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

Written by:
Gretchen Reynolds
Narrated by:
Karen Saltus

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2012
9 hours 7 minutes
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.
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Fascinating book about the science of exercise and (to a lesser extent) diet, focusing on recent studies. The reason it seemingly contradicts itself so much (as noted by another reviewer) is because research keeps turning up new findings and debunking the old - which the author acknowledges. I have a science background and I am well familiar with how fluid science can be. It's a rapidly changing field. Many studies are cited but one disadvantage to the audiobook format is the inability to access the bibliography. I'd prefer this as a book for that reason. Narrator was good though.

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Jennifer J.

Since it "debunks" nearly every standard physical exercise philosophy (don't warm up, don't warm down, etc) and contradicts itself every other page, and because it only cites ONE source for doing so, she makes it hard for people with a science background to believe her. Even Phillip Morris cigarettes produced studies "proving" smoking was good for you. Because of its frequent poorly substantiated and contradictory allegations, I find it hard to give this book higher ratings.

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Damon M.

Outstanding book. A must read if you want to understand why and how to workout.

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Jane A.

Really enjoyed this. I’m active, not an athlete and I loved the studies she presented.

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