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Extended Audio Sample Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise Audiobook, by Gina Kolata Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (111 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gina Kolata Narrator: Gina Kolata, Eliza Foss Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2003 ISBN: 9781593971618
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The bestselling science reporter from The New York Times tells us what works and what doesn't when we work out

Ultimate Fitness is Gina Kolata's compelling journey into the world of American physical fitness over the past thirty years. It is a funny, eye-opening, brow-sweating investigation into fads, fiction, and the science and hucksterism of fitness training.

From the early days of jogging, championed by Jim Fixx--who later died of a heart attack--to stretching, cycling, aerobics, and Spinning, Kolata questions such popular notions as the "fat burning zone," "spot reducing," the effects of food on performance, how much exercise helps build fitness, and the difference between exercise to help the heart and exercise to change the body. She explains the science of physical fitness and the objective evidence behind commonly accepted prescriptions. Along the way she profiles researchers and mavericks who have challenged conventional wisdom, marketed their inventions, and sometimes bucked criticism only to back down from their original claims.

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

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Quotes & Awards

  • This accessible, informative and personal memoir about fitness...touches on a range of fitness and health issues over the decades.... Most of all, she conveys her personal enthusiasm and the way it makes her feel more alive. Put this one in your CD, and you will start moving. USA Today

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess Anderson | 10/22/2013

    " A great book with lots of facts and cited sources - she cuts through a lot of the junk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Odetta | 8/23/2013

    " "'Eating alone will not keep a man well,' Hippocrates said. 'He must also take exercise. Health ensues when exercise and food are perfectly balanced. When the balance is off people become ill.'" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Celia Powell | 10/17/2012

    " Interesting book by a science writer on the history of the fitness industry and the science behind it - while I enjoyed lots of the stories wound around the history and science-talk, I wished that it had come to more conclusions, rather than just considering lots of questions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 2/21/2012

    " Enlightening. I felt it was not as well organized as her other book, Rethinking Thin. But she frames each chapter with her own experiences as either a reporter or an exerciser, and I enjoyed that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lp | 7/19/2011

    " This book is fine when it comes to the historical information. But when she goes all gee-whiz-how-fit-I-and-my-fabulous-husband are, she loses me. I don't care about your spinning class, Gina! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Renae | 7/12/2011

    " I'm officially giving up on this. I've renewed it from the library 3 times and still haven't managed to get through it. I guess that means it's not that great! I really liked it when she talked about herself and her own experiences but the other stuff, not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/2/2011

    " This book wasn't what I expected it would be so I was somewhat disappointed. It's full of statistics and facts so it's informative but I was hoping it would be more of a sociological look at the way thinness is perceived. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caroljean | 10/20/2010

    " Science undermines most of what we thought we knew about losing more than twenty or thirty pounds. Changed my thinking. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rae | 9/30/2010

    " Science behind theory seemed to be based on some random surveys, more like the author found exceptions and based a theory on them than on some kind of hard science. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 9/25/2010

    " Fascinating. Makes a great case for what should be obvious--that diets don't work long term, that people have trouble losing (or gaining) weight permanently. Explores the biological reasons behind this as well. The Penn study described here was interesting and heartbreaking. Very glad I read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 8/19/2010

    " Enjoyed learning and gaining compassion for all tryiing to lose weight. I read it because I was curious about all the diets and weight loss theories out there. Very interesting, but at times a little wordy and text heavy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 7/23/2010

    " Very interesting read - at least if you're like me and you like things all diet and food related! Not at all what I expected it to be, but still informative and engaging. "

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About the Author
Author Gina Kolata

Gina Kolata is a senior writer who covers medicine for the New York Times. She is also the author of a number of books, including Ultimate Fitness and the national bestseller Flu.  She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

About the Narrator

Eliza Foss is an actress who has appeared in numerous theaters in New York City and around the country. She has narrated over thirty books and short stories, been featured in AudioFile magazine, and won five AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations.