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Book Review: Dump Your Trainer by Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen, M.D.

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Dump Your Trainer is written by two personal trainers, Marriott and Paulsen. The premise of the book is that, unless you're a celebrity or a professional athlete who can afford to spend $2,000-$4,000 per week, you're just wasting your money on a personal trainer if your goal is to lose weight.

The main reasons according to the authors are:
• They are a waste of your money and time.
• Their programs won't help you lose weight.
• Time spent in their programs is time taken away from you doing something that will really work.
• Their programs will not improve your cardiovascular health.

The mysteries of credentialing for personal trainers is delineated in this book. Apparently, there is little oversight regarding what education you need in order to call yourself a personal trainer, fitness consultant, fitness professional, or fitness expert. Some titles require no more than completing an online course.

In addition, personal trainers usually spend their hour with you watching you lift weights. According to the authors, what you need to be doing is more aerobic exercising. Marriott and Paulsen subscribe to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your workout program should focus on cardiovascular activities and only 20 percent on toning if your goal is to lose weight.

Since a personal trainer will not want to watch you aerobicize for 40 minutes, they will focus on toning. If you can only spend an hour a day on working out, the authors recommend you spend that time on cardio. Unless, they point out, you'd like someone cute to count to twelve for you.

This book encourages the reader to become his or her own personal trainer.

Dump Your Trainer's simple steps are: Find the best diet for yourself, create an exercise plan based on their recommendations, commit yourself and just do it.

Marriott and Paulsen give you plenty of activities to do at home without needing a gym membership. They provide tests to assess your current fitness level: step test, push up test, squat test, sit-ups, and body fat measurement. They provide a 21-day meal and exercise regimen. After 21 days, there is a reassessment evaluation and plenty of advice regarding making healthier choices in your life.

Overall, this book is very motivating. Dr. Paulsen's story of how he set his alarm for 4:00 a.m. so that he could begin to exercise (in order to lose 40 pounds in six months) is encouraging. The frank discussion of trying to psych yourself up toward making this lifestyle change is uplifting. The bottom line is that they convince you that there are no more excuses. Just do it!

One relative drawback of this book is that the meal plan is not one that I could follow. Just seeing a 6 egg white omelet written down was enough to build some mild nausea, but top that with salsa and it was all over for me. However, for those of you with stronger stomachs, there are some good recipes in Dump Your Trainer.

One other personal criticism I had was the promotion for Marriott's Burn 'N Firm program within the first few chapters of the book and intermittently throughout.

Before the shameless plug, I was feeling that the authors were fighting against America's obsession with throwing their money away on trainers, gym memberships, diets, and diet pills due to the fervent desire to lose weight. The cynic in me did not like feeling coerced by one of the authors to buy her workout videos.

Nevertheless, Dump Your Trainer was fun, it had funny quips, good strategies, great motivational words, and sound advice for people who are trying to lose weight.

I admit that I almost set my alarm to get up an hour earlier this morning. Almost. Maybe tomorrow.

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About Alexandria Jackson