15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Total Fitness, 15 Minutes At A Time

15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Total Fitness, 15 Minutes At A Time

by Zuzka Light, Jeff O'Connell

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Overview

YouTube workout video star Zuzka Light presents her long-awaited debut fitness book, with a 30-day fitness regime of powerful, effective 15-minute workouts.
 
Filming first from a tiny basement in Prague, and eventually settling in Los Angeles, Zuzka Light has single-handedly ushered in the YouTube fitness revolution. Viewers love Light for her short, ferociously effective workouts and her in-the-trenches, never-give-up positive attitude—and she’s racked up more than half a billion views to prove it.

Now, finally, comes 15 Minutes to Fit, Light’s hotly anticipated debut, with a 30-day fitness plan guaranteed to burn fat and build ripped muscles. Based on innovative high-intensity interval training, the workouts in 15 Minutes to Fit are designed to be done anywhere, anytime (no fancy gym equipment necessary), in just 15 minutes a day. This book takes the guesswork out of the workout, providing:


   •  A 30-day workout plan to whip your body into shape—in 15 minutes a day or less
   •  A companion meal plan, with delicious and healthful recipes for each day
   •  Step-by-step photographs throughout to illustrate proper form for the workouts
   •  Quick facts on health and nutrition to help readers separate fact from fiction
   •  Support and motivation from Light, who overcame many obstacles to become the female face of fitness
As Light says, “Give me 15 minutes a day and I’ll give you a badass body.” Coauthored by New York Times–bestselling author Jeff O’Connell, 15 Minutes to Fit is the book legions of fans have been waiting for.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781583335826
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/29/2015
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 828,638
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Zuzka Light is the leading fitness personality on YouTube, fostering a following of hundreds of millions worldwide. Light cofounded BodyRockTV before starting Zuzkalight.com, which allowed her to build a huge fan base in the United States and overseas. Her personality, style, and voice have guided her to become one of the biggest influencers in health and fitness.

Jeff O’Connell is the editor in chief of BodyBuilding.com, which is the largest online health-and-fitness publication, has the world’s largest social network, and receives 30 million unique visitors monthly. O’Connell was formerly editor in chief at Muscle & Fitness and executive writer at Men’s Health. He has coauthored five books, including the New York Times–bestselling LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout, Formula 50 with 50 Cent, and Spartan Up! with Joe De Sena. His first solo work, Sugar Nation, was published in 2011.

Read an Excerpt

Preface

Despite the balmy Mediterranean weather, sweat poured off my body—that’s how hard I was training. Heaving with exhaustion, I tackled the final set of burpees. Don’t let the cute name fool you: Burpees are a tough, wildly effective way to blast fat and build lean muscle.

The locals on Malta seemed perplexed by the sight of an eastern European woman in a sports bra with a firm stomach hopping up and down as though the rooftop—where we were filming this workout—were on fire, but I was doing exactly that. I’m sure these witnesses thought I was crazy.

From a standing position, I dropped into a squat and placed my palms on the ground. Without hesitating I kicked my legs back and assumed the top of a push-up position. I performed the push-up, and then, without hesitation, I drew my legs back into the low squat stance, glutes near the ground, before driving my body upward. I dropped into another rep and then another and another. I had no weights, no equipment, no gym, but I was cranking out reps of the most effective exercise that I think you can perform: Burpees work more than 200 muscles during each rep while leaving you gasping for additional oxygen after a set. This may exhaust you, but it helps you grow, and it also helps you feel alive.

My husband at that time, Freddy, recorded the entirety of this workout in Malta. We spent much of our tentative marriage traveling to far-flung locations and filming my daily workouts, posting them on YouTube and our website. The first of these workouts was filmed in Prague, where I was born and raised. Then we moved to Canada, where he was raised. But that day’s workout took place in Malta, where the low cost of living and balmy California-like weather helped us film outdoors. I could take off my sweats and train in my sports bra and shorts, showcasing my abs without freezing off my glutes. At that time, I was in my early twenties, and I didn’t understand how these short workout videos we made would change my life for the better over the following years.

In early 2008, Freddy and I launched our fledgling business BodyRock.tv. We started small—when we launched the first website, I was working in a flower shop owned by my in-laws in Kingston, Ontario, Canada—but still, I was sure that people would like it. I knew it would take a while before the website started to make money, at least a year, but I knew it was going to work. BodyRock.tv started slowly, but then our YouTube channel started growing like crazy. With our short, intense, no-gym-required workouts, Freddy and I were on to a new workout style that people embraced in droves. It took only six months for us to reach one million views.

I based my workouts on moves I could perform anywhere because we couldn’t afford gym memberships. Almost all of the workouts I found online were either bodybuilding style and directed toward men, or yoga-oriented for women. Neither of these suited my goals of burning body fat and adding lean muscle, so I invented my own training style, taking a few elements from an upstart movement called CrossFit, others from Tabata training, and adding my own unique twist to every influence I liked and thought would be effective.

Sure, some of my YouTube viewers were guys tuning in because they liked to watch a woman work out. But women constituted 90 percent of my audience. Despite our remote locations and low-tech approach to making fitness videos, my workout videos became a global fitness sensation. Millions of BodyRockers were doing my workouts every day and posting their fat-loss stories online. So I kept it up; I posted a video of my workouts each day and poured my heart, soul, and sweat out on-camera, making each workout more intense than every other at-home workout program. My fans loved the outdoor setting of the videos we shot in Malta, where we moved to from Canada. Malta helped us in other, unexpected ways. Uploading a video to the Web took six hours on this remote island. The longer the video, the longer it took us to upload it. To save uploading time, my workouts became shorter and more intense, until I distilled them to 15 minutes of fat-burning moves done in nonstop fashion. Rest came only after the workout ended.

I think part of my appeal was that I didn’t bark orders or emphasize counts as some fitness personalities do. I didn’t tell people what to do. I merely performed my workouts from start to finish, grunting and sweating along with viewers who were in it with me every rep of the way. There was a realness to these YouTube workouts that many at-home fitness programs don’t provide.

Canada and Malta seemed worlds apart, but no matter where we traveled, no matter how successful we became, I was always dogged by elements of my past and the threat of scandal. As a young woman living in Prague, I needed to make enough money to free myself from a troubled home life, which led me to make a regrettable decision: I posed nude for photos and video shoots. Like many young, vulnerable women, I found that this decision, once made, was nearly impossible to undo. In the Internet age, the consequences took on a life of their own. I worried that this would sabotage my newfound success once my followers learned about my past.

But something unexpected happened. When the full story of my earlier decisions began to trickle out in the comments sections of video postings, online forums, and other places, my popularity rose even faster. People now knew how much I had overcome. As my followers began to understand who I was and what I’d left behind, they seemed to appreciate me that much more. Most of them hadn’t made the same mistakes I had made, but many of them had made their own mistakes. They identified with the struggles of a young woman trying to find success in our complicated world.

Huge social media followings and YouTube channels like mine drew the attention of large fitness companies. I found myself in Los Angeles meeting with Beachbody, Body by Jake, and other mainstream fitness brands because they had seen my YouTube workouts, and they were responding well to them. Something big was at hand.

My business and marriage were completely intertwined, however, and over the course of several years, that lack of separation doomed the marriage and drove a wedge between my husband and me. As our marriage dissolved, we became disgruntled and awkward business partners; and in the fallout, eventually I lost access to the website. The only thing I walked away with was my image. Rather than wallow in despair, I picked myself up and started over by launching a new website, ZuzkaLight.com. Today, I have surpassed my earlier success thanks to my current followers. Regardless of how you found me, I know that you’re a woman or man taking control of your life by getting in better shape.

All my longtime followers know that I have helped them do this, and that’s what I want to do for you. That’s why I’ve written this book.

