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Total Body Transformation    by Steve Ilg order for
Total Body Transformation
by Steve Ilg
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Steve Ilg, author of Total Body Transformation has always been an intense athlete. He developed his 'Wholistic Fitness' program (combining yoga, meditation and Western fitness training) over the last twenty years, in part from self-healing that helped him to recover from a severe back injury in the 1980s.

Following this program requires access to a gym with professional-quality equipment, and the author recommends a bicycle and quality running shoes. His 'Wholistic Fitness' incorporates five disciplines - Strength Training, Cardio, Yoga, Meditation and Nutrition - and four Lifestyle principles - Breath and Posture, Mindfulness, Appropriate Action, and Practice. Programs are presented at increasing levels of difficulty through the book, starting with a core program, 'The Green Tara' (the name is that of a popular deity in Tibetan Buddhism). In it, Ilg explains a lifting rhythm for barbell work, in terms of Yin and Yang, and discusses how to coordinate breathing properly with exercises, which are explained clearly and accompanied by photos. The author also recommends cross training among a variety of Cardio activities, hence the running shoes and bicycle.

The following section introduces 'High Performance Yoga' as a complement to Strength and Cardio training. After introducing yoga and its history, Ilg goes on to present a 'Sun Salutation Warmup' through sequences of photographed positions. This is followed by a series of poses, each to be held for 30-60 seconds. Next comes a section on Zazen Meditation (explaining how to deal with posture, breathing and ego), and one on Nutrition (recommending plenty of fruit and vegetables, and high fiber foods, of course). Next, Ilg presents a schedule for daily fitness practice for the basic program, followed by Intermediate and Advanced programs (more demanding in all areas including Meditation. Quotes are sprinkled through the text, for example 'Don't just work out, work within', and the book ends with 35 Aphorisms or sutras - the last begins 'Don't just do fitness; be it' - questions and answers, recipes and useful sources.

Total Body Transformation is for the serious to professional athlete (even its core program is a challenging one), and demands access to full gym equipment. For those able to meet its challenges, this is a tremendous resource, a well designed wholistic combination of Eastern and Western fitness disciplines.

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