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Death Rate Due to CVD
In 2006, in the US, an adult died of some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) every 38 seconds. By 2013, very little improvement had been made: 1 death every 40 seconds (source: AHA Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics)

ACSM Fitness Book, 3rd. ed.

Author: Thompson WR, Benardot D, Jonas S
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Consumer
Length: 175 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2003
List Price: $16.95® Rating: Good

This is the 3rd edition. The 1st edition was published in 1992 and the 2nd was published in 1998. (NOTE: In 2011, ACSM published an extensively-revised version and gave it a new name: "Complete Guide to Fitness & Health." In 2017, a 2nd edition of it was released. However, we still like the "ACSM Fitness Book, 3rd ed." because it's succinct and easy-to-read. And, so, even though this 2003 book has been replaced many years ago, we've kept this review posted.)


This 3rd edition was written by Walter Thompson, PhD (professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State U.), Dan Benardot, PhD, RD (associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition, Georgia State U.), and Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS (professor of preventive medicine, SUNY, Stony Book).


This book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: An Active Lifestyle
  • Chapter 2: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health
  • Chapter 3: Getting Ready to Exercise
  • Chapter 4: Assessing Your Fitness: The ACSM Fitness Test
  • Chapter 5: Beginning Exercises
  • Chapter 6: The ACSM Fitness Program
  • Chapter 7: Staying Active

The book begins with a brief overview of the health benefits of regular exercise. Chapter 2 covers issues such as proper nutrition and hydration for exercise. In doing so, the authors stress the importance of carbohydrates, and downplay focusing on either fats or protein as the primary energy substrate. The book concludes with information on selecting health equipment.

This book is intended for the consumer, however, some of the content could be challenging for some readers. In some places, the content is more complicated than it needs to be. The book has a decent index, but does not list citations to the primary literature.


ACSM's Fitness Book is loaded with charts and tables and 25 pages of full-color photographs demonstrating the proper way to perform specific exercises. Charts and tables are provided for determining existing fitness level and for specific exercise plans and for tracking progress. The charts, tables, and photos are definite strengths of this book. However, the reader has to jump back and forth in the book as they move through the assessment-planning-tracking steps. Layout and presentation could be better which would make the book more user-friendly.


This is an excellent consumer book based on solid scientific principles and recommendations. First, not only does it carry the credentials of the most significant sports medicine organization in the world (ACSM), it provides readers with the exact "recipe" for improving their health through regular exercise.

Despite some of the minor issues pointed out above, this book is highly-recommended. Literally, every adult should read this book, and it should be included in a health-fitness class in every high school curriculum. At only $16.95, it is a small price to pay to ensure you are on the right track towards taking care of your health.


"Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 1st ed." (2011).

"Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd ed." (2017)

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 5/26/2020 12:21:59 PM

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