BODY BY DESIGN: The Complete 12-Week Plan toTransform Your Body Forever, by Kris Gethin, with Gretchen Lees. Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 215 pp., $24.99.


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It's been long known that strength training is good for you, no matter your age: A study published more than 20 years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that even frail nursing home residents (ages 86 to 96) increased their strength and balance tremendously -- in only eight weeks -- by lifting weights.

If they could do it, you can, too -- and Gethin, editor in chief of, certified personal trainer and nutritionist, may be able to help.

THE SCOOP Of course, the book has clear photos and explanations of weight training. But Gethin also may inspire you with ways to get -- and stay -- motivated (as in "The Power of Out-Loud Goals").

THE BOTTOM LINE The many before/after pictures and stories ("I'm a Fat Girl Turned Fitness Nerd") are striking.