Introduction

I’ve often asked myself: Why me? With so many people posting so many workout videos online, why did so many viewers gravitate toward a young girl from the Czech Republic with an accent and no gym equipment? I’ve considered a number of theories, but I think so many people came to my YouTube videos for the workouts because they’re highly effective. This book puts together a program based on these workouts in a novel way. These workouts do more than just burn fat and build muscle; they help unleash the super-fit person who lives inside each and every one of us. My followers learn they are able to perform harder workouts than they ever thought possible. This not only inspires confidence but teaches your muscles and body to learn what it’s like to perform and train at peak levels.

Though at first it wasn’t this clear to me, over time I came to realize that a real fitness philosophy lay behind my ideas and my approach. By using my inner turmoil to push myself harder during my workouts, I was tapping into the importance of high-intensity training. Science has now shown that intensity, along with consistency, is the key to workout success. That’s true from both a performance and an aesthetic perspective.

Because YouTube is all about short videos, I was tapping into the power of short-burst workouts, which are both highly effective and compatible with a busy life like mine and, I imagine, yours. I had to come up with more and more high-intensity concepts that could be played over and over in a short-form format. Nobody wanted the half-hour blocks of workout shows that used to be shown on TV. Those shows had all vanished from the airwaves.

Because we didn’t have much money and traveled around so much, weights and a gym were luxuries, not essentials. I crafted body weight workouts using the full body, which are now practiced and preached on mainstream websites and in magazines.

These are the principles I’ve built my brand around, and now I’m pleased to use them in my very first book. 15 Minutes to Fit follows the same pattern as my videos. As you’ll see in the pages to come, I provide a 30-day workout and nutrition plan that you can execute in a series of short-form set pieces that can be read and applied in 15 minutes, just like my YouTube workouts. In that sense, the book echoes my video workouts, but with a twist. Each 15-minute video workout is self-contained but ultimately is a limited fitness experience. Whereas the YouTube videos were individual workouts without any broader context, the book is a focused program that also encompasses nutrition. To that end, my book integrates multiple workouts, recipes, and motivational tips into a plan that can be followed from start to finish for awesome results.

The 15-minute limit applies to everything in this book. Everyone wants information fast and quick these days. Tweets cannot be longer than 140 characters. Vines can’t exceed 6.5 seconds. Snapchats vanish nearly the instant they’re viewed. And while 15 Minutes to Fit gives you that same sense of immediacy by timing every element in the book, it will stay with you anywhere you go.

“Fifteen minutes to fit” may sound like some cheesy marketing slogan, but my program is based on science, and when you give it your all and push yourself to the limit each and every workout, as I do, you’ll see incredible results. The workouts in 15 Minutes to Fit consist of body weight exercises done in rapid-fire succession for as many rounds as possible until 15 challenging minutes of work have been completed. These short, high-intensity workouts jack up your heart rate and send your metabolic machinery into overdrive. They provide what repetitive crunches won’t: visible abs, a round and tight butt, and toned arms. And, by the way, crunches will develop your abs but they won’t make them visible—that’s one of the big differences between this program and others. Having to regularly blast through existing fatigue thresholds builds power and stamina of the sort that also helps us be strong and capable in our everyday lives. You’ll find that these workouts not only give you plenty of time for all other aspects of your life but also give you additional energy to accomplish more throughout your day.

I follow an innovative format that wraps cardio exercises around other moves. The body is constantly trying to adapt and, therefore, is continuously changing. The exercises by themselves are not complicated, but when they’re arranged in this unique “wrapping” format, they challenge your mind and change your body. Throughout this book, the workouts keep evolving, with different workouts zeroing in on different problem areas, such as abs and butt.

My 15 Minutes to Fit plan gives you what you need to take control of your body. You will shed pounds and build toned, sexy muscle without having to buy any equipment or even purchase a gym membership. I’ve been showcasing my workouts on YouTube and websites for nearly a decade now, and I’ve honed my approach over that time. I’ve taken all of that self-experimentation and written this fitness book, which takes my approach to a new level. I’m taking the guesswork out of getting ripped.

Every day for an entire month, you’ll know exactly what to do, and you’ll also receive a little pep talk from me. You’ll be working out for 30 days straight, which may seem like a lot, but it’s manageable. Because these workouts require only your body to perform and because they take only 15 minutes, you can work out every day. My program is not like traditional weight training, in which training days need to be separated by rest days. There’s no need to be worried about overdoing it here.

For the workouts to create their magic, you also need to square away your diet. This book will help you in that regard because I provide detailed instructions in later chapters. The goal is for you to learn how to eat right naturally, without making it an obsession.

The workouts will give you a great-looking body and enhanced physical strength as well as inner calm. Challenging workouts are my form of daily meditation, as strange as that sounds. I’ve always had a hard time sitting still and meditating by just focusing on my breath, the way yogis teach. I can’t fathom how people sit motionless thinking of nothing for 10 or 20 minutes at a time. My mind just won’t settle down in that situation. But a funny thing happens during my short, intense workouts: I push all the negative energy out of me by tearing it up during my workout, and then I enjoy the relief that comes after the last rep. I’m so “in the moment” that nothing else occurs to me. That’s the form of meditation I love, and that’s why I can never give up on my fitness. It’s as much mental as it is physical for me. These high-intensity workouts produce the high that comes with the endorphin release associated with being in the zone—let’s call it the “Zuzka Zone.” I’ll show you how to get there throughout the book. I also love the bliss and calmness that come afterward. That’s part of why I train.

I don’t pretend my workouts are easy. Nor do I make them out to be a secret concoction made in some mysterious or magical exercise laboratory. What I do emphasize are efficiency and hard work. By hard work, I don’t mean grueling, backbreaking routines, either. I mean effective, intelligent workout plans that offer visible results.

I train 15 minutes a day, but you may question whether that is realistic for you. Initially, if you can’t sustain 15 minutes of high-intensity training, do it as long as possible, and then finish out your 15 minutes with easier work to encourage endurance. Eventually you will increase the amount of time you can train with high intensity. Let’s say you’re 35 pounds overweight. Chances are that you’re not as fit as I am—not yet, anyway—and initially don’t expect to exercise at the level of intensity that I now sustain for 15 minutes. After even a minute or two, you might be feeling a little winded. You may even feel a bit overwhelmed. That’s fine. Do these workouts at your own level of “high” intensity, and you’ll find you have more stamina with each new workout.

As a beginner, you have an advantage I no longer have. When you first begin working out and eating more healthfully, you may lose quite a bit of weight fairly quickly—more than I could lose even if I wanted to. Eventually, as you get lean and fit and have less fat to burn, the weight loss will slow, and you might find yourself thinking, “Wow, at first I lost weight really fast, but for some reason, I can’t lose the last five pounds.” I asked Ashley A. Herda, PhD, CSCS*D, a lecturer and academic program associate in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kansas (Edwards), why pretty much everyone eventually experiences a slowdown in their progress. “Early on, a lot of the weight lost is going to come from water loss and some fat loss,” she said. “If you are losing weight at first but then the loss is slowing down, you may actually be gaining muscle while losing fat. A study conducted at Syracuse University reported that obese women actually burned more fat during an exercise bout than their nonobese counterparts. The authors concluded that the reduction in fat stores resulted in less fat being available to use as energy.”

In other words, the more fat you lose, the less fat you burn.

So don’t get discouraged when the weight loss slows. On this plan, you’ll constantly adjust your training and diet to reflect that your body is becoming leaner, stronger, more efficient. It takes time. Part of that adaptation is being able to work a lot harder during those 15 minutes than you could previously. “As your training progresses,” says Dr. Herda, “your body becomes a more efficient machine. Every movement is more coordinated by the working muscles, where early on these same muscles were working against one another—a sort of safety mechanism to protect your body from injury. Initially, you would recruit only large muscle groups to complete a movement, but eventually you’ll also call upon smaller muscles you never knew you had to help out with the more complex movements. Fifteen minutes becomes less of a struggle and way more enjoyable, knowing you are benefiting from every single movement.”

The biggest motivation for me at this moment is to create the best workouts I can for people who want to be fitter. I want to do these workouts myself so other people can achieve the level of fitness they want and be happy with how they feel and look. I created this book so that readers will be able to take the philosophy everywhere they go. Armed with these words and images, you’ll be able to succeed without having to rely on anyone or anything else. I’m confident that the 30-day plan in this book works because it worked for me and, more important, because this style of training has worked for thousands of women and men who have followed me for nearly a decade.

The Spark

Nearly every single fitness magazine and product on the market catches our eye with toned abs or a tight butt, laced together with promises on how to achieve such perfection. We look at these images with envy, thinking that these people walk around chiseled 24/7, 365. The magazines make a point not to explain that the image was taken on the day that person was in the best shape of her life, with perfect lighting, and that afterward that image may have been edited to remove any lingering imperfections. It creates an urge to want to have the same body, and the willingness to do whatever it takes sets in. It’s a compelling pitch because we all want a cute butt and small-size jeans. So we gaze at those images, look at ourselves in the mirror, and then start our journey of transforming our body.

This external motivation starts millions on the fitness path, but for the vast majority of those individuals, this path ends in a dead end. The needle on the scale doesn’t move fast enough, that miraculous body doesn’t appear overnight, and they give up. Oftentimes these individuals try and try again, until they finally give up for good. Their mind didn’t fully buy into what their body tried, which happens all too often and not just where working out is concerned.

I believe these people were doomed to fail from the get-go because they were too hung up on appearances, the models’ and their own. What they needed was internal motivation, the sort that comes from within and is validated by changes that don’t always show up in the mirror—changes like a nice glow, more energy, more strength, and a heightened sense of confidence. I have experienced all those benefits firsthand, and it’s why fitness infuses every part of my life and being. Because those benefits propel me to train every day, I now enjoy a shapely butt, a defined midsection, a nice pair of legs that fit comfortably in skinny jeans. Those visuals, however, are a bonus. At this point I’m more addicted to the way my workouts make me feel than I am to the way they make me look. I’m compelled to do them. You couldn’t stop me from working out if you tried.

Exercise offers many immediate benefits, not just physical but mental as well. Training the way I do helps me fight stress and anxiety. I don’t know one person who walks out of a gym, cardio class, or yoga studio after a good workout feeling unhappy or stressed. Tired, maybe, but the sort of tired that accompanies a job well done. Exercise helps send your troubles packing, replacing them with inner calm.

Fitness also offers tremendous long-term benefits. It helps with weight management. It keeps you flexible and graceful. It keeps your heart strong and healthy. It helps keep your bones strong. One of the reasons I work out is that I want to be healthy and strong in the future if and when I have children.

Exercise: The Real Fountain of Youth

Moderate physical activity decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and mortality from all causes, even if the activity starts later in life. A study conducted in Canada, which reported similar findings as the Harvard Alumni Health Study in 1995, recorded the physical activity of 14,365 men and women across their life-span and reported that the more one exercises, the greater one’s life expectancy. Even if they were exercising at only low intensities, their all-cause mortality risk was reduced.

Too often people don’t stick with it long enough to see physical results. That part of the equation takes patience, and patience is something few maintain while trying to achieve a big goal, especially when it involves physical changes. It is almost as though if physical changes haven’t appeared in 20 minutes or less, we assume nothing happened and therefore exercise is no longer worth the effort. However, lack of quick physical changes is not the only cause of failure. Often, the workout plans these people follow are unnecessarily long and dull, and people lose patience with that aspect of fitness too. If they’re working with a personal trainer, they might come to view that person as Satan himself. They dread their workouts and drag themselves through what feels like 60 to 90 minutes of sheer misery. And we wonder why so many people quit.

Finding the Right Reason

If you’ve hated exercising in the past, you’re not alone. In May 2014, I sat in the audience at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, watching Jillian Michaels onstage. She’s known across the world for her tenure as one of the tough-love trainers on The Biggest Loser, the beloved and inspirational NBC-TV show. This appearance was part of her “Maximize Your Life” tour, and her lecture—that’s the best way I can describe it—was entertaining and eye opening. It reminded me of the An Inconvenient Truth movement, only rather than addressing climate change, Jillian was talking about the declining state of public health in the United States. Sometimes people refuse to accept the evidence right in front of their face, because it has accumulated slowly enough that the changes are imperceptible. She was explaining what each of us could do to make a difference.

I watched this fitness icon share her wisdom and offer advice on how to diet, exercise, and stay fit. Beyond sets, reps, and calories, she talked about the intangibles that help determine whether someone transforms her body or ends up planted on the sofa eating a bag of Doritos. At one point, this woman whom I have admired for years asked the audience a question: “Who among you actually enjoys working out?” There were three hundred people in the audience, but only three raised their hands.

You may be surprised that so few people felt that way, but I wasn’t. I know, based on my own experience with training others, that many people dislike working out. Even Jillian Michaels, of all people, admitted that she dislikes it. “Well, great,” you could almost hear people thinking. “If Jillian Michaels can’t stand working out, for crying out loud, what hope do I have?” And yet, nearly every day of her adult life, Jillian puts amazing effort into something she says she dislikes, because it gives her the body and life she wants.

Making Fitness Fun

I was one of three people in attendance who raised a hand in response to Jillian Michaels’s question. You could say I’m one of those few weirdos who actually enjoys physical exercise, but that’s only scratching the surface. I’ve found a fitness formula that turns working out from drudgery into fun, so that the workouts themselves are a form of intrinsic motivation. The program isn’t overwhelming, so you don’t give up before those visible results start appearing.

My workouts are also incredibly efficient, producing the results I want in the time I have, and the resulting benefits provide extrinsic motivation. Sure, there are days when I have a hard time getting my butt up off the couch—or even squeezing a workout between “more important” tasks, like most people do. However, I have come up with enough reasons to overcome scheduling excuses and step out of my own comfort zone. One reason is that I’m going to be training for only 15 minutes, not 90 minutes. Even if I’m having an off day, as long as I dive in and start training, I know I will finish strong and the rest of my goals for that day won’t suffer.

Internal Motivation

When it comes to fitness, it has to be about the payoff of the “high” that comes from training. That is what leads to great physical and performance results. Just trying to avoid feeling fat or unfit isn’t enough. You have to derive pleasure from the workouts you perform and the foods you eat. The pleasure can be external, as per Jillian Michaels, or it can be internal, as it is with me.

I avoid exercise boredom by keeping my workouts short and by structuring them as challenges or competitions. Most of us love to compete or at least compare our results to others. I ask you to perform my workouts as fast as possible within the allotted 15 minutes. It’s about what you accomplish in that time frame. I ask you to post your score and compare yours with that of others. Once you start doing that, you’ll get pumped. You’ll start thinking, “Oh, I can compete now, and I want to do better and really push myself.” I’ve learned that this really helps keep people motivated.

It is clear that we must trust what is difficult.

—RAINER MARIA RILKE

ZGYM, the subscription section of my website, is where the workouts become motivating: when the community gets together and everyone is focused on their performance and beating each other’s scores or being able to do certain new exercises. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard things like “I’ve never tried this exercise before, and I’m going to kill it,” or similar sentiments. That motivates me to keep creating new exercises and combining them into new workouts. People find it motivating and their motivation is contagious, and that provides a feedback loop of good vibes and achievement.

