How little do you have to do to firm up, lose fat, strengthen bones, improve mood, and boost energy? Renowned New York fitness trainer Pete Cerqua's answer is startling: 15 minutes of exercise a week.
Pete's revolutionary strength-training plan includes only the most efficient exercises, which each last 90 seconds but powerfully accelerate your metabolism. By doing these exercises while following his sensible yet simple eating approach and lifestyle advice, you will become stronger and leaner. And this will happen quickly -- so fast that you will shrink your body by a full dress size in just eight weeks.
The power of this remarkable program is its simplicity. You can exercise at home without changing into workout clothes. You eat well without counting calories or carbs, and don't even need a complicated grocery list. You don't have to spend a fortune on equipment, gym memberships, supplements, and meal replacement products.
Pete has created a truly manageable program for the busiest of women. Complete with more than thirty delicious yet quick-and-easy recipes and backed by dozens of testimonials and hundreds of medical studies, Pete's program is proven to work. The results are dramatic and all the more satisfying because they last.
Skeptical? Many of Pete's clients were, too. Then they tried it, and their bodies got tighter and smaller. Their bones got stronger. They slept more deeply, handled stress better, and felt the best they had in years. Then they told fifty friends about Pete. He made believers out of them, and he'll make one out of you, too.
I’m going to take a wild guess about the nature of your life. If you are like the thousands of women I’ve trained during the past twenty-three years, then you probably sleep five to six hours at night, waking early to commute thirty or more minutes to a job where you spend eight or more hours before commuting back home again. If you have a spouse and kids, you do 70 percent of the parenting and housework. Make that 80 percent. If you’re single, you’re out every night—socializing, volunteering, taking night classes, you name it. No matter your age, marital status, or career, you don’t know the concept of spare time. Sleep? Cutting back on it is how you find time to write thank-you notes and balance your checkbook, not to mention make yourself that hot breakfast that everyone tells you is so good for you.
Exercise? You’d love to, right after you catch up on your sleep and figure out how to find an extra forty-five minutes every day. Supplements? You’ve been meaning to buy about thirty or so different brands that you’ve heard might give you more energy, but you haven’t had time to get to the health food store. Stress relief? You’d love some, but the idea of finding twenty spare minutes to practice meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation stresses you out. Healthful eating? If only someone would invent a healthful frozen dinner and convenience food diet. (Well, someone has, and it’s me!)
THE SPEED-READER’S SYNOPSIS
You bought this book because you have no time to spare. I get that. Because I’m assuming you are too hurried to read this book word for word, I’ve provided you with speed-reading notes in each chapter. If you don’t have time to read the entire introduction, this is what you need to know:
You can drop a dress size, lose ten pounds, cinch your belt a notch tighter, and dramatically improve your health in just eight weeks.
You’ll do it by spending less time exercising, less time preparing food, and less time trying to balance it all. In fact, you can do it with just fifteen minutes of weekly exercise.
You’ll accomplish more—stronger bones, more energy, a better mood, a firmer body, greater peace of mind—with less time, less money, and less overall complication. That’s what the 90-Second Fitness Solution is all about.
What if I told you that you don’t have to trade off your personal sanity to create a healthier, stronger, sexier, younger you? What if I told you that you could firm up, lose weight, strengthen your bones, reduce joint stiffness, boost your mood and energy levels, improve your memory, and create glowing skin in less time than it takes you to pack your kid’s school lunch box? Would you sign up? I bet you would, and it’s true. With the 90-Second Fitness Solution you will:
Drop a dress size and tighten your belt one notch in eight weeks. If you currently suffer from joint pain or back pain, you can expect your pain to resolve within this period of time.
Firm your body and burn fat with as few as fifteen weekly minutes of exercise. That’s right. That’s weekly exercise, not daily exercise.
Eat all of the world’s healthiest foods without counting a single calorie or carb, reading labels, or cooking complicated recipes. My plan is so easy and so simple that you’ll never need to grocery-shop with a list again.
Bolster your health with just three supplements—widely available online, at your local convenience store, and even at Wal-Mart—for a cost of just $10 a month.
Ease your mind with simple space-saving tactics, such as spending five minutes a few times a week to declutter your home or office.
Call it a gimmick if you’d like, but don’t tell me it doesn’t work until you try it. I’m confident that you’ll be amazed by your results. Most of my clients were like you. They were leery when I told them about my plan. They didn’t believe so little exercise could do anything. They didn’t believe that they could stop counting calories and carbs. They accused me of blasphemy when I encouraged them to eat an avocado or two for lunch or dinner rather than make a gourmet meal with numerous side dishes.
Then they tried it. Their bodies got tighter and smaller. Their bones got stronger. They slept more deeply, handled stress better, and felt the best they had in years. Then they told fifty friends, who came to me feeling just as leery. I eventually made believers out of them, and I’ll make one out of you too.
