The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer

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Overview

A quick guide to getting in shape and improving performance from New York Times “Phys Ed” columnist and author of the New York Times Bestseller The First 20 Minutes 

Do you really know how to get fit and healthy?

Bringing us cutting edge research and science-based prescriptions, Gretchen Reynolds shows us what we do and do not need to do to reach out fitness goals, whether that means running a marathon or just getting off the couch or. ...

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The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer

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Overview

A quick guide to getting in shape and improving performance from New York Times “Phys Ed” columnist and author of the New York Times Bestseller The First 20 Minutes 

Do you really know how to get fit and healthy?

Bringing us cutting edge research and science-based prescriptions, Gretchen Reynolds shows us what we do and do not need to do to reach out fitness goals, whether that means running a marathon or just getting off the couch or. Busting popular myths, looking at which supplements actually work, giving us the lowdown on weight training, and singing the praises of just standing up, The First 20 Minutes Personal Trainer is the guide to take wherever you take your workout.  

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gretchen Reynolds writes the Phys Ed column in the New York Times, and her book is an informative and entertaining review of current science about exercise and fitness, with good, commonsense recommendations that cut through confusing, often conflicting research on the subject. The author pulls no punches—with good humor she zeroes in and proves that almost everything we think we know about exercise is wrong. A very rational and readable volume, it is first and foremost a user’s manual that also explains that much of what we have been advised to do is inappropriate and possibly dangerous, especially since we must exercise to achieve a healthy, lifestyle disease–beating, aging-retarding regimen. Dispelling myths and deconstructing commonly held but inaccurate beliefs on almost every page, Reynolds reveals, for example, why stretching is bad, but warming up before working out is good; why it’s better to drink (only water) before and after exercise, not during; that a normal, healthy diet, not “training” food is all we need; why it’s harder for women than men to lose weight and keep it off; and why ibuprofen actually blunts exercise. Armed with the information in this book, readers will be inspired and motivated to reassess their habitual exercise programs and make positive changes. (June)
Library Journal
Trying to find the latest information and advice on exercise? New York Times "Phys Ed" columnist Reynolds has done an expert job of processing and reporting recent research on the human body's capacity for fitness—what is achievable and how the average reader can meet these physical goals. Each chapter deals with a particular aspect of fitness, some of which are particularly mystifying (e.g., the cause of cramps). Reynolds compares past beliefs and practices with current research findings and gives readers information about optimal routines in such areas as nutrition, stretching, brain fitness, and interval training. She uses her reporting skills to gain insights from specialists throughout the text to help explain and explore the topics. VERDICT A well-written and thorough overview of fitness, this book doesn't require readers to wade through statistics or specific scientific trial information. Those who prefer more hard data may find the material too digested; it lacks a detailed list of citations and references, though the names of researchers and institutions are included. Overall, this would make an excellent addition to any consumer health—or personal—collection.—Elizabeth J. Eastwood, Los Alamos P.L. Syst., NM
Kirkus Reviews
A fitness columnist for the New York Times dispenses documented exercise science for a healthier life. In this healthful refresher course, Reynolds acknowledges the ubiquity of redundant and contradictory fitness material available to those seeking advice. In an effort to condense and clarify, she begins with expected wisdom, offering unsurprising declarations on the serious health consequences for those Americans who lead a sedentary lifestyle. These consequences are preventable, however, and Reynolds presents some surprising ways to change things up. She's at her strongest (and most intriguing) in chapters debunking and devaluing some much-touted rituals like massage therapy, extended workouts, warm-up routines, carb-loading, water intake, fat burning, weight loss and nutritional supplements. Imparting advice supported by physicians, academics, group control studies and scientific research, Reynolds gives the type of practical information can be useful for both seasoned gym-goers and those just beginning to equate exercise with disease prevention and longevity. The author's confident narrative demeanor is a good fit for the delivery of her material as it breathes new life into the well-worn fundamentals of core fitness training, injury prevention, wholesome dieting and how exercise can promote graceful aging. She concludes each chapter with condensed, bottom-line specifics that will prove immensely helpful to readers short on time and attention. Whether directed at a marathoner or a once-a-week sprinter, Reynolds' important message rings true: "The body wants to move," she writes. "Go with it." Solid advice with motivational oomph to get you up and running.
Danny Dreyer
"[This book] 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 overtraining."
Dan Coyle
"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."
Dean Karnazes
"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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594630934
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/26/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

GRETCHEN REYNOLDS pens the “Phys Ed” column for the New York Times, which appears on the “Well” blog online and in the Science Times print section. An award-winning journalist, her byline has appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; AARP Magazine; Popular Science; and Outside, among others. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    funniest and most talented writer i've read in years!

    this book is so well written that i am constantly reading parts aloud to anyone close enough to listen.... i can't stop recommending it! i love the author's witty and sharp style, she is amazing. if you like science, memoirs, trivia or if you just want to live to be 100, read this book!

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I always enjoy Gretchen's NYTimes articles, so was happy to see her same lovely writing style and perfectly researched information in book format. Learned much-- not only about exercise but about general health. Excellent read! Thank you Gretchen.

    21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2012

    Even though I'm a middle-aged woman who doesn't exercise near en

    Even though I'm a middle-aged woman who doesn't exercise near enough, I really enjoyed this book and the message it's sending. I now have a "Get Moving!" timer on my computer that's set to go off every 20 minutes to remind me to get up and move around. Thanks to Laura Ingraham for interviewing the author on her radio show.

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Discovering Diana

    I first discovered this book whilst vacationing in North Carolina. Pale skin and a natural predestination to shun sand not to mention the awful sunburn I picked up the first day on the beach had combined to keep me in the beachhouse for awhile. In perusing the bookshelves I happened to stumble upon this book of Diana Wynne Jones. While she was already a favorite of mine, I had never even heard of this book.
    Already a bit of an obscure author, Diana writes in the classic British legacy of such authors such as Terry Pratchett of the Discworld series and Jonathan Stroud of the Bartimaeus Sequence. These authors combine dazzeling fantasy worlds with intelligent and toungue-in-cheek humor.
    Diana is probably best known for Howl's Moving Castle and I particularly enjoy her Chronicles of Chrestomanci, however Dark Lord of Derkholm has also found a place on my bookshelf and in my heart as one of my favorite fantasy novels. The quirky story of the Wizard Derk, his eccentric family, and their misadventures create a captivating story that kept me up late every night (or was that the sunburn?) Suitable for both children and adults like me this underappreciated delight should find its way onto your bookshelf whether virtual or tangible.

    3 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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