Introduction about a powerful introduction. Nomar Garciaparra, a former Major League Baseball player, credits author Mark Verstegen with his personal transformation from a skinny 155-pound high-school baseball player into one of the best conditioned athletes in the major leagues.

Nomar participated in Verstegen’s annual 6-week Core Workout event held in Arizona and religiously followed a workout similar to the one presented in the book: Core Performance: The Revolutionary Workout Program to Transform Your Body and Your Life.

It’s hard to fathom this successful major league baseball player unable to lift a 45-lb bar without any weights on it, but that was the case when Nomar began core fitness training with Verstegen. You would think that the appropriate training would be to commit Nomar to a steady diet of weight lifting. Not so. Instead, Verstegen developed a routine complete with flexibility and balance training as well as routines focused on core strength. The goal was to create a powerful ball player, not a bodybuilder.

In fact, if you had a chance to peak at Nomar’s naked core, you would have seen a model of lean, rippling muscles. He increased his weight from the puny 155 to 190 pounds adding 45 pounds of pure muscle. The Core Workout revealed in Core Performance is similar though not the exact same as what Nomar used. He wanted to add more bulk, so the program was tweaked to help the shortstop beef up. Even beefed up, Nomar was a shining example of a lean, powerful, and shredded athlete.

The Premise

The premise framing Core Performance is that by toning your core stability and suspension system, your overall performance becomes more powerful, consistent and efficient. Bodybuilders may be bigger, but bigger muscles do not equate to more power. They are much less flexible, too.

If you play golf or tennis, ride horses or partake in any type of sport other than bodybuilding, your focus should be on improving core strength and not building massive muscles. A bodybuilder can lift heavy weights, heave massive stones and tow Mac trucks, but they aren’t so good at golf, tennis or baseball. The have little finesse or control of their more refined movements and smaller muscles.

The author, Mark Verstegen, has international recognition as a world-class trainer. In this book he shows you how to use your core to speed up your metabolism, trim your waistline, build muscle, and enjoy new sources of energy. This is a 12-week program incorporating core exercise routines and nutrition.

Book Organization

Core Performance consists of 4 parts and 16 chapters. The Introduction is provided by Major League Baseball player Nomar Garciaparra. His wife, Mia Hamm, an Olympic champion of Women’s Soccer, is also a student of Verstegen and provides insight to Core Performance for women. Brandon Wood, an American Major League baseball player, provides a section of the importance of core fitness for children. The 4 Parts are:

Part 1: Welcome to the Core
Part 2: The Core Workout
Part 3: The Core Nutrition Plan
Part 4: The Core Life Plan

The majority of us aren’t professional athletes. So when we pursue a fitness program it’s usually to lose weight or to improve our looks or both. Some of us may look forward to more energy and an improved overall sense of well-being. However, chances are it never occurred to you that you would perform better with a fitter core. Wouldn’t you rather perform better in everything you do? Perhaps find new opportunities and doors open because you have a reputation as a powerful performer. If you look better too, well, that’s a great side benefit.

Verstegen refers to his program as “prehabilitation” or “prehab” consisting of a exercises designed to prepare your body for movement and challenges. The goal is to keep you out of “rehabilitation” that costly and painful process of recovering after an injury or illness.

A body that resists injury and illness is better than constantly fighting off seasonal illness or totally revamping your lifestyle because you became diabetic. Beyond physical benefits, a fit body helps you better establish your own core values. You enjoy a confidence that takes you through challenges helping you achieve personal and professional success.

Part 1 introduces you to Core Performance concepts and there is a self-evaluation as well as a goal setting form. He provides you examples of what his clients have established as a goal. One man was extremely successful in business, but had never played golf. His goal was to play in the Senior PGA Tour and he accomplished his goal thanks in part to the Core Performance fitness program.

In Part 2 you learn how to prepare your body for movement. Each routine provides you with an Objective, Starting Position, Procedure, Coaching Keys, and where you should feel the results. There are photos showing a person performing the key movements.

Part 3 is about nutrition providing charts of foods tagged as good, neutral or bad for a core fitness nutrition plan. There’s great news for those who may be dreading the idea of a “diet.” You eat 6 meals a day on the Core Performance plan. Granted, these are smaller meals which are rich in foods offering plenty of nutrition. Be prepared to put a bottle of fish oil and flax seed oil in the fridge to supplement vegetable oils. Pizza for breakfast is an option – within reason.

As a trainer of professional athletes, Verstegen asked for feedback from his clients. One thing consistently mentioned was that the athletes enjoyed an entirely new mindset giving them a new approach to everything in their lives. These people released any preconceived notions of personal limits and achieved extraordinary new levels of success.

In the final section, Part 4, Verstegen pulls it all together as a Core Life Plan. The FAQ section is helpful in addressing some questions which are often neglected in other fitness books. For example, what about alcohol. Is there a place for it in the core nutrition plan? Then there’s those sports drinks. And what happens after the 12 week plan – what’s next?

Everyone can of any generation benefits from improved core fitness. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from years of experience offered by Verstegen. Core Performance shows you the same routines and techniques used by professional athletes. No matter your sex, age, or condition, you can create a new body and mental fitness. And you’ll look great doing it too!

Who Benefits

Readers will benefit in several ways from reading and taking action with the methods described in Core Performance. People who practice core fitness will have an improved sense of well-being because they are more flexible, have better balance and a sturdy framework to protect the rest of your body from injury and even illness. Improved fitness reduces the chances of long-term health problems because you are more aware of your body and reduce stressors through exercise. The book also provides you with a lifelong resource you can return to for refreshers on core fitness routines, nutrition plans as well as inspiration and motivation.


Flowers & Feathers 12 Week Fitness & Meal Planners