I only ask for you to have an open mind and to try it. Go ahead and grumble as much as you want about how you think a program this short and this easy could never actually work. Go ahead and tell yourself that you’re only going to try it for two weeks. Moan and groan behind my back as much as you want, but do try it.
Once you try it, you’ll see. You won’t stop. The initial two weeks will turn into four and then into eight and eventually into a year and then the rest of your life.
PETE’S SOLUTION FOR A HURRIED LIFE
I designed the 90-Second Fitness Solution primarily for my female clients, the ones who desperately needed and wanted all of the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle but who did not have the time, inclination, or lifestyle to fit in everything that the so-called experts recommended. It seemed every week a busy woman would call and tell me that she wanted to boost her metabolism, firm muscle, lift her mood, sleep more deeply, strengthen her bones, improve her health, boost her energy, and burn off that apple pie she’d eaten the night before. She’d tell me that she’d already gone to gyms and worked out nearly every day with personal trainers. She’d purchased any number of contraptions advertised on television. She’d tried most of the available exercise videos and DVDs, and she’d hated every minute of it.
She’d tell me:
1. “I don’t want to sweat.”
2. “I don’t want to wear a leotard or expensive exercise clothes.”
3. “I don’t want to spend an hour every day working out.”
She wanted a sensible plan she could stick with, one she would not abandon by January 15. (Most of my new clients come to me on January 2.)
It got me thinking. Just how much exercise do people really need? Sure, the government and the so-called experts recommend ninety daily minutes, but do people really need that much? Is there a way to make one exercise session so intense and so effective that someone could get the benefits of ninety minutes of exercise in just a few minutes?
I decided to find out.
I knew strength training—and not cardio—was the most efficient way to lose weight and get healthy. (If you’re not convinced, wait until chapter 1. After reading it, you’ll donate that old treadmill to charity.) I decided to create the most efficient strength training workout ever. I first recommended my female clients do the same weight lifting workouts men had been doing for years to build muscle and shrink fat, but when women did these eight-to-twelve-repetition, multiset weight-room workouts, they not only complained about the full hour they spent in the gym, but they also built more muscle than they wanted. They got big and bulky and, as a result, stopped exercising.
90-SECOND SUCCESS STORY
When I started training with Pete, I weighed 247 pounds. My blood pressure was 145 over 120 and my blood sugar was high enough to earn me a prediabetes diagnosis. The excess weight put pressure on my joints, creating so much back pain that I could barely move.
My husband accompanied me to my first appointment with Pete. I was frightened. I figured that I was going to be the fattest and the oldest person (at the time I was in my late forties) in the gym. I also wasn’t completely convinced that Pete’s workout was going to work. In fact, I thought it was impossible that one short, weekly workout was going to help me lose nearly a hundred pounds. He has since made me a believer. As I tell all of my friends, one workout with Pete is equal to six workouts somewhere else.
At first I went just once a month. I was worried that doing anything more would hurt my back. Somehow I managed to lose ten pounds. Six months later, after I was convinced that my back pain had resolved, I began training once a week, and I also began taking Pete’s eating suggestions seriously.
Instead of skipping meals (my usual weight-loss tactic up to that point), I began eating regular meals, especially breakfast. I reorganized my kitchen, stocking my shelves with high-fiber, whole foods and getting rid of tempting foods that I didn’t want to eat. I stopped getting my coffee at a café to avoid the temptation of eating one of those huge, six-hundred-calorie muffins. I began planning my meals better to avoid the temptation of coming home from work, feeling too tired to cook, and consequently ordering a pizza. Finally, I stopped celebrating with food. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate, I would go for a walk or go shopping.
It took me a year and a half, but I did it. I got down to my goal of 150. As the weight dropped, my health improved. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are now all normal. As I lost weight and got stronger, I transformed. The more I strengthened my body with Pete, the more I wanted to move and exercise. I now love to work out. I can’t stand it if I can’t get to the gym to move my body.
It’s now been ten years since I lost the weight. Last year I tried the indoor climbing wall at a resort and was able to go higher than two people who were in their twenties! The last time I had my bone density checked, my doctor told me I had the bones of an eighteen-year-old. Pete’s program absolutely, positively works. I’m living proof.
90-SECOND SUCCESS STORY
I started training with Pete in September 2006 to learn his method and eventually work for him as a fitness trainer. I’d already been teaching aerobics for five years, and I thought I was in pretty good shape. I was amazed that in just fifteen minutes Pete had me shaking, breathless, and exhausted, and all from moving at a really slow pace, or, in some cases, not moving at all. I’m five feet, a hundred pounds, and Pete had me leg pressing four hundred pounds! That’s something I never thought I’d be able to do.
