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Physiology and Fitness

Physiology and Fitness

Dean Hodgkin, B.Sc
University of Portsmouth

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Physiology and Fitness

Course No. 1960
Dean Hodgkin, B.Sc
University of Portsmouth
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Course No. 1960
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Course Overview

If there exists a Fountain of Youth, exercise is it. The evidence, of course, is vast, with a multitude of studies highlighting the remarkable, life-enhancing benefits of staying fit. Whether your goal is to live to be 100, run a marathon, reduce your waistline, or just get the most from daily life, functional fitness is the foundation for active and dynamic living and the best quality of life you can have.

And the good news: Even a small amount of regular exercise can make a substantial difference. In fact, you can extend your life, increase your energy, and reduce your chances of acquiring a long list of medical conditions by getting as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day.

But even with knowledge of the benefits of staying fit and a desire to enjoy them, the world of fitness is not easy to navigate. In this era of multiple fitness fads, media-promoted health "gurus,"and an avalanche of exercise products and approaches, reaching your fitness goals can be challenging.

  • How do you find the right fitness program for yourself—one that is both scientifically sound and also appropriate for your own needs and goals?
  • If you already exercise but you're not reaching your fitness goals, how do you get the best long-term results from your fitness work?
  • Moreover, how do you succeed in staying motivated, setting and meeting goals, and fitting exercise into an already busy schedule?

In Physiology and Fitness, international fitness expert Dean Hodgkin delivers inspiring and effective answers to these questions and more, showing you a new, scientifically based way to reach your own optimum fitness and to keep it for life. Physiology and Fitness presents a groundbreaking approach to fitness education that brings together scientific knowledge with results-driven practice in a wholly integrated system, allowing you to enjoy the rich vitality and health that prime fitness offers—whatever your age or current fitness level.

Experience the Extraordinary Rewards of Optimum Fitness

In 24 visually detailed lectures that include interactive demonstrations, as well as twelve 30-minute home-workout videos, Hodgkin takes you on a fascinating, eye-opening tour of your anatomy and physiology, showing you how your body functions and maintains itself and how all of its processes respond to exercise.

In Physiology and Fitness, you'll learn in detail what happens inside your body when you work out and how to use that knowledge to feel your physical best and reach results such as

  • high and consistent energy for work, home life, and recreation;
  • a well-toned and flexible body;
  • a healthy body weight;
  • improved psychological well-being;
  • reduced stress and minimization of its physical effects;
  • improved physical agility, coordination, and balance;
    reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, low back pain, and numerous other conditions; and
  • extension of the prime of your life and youthful activity.

This course provides a comprehensive fitness resource, whether you're new to exercise, you work out regularly, or you're an advanced fitness enthusiast.

Master the Science behind Exercise

In Physiology and Fitness, you'll investigate the fundamental health-related components of fitness, comprising cardiovascular capability, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Using vivid diagrams and animations, Hodgkin leads you on a compelling discovery of the science involved, including these vital subjects:

  • The cardiovascular system: Study the miraculous mechanism of your heart and vascular network, how and why exercise strengthens your heart, and the role of cardio work in all phases of fitness training.
  • The muscular system: Discover the complex system of your muscles (the matrix of all physical movement), their individual functions, and how resistance training works to strengthen and tone your body.
  • Spinal engineering: Learn about the anatomy of your spine, spinal motion, and the important principles of "core strength,"with a focus on ways to target the spine-related muscles in exercises that promote back health.
  • The science of stretching: Learn about the vital role of stretching and flexibility in long-term health and longevity, and practice three types of stretching techniques for improving your range of motion, posture, and ability to relax.
  • The authentic laws of weight loss: By grasping the physiology of calorie burning, the laws of cardio and resistance training, and the principles of weight loss and maintenance, you'll be better prepared to realistically achieve your optimal body composition.
  • Countering the aging process: Learn astonishing facts about aging, how numerous conditions we associate with getting older are actually the result of inactivity, and how exercise dramatically slows and can even reverse the effects of aging.

