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Core Performance    by Mark Verstegen & Pete Williams order for
Core Performance
by Mark Verstegen
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mark Verstegen, owner of the Athletes Performance training center, exudes enthusiasm and motivation in Core Performance, written with sportswriter Pete Williams. Its foreword is a testimonial by baseball player Nomar Garciaparra, introducing a program, originally designed for professional athletes and developed over fifteen years, that 'serves as a lifelong formula to maximize performance and help maintain a high quality of life'. Testimonials from other professional athletes (in a variety of sports) are interspersed through the book.

Verstegen recommends training for 3 to 6 days weekly, half to one hour per day, working on 6 core routines plus a cardio unit. The objective is to 'train movements, not body parts.' After sections on commitment and goal setting, the book covers a 'Core Workout', and 'Core Nutrition Plan'. The Workout is broken into units focussing on things like elasticity, strength, energy system development and regeneration. It begins with 'Movement Prep' to stretch and contract core muscles.

Each exercise is shown as a sequence of movements with photographs and clear, detailed explanations, including what you should feel if done correctly. Detailed workout sheets are included. Note that, though some need no equipment, many of the exercises use a physioball, and the author includes a chart on the right size to use depending on your height. Others require exercise machines, which will not be readily available to everyone. There is a list of recommended equipment, ranging from basic to high-end home and health club setups.

In 'Core Nutrition', Verstegen suggests eating half a dozen small meals and snacks a day. He tells us that 'frequent eating keeps you from overeating', to be proactive in planning meals ahead, to avoid products containing high-fructose corn syrup, and to watch 'glycemic load' and hydration. Charts list the 'Best and Worst Foods' and the book ends with Frequently Asked Questions about the program followed by a second phase of the Workout.

Mark Verstegen also suggests how to apply core performance ideas as life principles, e.g. 'The greatest expression of strength is lifting others up' and 'You need to get out of your comfort zone, avoid complacency, and try new things to grow and progress.' Inspiring indeed!

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