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Toning for Teens    Dr. Joyce L. Vedral order for
Toning for Teens
by Joyce L. Vedral
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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* * *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Several recent studies indicate that American teens are fatter and more out of shape than ever before. Combating this problem is extremely difficult, due to the prevalence of quick, processed foods in our diets because no one has time to cook anymore. And, high schools have mostly thrown in the towel on nutrition, with junk food machines scattered around the campuses and the cafeteria menus offering cheeseburgers and fries every day for those who want them.

On the other hand, teens are constantly bombarded with thin, beautiful images of girls in magazines and on TV. They are understandably confused, with this dual message of eating popular foods indiscriminately and at the same time looking attractive with no obvious physical effort. Many times parents can't offer much advice on getting in shape, because they themselves are living an unhealthy lifestyle. Sadly, many teen girls begin to starve themselves to look thinner, because they don't understand the basics of fitness.

Joyce Vedral, a well-known author of fitness books, has turned her attention to teen girls with Toning for Teens. Understanding how teens think (she was a high school teacher for many years, and was the mother of a teen daughter herself at one time), Joyce has written a down to earth, practical book on toning and working out that specifically targets this age group. The beginning chapters focus on encouragement and positive thinking, then segue into definitions and descriptions of fitness terms and muscle groups. Then, it's off to the workouts!

First, Vedral explains her philosophy behind the basic structure of the workouts and offers advice on getting started for beginners. Each exercise is accompanied by a photograph demonstrating the movements. Teen girls are used as models, and look like average girls, cute but not overly glamorous. The exercises are explained clearly and are laid out much like a recipe; a recipe for fitness. Each step of the way, girls are encouraged and motivated to be successful.

The latter part of the book talks about diet and eating do's and don'ts, with a sample diet plan. Most of this chapter is full of common sense and practical tips directed towards teens, but I did have a few problems with it, namely the very low calories offered in the sample diet, and the suggestions for a maintenance plan after weight loss. While the sample diet is right on target for teens wanting to lose weight, Vedral doesn't state the fact that this is for overweight teens clearly enough prior to the diet. On the maintenance section, Vedral offers two ideas: Plan A, eat the now added calories in a spaced out method either each day or every other day, or Plan B, eat a whole week's worth of added calories in one day. I didn't care for the binge aspect of the second plan, and also the food suggestions for both plans involved using the added calories solely by junk food. While I firmly believe that a cookie now and then is a great idea and will help keep people from feeling deprived, I also feel that we need to educate ourselves about the idea that only high fat junk is a treat.

The author ends with advice on staying in shape and what to do in certain situations such as eating at someone else's house, and exercising while away from home. Common daily tasks and sports are also listed with the amount of calories burned. My fifteen year old daughter has this to add: 'Toning for Teens[i: is a wonderful guide for the teen girl who wishes to get in shape. The book offers plenty of basic information about nutrition and fitness that everyone needs to know. It also helps psyche readers up for the work to come because it does require time and effort, and this helps prevent teens from giving up. Another plus about this book is that it doesn't make any outlandish promises. It demonstrates how to work with a teen's individual body, leaving a feeling of confidence about the way she looks.
T]oning for Teens offers a variety of useful pointers on nutrition and fitness. The book shows which foods are no-no's for girls who wish to lose weight and even offers a sample meal plan, but I stress strongly that this meal plan is only for those who are OVERWEIGHT. This particular menu doesn't provide enough calories for most growing teens (1459 calories). Enough cannot be said of Vedral's thoroughness in her workout plan. It is great for beginners because it offers pictures and movement instructions. I have read several books with just instructions, and I wasn't really able to understand exactly what I was supposed to do. This shows it in so much detail it could be a fitness book for "dummies". Overall, exempting the diet plan, the book is really awesome. I recommend to any girl who wishes to firm up a bit and do a little reshaping.' - C. Hollingshead'.

This is an excellent fitness book for teen girls, and in my opinion is the best currently on the market for this subject and age group. I highly recommend it for any teen girl (and her mom!) who wants to get into shape and feel wonderful about her body.

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