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.
"[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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A great read, but a little too carb centric.
Okay I learnt a LOT from this book and would definitely recommend it. Gretchen squeezes a lot of the most recent findings related to exercise and nutrition into a concise and informative narrative.
This book has changed the way I think and do my exercise and have already incorporated HIIT style running sessions in my training with great results. There are many other gems of information but I won't spoil it. If you are remotely interested in fitness or just turning back the biological clock this is a must read.
Notes from a low-carb perspective...
Unlike other books the author does not unnecessarily demonise fat, but seems not ready to make the leap to saying fat can be healthy, and Gretchen still conveys a carbohydrate centric view of diet which was a mild but not unexpected disappointment.
In the end her only concession was saying high fat diets are fine if you exercise, I might argue similarly for carb based diet, but thats still not mainstream opinion. Even if you are keto / paleo there is still plenty to learn from this book. enjoy.