Workouts for Maximum Results

Following the 24 core lectures, the final section of the course presents 12 workout videos, each one finely honed to maximize your training time as you put your knowledge into practice. Featuring female and male models who are learning these routines for the first time, these 12 videos emphasize workouts that involve equipment—and those you can perform without it. In addition, the equipment used in these exercises is probably equipment you already have lying around, is inexpensive and easy to find, or (in most cases) can be improvised. Workouts include these types:

  • Body weight workout: Using only the weight of your body against gravity, you can do this sequence anywhere, anytime, working all areas of your body in 13 highly efficient exercises for functional fitness.
  • Dumbbell workout: A great approach for toning your physique, this weight training workout uses a range of dumbbell exercises that target alternating muscle groups in your arms, shoulders, legs, chest, and abdominal areas.
  • Step interval workout: With a simple step board platform, this workout combines cardio and strength training in a comprehensive range of exercises to burn calories, improve balance, and tone your body.
  • Balance board workout: This particular workout is highly effective for developing and improving your agility, balance, and core strength—and also involves 20% more muscle fibers than you'd use during a flat-surface workout.

A Thorough and Comprehensive Body of Knowledge

Highlighting his presentation with cutting-edge research from many sources, your instructor incorporates not only hands-on demonstrations of key points but video commentary from leading health experts, including Professor Steven Novella on the myths of fitness and aging, Professor Robert Sapolsky on stress reduction and exercise, and Professor Jason Satterfield on the link between exercise and a healthy mind.

A provocative and engrossing speaker, Hodgkin packs his lectures with surprising and enlightening information about fitness and the body, including these diverse topics:

  • The vital effects of exercise on your respiration, joints, and bones
  • Practical and effective ways to overcome barriers to exercise
  • How to stay active in the workplace, and how to integrate exercise into numerous daily activities
  • Proper and safe ways to exercise and to protect yourself from injury
  • How fitness training positively affects mood, well-being, and self-esteem
  • The remarkable benefits of balance training, water exercise, and exercise during pregnancy
  • How inactivity and sedentary living pose very real risks to your health
  • The astounding benefits of walking, for both overall health and weight loss

An Unprecedented Opportunity in Fitness Training

No other fitness program you will find offers this integrated body of materials and flexibility as a learning system. You can use the filmed workouts directly,
each one carefully constructed to make the most effective use of your exercise time. Or you can use the course material, demonstrations, and accompanying video glossary to build on the workouts, shaping your own fitness program to your personal preferences and modifying it over time as your needs change. With nearly two hours of DVD extra features such as

  • a comprehensive video glossary,
  • video FAQs, and
  • a 3-D model highlighting the body's major muscle groups

Physiology and Fitness is a vibrant and engaging way, one you won't find anywhere else, to learn about health and fitness.

In this course, Hodgkin delivers an unmistakable message: Your ability to enjoy the best of life, day by day, year by year, is intimately related to your physical resources and the care of your body. Physiology and Fitness offers you nothing less than the chance to change the course of your own health and vitality—to build a strong, energized, and vital body, and to know the pleasure and freedom of optimum fitness for life.

Hide Full Description
36 lectures
 |  31 minutes each
Year Released: 2012
  • 1
    Components of Fitness
    Begin by considering the life-enhancing value of fitness and the remarkable statistics showing its wide range of benefits for your physical and mental health. In approaching the specifics of exercise, you’ll investigate the health-related components of fitness, including cardiovascular health, muscular endurance and strength, flexibility, and body composition. x
  • 2
    How Fit Are You?
    Measuring the core elements of your own fitness is an important step in designing and managing an exercise program. Here, learn about the principal methods of fitness testing and how to set benchmarks to monitor your own progress. Guided by filmed demonstrations, perform your own at-home tests covering the areas of fitness you learned about in the first lecture. x
  • 3
    Overcome the Barriers to Exercise
    This lecture looks in depth at potential obstacles encountered in exercise. Examine the logistical and psychological challenges in designing a fitness program and how to overcome them. Explore the elements of motivation and effective approaches to setting fitness goals. Also, learn some of the many ways you can integrate exercise into your daily routine. x
  • 4
    Your Heart in Action
    Here, investigate the fabulous mechanism of your own heart, the system of blood flow through the body, and exactly why the heart becomes stronger through exercise. Learn about the primary cardiovascular workouts—including continuous training, interval training, and cross training—and their effects on your quality of life. x
  • 5
    The Fitness of Breathing
    In exploring the respiratory system, study the processes of breathing and lung function and the ways in which exercise benefits all maladies of the lungs. Then practice a group of breathing exercises from different traditions, noting how they improve cardiac function, decrease stress, and aid both physical and mental health. x
  • 6
    You Can Reduce Stress
    Exercise offers one of the most effective defenses against stress. First, look at the root causes of stress, its debilitating symptoms, and specific self-help tactics to counter it, including relaxation techniques, meditation, and even laughing. Conclude with a series of targeted physical exercises to release stress from all areas of the body. x
  • 7
    Fitness and Pregnancy
    Contrary to common myths, intelligent exercise provides numerous benefits during pregnancy. Study how exercise affects the changes taking place in a pregnant woman’s body. See how the core principles of exercise apply during pregnancy and learn specific recommendations for prenatal exercise and for returning to normal fitness afterward. x
  • 8
    Refuel, Recover, and Reenergize
    Proper physical recovery, both after exercise and between workouts, is essential to achieving fitness goals. Learn about the physiology of fatigue and rest and the fundamentals of refueling, including carbohydrate, protein, and fluid intake. Then, study physical recovery after exercise, highlighting water therapy, stretching, myofascial release, and self-massage techniques. x
  • 9
    Thinking—The Brain-Body Connection
    This lecture explores the significant effects of physical activity on brain function and psychological health. Investigate the capacity of exercise to build your self-esteem, elevate your mood, and improve your cognitive function and sleep habits. Also, explore the use of mental imagery to boost your physical performance and deepen your well-being. x
  • 10
    Healthy Joints for Life
    Now discover the body’s incredible system of joints and the role of the joints in human mobility. Study the structure and function of all the major joints and why exercise is crucial for their health and longevity. Consider the various forms of joint problems and specific ways to overcome them. x
  • 11
    Protecting Yourself from Injury
    Injury in exercise can be minimized or avoided completely with a clear knowledge of its potential. Begin by tracking how injuries heal, then review common activity-related injuries and their remedies. After that, study the psychological factors in injury, approaches to pain management, and how to calibrate your fitness program to avoid injury. x
  • 12
    The Amazing Benefits of Balance
    This lecture explores balance training as a prime preventive tool for health. Investigate the processes involved in balance and the role of balance in all physical activity. Practice a spectrum of exercises to improve your posture, coordination, reaction speed, strength, and flexibility. Also, learn about advanced techniques for improving your sports performance. x
  • 13
    Fueling Fitness
    Every biological process requires energy. Understanding energy production, therefore, gives you far-reaching insight into exercise. Study the body’s three basic fuels (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), the three systems of energy production in the body, and, in practice, how to train these energy systems to get the fitness results you’re after. x
  • 14
    Why Everyone Should Exercise in Water
    For many people of all fitness levels, the pool is becoming the new gym. Here, immerse yourself in the numerous benefits of water-based workouts, delving into fluid dynamics as they affect exercise. Study a range of tips for your pool workout and learn about variations such as water-based yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. x
  • 15
    The Secret Life of Muscles
    Physical strength and endurance—as well as movement itself—rest on the body’s complex system of muscles. Study the basics of muscle construction and action and the muscular movements in all the key joints. Learn in detail about resistance training and how to construct dynamic workouts around your own fitness goals. x
  • 16
    Strong to the Bone
    Discover the living structure of the skeleton, the surprising construction and variety of the bones, and how bone health plays a critical role in the quality of your later life. Then, see how resistance training increases bone density, and review the many training options that can delay or even reverse bone deterioration and osteoporosis. x
  • 17
    Getting Your Back on Track
    The engineering marvel of the spine provides support for your entire body. Study the anatomy of the spine, spinal motion, and the concept of “core strength”—the action of the spine-related muscles working together. In filmed demonstrations, target the core muscles in exercise, laying the foundation for a healthy back for life. x
  • 18
    21st-Century Yoga
    Drawing on a 3,000-year-old tradition, consider the many proven health benefits of “fitness yoga,” which aims to enhance muscular balance and strength, develop flexibility, and improve skeletal posture and lung capacity. In this lecture, demystify the complexities of yoga. Here, you’ll practice a sequence of three basic poses and discover how to link them as a routine. x
  • 19
    Walk Your Way to Fitness
    This lecture highlights the remarkable and underappreciated rewards of walking. Track the research documenting the numerous health parameters affected by walking, including its cardiovascular, weight loss, and disease-reduction benefits. Learn the physiology of walking motion, key principles for walking workouts, and three walking techniques you can use to improve your health and fitness. x
  • 20
    The Amazing Benefits of Stretching
    As one of the core health-related components of fitness, flexibility plays a fundamental role in your quality of life and longevity. Using filmed demonstrations, learn three kinds of stretching techniques (as well as guidelines for your own stretching program) to enhance your range of motion and physical relaxation, reduce risk of injury, and improve posture. x
  • 21
    Stay Active—Defy the Aging Process
    Explore the nature of aging in all of the body’s systems and the extraordinary capacity of exercise to slow and even reverse the biological clock. Target relevant exercises for cardio fitness, strength/endurance, flexibility, balance, and motor skills. Also, establish an exercise blueprint for each decade of your life. x
  • 22
    Sitting Disease
    As the flip side of physical activity, prolonged sitting poses real hazards for your health. Study the physiological effects of sedentary living and the risks and loss of functionality that result. Learn a four-prong system to improve your future health by introducing more activity at work, at home, and while flying and driving. x
  • 23
    Exercise for Weight Loss
    Beyond aesthetic matters, weight management is a fundamental issue for health and longevity. This lecture explores exercise as a dynamic tool for weight loss, showing you how and why it works. Learn about exercise programs and approaches for weight-loss training and the factors involved in successfully maintaining your new weight. x
  • 24
    Mobilizers and Stabilizers—Managing Your Abs
    The perfectly flat stomach remains the most popular aesthetic indictor of fitness. In understanding this key area, uncover the structure of the “mobilizer” and “stabilizer” muscles and their unique functions. Practice a series of moving and isometric exercises to tone them, serving both to look your best and build a strong core. x
  • 25
    Body Weight Workout
    This first workout uses only the weight of your body against gravity, providing a whole body workout you can do anywhere, with no cost and no special equipment. Emphasizing everyday movements for functional fitness, this lecture shows you 13 core floor and standing exercises that target all areas of the body. x
  • 26
    Medicine Ball Workout
    Prized by athletes since ancient times, the medicine ball is an ideal exercise tool to develop power for personal fitness and sports performance. Here, perform a complete top-to-toe workout with the ball, targeting flexion, extension, rotation movements, and muscle groups including your shoulder girdle, triceps, abdominals, and core muscles. x
  • 27
    Step and Interval Workout
    Using a simple step platform, this workout combines cardio and strength exercises that work your upper and lower body. Alternating one minute of cardio and one minute of strength work (with 30 seconds of rest in between), perform a comprehensive range of exercises to burn calories, improve balance, and tone your body. x
  • 28
    Dumbbell Workout
    Beyond its many remarkable health benefits, resistance training is the number one choice for changing or “sculpting” your physique. Using the principle of your muscles’ adaptation to work against resistance, practice a series of eight dumbbell exercises, targeting alternating muscle groups in your arms, shoulders, legs, chest, and abdominal areas. x
  • 29
    Combat Workout
    Using no equipment, this workout employs intense cardio combat movements and develops the skill-related elements of agility, balance, and coordination. Learn a series of defensive blocks as well as dynamic punches and powerful kicks, linking them together in sequences to burn calories and reshape your whole body. x
  • 30
    Fitness Ball Workout
    Challenging you to work against an unstable surface, this large, inflatable ball is a versatile tool for achieving whole-body strength and alignment. Practice a range of exercises in different positions with the ball, working muscle groups including the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs, back muscles, and rotator cuffs. x
  • 31
    Balance Board Workout
    Exercising with a balance board challenges your body’s joint receptors that control movement and balance, as well as recruits 20% more muscle fibers than a flat-surface workout. Learn 13 key exercises using the board, in a total-body workout for toning, balance, and core strength. x
  • 32
    Kettlebell Workout
    First used by the Russian military in the 18th century, the kettlebell allows for swinging movements and working with momentum, stimulating a different muscular response from other resistance tools. Practice an eight-exercise workout, using the kettlebell to build your cardio fitness, endurance, core strength, posture, and coordination. x
  • 33
    Plyometrics Workout
    Also known as “jump training,” plyometrics uses the principle of increasing muscular power by stretching muscles before contracting them. In this time-efficient, intensive workout, focus on six jump-based exercises, dynamically working both your legs and upper torso, burning calories and toning all of the major muscles in your body. x
  • 34
    Resistance Band Workout
    The resistance band, an elastic tube with handles on either end, is an ingenious exercise tool, allowing you to do a full muscular strength workout at home or while traveling. Using the band’s resistance in various positions, work a range of muscle groups in your arms, chest, back, shoulders, and legs. x
  • 35
    Training Bar Workout
    Weighted and roughly three feet long, the training bar is a convenient home-use tool for building muscular strength and endurance. Practice a spectrum of exercises that will work and tone numerous muscle groups, develop your arms and legs, and integrate strength in your upper and lower body. x
  • 36
    Stretching Routine
    This concluding workout is designed as both a daily flexibility routine and as a sequence you can use at the end of any of the other workouts. After reviewing the core principles of flexibility training, you’ll practice a pleasurable and invigorating group of static stretches that will release all the areas of your body. x

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Your professor

Dean Hodgkin

About Your Professor

Dean Hodgkin, B.Sc
University of Portsmouth
International fitness expert Dean Hodgkin has presented master classes and seminars to fitness instructors in more than 30 countries. Voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the One Body One World awards in New York, he has appeared on numerous television and radio programs worldwide. A three-time World Karate Champion and a two-time European Karate Champion, Hodgkin earned a B.Sc. honors degree in Mathematics and...
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Also By This Professor


Rated 4.4 out of 5 by 29 reviewers.
Rated 4 out of 5 by This is the Great Course I Use the Most I’m a 44-year-old woman who has exercised regularly for nearly 30 years, but lately the forces of chaos really seem to be gaining some ground, especially in the joints and back. I bought this course for extra motivation and also for some fresh ideas and maybe kinder and gentler modes of exercise. I confess I waited for some reviews before I purchased it, because, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to judge Hodgkin’s credentials. He’s not a physician, a physical therapist, or a university professor, and I don’t believe he has an equation named after him. Instead, he’s described as a world-renowned fitness instructor, and let’s face it, there are a lot of these guys around, and the quality varies wildly. Richard Simmons is also a world-renowned fitness instructor. So I wasn’t sure what to expect with Dean Hodgkin and this course. I finally had to rely on my previous good experience with The Teaching Co. and buy on faith. I am happy to say my faith was generally justified. At no time does Hodgkin appear in a sequined tank top although he does wear an ironically red shirt during the stress reduction lecture. The lectures are good and for me there is as much benefit to be derived from them as from the workouts, even if you’ve already heard some of the material before. It does not hurt (in fact it helps) to be reminded of the benefits of physical fitness and a positive attitude. The physiology presented in the lectures is pretty basic but interesting and enough information to get you going if you want to learn more from other sources. Where the lecture material really gets thought-provoking, and maybe controversial, is on the fitness side of things. Be warned that fitness is a soft subject with its share of myths and superstitions and not everything presented in this course will resonate. For me about 80% of the fitness advice and data presented was believable. This is ok and I don’t mind applying my own good sense to a course like this. For instance, I maintained a fairly high intensity fitness regimen through two pregnancies so naturally I don’t agree with every word of the pregnancy lecture. But so what? I commend Hodgkin for including the lecture and one has to admire his courage there, since it is delightfully obvious he has experienced exactly zero pregnancies. I also especially enjoyed the lectures concerning the psychological aspects of fitness, such as motivation and the mental health benefits of physical exercise. Motivation is a huge subject and probably deserves its own course, because this is where a lot of us struggle in maintaining healthy lifestyles. There are also some exercise demo’s, such as those for breathing and balance, buried within the lectures that I found useful. These are not necessarily included on the workout DVD’s. Concerning the workouts, I will say the downside first. Most of the workouts incorporate equipment that you may or may not have, and some of it can be expensive. It is best to have access to a well-stocked gym to get the most out of the workouts. Hodgkin has a pleasing, well-proportioned, natural-looking physique and I wouldn’t be ashamed to work out with him anywhere. I think from some comments he makes that his age must be near my own which makes his physical condition all the more inspiring to me. He is much more relaxed in the workout studio than in the lectures, but he still maintains professionalism 98% of the time, so most people should at least be able to tolerate him for a workout or two (this is not faint praise). The workouts are about 30 minutes each, and none relies on rhythm, which will be a relief to some folks. The music is very much in the background and most of the time you are doing a certain number of reps of a single exercise, or doing a single exercise for a given amount of time. The majority of exercises are easy to learn although performing them may be a challenge. I have access to a