The First 20 Minutes

  • by Gretchen Reynolds
  • Narrated by Karen Saltus
  • 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Every Wednesday, Gretchen Reynolds singlehandedly influences how millions of Americans work out. In her Phys Ed column for The New York Times, she debunks myths, spurs conversation, and creates arguments among her readers by questioning widely held beliefs about exercise.
Expanding upon her popular columns, Reynolds tackles the questions we all have and (sometimes) ask about exercise. Consulting experts in physiology, biology, psychology, neurology, and sports, she uncovers how often we should exercise, how long workouts should be, how to avoid injury, and how to find the right form, routine, and equipment for our goals.
She also reveals some surprising answers, like:

20 minutes of cardio at a time is enough to obtain maximum health benefits. (And in some cases, just six minutes is all you need.)*
Stretching before a workout is counterproductive. (It's better to just start easy, i.e., walk before you run.)
Core strength is nice but not necessary. (A six-pack looks great but actually has little bearing on performance.)
Walking improves your memory; housecleaning improves your mood. (The brain is like a muscle - it likes to exercise.)
Chocolate milk is better than Gatorade for recovery. (Providing the best sports nutrition is often the simplest.)

Drawing on scientific expertise as well as her own athletic experiences, Gretchen Reynolds will help you find the right workout for your body, age, fitness and goals. Whether your desire is to be fit for the rest of your life, to look great in a smaller dress size, or to run your third marathon in Boston, The First 20 Minutes will make your workouts work for you.


What the Critics Say

"[This audiobook] delivers answers to many perennial training questions [and] does a great job of myth-busting some well-established beliefs. It's a great guide for the mindful athlete who wants to gain all the benefits of physical training while minimizing downtime from injury or over-training." (Danny Dreyer, Founder of Chi Running and co-author of Chi Running, Chi Walking, and Chi Marathon)
"There has never been a better time in history to grow stronger, faster, and smarter; there has never been a more helpful book than Gretchen Reynolds's The First 20 Minutes. Smart, clear, and beautifully useful, this is the new fitness Bible for the modern age." (Dan Coyle, author of The Talent Code and Lance Armstrong's War)
"The First 20 Minutes is packed with interesting tips and insights. Pickle juice for cramps, who would have ever thought! Gretchen Reynolds once again delivers a winner." (Dean Karnazes, uber athlete and New York Times best-selling author of UltraMarathon Man)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good info.

There are hundreds of good tips in this book. It dispels dozens of bits of long-held exercise dogma with plenty of hard science. I would put it in my top five books on exercise and nutrition, and I plan to download the Kindle version and will refer to it often.
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- Grant "caffeinated"

This book doesn't translate well to audio

There is some important and interesting information here, but the narrator is not a great audiobook reader. So many of the better readers use their voice to help guide the listener to what is most important. This one seems excited about everything, which, ironically, made the book feel monotonous. She might do better with a different kind of book. Until I checked, I thought the book had been read by the author.
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- Jennifer Sader

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-24-2012
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC