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Fast Exercise
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154 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
After reading the reviews and seeing that the author has a best-selling book within the dieting field, I bought this one with high hopes. Let me divulge here that I'm a qualified personal trainer and have worked in a gym for five years using HIT with many of my clients. HIT truly is the most superior method of training for weight loss or any number of exercise related goals. Unfortunately I was left underwhelmed by this book; please let me explain.

I'll start with the positives and say that Fast Exercise is extremely well written; I understand the author is a journalist. I applaud the book and the writer for bringing HIT to the attention of more people - It works truly well. Now onto my criticisms:

First of all, the book references many studies, which I applaud, but precious few of these actually compare HIT to other forms of training which leaves you unable to see for yourself just how superior HIT is against the competition.

This being an exercise book, I would expect to put it down and be motivated to exercise. Unfortunately it falls a little flat here. Early on we are given statistics on arthritis and how exercise can cause and exacerbate this, yet we are given no council on reducing the risks. We are only told that we can expect crippling injury if we take part in this form of exercise. This should never be the case with a varied regime and good exercise preparation.

The book mentions some of the benefits of HIT, ie, weight loss, improved athletic performance and VO2 max. But it fails to mention some of the many other benefits such as beta endorphins or improving your tolerance to strenuous activity by pushing back your anaerobic threshold. The author sells HIT severely short here.

My real problem with the book is when the reigns are given over to the co-author who gets more into the specifics of HIT. Many of the exercise explanations are inadequate to say the least which will be a problem for novices. Dangerously, she advises us to run up flights of stairs and then take the lift back down. This is so bad I don't even know where to begin. If you work at all-out intensity and then stop and wait for the lift, you will suffer from extreme blood pooling, which for unfit or elderly participants could be debilitating. Why not just walk down the stairs?

She talks down the importance of post-workout stretching and then says that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is caused by working out. It isn't necessarily - DOMS is caused by prolonged negative exercise such as lowering heavy weights or carrying out stepping. In fact, post-workout stretching is one thing that can alleviate DOMS, yet we're told to not really bother with it. We are also told that pre-workout stretching is a waste of time and I do agree with her on this point. However we are also advised not to bother too much with warming up, which I strongly disagree on, especially when performing HIT at an all-out intensity. You won't be exercising for very long, even by HIT standards if you don't warm up.

I think the most disappointing aspect of the book is the rigidity of the suggested HIT protocols. We are given a short list of them and then pretty much expected to go along with them with little or no guidance as to how we can progress from there or how we can tailor them to our own fitness levels. It's simply 3 x 20 seconds with rest in between etc. There is literally no guidance on using our own protocols or on some of the famous existing protocols such as Fartlek, which isn't even mentioned.

Some of the suggested exercises I would never use for HIT because they are nowhere near intense enough such as reverse curls and planks which have absolutely no place in a HIT workout. Unfortunately, there are many wonderful HIT exercises that aren't included such as burpees, squat jumps and some of the dozens of kettlebell exercise.

I disagree with some of the nutrition advice. We are advised not to eat carbs before a HIT session. Wrong! We should be eating carbs prior to all-out exercise because that is precisely the fuel the body uses when exercising at high intensity. If you have no glycogen from carbohydrates in your working muscles then the body will cannibalise its own muscle protein - Clearly the opposite of what we want regardless of our aims.

Approaching the end of the book, we are treated to filler content such as sections on Ways To Overcome Your Inner Couch Potato and the Guide To Being Active, both of which I've read in numerous places on the internet.

I was disappointed that the actual book finishes at 70% of the way in and from there it becomes Endnotes and Index. That's nearly a third of the entire book which you won't read.

In conclusion, I hope this book brings attention to how wonderful HIT is and in that respect it succeeds very well, especially if it gets people exercising. But there are much better books available on the subject, most notably HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training Explained which will leave you educated and most importantly motivated. But Fast Exercise is an ideal starting point which should get you on your bike and doing some hard, if short, yet effective exercise.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was surprisingly disappointed by this book. What should have been a clean and easy exercise program to accompany the FastDiet book (e.g., exercises and content focusing on weight loss) was instead mostly text describing why exercise is important, a couple of exercises with a few 'icon' like pictures, and then more discussions about why exercise is important. It's not set up for either those starting out or for those with a more advanced exercise regimen. As well, a lot of the exercises need gym equipment and aren't really suitable or even comfortable for those overweight (such as running or jumping jacks, both of which could really be damaging to knees, etc.).

The book chapters are broken down as follows: Truth about exercise, What is fast exercise?, Th workouts, Fast exercise in practice, Michael's guide to keeping active, Before you go..., Fast fitness, Fast strength. Out of 117 or so pages, about 20 actually show you the exercises. Most (if not all) you've seen before: jumping jacks, push ups, wall sit... Although the exercises are described with very simple illustrations, the author doesn't give you ways in which the exercises could be done incorrectly, assuming everyone does it correctly.

