- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2000

A thirtysomething guy doesn't stand much of a chance against the battle of the bulge these days with the constant avalanche of tempting fast-food choices fitting into his hurried lifestyle. While he tries to balance long work hours with a family moment, grabbing a Big Mac sometimes makes more sense than hunting down a fresh salad or spending time at the health club.
Luckily, fitness sites such as Workout.com provide a plethora of exercises to prod even the busiest human into becoming the healthiest.


Site address: www.workout.com


Workout.com, based in Milpitas, Calif., is the conception of Joe Gigantino and his partners, Rick Bieniarz and Don Van Patten. It was released on Dec. 10, 1999.

Creator quotable:

"The transition of looking and feeling better is not difficult, provided you have the correct information," says Mr. Gigantino, president and chief executive of Workout.com.
"We've created a community of like-minded individuals in terms of wanting to improve the way they look and feel. Our site, Workout.com, provides the information in a very easily understood format, making for a smoother transition."

Word from the Webwise:

Through an opening page jampacked with options, Workout.com makes a serious attempt at giving people a reason to stretch their muscles.
I strongly suggest registering before you enter so you have access to the entire site and its hundreds of exercises. Yes, that means the company is collecting information about you, but a full privacy statement explains the importance of registering. Nonregistered visitors still can access some exercise regimes, but the experience won't be nearly as extensive.
Once you are registered, jump into the two primary sections, "Exercise Zone" and "Program Zone," to learn how to start to get into shape.
Each section breaks down into more specific topics that then list a wide variety of individual movements or entire workouts. "Exercise Zone" concentrates on more than 500 specifics, such as increasing balance or power, while "Program Zone" really makes the site shine through hundreds of regimens on everything from post-rehabilitation to sports training. A staff of 500 certified health and fitness professionals developed all exercises.
For example, enter the "Program Zone" and click on the "Decrease Body Fat" area to reveal 28 ways to shed pounds. They range from a three-times-a-week 30-minute body-fat workout to a 12-week program for people with high blood pressure.
I chose the "Combination Burn" for at-home weight loss using cardio and resistance training. This program consists of 12 exercises done twice a week for four weeks. Not only does each exercise feature an explanation of how to complete it, with correct positions, actions and tips, and of common problems, but each also provides images showing correct form.
A real perk of registering comes in the "Workout Expert" section. Answer more probing questions about age, fitness goals and equipment availability to get more specific workouts. I selected from 15 programs to help my ailing knee and keep in shape for next year's softball season. John A. McNulty, a 10-year veteran of personal training, prepared most of the exercises.
The obligatory fitness news appears with items culled from a wide variety of sources, including the Detroit News, Associated Press and Guardian Unlimited.
One final place to peruse, "Newsletter," is filled with facts and links. Visitors can find sobering statistics such as this one: As many as 250,000 deaths each year in the United States can be attributed to a lack of regular activity, according to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Ease of use:

I would recommend setting 15-inch monitors to an 800x600 resolution to view the entire site, or use a 17-inch screen. Workout.com is most friendly to owners of PCs with the Internet Explorer browser. (My Macintosh crashed twice while I was trying to view pages.)
I also did not appreciate being harassed on every page about buying equipment or clothing (a tank top for only $19 or a stationary bike for $300). I realize Mr. Gigantino's company needs to make money to survive, but the "buy" message was way too annoying.

Don't miss:

Those obsessed with numbers will appreciate the "Cool Tools" section, which offers many ways to measure and compare one's fitness vital statistics. Just fill out the forms to calculate instantly the calories burned during walking and running; to determine a target heart rate; or to estimate consumption of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Overall grade: B (for please "buy" something)

Information on the Internet changes constantly. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your physician. Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message (joseph@twtmail.com).

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