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Fitness CD-ROM Targets Computer Heavyweights

June 21, 1996

Cory Everson will do abdominal crunches for you, plan your diet and demonstrate low-impact aerobics.

All you have to do is point your mouse and click.

In an unusual marriage of the gym rat and the computer wonk, the TV fitness personality has teamed with CD-ROM developers to create what Everson sees as an interactive alternative to a personal trainer.

``The No. 1 goal is to educate yourself so you can take the information and program out your workout,″ Everson said. ``Most people cannot afford a personal trainer; it costs 30 to 65 bucks an hour.″

``Cory Everson: Body, Mind and Soul,″ is listed to retail at about $40 _ a do-it-yourself-level price for those ready to take on the job of being their own trainer.

The CD-ROM’s data-dense format gives the user the facts found in books, the demonstrations found on videos and the personal planning potential of workbooks, Everson believes.

For instance, the text in the section on step aerobics tells the reader how to stand (``tall, with your shoulders in line with your hips, your abdominals contracted and your tailbone pointed down″). For those who’d rather see it, an animation loop has three dancers to demonstrate. And for those who’d like some encouragment from Everson, an audio clip has her advising, ``There is no better way to burn fat and build a high-powered cardiovascular system.″

The CD-ROM also functions as a diet book, with nutritional data from the U.S. Agriculture Department. Plug in your food and your serving size, and the computer spits out your calories.

And it will keep track of your physical conditioning, provided you feed it data on everything from the size of your biceps to your body fat percentage.

For those whose spirits may be flagging, the program even has computerized encouragement. In the ``Exercise″ summary section, the text advises, ``Even on days when you can’t get to the gym, you can find ways to put exercise into your daily habits.″ And Everson’s voice offers encouragement to keep trying.

``People have trouble getting motivated,″ Everson said in a recent interview. ``If you can create results, you can keep them motivated. But to create results, you have to give them the right thing to do.″

However, the CD-ROM’s encyclopedic approach to the wide-ranging disciplines of fitness requires a lot of care and feeding itself. How many people know their resting heart rate? How many even know their cholesterol level? Both are required to make the planner work right.

And, as with many computer programs, learning the system can take a lot of time. Before you start taking up exercises, you have to go through the system to choose them, and there are more than 150 to go through. Before you start your diet, you have to select your foods from thousands on the USDA’s nutritional database.

This doesn’t faze Everson. The six-time Ms. Olympia bodybuilding champion thinks people are up to the job. ``To get results, you have to do a little upfront work,″ she said.

End Adv Weekend Editions June 22-23

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