Zodiaction: Fat-Burning Fitness Tailored to Your Personal Star Quality

Zodiaction: Fat-Burning Fitness Tailored to Your Personal Star Quality

by Ellen Barrett, Barrie Dolnick

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Millions of us turn to horoscopes for guidance in our personal lives—but what about our physical lives? Now, for the first time, a fitness maverick and an acclaimed astrologer combine their expertise to show you how the wisdom of the stars can help you achieve a strong, healthy, heavenly body.

Ever wonder why you dread spinning class while your best


Millions of us turn to horoscopes for guidance in our personal lives—but what about our physical lives? Now, for the first time, a fitness maverick and an acclaimed astrologer combine their expertise to show you how the wisdom of the stars can help you achieve a strong, healthy, heavenly body.

Ever wonder why you dread spinning class while your best friend loves it, or why that yoga DVD is languishing on your shelf? Or why you have trouble getting yourself to the gym? It’s not you—it’s your fitness plan. But your search for the perfect exercise practice ends here. This amazingly insightful book examines what makes your zodiac sign tick—and provides twelve customized diet and fitness regimens based on the strengths and quirks of each one. Discover:

• The top-three foods Aries should stock up on
• Why a Taurus will get good mileage out of a treadmill
• Why Gemini should steer clear of candy
• Why Cancer should stick to noncompetitive workout buddies
• What makes Leo queen of the gym
• What type of massage will send Virgo straight to heaven
• How Libra can achieve inner peace
• The peak hours for Scorpio to exercise
• Why Sagittarius’s legs are her most important feature
• Why Capricorn is a cardio all-star
• What kind of personal trainer makes Aquarius jump for joy
• Why Pisces prefers swimming and self-defense

Plus tips to keep your mind and spirit soaring along with your body. Drawing from a variety of disciplines, Zodiaction will have you breaking a sweat in no time—and loving every minute of it.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Random House Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

Welcome to Zodiaction™! Fitness From the Stars

Have you ever wondered why you:

a. bought a membership to a yoga studio you never use?

b. hopped on the trend wagon and tried a spinning class you detested?

c. bought a ThighMaster, Abdominizer, or Slide ’n’ Glide that now collects dust in your basement?

d. tried running every morning and ended up buying a donut instead?

Chances are you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of the above. That’s because you were trying to fit into fitness.

Keeping fit and being healthy is not a function of keeping up with fitness trends or making yourself do exercises that you loathe. Being fit now is much more than a one-size-fits-all calorie-burning workout and a daily multivitamin because it’s not just about the body. In this new age, we recognize that you have to add your mind and spirit into the wellness puzzle . . . and their interdependence is of crucial importance.

Once you know more about your natural talents, gifts, and foibles, you’ll never waste your time on someone else’s goals again.

Zodiaction offers an entirely new approach to fitness in which you start by knowing yourself and defining who you are—not just in body type or weight. We want you to know your strengths and use them to feel great. We want you to know your weaknesses and understand what triggers negative behavior.

Astrology offers you a unique basis for diagnosing your likes and dislikes, and your ability to stick to a routine, a diet, and a fitness plan. If you ever wondered why you prefer swimming to running, or why you need a game or competition to get you up and out, you’re going to find out now. You will see that it’s not only about what’s best for workouts, but also your diet tendencies, your ability to work out with a buddy or a trainer, and your capacity to use your specialized astro-energy in the world at large.

Zodiaction offers customized fitness solutions based on the astrological signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces). We assert that every person’s perfect get-fit plan is already written in the stars. Each sign has its own particular quirks, strengths, and pitfalls, especially when it comes to being fit, healthy, and truly alive.

The sign of Taurus (April 20–May 20) for example, represents an earthy, fixed, luxury-loving, home-oriented person. The purchase of home workout equipment actually is a smart move for a Taurus. The more activities The Bull can do at home, the happier she is—that treadmill will definitely see some mileage. In contrast, if a Gemini (May 21–June 20) bought that equipment it would only be used as a clothing rack. Gemini thrives on getting out there, exploring, and seeking variety. If she had a home treadmill, she’d need a dozen books, a TV, and an iPod to keep her on it. For the most part a Gemini requires workout excitement.

Appreciating the differences among zodiac signs underscores why one exercise “routine” isn’t good for everyone. Take Leo (July 23–August 22) vs. Pisces (February 19–March 20). Leo, The Lion, is king of the jungle, but in our instance, Leo is queen of the gym! Getting Lions to the gym requires no coercion, since they are known for their physical prowess. The Leo strength is their strength. They can handle tough workouts; they enjoy tough workouts; they want tough workouts— power yoga? high speed intervals around the track?—bring it on. Pisces, The Fish, doesn’t have such sure footing in the gym. A major no-no when trying to motivate Pisces is use of the word “tough” to describe an upcoming workout. Pisces will go hide under a rock, never to be seen again. Pisces might prefer swimming, fluid yoga moves, or self-defense classes. Pisces people might burn calories worrying—so it’s great to divert that expenditure of energy into more positive places.

Combining astrological characteristics with a fitness and diet strategy is natural synergy. Body parts have specific planetary rulers. Knowing how astrology and fitness work together opens a new door to overall self-awareness and wellness. Zodiaction is an irresistible combination of tools that has implications to every aspect of life—health, clarity, love, passion, creativity—it’s all there. Zodiaction brings a novel integration of disciplines and evolves a deeper understanding of mind–body–spirit connection.

A Little Background

We work from two areas of expertise to bring you one smart fitness strategy. We combine over twenty years of experience interpreting the stars with fifteen years of cutting-edge fitness training and education.


From an astrological standpoint, your sun sign stands for your karmic path—and influences everything in your life. If you’re an Aries, you are in this world with Aries motives (be challenged, conquer, celebrate, repeat) and if you’re here as a Cancer, you’re entirely different (nurture, create safe havens, connect, love). Reading your daily horoscope is fine but that will not give you much insight about your true self. You probably know basic characteristics like “Leo loves to be in the limelight,” but you might not know that “Leos hate to be cold so forget swimming in an unheated pool.” You might be interested in learning why you just don’t catch on to fitness fads “like everyone else does” or why your best friend is so attached to her couch. You will probably laugh at how accurately the signs describe your own behavior right off the bat. And once you trust that we know what we’re doing, you’ll find that our fitness suggestions are easy to take.

You may well wonder if twelve zodiac signs can be that different. The answer is a resounding yes! While writing this book we were impressed once again by how distinct each sign is when it comes to motivations, preferences, and attitudes.

To get you started with a little astrological background, here is a summary of the signs and what makes them tick. First, take a look at the chart below and then look up the corresponding element and modality for each sign.

Sign/ Element/ Modality

Aries/ Fire/ Cardinal

Taurus/ Earth/ Fixed

Gemini/ Air/ Mutable

Cancer/ Water/ Cardinal

Leo/ Fire/ Fixed

Virgo/ Earth/ Mutable

Libra/ Air/ Cardinal

Scorpio/ Water/ Fixed

Sagittarius/ Fire/ Mutable

Capricorn/ Earth/ Cardinal

Aquarius/ Air/ Fixed

Pisces/ Water/ Mutable


Astrological signs fall under one of the four elements that, together, are necessary for life as we know it—fire, earth, air, and water. The elements stand for very separate and distinct qualities, and three signs fall under each element. Your sign’s element gives you your first clue to a good mind-body-spirit connection. As you read about your sign, you’ll see how this element is a building block toward the whole picture. Of course, it’s just the beginning. Do you feel somehow connected to your element?

Fire is passion, creativity, and force—Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are fire signs.

Earth is physical reality, abundance, and health—Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are earth signs.

Air is mind, communication, and concepts—Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are air signs.

Water is emotional and intuitive—Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are water signs.


Each sign is also associated with a modality that describes its energy —how does your sign relate to action? Is your sign scattered or impatient, tolerant or stubborn? There are three modalities—cardinal (directed from one point to another), fixed (unmoving), and mutable (going in many directions). If you’re a cardinal sign you like to go after goals on your self-approved strategy. Most of the time your drive takes you where you want to be but if your plan doesn’t work, you typically have to start over because you’re not interested in Plan B. If you’re a fixed sign you take your own sweet time to do anything and it has to be on your terms. You might be called stubborn or inert when you don’t make a move, but you’re also patient when you need to be. A mutable sign is very flexible, which is great—but it’s also very scattered and may not stick to a plan long enough to see it through.

When elements, modalities, and the basic characteristics of your sign are explored, you’ll realize how important this information is in determining what your best mind–body–spirit balance is all about.

Here are some little teaser-tips for your best fitness strategy:

Aries—You like a challenge.

Taurus—You need to be in nice surroundings.

Gemini—As long as you’re interested, you’re happy.

Cancer—You need to trust your environment and the people in it.

Virgo—You need real information and benefits.

Leo—It has to be fun!

Libra—There can be no discord or ugliness.

Scorpio—You need something intense to hang on to.

Sagittarius—Action! Intrigue! Adventure!

Capricorn—You want a real goal and trackable results.

Aquarius—You need freedom and the less crowded, the better.

Pisces—It has to be agreeable and without harsh lighting or tough talk.

After you read about your astrological profiles and get a good handle on the direction and strategies that work best for you, you’ll be ready to embrace a smart, thorough workout program that will keep your body as fit as your mind and spirit.


There are so many facets to fitness and well-being that we will wow you. This is not what you’d expect—not run-of-the-mill cardio, stretch, and strength. That’s like describing a meal as food, liquid, and spice. There are infinite ways to make food, provide drink, and make it interesting, and the same goes for your workout. We have designed a five-star workout just for you and we know why you’ll do it —because we totally understand you.

Zodiaction comes up with the fitness plan that works for your sign. We draw from yoga, treadmills, tennis courts, and mat classes. We intermingle disciplines that you may not have even heard of. We take that mind–body connection a step further by providing diet tips and spa therapy suggestions. Probably the most important thing we do is remind you that we totally understand what life’s all about. You don’t have to be pitch-perfect with Zodiaction; you only have to be true to yourself.

One fact holds true no matter what your sign: a balanced workout is ideal. Your astrological fitness disposition will take over from there and determine the specifics, but balance must be achieved first and foremost. With the stars as our guide, this balance won’t be so difficult to maintain.

The Balance Triad

All successful workouts have three key components: cardiovascular training, strength training, and flexibility training, what we call The Balance Triad. You can go for each of these components separately or in combination, and you can focus on one more than the others, but excluding any one of the three will seriously throw you off track.

First, A Cardiovascular Training Breakdown

It’s defined as a system of physical conditioning designed to enhance circulatory and respiratory efficiency. You’ll be training your heart (a very important muscle) to beat faster, increase body temperature, and break a sweat—sweating is good; it releases impurities and keeps you warm even when it’s cold outside. Some signs like cardio more than others, but it’s necessary for everyone.

Capricorn is a cardio all-star—The Goat likes to get into a steady heart-pumping zone and keep going. Taurus tends to loathe it—“It’s uncomfortable,” she whines—but needs it more than most. Then there’s Gemini . . . she overestimates her lung capacity and needs to pay attention to breathing.

In the twelve Zodiaction workouts, cardio components vary in duration from ten minutes (Aquarius) to two hours (Capricorn). They vary in intensity, from light (Pisces) to hard core (Scorpio). They also require a variety of formats, from yoga (Leo) to boot camp (Sagittarius) to jumping rope (Libra). People tend to narrowly define cardio as jogging and swimming but just about anything can become cardiovascular-oriented. With the proper level of intensity, even Pilates and stretching can get you to sweat.

The Second Component of the Balance Triad is Strength Training

The next component of The Balance Triad is strength training—any exercise in which muscles contract, squeezing inward, is considered strength training. Typical results are either increased muscle strength or improved muscle tone. But dumbbells are not necessary! Gravity and body weight can provide perfect resistance too. For instance, in the Aries workout we use light-to-medium weights for a total body tone. In the Scorpio workout we use heavy weights for serious intensity. In the Cancer workout we go sans weights and do all on-your-side toning exercises. The Gemini workout doesn’t include weights either, and the strength training is disguised as a dreamy ballet series.

You will not have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to do strength training and you should not have to stress over getting it done. Taking into account your zodiac sign pretty much guarantees we’ve figured out something you’ll want to do—not just have to do.

Third Point of the Balance Triad: Flexibility Training

Last (but not least) is flexibility training, otherwise known as stretching. This component is comprised of exercises that tend to increase or maintain muscle and joint range of motion. We think it’s the most underrated component, for stretching can really help with tension and toxin release, injury prevention, and overall agility. It also improves posture.

Zodiaction runs the gamut with stretching—it’s not an afterthought or a cooldown staple. In fact, stretching is the first step in the Cancer workout. Flexibility training is sometimes performed standing (like in the Taurus workout) and sometimes seated (as in the Pisces workout). It can be ultra-Western (as in Sagittarius’s sports conditioning-type stretches), or very Far–Eastern (like Leo’s Ashtanga Yoga series). No matter the differences, the stretching technique complements the strength training and cardiovascular training components of each workout, completing The Balance Triad.

In essence, Zodiaction is the quintessential fusion fitness book, for here we not only fuse astrology with fitness, but also the mind with the body, and Eastern concepts with Western techniques. You’ll see in the pages of this book that we celebrate just about everything, from Tae-Bo to Kundalini Yoga to Jack LaLanne calisthenics. We believe all of these exercise formats are ideal, for some sign, at some point. In this way, Zodiaction is inclusive and very modern. Just think, in the dawning of fitness training, a “one-size-fits-all” approach was standard. We’ve arrived at an exciting place, where now, customized workouts are the latest and greatest. Zodiaction is our way of providing you with your individualized workout prescription.

Signs of Other Life

While your first stop in Zodiaction will surely be your own sign, you are going to love reading all the signs that color your life.

Your Other Signs

Zodiaction is structured to guide you through your primary sign and then the other signs that influence your life. In astrology, there are separate signs that “rule” your love life, career, flirtation, and health. You’ll be able to use the information within these signs to understand people around you and, to some extent, how you work in different situations. For example, if you feel stuck in your career and you see that it’s ruled by the sign of Sagittarius, you could try a Sagittarian workout and see if that helps shift your energy to get unstuck. Same goes for health, love life, and flirtation. Don’t be afraid to try the workouts under another sign if you think they might help you. The only rule we have in Zodiaction is to do something— anything—to keep active and aligned.

The Signs of Others

Zodiaction also provides you with a glimpse into why your best friend always wants to take tango classes (Leo) or won’t get off that couch (Taurus). We all like a little insight into the people we love and we know that you’ll get a peek at the people in your life when you read their signs. Even better, if you understand why your sister is so unwilling to go running with you, you will stop being disappointed. You might even find a common interest or sport you can do together that will appeal to you both. Zodiaction promotes peaceful and harmonious relationships through healthy understanding of individual motivations.

Be Smart

We’re not trying to replace your doctor or your trainer. They’ve worked with you firsthand and know you well, so we beg you—don’t dump them for us! Take Zodiaction for what it is—a fun, inspiring kick in the pants that may assist you in achieving weight loss, total fitness, and workout harmony once and for all.

You have all you need to make Zodiaction work for you. Have fun staying fit!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Nationally acclaimed astrologer Barrie Dolnick has been handing out practical, best-friendly advice to women for over 15 years. A consultant to both private and corporate clients, Barrie reads the stars and tarot cards. The author of over ten books, including Simple Spells for Love and Astrobabe she has also contributed to Us Weekly, Teen People, AOL, and MSN.com.

Ellen Barrett, the star of four exercise DVDs, is an instructor on FIT TV and owns the mind/body/fitness center "The Studio by Ellen Barrett." She created one of weight watchers first exercise programs, a new in-home walking fitness routine that she is also helping to launch appearances on weightwatchers.com and at events all over the country. Ellen serves on the Family Circle advisory board as a fitness expert and has served as a consultant to Self magazine, AOL, and Martha Stewart Omni Media, among others. She has also appeared on the FIT TV and Discovery channels. Both authors live in New Haven, CT.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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