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John Van Eeden on His Journey to Revolutionize Exercise

Xlibris author John Van Eeden has been an exercise and fitness buff for as long as he can remember. His mechanical and piping design profession took him to places as far away as Jordan and Iran, half a world away from his native town of Caledon, Ontario, Canada.

Wherever Van Eeden went, he would always search out local fitness clubs to join and kept to a daily regimen of rigorous exercise, his lifelong passion. Even after four operations on his knees and one on his spine, Van Eeden continues to actively participate in classes like boot camp, strength training, Zumba, Pilates, and yoga. Having since retired, the author is now a registered fitness instructor specialist and has taken older adult fitness courses.

While recovering from his spinal operation, Van Eeden read national and international health and fitness literature by the dozen and noticed that fitness for men and women was always separated. This gave him the idea of putting both genders’ exercises together and inspired him to write his own book Exercise Revolution.

We caught up with the Xlibris author to gain insights on his book, his workouts, and his publishing experience.

The aim of your book Exercise Evolution is to combine both men’s and women’s exercises together. How will this benefit people in their workouts, especially those new to fitness?

The Xlibris-published book explicitly explains how to start exercising, with clear step by step instructions and color photographs. Even a person who has never exercised will feel comfortable reading Exercise Evolution. The workouts were specifically chosen to benefit both males and females. Those not new to fitness and also fitness instructors can use the book to help them improve their fitness regiment and add variation to their workouts.

You have exercised all over the world and in many weather conditions. Where was your most exotic workout location and which was the one place that made it hardest to get through your workout?

The most exotic workout I must say was in Amman, Jordan, where I was assigned to a large construction project next to the Dead Sea. I experienced temperatures of +40C to +60C. I was the Construction Coordinator for the project, in other words I was most of the work day outside in the extreme heat and almost 8 hours under the blazing sun.

After the work day was over, I would go to my small air-conditioned bed/sitting room, change myself in shorts and running shoes, and hit the Dead Sea Highway for my daily jog of about 10km. Very often the temperature would still be in the 48C range. A lot of people called jogging in temperatures of 48C dangerous, but I have conditioned my body in such a way that I was able to jog day in and day out in high 48C and in -37C without problems. It’s absolutely dry at the Dead Sea, even with a 10km jog, in very high temperature a person hardly sweats.

The toughest workouts I experienced were in Teheran, Iran where I joined the badminton club. The facility alone was absolutely Spartan, and the floor was very dangerous and slippery, especially after being covered with sweat.

All the equipment, like nets, and shuttle cocks or badminton birds, we played with, would have been thrown out a long time ago here in North America. The badminton coach insisted that the players do 30 to 40 minutes jogging and stretching first, inside the humid 38C building, without fans or air-conditioning, before setting foot on the courts.

How have you adjusted and adapted your workout methods to allow you to continue to exercise after your knee and spinal operations?

I damaged my right knee with playing badminton and jogging. The first injury was a torn Meniscus, the second a scope, the third a torn Anterior Cruciate ligament and the fourth a scope. I continued to walk shortly after each operation. As my knee healed my walks became more brisk. Eventually my walks turned into jogging. I also continued my activities at the gym. The herniated disc in the spine occurred about 3 years after the last knee operation. Soon after the spinal operation I participated in core strengthening exercises, such as Pilates and Yoga and continued walking. I recovered very quickly and after 3 months was ready for boot camp, metabolic training, sculpt and other more intensive exercises. Jogging helped me to continuously improve my endurance, strengthening my heart and cardiovascular system

How important were your fitness levels in contributing to your sporting achievements and can you give us some examples? Have you ever taken part in any fitness competitions such, as the CrossFit Games?

Having a very high fitness level, and maintaining it no matter what, is very important. Muscle strength declines within 4 to 6 weeks of inactivity, and besides that a person’s motivation will go down the drain as well. My advice is to keep on moving, even if you are disabled due to poor health or injury. Keeping myself very active in sports, and improving my endurance by jogging in hilly terrain, helped me to participate in the most intensive exercise classes, like boot camp, metabolic training, sculpt and ballistic training. Those classes are usually for the much younger population. I have taken part in several competitive badminton and bowling competitions, and have taken home several trophies.

Are there any exercises in your book you think experienced fitness enthusiasts will be surprised to see in a book designed for both men and women?

Yes, there are exercise in the Exercise Evolution book, that would be surprising and new to the experienced and strong fitness enthusiast in particular the ghetto, and ballistic exercises, and the Stability Dome Push-ups.

Are you currently working on any new book projects and can you give us a sneak preview of what to expect?

I am working on an extension of the Exercise Evolution book. The manuscript will be modified to suit the latest scientific studies concerning human movements, strength, behavior, and human consumption of foods and vitamins. The kings of exercises like lunges, squads, dead lifts, knee lifts, triceps dips, wood chopper, push ups, pull ups and crunches will remain, and other exercises will be added for more challenging routines. The extension of the Exercise Evolution book will also come in a CD version.

How was your experience working with Xlibris as Exercise Evolution’s publisher and would you recommend Xlibris to other authors?

The experience working with Xlibris was challenging, especially in the beginning, because I felt that there was no knowledgeable editor or graphic designer involved. My team did all the editing and graphic designing. However, at the end, the book turned out to be an excellent book and also a piece of art.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors when considering self-publishing and marketing their work?

My advice for aspiring authors when considering self-publishing and marketing their work, is to select a publisher that is experienced with the type of work you’re doing. Insist that they work on one page of your work and mail it to you when they have finished it so that you can judge for yourself if they did a great job. Very few publishers will do such a thing, but insist, and if they don’t do it, go to another publisher.

Do you have a particular writing or professional ethos you follow and might be of help to other authors?

Writing a book is not for everyone, but if you do write a book, when you’re an absolute beginner don’t be afraid to ask for other peoples opinions and advice. Listen to their advice very closely, and when you’re finished your manuscript, let other people critique it, and let them do the editing. John Van Eeden’s Exercise Evolution is available on the Xlibris Bookstore.