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Fitness book of the week - LL Cool J's Platinum Workout

LL Cool J
LL Cool J
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Hugely successful rapper and actor LL Cool J created his own fitness system in 2006, in conjunction with his trainer, Dave "Scooter" Honig. There is a website for the system -, and a book. The gist of the book is a plan using three basic foundations—Food, Fitness & Flexibility— to achieve a stronger body, better blood pressure and lower cholesterol. The program says that users will experience dramatically boosted energy levels and "ridiculous amounts of endurance." Well, it certainly seems to have worked for LL from the evidence in the abundant color photos of James in full exercise mode.

LL was not in such fabulous shape before Scooter got a hold of him. LL had just finished making Rollerball, and was getting ready for his Ten tour. One day, he was eating pizza with a friend when he made a decision to lose 40 lbs, and he did it. He says that he is not special in any way, he succeeded because his decision was "supported by a willingness to work hard to accomplish what (he) needed to accomplish." He wants to make sure that everyone feels that such success is possible - "It's important that all of you know that you can do anything if you put your mind to it." Right on, LL.

LL's personality and great sense of humor shine throughout the book. The Platinum Workout plan has four levels of fitness from Bronze to Platinum. There is a 4-week beginner’s program intended to take inches off the waist and boost energy, a 5-week program for intermediates that increases strength while maintaining muscular and cardiovascular endurance, an advanced 9-week program that "turns the body into a muscle-building and fat-burning machine with as much energy as LL Cool J" , and the hardcore 3-week fat-torching program LL used for the "Control Myself" video—a new level in ripped-to-the-bone fitness and sex appeal.

What appeals the most to women is the special 4-week "Diamond" program. The plan is for women "seeking to shape up fast for summer or an upcoming event." It includes meal plans and recipes that fuel workouts while burning fat with food, as well as a smorgasbord of helpful tips on style and equipment. Some examples are weighted vests, music, and HR monitors. The website offers a free trial of LL's program for 21 days, but you can check out the book for free at your local library, or buy your own. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a humorous, fun workout infused with a hip-hop sensibility.