good gym, so I have done each workout in its entirety, with the exception of the kettlebell workout. Occasionally if I am stuck at home I will do an entire workout as it is presented; however, the way I usually use these workouts, as well as the video glossary, is more as a collection of individual strength-training exercises that I can add or change within my routine at the gym. The variety of exercises is excellent and especially helpful for those of us who have joint and back issues. Hodgkin is great at demonstrating proper form and many of the folks making fitness videos could learn a lot from him. I don’t use these workouts for cardio very much because they don’t challenge my level of fitness in that area. There is one big exception: the plyometrics workout. It should be called the 20-Minute Hangover Cure. If you want to raise your anaerobic threshold significantly and quickly do that workout once a week for a few weeks and see what happens. With the help of this course, I have a committed and intelligently-designed strength-training routine that does not exacerbate my back pain (this is a big deal for me, folks). I have also added balance training to my workouts, including Tai Chi. Like another reviewer, I love the way the core is worked and focused upon in this course and I am so much more aware of my core than before. Lastly, there are lots more interesting ideas to try from this course in the future, like water exercise and power walking. This has been a very valuable course for me with a great deal of practical application. I do wish a discussion of anabolic steroids and doping had been included. It can be difficult for an average person to set realistic fitness goals when it isn’t obvious what realistic is. October 18, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Great lecturer, great course Very worthwhile investment in money and time. Reseach based and accessible, i would recommend this course to elderly parents and aspirering young athletes alike. March 27, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by Your Body During Fitness - The Inner Workings If you are ever curious or wondering about what is happening in your body during exercising then this course would answer this question completely and then some. After 36 lectures, approximately about a dozen active demonstrations I think this is really about as much information as a beginner & intermediate person looking into fitness would ever need. It is just so packed full of information. I was enlightened, indeed! However, as a caution if a viewer does not remember their advanced high school biology or their freshman Biology 101 then those nondemonstration lectures are sure to be tedious. As an example the professor (an international fitness expert!) goes into the breakdown of ATPs when you and your muscles begin to exercise. The only negative, and I really mean the only negative I can think of for this entire series is that watching those "regular people" perform exercise routines and "sweating it through" really made me fell less motivated?! It didn't look like they were having much fun exercising. So the take home message is that these presentations give fitness information but did not help with getting couch potatoes motivated. April 19, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by So Much Information I have been looking for a tape or book that would break down the body: how exercise works, how the body functions, how the muscles work and interact with each other. I needed an overall view of all of this information instead of getting hit or miss books that may or may not supply the information I am looking for. I got this because I care about my health and wanted to go a step further, I am 60 but feel 35 and have been exercising for years. I do not have enough knowledge to continue to improve my health as I age and wanted something that would really be informative and take the fear out of progressing instead of regressing. I like feeling healthy and in this society, I see too much dependence on drugs and see people that age, getting lazy. You don't have to, you can still participate and be vital and strong and healthy. This tape and accompanying book is amazing, filled with knowledge and presented in an interesting, engaging way. Dean Hodgkin is exceptional. He is knowledgeable and motivational. He wants you to participate and be healthy. He cares. I highly recommend this to all ages, with a good attitude and desire you too can become fit and healthy. March 2, 2015
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  • loc_en_US, sid_1960, prod, sort_default
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