Maybe you’ve struggled with workout motivation, and if you’d been in the audience watching Jillian Michaels, you wouldn’t have raised your hand when she asked if you like to work out. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to give you a guide not only about how to work out and get results but also how to enjoy it. Fitness, motivation, desire, compulsion, and the workout high are one and the same in my world.

Every human was born to exert his or her body; there’s a reason we have those two limbs attached to our hips and two to our shoulders. We were made to move, not sit around on our butts all day. In my experience, the reason people dread going to the gym is that their gym routines have become boring. We weren’t made to pound the treadmill mindlessly for an hour and a half, which must be why many gyms hang TV screens in the cardio area. They might as well hang a sign that says: “You’re going to be really freaking bored doing this, so here, watch this.”

External Motivation

Something else keeps people motivated: physical results! In turn, results lead to positive reinforcement. You start working out. Maybe you’re not always enjoying it, but then suddenly people start looking at you in a different light. Others seem to find you more attractive. You catch your significant other looking at you in a new light, and the realization sends a shiver down your spine. That’s a catalyst to continue upping your game.

This type of motivation is powerful, but the key to success on my plan or any plan is to couple this with internal motivation. It’s impossible to be self-sufficient if you constantly rely on input from others. You never know when external motivation will be unavailable, and you also become susceptible to negative feedback. When you believe in what you’re doing, the external input might give you a nice boost when it’s positive, but it won’t bring you down when it’s negative.

Our external motivation needs to change over the years because we change. When I started out in fitness, my motivation was seeing fit people with beautiful bodies. I wanted to look that good. Today that no longer cuts it for me. I need more. I need to see somebody who embodies dedication by playing a sport at a high level, for example. When I see people playing tennis or skiing, I’m excited and hence motivated by a skill that was built off of being fit. I wrote earlier about those who don’t heed the call when confronted with what others would see as a catalyst. Still others heed the call, only to attempt a transformation and fail. Like a spark that doesn’t light a fire, their effort fizzles.

If You Want to Sleep Better, Exercise!

When you work out, and this can be any type of exercise, you sleep deeper. A study was conducted on college athletes who were monitored while they slept after an afternoon workout, an evening workout, and their off days. The authors reported the greatest amounts of deep (REM) sleep after the afternoon workout and slightly less after the evening workout. The lightest sleep was on the days with no workout or if the workout was too late in the evening, suggesting an overstimulation of the nervous system that prevented relaxation into deep sleep.

Catching the Fitness Bug

When it comes to fitness, we all have to start somewhere. If I had to trace my love affair with fitness back to one moment, it was during the summer of 1997, when I was a 15-year-old girl living in the Czech Republic. I was born and raised in the capital city of Prague. It’s one of Europe’s great cities, steeped in history and teeming with beautiful architecture and people. One day I went with a group of friends to a showing of G.I. Jane, a movie starring Demi Moore. We wanted to kill some time and escape the outside world for a couple hours.

Once Demi Moore appeared on screen as Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill, I was transfixed. This character personified beauty, strength, and power. Her physique, short hair, and attitude symbolized her ability to kick ass, and this sent my imagination into overdrive. As the movie continued, I loved seeing her become super-strong and compete with the guys. By the time my friends and I left the theater, I wanted to become Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill, even if I didn’t know if I could attain that status. But that movie gave me two things I didn’t have when I entered the theater: a goal and a role model.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "15 Minutes to Fit"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Zuzka Light.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 The Spark 1

Chapter 2 The Steps to Achievement 15

Chapter 3 The Power of Habit, the Need for Consistency 25

Chapter 4 The Magic of Accountability 35

Chapter 5 Fuel for Your Workouts, Medication for Your Moods 47

Chapter 6 Food Shopping, Appliances, Gadgets, and Cookware 65

Chapter 7 Recipes for Success 83

Chapter 8 My Workout Philosophy: Short and Sweat 145

Chapter 9 The 15 Minutes to Fit Workout Plan 157

Chapter 10 The Great Balancing Act: Fitness and Your Life 243

Bibliography 257

Acknowledgments 259

Index 261

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