Cover Story Northwest People Plant Life On Fitness Northwest Living Taste Now & Then

From the Heart
Variety and an electronic monitor spice up these Bellevue-born workouts

Workout 3: Crisscross
Workout 9: Talk Is Cheap
Workout 11: The Zipper
Workout 43: Who Let The Dogs Out
In 1996, I attended a seminar on heart-rate monitoring at the Bellevue Athletic Club. Its enthusiastic leader, triathlete Sally Edwards, contended that observing, tracking and varying heart rate was useful whether exercising for health, fitness or competition.

After writing a column about such training, I applied some of the ideas to my workouts at home. Instead of riding our stationary bike at the same speed each time, I rotated between three types of sessions: long and slow, short and fast, and one of medium length that alternated slow and fast. Within just a few weeks I noticed a difference in my fitness level — I wasn't getting winded as quickly, and could ride longer even when a bit out of breath. Five years later, now mainly on a treadmill, I still usually do one of those three.

Sally Reed was also in that 1996 seminar. She took its lessons to heart — and to work, the Bellevue Athletic Club itself, where she was athletic director. Reed developed heart-rate training workouts for the club's stationary bicycling classes. She didn't stop at three.

In new books she's co-authored with Sally Edwards, Reed presents more than half of the 100-plus workouts she has developed over the past five years. And despite the titles of the Velo Press books — "The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclists" ($17.95) and companion workbook ($14.95) and log book ($9.95) — many sessions are suitable for treadmills, stair climbers or other cardiovascular equipment.

A series of "Crisscross" workouts, for example, begins with a simple, 20-minute session to give a feel for the two lowest-intensity heart-rate training zones (out of five). "Talk is Cheap" emphasizes training in the narrow heart-rate range in which you can say a couple of sentences (but not more) aloud and still breathe. "Who Let the Dogs Out" calls for power and acceleration in 30-second sprints using heavy resistance, with one-minute rests before the next imaginary dog takes chase. In "The Zipper," which strings together high-intensity intervals, the Sallys write, "The primary wonder in this workout is to decide which hurts more, your legs burning or your lungs sucking air from the highest and hottest heart zones?"

Zipper aside, "The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclists" is written with a novice in mind, including an overview of monitors and their use; self-tests and formulas to determine current fitness level, maximum heart rates, training zone and weekly riding time; choosing goals; writing and analyzing a training plan; logging workouts; reassessing fitness level; fat-burning zones and nutrition; high-performance training; and employing a monitor to detect the effects of overtraining, illness, injury, stress and even jet lag.

Veteran monitor users might skip to the workbook, which includes some basics but features the workouts, each with a large profile chart, statistics and tips, and minute-by-minute sequence. Some are designed for people who want to improve their health, some for those striving to hone their fitness and others for those gearing toward events or competition.

And some may be just what's needed for a certain someone in a five-year, three-workout rut.

Also new to fitness shelves:

"The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness" ($24.95, The Lyons Press), by Mark Fenton. The editor of Walking magazine presents a 52-week program and covers everything from shoes and pedometers to walking styles and nutrition.

"The Walker Within" ($24.95, The Lyons Press). Humorous, inspiring, poignant stories collected from the back page of Walking magazine.

"Active Living Every Day" ($21.95, Human Kinetics), by Steven Blair, Andrea Dunn, Bess Marcus, Ruth Ann Carpenter and Peter Jaret. A 20-week self-paced program using checklists, charts and illustrations, aimed at getting sedentary people moving to improve their health without having to join a fitness club. Blair, Dunn and Carpenter are with The Cooper Institute in Dallas; Marcus is a professor at Brown University School of Medicine. The book is the text for Active Living courses offered at health- and medical-education agencies across the country.

"The McCall Body Balance Method" ($27.95, Brown Books), by Lisa Ann McCall. A physical therapist and exercise physiologist shows how to develop "optimal posture" by turning everyday movements — at home, work, even shopping — into a workout.

"Strollercise: The Workout for New Mothers" ($16, Three Rivers Press), by Elizabeth Trindade and Victoria Shaw. Cardiovascular, strength, toning, waistline, stretching and back exercises utilizing a baby stroller.

"The Portable Personal Trainer" ($9.95, Broadway Books), by Eric Harr. A world-class triathlete offers 100 strategies and motivational tools for people at all levels of fitness.

"Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health" ($40, Dorling Kindersley), by B.K.S. Iyengar. This new book by perhaps the world's best-known yoga teacher outlines the philosophy and ideals behind the practices; addresses stress, breathing and meditation; and uses nearly 2,000 color photos to illustrate poses step-by-step.

"Yoga for Every Body" ($24.95, Reader's Digest), by Paul Harvey. A progression of yoga practices illustrated with more than 700 step-by-step color photographs, presented in a handy spiral-bound book that can be set up like an easel for easy reference.

"The Woman's Book of Yoga" ($16.95, Tuttle Publishing), by Louise Taylor. An introduction to yogic practice, including background and applications to meditation and personal growth. Each pose is presented with clear instructions, a simple line drawing and "degree of difficulty" chart to track progress.

"Yoga for Wimps" ($17.95, Sterling Publishing), by Miriam Austin. The author, herself limited by assorted injuries, offers "pre-yoga" and "instant yoga" poses as well as others organized by body part or application, such as "Poses to do while watching TV."

"The Yoga Deck" ($14.95), by Olivia Miller, and "The Spa Deck" ($12.95; both Chronicle Books), by Barbara Close. Boxed sets of 50 cards, each with a description (but not illustrations) of a yoga exercise or recipe for a spa treatment.

"The Lotus and the Stars: The Way of Astro-Yoga" ($14.95, Contemporary Books), by Rob and Trish MacGregor. The authors intertwine yoga and astrology to help draw on the energies of the sun signs and planets through specific yoga postures.

"The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga" ($25, Perseus Publishing), by Roy J. Mathew, M.D. A Duke University psychiatrist explores whether there is a scientific explanation for yoga or spirituality.

"Moving Toward Harmony"($14.95, Far Eastern Press), by Eric Oberg. A poetic presentation of some of the principles of aikido, by a teacher at the Seattle School of Aikido.

"Chi Fitness" ($25; Cliff Street Books), by Sue Benton and Drew Denbaum. Movements and meditations designed to help activate the chi (life force) within us.

"The Little Pilates Book," "The Little Soy Book" and "The Little Foot Care Book" ($9.95 each, Warner Books), by Erika Dillman. Three more in a little series by the Seattle writer.

"Pilates Workbook" ($12.95, Ulysses Press), by Michael King. A step-by-step guide to Joseph Pilates' original matwork exercises, with more than 200 photos.

"Becoming an Ironman" ($23, Breakaway Books), by Kara Douglass Thom. Stories from Scott Tinley, Joanna Zeiger, Bill Bell and others about their first experiences in Ironman-type triathlons.

Molly Martin is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine.

Cover Story Northwest People Plant Life On Fitness Northwest Living Taste Now & Then home
Copyright © 2001 The Seattle Times Company