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The 90-Second Fitness Solution: The Most Time-Efficient Workout Ever for a Healthier, Stronger, Younger You Hardcover – December 30, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Create the 90-Second Body

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!)

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.


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.

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 transform...

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416566481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416566489
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I received Pete Cerqua's book The 90-Second Fitness Solution in the mail, I have to be honest, I snickered. I thought, `Here is another gimmick that doesn't work.' Frankly, if you have been reading my blog, you know I'm not into the `quick fix` mentality of health. So, the title `The 90-Second Fitness Solution` was a bit of a turn-off.

Pete Cerqua, a NYC based Personal Trainer, attempts to get us to do the unthinkable...be fit in 90 seconds. Look, the reality is, everyone needs a gimmick to get people's attention. And the title of the book, in this case, is a bit of a gimmick. You are NOT going to be fit in 90 seconds alone. However, the principle behind the book, does revolve around a 90 second concept. This is the scoop:

1. What 90 Seconds Really Means: In short, Pete Cerqua's The 90-Second Fitness Solution is to take strength training's conventional 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of a single exercise, and convert them into a single 90 second exercise. The exercises require you to either hold a position for 90 seconds, to do one repetition in steps within 90 seconds or to do no more that three repetitions within 90 seconds. Essentially, this concept adopts the isometric approach to exercise. Isometric exercises rely on your larger muscles becoming tired, and as a result, engages other muscles to keep you in a position. Basically, you are killing a few muscles with one exercise.
2. The Workouts: Pete Cerqua provides four different workouts. Home routines Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3, and a Gym routine. Truth be told, the efficacy of these routines is completely dependent on your current level of fitness.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been working out with Pete for the past year and a half. This is the longest period of time I have stuck with an exercise program ever and I am 46 years old, so I have certainly tried many other approaches! I started working out with Pete because I wanted to lose ten pounds. However, I have lost 20 pounds! Pete's philosophy is twofold. People need to eat sensibly and exercise sensibly. Very few people have the luxury of working out for hours everyday and really, would you want to if you could? I work out with Pete twice a week for 15 minutes each session. When I first started, I lied to family and friends and told them it was 45 minutes because I knew they just wouldn't get it! In the book, Pete explains how this can be achieved at home, so you don't need to work out with a trainer. You can easily do the exercises in a hotel room if you travel frequently. The nutritional advise Pete gives in his book applies to everyone, whether or not you want to lose weight. There are no foods or equipment that you don't already have or at least have easy access to. In order for a nutritional and/or exerise plan to work, it needs to work for the long haul. It needs to work when you don't feel great, have a bad day at work or a fight with one of your loved ones. (Quite franky, I am experiencing at least one of those scenarios at all times!) Anyone can eat well and workout when everything is going great. However, what sets Pete's fitness/nutrition plan apart from the rest, is that you can do this even during difficult times. We all experience stress and the way we choose to eat and exercise needs to continue to work during stressful times. The reason this works for me is because it takes very little time out of my day. I have so much more physical energy, and even more importantly, I no longer have to think about how I need to lose weight or join a gym.
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Format: Hardcover
I give this book 3 stars for a couple reasons: I hope it gets people to read it since there are plenty of 5 star reviews and just one 1 star, I have a medical education background and so I can speak to some of the claims and I think this book is great...if only it could be ordered minus a few chapters.

Now for the review itself: THE GOOD: Pete's concepts are reasonable with regard to strength training and muscle building. He is getting people who are inactive into more active lifestyles. His eating plan--the regular one--of real foods is absolutely sound. People who eat good, whole, as-close-to-natural foods as possible are the healthiest, trim people. Protein is good in the right forms, fiber is important and fresh veggies and fruit without added butter and sauces are the greatest thing going. Using eggs, beans and nuts for protein are terrific options. Getting rid of "boxed" and "bagged" food (outside those convenient veggie packets) is the best thing for your body. You can get in shape and be strong and fit with a LOT less exercise when you eat real food.

THE BAD: The liquid diet thing is just not all that great. Take out that chapter. The supplement chapter is best discussed with your doctor. Sure, take a regular multi-vitamin/mineral tablet. However, adding more B vitamins, etc. can get tricky. A "regular" plain, cheap vitamin usually has lots of vitamin C and D and B vitamins. When you add another B vitamin, it usually contains more C and/or other vitamins that in addition to the regular multi-vitamin gets to that point of worry with "overdosing." Before using supplements, especially combining them, speak with your healthcare provider and don't trust a book.
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