I noticed changes in my body right away. When I switched from my summer wardrobe to my winter wardrobe, I noticed that my winter clothes fit me dramatically differently. I was more sculpted in certain places. I started running this year, and thanks to Pete’s program, I’ve been able to do it pain free, despite an old knee injury from my tap-dancing days.
Now I’m training clients with Pete’s 90-Second Sets. Many people, at first, can’t believe how much we charge for such a short session. I always tell them that this is about quality and not quantity. It really does work, and being able to get it in within such a short period of time is ideal, especially for women who are usually so overextended. Many of the women I train are amazed when I tell them that I practice what I preach. They always assume that lifting heavy weights will make them bulky. I ask, “Do you think I look bulky?” They never do.
I next tried the popular approach of using a high number of repetitions with light resistance. That didn’t work either. These workouts lasted thirty to forty-five minutes, and they were a complete waste of time. After spending hours working out, the women I trained lost no weight or inches. Some even gained weight. I then tried everything from one set per exercise to ten sets per exercise, ten-minute workouts to two-hour workouts, six days per week to just one day per week. I had heard about a new workout for bodybuilders that involved lifting very heavy weights very slowly. The problem was that it made bodybuilders smaller rather than bigger. It got me thinking.
I began experimenting with slow-speed lifting. I asked women to do ten-second repetitions (taking ten seconds to lift the weight, ten seconds to lower). Not only was this unproductive but it was also too boring! I asked them to do longer sets, as long as five minutes. I tried all kinds of combinations. After much trial and error, I discovered the perfect amount of time for a set was ninety seconds. I also arrived at another discovery: the speed of the movement didn’t matter. What really shaped up people in record time was not slow lifting but completely stopping and holding the weight in key positions.
I went on to experiment with healthy eating. I’d read the research. I knew what foods were healthy and which ones were not. I knew, for instance, that trans fats, certain additives, too much salt, environmental contaminants, too much sugar, and too much starch shortened a person’s life span, muddled thinking, caused depression, raised risk for disease, and, yes, even encouraged weight gain. I also knew that antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lean protein promoted optimal health, energy, mood, and body weight. The question was this: How does a woman with an insane life find a way to consume all of the good foods and few of the bad ones without adding a layer of complication and stress to her life? I found my answer in my Real Food Diet. As you will soon learn, if you stick with real foods 95 percent of the time, you’ll automatically consume the right balance of antioxidants, healthful fats, and other health-promoting nutrients.
I also uncovered many other nutritional surprises that many of my female clients found quite liberating. Do you feel guilty about your nightly glass of wine because you’ve heard it packs on the abdominal fat? Rest easy. When I studied the research, I discovered that moderate drinking not only promoted good health, but it also led to a slimmer waistline. The same was true for many fatty foods such as whole eggs, avocados, nuts, and peanut butter. These delicious foods could all be a part of both a healthy diet and a weight-loss diet. Most important, these delicious foods are among the most convenient foods to prepare. Talk about removing complication and stress!
I also experimented with supplements, wondering: Do people really need to take thirty expensive pills a day? I found my answer in the research. You only need three to five supplements. That’s it. Case closed. See chapter 4 for the proof.
Finally, I took a look at lifestyle factors. I wanted to find ways to boost mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality, again, without adding a stressful layer of complication. I did that too.
Shorten your workout
Simplify your eating
Save money on supplements
Stress-proof your life
What else could you ask for in a fitness plan? I’ve now trained thousands of clients with the 90-Second Fitness Solution. They range from teenagers to retirees in their eighties. They include superbly gifted athletes and people with special problems such as heart disease, Parkinson’s, scoliosis, and osteoporosis. They are women like Veronica, age sixty. She came to me with back problems so bad, her husband, Ron, had to walk her into the gym and help me get her through her session. She lost a hundred pounds by exercising just fifteen minutes a week with me. Read her story on page xv.
How about Staci? This thirtysomething client was a very active young lady and a personal trainer on top of that, but she would occasionally get sidelined with crippling back spasms and could never get the tight body she always wanted. She thought I was crazy after I told her that she needed to lift heavy weights to fix her back and tighten her body. Staci added fifteen minutes a week with me and then came to work for me, she liked it so much. After working for me for three years, she moved to Virginia, and Jolynn took her place. Read Jolynn’s story on page xvi.
Throughout the pages of The 90-Second Fitness Solution, you’ll read about Jolynn, Veronica, and many other women like them. Read their stories. Peruse the research. I’ve provided it all for you in the following pages and in an extensive bibliography at the end of the book. Most important, try the program. What do you have to lose? Body fat, bad health, stiff joints, and fatigue, that’s what. You already bought the book. Get your money’s worth. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
PETE CERQUA owns and operates the 90-Second Fitness flagship studio in New York City. One of New York’s most respected and in-demand fitness trainers, he has been helping people lose weight for more than twenty years.
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