For many people, keeping their weight under control and making exercise a regular occurrence is often thrown into the “too hard basket”. The Biggest Loser trainer, Michelle Bridges knows all too well about this. The author of six health and fitness books should be left with nothing more to say about these issues. But her latest work, Your Best Body looks set to become as popular as her previous books, Losing the Last Five Kilos, Crunch Time and the No Excuses Cookbook.
In Your Best Body Bridges adopts a holistic approach. She says it’s not just about diet and exercise; it’s about re-empowering people to seize control. This involves adopting the best thinking processes, completing the best training and accompanying this with the right diet to ultimately get those coveted “slammin’ shoulders”, a tight mid-section and “shapely legs”. It all sounds great on an aesthetic level but there are also the added health benefits. She also keeps things simple by recommending that you track your progress with just two sets of numbers- your waist measurement and blood pressure.
Bridges has heard every excuse in the book. She’s worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for over two decades and she got her first taste of this world when she ran fitness classes at her own high school. Perhaps as a result of this experience, she teaches us first and foremost to change your mind-set. You should look at your body as being “perfect” (no matter if it’s 10 or 20+ kilos overweight). She describes the body as an enduring and efficient mechanism that is only in part determined by genetics and one that responds well to changes to routine with time.
The book is a quick but interesting read. There will be some things you already know, other things people should know (but perhaps ignore) and some important new ideas and thoughts. She focuses first and foremost on thinking better and steering clear of negativity or beating yourself up (over not sticking to new year’s resolutions and diet plans, to ultimately show that gradual, progressive improvements will lead to more successful long-term results.
In addition to the section dedicated to psychology and thought processes are stories from some of the people she’s helped. There is also an extensive section about training. It is here that cardio and weight-training exercises are described in detail and accompanied by useful photographs. Bridges also gives us a two-week sample program and an example of an exercise logbook. The former is a one-size-fits-all approach that may not suit all fitness levels but it should give people something they can build towards.
The final section of Your Best Body is dedicated to information about food and nutrients, including Michelle’s own list of superfoods and recipes. To qualify as a superfood in Michelle’s mind, it had to be readily available, naturally low in calories, inexpensive and have its nutrition claims adequately backed up. Most of these superfoods are naturally fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, but some types of meat and fish are also included.
The recipes are generally accompanied by large, full-page photographs which show off all of the colourful and tasty ingredients. There is a simple sardine salad sandwich, baked apples and a tomato, and mushroom and parsley Bruschetta for novice chefs. Some more advanced options include a red prawn curry, baked dessert ricotta, Chinese steamed whole whiting and a beef and silver beet stir-fry. The cooking and preparation times range from just five minutes to over two and a half hours.
It seems like the health and fitness brigade may have been fighting a losing battle against obesity and inactivity for some time. But Michelle Bridges is just one individual that’s on a crusade to get people fitter and healthier than ever before. Your Best Body contains the useful and fundamental building blocks to help train and re-program your thinking and to shake-up your daily routine. The holistic approach offers handy tools that are vital to know and to incorporate into daily life. And as Bridges says, your body underpins everything, from relationships with family and friends to careers and other expectations. And there is nothing in life that’s more important than that.
Originally published on 15 February 2013 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/sydney/book-review-michelle-bridges-your-best-body
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