in your living room.
3. equipment wise all you need is a pair of running shoes
4. this book will tell you how to get fit in a detailed, day by day, overview. There are three levels, each level has a duration of 12 weeks, you will train 4 days per week.
5. Depending on your existing level of fitness you can step in at every level you wish , I started out at the beginning of level two, I was reasonably fit: I could jog for 10 minutes and do 35 push-ups and 60 sit-ups.
These are the three elements the British army uses for testing fitness ( and the United States army as well by the way).
When using the manual you will progress every week, this is good for your motivation.
6. This book stresses the importance of a gradual buildup of your fitness level, this to minimize chances of injury. As the book states on page 151 on running safely: as many as 7 out of 10 runners are halted by injury in any given year.
7. Important point on doing the squat: do not go beyond 90 degrees in your knee joint
8. A lot of practical tips are given on staying healthy, eating well and safety.
9. The book is very easy to read and use, exercise instructions are well described with good photos. the book has a very logical set-up.

My critical remarks:
1. for aerobic endurance the manual concentrates on 2 hard running sessions per week and 1 aerobic session to be filled in at your own preference (swimming, cycling, playing soccer, rowing etc), so 3 aerobic sessions per week.
personally I am doing 1 running session and 1 cycling session per week, each one for 30 minutes, after doing this for 12 weeks I am still making good progress on my running times ( I time every running session)
This because of the high injury rate of running. So I do 1 strength session, 1 aerobic session and 1 combined aerobic/strength session per week, for me this works out very well, I make progress every week.
2. the strength sessions will have you doing numerous sets of different bodyweight exercises. please keep in mind that 1 set of doing a particular exercise is enough if the intensity is high enough (keep going till failure) and of sufficient duration (between 40 and 90 seconds
per exercise). Excellent books by Matt Bryzcki are available on this subject, personal experience has proven this theory right for me.

All in all a highly recommendable fitness manual for people of every fitness and experience level, however keep in mind my critical remark no.1

Based on my personal experiences I would like to summarize when it comes to physical exercise:
keep it short, keep it simple, train with a certain(relatively high) intensity, measure your progress, have at least 3 rest days per week, do not become obsessed.

Matty Noordberg
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Location: the netherlands

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