Book Reviews

Foreword Reviews

Diet and Health, Self Help

Rutstein on Fitness
Strengthening the Body to Heal the Mind
Jeff Rutstein, Patricia Amend (Editor)

Feel Good Personal Fitness
240 Pages
ISBN 0-9760170-1-6, Trade Paperback,
$14.95
Feb 01, 2005

The right exercise routine can sharpen mind and body. If there is one central message of this book, that’s it. Author Jeff Rutstein used exercise to ease his own stress and depression, and he seeks to share his success with readers. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful – as a matter of fact, it shouldn’t be – and the “no pain, no gain” philosophy spouted by so many has no place here. Exercise should feel good, both physically and emotionally Rutstein says, or you won’t stick with it long enough to do any good.

And he knows of what he speaks. A steroid abuser, and recovered alcoholic and drug abuser, the author should have died of heart failure when his resting pulse was 144. Instead, he quit it all cold turkey and fell into a resulting depression. Exercise and strength training – “mindful movements” — helped him climb out. His is a powerful story that could touch readers in similar circumstances.

But the real power in this book comes from the author’s emotive writing style that allows him to connect with readers. Rutstein isn’t talking “at” you, as so many fitness authors do, nor trying to motivate you in an insincere “rah, rah” manner that characterizes other similar titles. He is rather appealing to the side of you that wants to take care of mind and body.

“It’s about rediscovering the essential relationship between your body and mind,” he writes.

Along with the author’s own story, included here are other personal stories of clients and friends he’s helped battle depression, physical frailty, and the general downtrodden malaise modern life can bring. If you need them, a place to record your progress is provided at the end of the book. Also included are brief sections on diet and nutrition.

In 1990 Rutstein founded Custom Fitness, and is a Master Level Certified Personal Trainer who has received accolades from American Fitness, Reebok, and American Health. He works with physicians from Harvard Medical School and has been featured in The Washington Post, Reuters, The Boston Globe and other influential media outlets. His training, philosophy, positive attitude and commitment all come together in this book helpful to readers seeking a program for mind and body improvement.

Caterina Christakos

Copyright ©2001 ForeWordreviews.com. All Rights Reserved

 

Review of: Rutstein on Fitness – Strengthening the Body to Heal the Mind – By Jeff Rutstein

New Book Describes a Kinder, Gentler Workout that Soothes the Mind While Sculpting the Body
Jeff Rutstein is passionate about taking the work out of workout. And with good reason. Developing the gentler, kinder fitness program described in his new book, Rutstein on Fitness: Strengthening the Body to Heal the Mind, changed his life.

From steroid abuser to fitness specialist, Jeff Rutstein has developed a unique exercise program, one that eschews the “no pain, no gain” philosophy of most gyms and the atmosphere that got him in trouble early in his weightlifting career. He asks readers to forget the pumping-iron image about weightlifting and outlines a strength-training program from beginner to advanced that is geared as much toward soothing the mind as it is for sculpting the body.

Rutstein describes his early years as a weightlifter, addicted to body building, alcohol, street drugs, and steroids all at the same time. When he quit them all cold turkey, his resting pulse rate was recorded at 144, heart-attack level, and he was lucky to live. After recovering, he fell into a deep depression.

He describes how it brought them a balance, both emotional and physical, stress relief, healthy weight loss, and emotional healing.

Slowly, using exercises he now calls “mindful movements,” he discovered that a light workout, more meditative than exhausting, created a mind-body connection that eventually gave him back his self-esteem. “It’s about rediscovering the essential relationship between your body and mind,” Rutstein explains. Rutstein is a master-level personal trainer certified by the International Dance and Exercise Association (IDEA), and in 1990, founded Custom Fitness, a subdued, relaxed fitness center where he provides personal strength-training based on mindful movements for clients.

Rutstein, in addition to his own inspiring story, tells about a number of clients who come from all walks of life with a variety of needs fulfilled through this exercise program. He describes how it brought them a balance, both emotional and physical, stress relief, healthy weight loss, and emotional healing.

“I’ve learned that grueling workouts are not beneficial and in fact end up hurting,” is his very inviting statement to those who have been turned off by traditional weightlifting and gym atmosphere. Rutstein starts with stretching, adds very light-resistance bands or dumbbells, along with aerobic exercise in a program that increases slowly. Directions for the stretches and exercises are clearly written and illustrated with photographs that show how to do them. He gives helpful pointers for getting the best workout. Exercise logs are provided at the end of the book for tracking progress. Rutstein also explains how diet affects mood and presents suggestions for healthy eating that are both down-to-earth and informative.

‘I’ve learned that grueling workouts are not beneficial and in fact end up hurting,’ is his very inviting statement to those who have been turned off by traditional weightlifting and gym atmosphere

Rutstein outlines a four-week exercise program combining aerobic and strength-training exercises and shows how readers can set their own goals and pace. He encourages them not to jerk the weights up and down in a frenzy to improve body image (as he had done years earlier) but to isolate each set of muscles and to focus mentally on how each movement feels. This is a kinder, gentler workout meant, not only to sculpt the body, but also to sculpt feelings of self-worth and serenity. Reading Rutstein on Fitness is the next-best thing to having Jeff Rutstein as a personal trainer.

Rutstein on Fitness: Strengthening the Body to Heal the Mind, by Jeff Rutstein, Publisher: Custom Fitness, ISBN: 0-9760170-1-6, US $14.95, paperback 240 pages, 75 pictures, bibliography, and index. Available on the Web, through local bookstores, and major distributors or from the author at: www.rutsteinonfitness.com.