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The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer | [Gretchen Reynolds]

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

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.
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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.

    ©2012 Gretchen Reynolds (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC

    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)

    What Members Say

    Average Customer Rating

    3.8 (76 )
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    •  
      Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 12-19-12
      Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2008

      caffeinated

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      "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.

      7 of 7 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Simon Moody, AL, United States 08-30-12
      Simon Moody, AL, United States 08-30-12 Member Since 2009

      An Information Systems Analyst involved in setting up new businesses.

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      "A great read, but a little too carb centric."
      Any additional comments?

      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.

      3 of 3 people found this review helpful
    •  
      William 01-07-13
      William 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
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      "Amazing New Research Well Written in Lay Terms"
      If you could sum up The First 20 Minutes in three words, what would they be?

      The research on exercise physiology has never been summarized so well before. Gretchen Reynolds does an outstanding job of presenting the research in an especially helpful manner. I am a medical doctor & runner who finds her writing enlightening & refreshing, as well as inspiring.


      What did you like best about this story?

      She is comprehensive, yet summarizes exercise physiology research in an extremely helpful manner.


      What does Karen Saltus bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

      She reads beautifully with appropriate emphasis in her voice.


      If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

      It would need to be a documentary. "Even very little exercise preserves the brain, as well as the entire body."


      Any additional comments?

      I would recommend this book to everyone.

      2 of 2 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Jennifer Sader Toledo, OH USA 09-16-12
      Jennifer Sader Toledo, OH USA 09-16-12 Member Since 2010
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      "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.

      2 of 2 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Michael Pittsburgh, PA, United States 07-24-12
      Michael Pittsburgh, PA, United States 07-24-12 Member Since 2011

      I am a Physics and Engineering student.

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      "Learn To Live Forever"

      I'm obviously just kidding about living forever, but this book had a lot of useful information on how to be more healthy. Some of the info I didn't need to know, but most of it did pertained to me. The narrator was excellent; one of the best I've heard. I am very happy I listened to this book and have modified my workouts because of it. If you exercise I recommend this book. I think you will enjoy it and also learn from it. .

      1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Ed Oakland, CA, United States 07-09-12
      Ed Oakland, CA, United States 07-09-12 Member Since 2011
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      "Good info."
      Any additional comments?

      Not sure if I agree with everything she says, but it was a good book

      1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    •  
      M. le Blanc 05-31-12
      M. le Blanc 05-31-12
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      "difficult to listen to"
      What didn’t you like about Karen Saltus’s performance?

      So. Many. Pauses. Her reading style reminds me of a teacher reading to a classroom full of young children and there are so many pauses at sometimes-odd intervals that I found it difficult to connect the first part of many sentences with the last. I really don't think the performer captured the style of the writer on this one.


      Was The First 20 Minutes worth the listening time?

      Yes, but in small doses. Just when I would get so annoyed with the slightly-to-cheerful, breathy, pause-ridden reading that I would think about abandoning the effort altogether, I would learn something interesting enough to convince me to commit to one more chapter.


      Any additional comments?

      The material is interesting but it really could have been expressed using fewer words.

      1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Lucas Rockwood Koh Samui, Thailand 08-18-14
      Lucas Rockwood Koh Samui, Thailand 08-18-14 Member Since 2006
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      "50/50 Great & Not Great"
      Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

      Some really fascinating stuff in here unfortunately mixed with some outdated misinformation. For example, really interesting stuff on lactic acid myth, some less interesting research about more reps with less weight = more strength. With stats, you can find stats to prove so many things, it's the author/editor interpretation that is really important, and some things here were interpreted poorly. Another example, fructose vs. sucrose for athletes was really interesting/unique and interesting. Flexibility as mostly genetic was just conjecture (no research presented) and just not accurate.

      Certainly worth a read, but I hope there is an updated edition in the future.

      Technically, the narration is odd, the narrator attempts to impersonate accents, it's really peculiar.


      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Boston Reader 134 09-30-12
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      "Narrator made this book impossible to listen to"
      Would you try another book from Gretchen Reynolds and/or Karen Saltus?

      Maybe Ms. Reynolds, but definitely not Ms. Saltus


      What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

      I can't really judge the content, because the narration was unbearable


      How did the narrator detract from the book?

      She sounds detatched, overly cheerful, and condescending all at once. From the way she reads, including a slow pace and strange emphasis, I get the impression she doesn't fully understand what she is reading, and/or assumes the listener will not. Ugh!


      What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

      Disappointment that such a poor narrator was chosen.


      Any additional comments?

      If this title interests you, get it in print.

      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Michael San Antonio, TX, United States 09-04-12
      Michael San Antonio, TX, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2003
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      "Not sure of her sources."
      Would you try another book from Gretchen Reynolds and/or Karen Saltus?

      I was not impressed the amount of documentation of the book. I do not know what Ms. Reynolds qualifications are. She is obviously a proponent of High Intensity Training.


      What didn’t you like about Karen Saltus’s performance?

      I was simply not a fan of Ms Saltus's voice quality and she is obviously not medically trained. There were several words that we not pronounced with emphasis on the right syllables.


      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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