Ultimate Fit or Fat

The essentials of fitness

The classic book on fitness has been rewritten after twenty-five years and is, unexpectedly, better than ever. There’s still not a fad in it, and it is still lean, brief, and witty. Now with more attention to aging, more reliance on home testing, and more encouragement for weightlifting, this is still the best overall guide to the how and why of getting fit.

-- KK 04/20/04


Fat people who are constantly dieting should worry less about how to lose weight. Instead they should ask themselves. "Why do I gain weight so easily?"

As a person becomes more and more out of shape and the muscles fill up with fat, the arms and waistline become softer and softer. I remember a tall, thin young woman I tested who had never exercised a day in her life. I gripped her arm and said, "Tighten up, Susie."
"Okay!" she said obligingly. I waited a few seconds, but her arm felt as soft as ever.
"Tighten up, Susie," I repeated.
"I am, I am!" she grunted, her face red from the effort.
This woman was so out of shape and her muscles were so soft no amount of flexing made them harder. She looked thin on the outside, but she was fat on the inside.

The underwater immersion test is time-consuming, takes up lots of laboratory space, and is scary for many people, so most testing facilities use less accurate but more convenient methods. Most techniques measure the fat just beneath the skin, on the assumption that the amount of subcutaneous fat increases as total body fat increases. When you consider all the places inside the body where fat can accumulate, such as around the intestines and inside muscles, it's hard to believe that measuring skin fat would reflect total body fat, but we have measured peoples' fat both underwater and with the skin test for years and using our formula, subcutaneous fat measurements are amazingly accurate.

Remember! If you can't exercise exactly by the rules I've given you, just do a lot of it. Quantity can substitute for quality. That's why sports almost always makes people fitter than strict exercise at a health club.

Don't Even Think about Distance
It doesn't matter how far you go. What matters is how many minutes a day you spend trying to change your body into a fit body. Exercise for time, not distance.


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