Cover Story

Help Yourself!

A guide to the books, tapes, and Tv shows aimed at making a better person in 1991

I Will Get Fit

Reason 379 why you don't lose weight or live healthier — there are so many fitness tapes, books, and TV shows that choosing one seems capricious and irresponsible. Here is some guidance:

Videotapes

Beginning Callanetics
Callan Pinckney's muscle-toning introductory workout is a perfect model of safety and form. A
But her original Callanetics, one of the best-selling fitness videos in America, is full of wild claims. Sorry, Callan, arm exercises can't tighten skin, and sit-ups won't lift breasts. D

Jody Watley: Dance to Fitness
All right, the dancing isn't quite Paula Abdul. Still, pop singer Watley's tape is a lot more fun than the standard low-impact aerobics ones, and fun counts. A

The Firm, Volume 4
This may be the best fitness tape you've never heard of. Its exercise routines, such as stepping on and off a stool to mimic stair climbing, are ideal for the living room. A-

Jane Fonda's Light Aerobics and Stress Reduction Program
No ''feel the burn'' here, just a kinder, gentler Jane. The short, low-impact aerobics routine is well-suited to beginners, and the long, luxurious stretch/relaxation sequence is a treat for anyone. A
For a tougher Jane Fonda exercise video, try the Complete Workout A-

Kathy Smith's Fat-Burning Workout
Earlier Smith offerings were generally marred by a few carelessly executed or poorly chosen exercises. This one is her best by far, combining aerobics, muscle-toning weight work, and calisthenics. B+

Richard Simmons: Sweatin' to the Oldies
How about this: an exercise tape that doesn't assume physical fitness is only for the thin and fit. A coed class of skinnies and chubbies hoots its way through an easy, low-impact aerobics session. The videotape's grade suffers, though, from a lack of Simmons' usual discussions of safety and technique. C

Television

Basic Training Workout
Ada Janklowicz's fitness show is pretty much indistinguishable from her brother Gil's, also on ESPN, Bodies In Motion. The Janklowicz style is cheerfully abusive, and the aerobics routines are tedious, but their calisthenics are great: simple moves properly demonstrated. Both: B

Everyday Workout For an absolute beginner, this low-key, gently paced show with Cynthia Kereluk might be worth a try. Workout enthusiasts will be bored, however. C+

Getting Fit with Denise Austin Will someone please tell Austin that she's wearing a microphone? Her encouraging voice — '' BEAUTIFUL!'' — loudly and intrusively leads otherwise decent calisthenics and aerobics. She shows plenty of energy but sloppy form. C

Books

Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease
This hefty best-seller is a splendid resource not just for people with heart disease but for anyone serious about adopting a healthier lifestyle. The medical school professor covers everything from exercise to stress-reduction to diet modification. He even throws in some recipes. A-

The Mood Control Diet By Harvey Ross, M.D., and June Roth
File this under T for twaddle. Ross and Roth fail to offer adequate evidence to back up their extraordinary claim about curing serious emotional disorders through diet alone. F

Audiotapes

Weight Loss Barrie Konicov
The popularity of this best-seller is baffling. It's half subliminal suggestion, half self- hypnosis. The few diet tips (drink a quart or more of water daily) seem unlikely to edge anyone away from the table. C-

Jennifer Drawbridge

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