There is a LOT of text here and a lot to comb through once you've read it and just want to get back to the exercises. There is a lot that could have been done to make this much more friendly. The author's tone is great, knowledgeable yet encouraging, but I have to admit I was also put off quite a bit about everything being about him. I don't want to know about exercise that worked for him - I want to know about exercise that works the general population - I somehow doubt he is a near obese premenopausal 47 year old woman, for example. But I don't see a lot about male-female differences either.

So while I don't find this to be a bad book, I think a lot could of been done to make this easier to use, follow, and even be motivated. I appreciate the great information in the book, especially the latest information on how/why we do exercise and corrections from the aerobic days. But I want more show, not tell, or I end up sitting on my butt reading instead of exercising.

Reviewed from an ARC.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Just like the Fast Diet book, Michael Mosley and co-writer (for this one) Peta have delivered a great book. The premise is much the same - the offer of a way around the hard slog of diet and exercise with results they have proven by putting their own skin on the line. Everything is bearable (except torture) when it's only for a short while. The fasting and the mad high intensity training. As someone who has been big for years I am seeing slow results but, trust me, if I can do it anyone can. Not everything works for everyone but the Fast Diet and Fast Exercise are working for me and a few people around me. Really you have no excuse not to give it a go. The three books on Kindle cost less than an artery clogging meal in a restaurant!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The value of the content was extremely valuable if not life changing. Much of the method has been "around" some decades, but the scientific twist and validation are new. I plan to act on the methods myself. However, I found the writing style to be lacking and often confusing; the direction of thought had you interested if not excited, but left you dangling and hunting for the expected conclusion. I often felt the urge to re-write it: Not well organized.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Ever since I first saw Dr. Mosley's PBS program on the truth about exercise, I've been a fan. for the first time, many of the "Facts" about exercise are revealed to have o real science or medical evidence behind them. In FatExercise you are given sound medical, and scientific background to how and why exercise works, and doesn't work for some of us. Then you are given a plan to work yourself to a degree of fitness that will not over train you and help you live a fitter, more enjoyable life.
Te book is a quick, easy read, the exercises neatly explained, and the guidelines clearly stated. This is a book that will change the way you see, and do your exercise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is revolutionary. I've been a lifelong exerciser--weightlifting the past 37 years; a runner for 9 years; judo, jiu Jitsu, karate...but when I bought this book almost a year ago it changed my whole concept of exercising, or at least how to get the most bang for your buck. You won't be disappointed with it--it's well-written, is backed up with science, and will motivate you. Long and slow is so old-school. Short bursts of intensity is the new protocol.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Michael's done it again. He made a complex topic easy to understand & got this couch potato moving again. 4 minutes 3 x each week is doable & the results are quick. I went from not being able to get up one flight of stairs to running the three in the parking deck within a month. Easy read, highly recommended, very motivating.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a book that explains why interval training of a high intensity nature is superior in many ways to training of longer duration done at a lower, continuous intensity. Examples are given such as Roger Bannister's training that enabled him to break the "four-minute-mile barrier". Various health benefits are also described. The genetic basis for variability - the variability from individual to individual - in training response is another aspect of training that gets some treatment.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) worked for me long before I read this book. I am glad HIIT is getting much deserved treatment in an easy to read and Understand form.

As with all factual books I read this one has some dangerous advice. There is a recommendation to train outside in the sunshine to get vitamin D. This perpetuates a gross misunderstanding of vitamin D and of skin cancers.UV light of the right wavelength (I think 292nm will do the trick) does convert 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3, But, it is not immediately absorbed. Washing too soon will remove it. Also, other wavelengths of UV destroy Vitamin D3 so the amount of D3 formed is dependent on the time of year, latitude, and elevation which determine the kind and amount of UV radiation that is received. Vitamin D3 in pill form is now readily available and relatively cheap and it does not carry the risk of skin cancer. If skin cancer doesn't scare you, then maybe wrinkled skin will.

I see many people in the gym to which I belong who spend most of their workouts on the treadmill doing low intensity running or walking. The rationale, I suppose, is that low intensity exercise is more apt to use fat as an energy source than higher intensity exercise. However, as the book points out HIIT may be more effective if fat loss is an objective. I wonder if they would change their training if they read this book. I would like to think they would. I think FAST EXERCISE should be required reading for a gym membership.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Well done and to the point. Not a lot of fluff. Doesn't spend 10 chapters convincing you of the need to exercise. You can quickly process this info and get to work, getting in shape. Glad I bought it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book describing High Intensity Training. (HIT) It's a short book- more like an extended article than a book. It gives a good account of HIT, how the idea has developed, how it can be used and then some good routines that help put it into practice. It has enough depth to make its point, but doesn't go any deeper. It is however well referenced if you want more information. For most of us getting on and doing some exercise will be a better use of time than tracking down the references.

I think HIT is an interesting new approach to exercise that many people will benefit from. This book gives a good introduction to HIT and will help most readers understand the concepts behind it.

If you want more information then Gretchen Reynold's book, The First 20 Minutes: The Surprising Science of How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter and Live Longer is helpful. If you want some reasons to exercise then Spark!: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain may encourage you.
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