SEATTLE – Acclaimed Hollywood stuntwoman Danielle Burgio often is asked two simple questions: What does she do for a workout and what does she do for fun? She answers: “My workout is my fun and my fun is my workout.” That’s her message. Do what you enjoy and you’ll get good at it.

That comes across loud and clear in her book, “The Stuntwoman’s Workout: Get Your Body Ready for Anything” (Quirk Books, $19.95).

Now, just about anything written by a Hollywood type stays at the bottom of my book pile, but Burgio is the real thing. She is a complete athlete – strong, flexible, tough – who has turned her ability and physicality into a lucrative career. (She has stunted for more than 80 films. The most famous stunt was the suspended-in-air fight scene in the original “Matrix.”)

Here are some other books I liked:

“Straighter, Stronger, Leaner, Longer” by Renee Daniels (Avery/Penguin, $18.95)

Daniels, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, became a medical exercise specialist and personal trainer after her first career ended from a back injury. She eventually healed through her own therapeutic exercise program, which is the basis for this book aimed at relieving pain and getting stronger.

“Beyond Basic Training” by Jon Giswold (St. Martin’s Press, $21.95)

This book is a bit hard-core, aimed at taking the next step.

Giswold, a trainer and group-fitness director, incorporates yoga, Pilates, stability and medicine balls into resistance and aerobic programs. The book also promotes alternating aerobics and weight-training. Every routine is offered at three levels, the novice, the minimalist and those seeking total-body conditioning.

The book begins with a questionnaire in an effort to define the reader’s fitness goals. From there, it explains and illustrates in fine detail moves and form.

It’s a bit too focused on physique for my taste, but well done.

“Maximum Fitness, Minimum Risk” by Carole Marshall (Caveat Press, $16.95)

Marshall, a Port Townsend author, has produced a wellness book to help answer that tricky question: How do you best work out while dealing with serious illness, from diabetes to heart disease?

Her book identifies personalities from the person intimidated by the gym to the person who feels small tasks are sufficient to the former athlete still hung up on doing the maximum. It discusses a number of issues from the benefits and drawbacks of various machines to how to get started. The thing it does best is give ailing people a sense of what they are capable of doing and how to achieve it safely.

“30-Day Revitalization Plan: Total Rejuvenation for Body & Mind” edited by Miriam E. Atkins (Sterling Publishing, $14.95)

I usually don’t pay much attention to plans that promise results, especially in a certain number of days. But this book takes the healthy approach that wellness is about more than appearance.

It is geared for those of us who don’t seem to find time to pay attention to our own health and well-being. It offers advice on topics ranging from meditation to weight-lifting to nutrition. (And it is chock full of recipes.)

I’m not sure about the 30-day stuff, but overall, the book contains some worthy common sense and advice.

“1001 Little Health Miracles” by Esme Floyd (Ulysses Press, $12.95)

This small paperback is filled with nuggets. Many are obvious, but they are still fun to scan:

No. 84: Add some resistance training to your workout to boost lean muscle and help burn calories in your downtime.

No. 340: When devising an exercise plan, don’t forget back exercises.

No. 570: Increase your daily intake of water by drinking a glass with each meal and sipping throughout the day.

You get the point.

Richard Seven is a writer at The Seattle Times. Send questions on workouts, equipment or nutrition to him at: Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111, or e-mail rseven(at)

(c) 2005, The Seattle Times.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


PHOTO (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): onfitness

AP-NY-09-23-05 0828EDT

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