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The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything Paperback – January 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Andersen spent one year testing the latest diets and workouts and chronicled her experience in a humorous and friendly way...she's sweet, funny and has a lot of great information to share."
—Abigail Cuffey, Associate Health Editor, Woman's Day

"I came across blogger and author, Charlotte Hilton Anderson, who writes about her experience trying every different fitness program out there and reports her results. How fantastic! Instead of trying to figure it out for yourself, read her experiences and see what has worked for her and her gym buddies who join in with her."
—Rachel Cosgrove, author, The Female Body Breakthrough

"The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything is a chatty and funny account of her trials, featuring a cover photo of the 32-year-old author in pink and black spandex, standing inside a huge lab beaker."
Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Month by month, you accompany Charlotte on a year-long experiment where she tests the latest workout and diet trends including CrossFit, veganism, Jillian Michaels’ fitness program and more. Her experiences are candid, laugh-out-loud funny, and—in some chapters—quite autobiographical."
—Jenn Walters,

"Charlotte is for fitness enthusiasts what Anne LaMott is for writers--her uncompromising honesty and ferocious humor give the pages within this book the kind of substance that's difficult to find on the exercise-and-fitness shelf. Her insight should be recommended reading for fitness professionals, while the rest of us can simply be entertained by her goofy antics and insightful essays. No subject is taboo for Charlotte, no fitness regimen too extreme. Her journey--while not one you may want to make personally--will leave you wishing you were one of her Gym Buddies."
—Kara Douglass Thom, coauthor, Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom

"As a longtime fan of the irreverent Great Fitness Experiment blog, I was counting down the days until Charlotte's book hit the shelves. I can always count on her to make me laugh out loud while boosting my fitness IQ. Within 12 hours of reading The Great Fitness Experiment, I was in the gym, trying out the Celebrity Workout...and paying for it - in a good way - the day after."
—Leslie Goldman, author, Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the "Perfect" Body

"Andersen's Great Fitness Experiment is far more than an exercise primer. She's created a new genre: the fitness memoir. I laughed, I cried, I grew vicariously sore & starving. Yet, more importantly, through her experiments Andersen reminds her readers exercise need not be about getting "skinny" or nailing a certain BMI. Fitness for her is much more about what we learn about ourselves than how we curl, crunch, cardio & cut carbs. Andersen's unique experience and raw, honest writing is simultaneously riveting and relatable."
—Carla Birnberg, award-winning author and fitness expert

About the Author

Charlotte Hilton Andersen runs the popular health and fitness website, The Great Fitness Experiment, where she specializes in exercise, body image and over-sharing. She also writes for iVillage, blogs for The Huffington Post and has been featured on ABC's 20/20 and Fox's morning show. Her writing has appeared in the online content of the Washington Post, USA Today, Fox News, and Livestrong, among others. As these ventures pay mainly in notoriety, her night job is grading the SAT essay where she gets to grade 500 high school essays each answering the same prompt, causing her to curse any time The Scarlet Letter is mentioned in her presence. She is the mother of five children and lives in Minnesota. This is her first book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clerisy Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578604753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578604753
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer VINE VOICE on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The idea behind this book (and the author's blog, The Great Fitness Experiment) is that the author spends a month testing twelve different diet and exercise programs to let us know what works and what doesn't--thereby saving us from using a diet or exercise plan that doesn't work. Sounds good, right? I thought so too, and it was with considerable excitement that I picked up this book. I was very curious to see if Jillian Michaels's plan was worthy; if the kettleballs I keep seeing at Target are something that I should be messing with; if karate would float my boat; if there was some magical 10-minute, eat-what-you-want-and-lose-weight program out there that I'd somehow missed.

However, I discovered that the book wasn't quite what I anticipated. Here is a bit about what I liked and didn't like.

What I Liked

* Charlotte is hysterically funny. (After reading her book, I feel I can call her Charlotte. She is that kind of writer.) She has a wonderfully irreverent sense of humor that endeared her to me immediately. I dare you to keep a straight face when reading about how her experiment with the TRX suspension system ended up with her looking like she was having a gynecological exam at the gym. Even if you have zero interest in reading about fitness, her sense of humor and snarky pop culture references makes this book a fun, fast read.

* Charlotte is brutally honest. A variety of personal essays (dealing with topics such as body insecurity and making peace with your tummy) are interspersed with the chapters on the various experiments. In these essays, she shares some very personal information (including her experiences with eating disorders and past sexual abuse) that add some balance to the book's overall light-hearted and fun tone.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Melle12 on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying that this is my first exposure to Charlotte- I don't read her blog, but I ordered the book based on my general interest in health and fitness along with how efficiency and variety can benefit my routine.
Charlotte is utterly charming and often laugh-out-loud funny, and she did provide some interesting reviews of various exercise regiments- Jillian Michaels, Cross Fit, Veganism, and HIIT to name a few. It could be considered a plus or a minus as Charlotte points out, but she often modifies the programs based on what she has available to her (occasionally not buying the book but basing her routine on what she can find on the internet and patching together equipment- example: using paper plates as slides)- this could help those looking to try these routines on the cheap or it could mean that actual routine didn't get a fair assessment. In any case, there were some good take aways- reminding us all their are no short cuts to fitness, and even short intense workouts are still awful intense (really enjoyed the HIIT chapter).
I struggled a little in the middle of the book as Charlotte starts to delve into her abuse of exercise and her eating disorder- again, her candor and style is refreshing, but I am reading a book written by a person that fought a doctor's recommendation that she take 2 weeks to rest after a test revealed hypo-thyroidism. I laugh at her commentary and then read sections where she reports her body fat percentage as below what is considered healthy while she complains about her fat thighs and belly over hang or how she fainted after running 26.2 miles and following up the run with a fitness class. I am sure she helps a lot of women in talking about her struggles, but it seems wrong to know she was abusing herself while entertaining me with her silly side bars and exercise reviews. I really enjoyed the book, because it is a fun easy read, but it's also sad knowing Charlotte over-exercised and starved while writing parts of it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By C. Lakhani on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a disappointment! I thought this would be an inspirational book about attempting different fitness trends, instead it read more like someone's diary, and the experiments were often half-heartedly done.

To give you an example: the author tried out the Tracy Anderson method. She makes several jokes throughout the book about being a cheapskate, so she doesn't actually buy the Tracy Anderson materials, she just cobbles a workout together from information she finds on the internet. (Which, granted, I think you can actually do with Tracy Anderson BUT it seems like it's not really trying the real, full method if you make up your own workout based on the trainer's ideas. ) She actually says "I took a workout that Anderson gave to the Daily Mail newspaper and combined it with the Lotte Berk Method developed by an actual ballerina" Sure, you can do that...but selling a book where you discuss the pros and cons of a trainer's workout when you're not really doing the trainer's actual workout? The workout she describes is NOT the TA Method.

She does this another time in the book where the program is XYZ, and she ignores the program's recommendations and continues to do her favorite cardio. She does the same thing for Action Hero Babe by Valerie Waters, just following along with what workouts she can find for free on the web.

Then, each chapter ends with a personal essay, often about her experience as a rape survivor, or about her eating disorder or body issues. The back of the book does mention she will cover some diets, but I wasn't expecting a discussion of an eating disorder...I was expecting a review of a diet! (She does review veganism and the primal blueprint diet.) I would rather that she stuck to more fitness information then the intimate personal essays.
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