Don't get me wrong. Author Pete Cerqua seems to know his stuff, and, despite being a dude, seems to get women pretty darn well. The book's premise is that women today don't have enough time to raise the kids, work, have a life, sleep, breathe...you get the gist...let alone work out. And they feel guilty for not working out because they know they should. Sound familiar? I only have a dog and a husband, and Pete's message got me enthusiastically nodding my head "yes, yes, YES." What the book is great at emphasizing is how you can fit in a good strength workout without spending a lot of time.
The title is a little misleading because the workouts are longer than 90 seconds—90 seconds is actually the time per strength exercise repetition, not the workout time—but honestly, they're not much longer. There are three at-home workouts to do that vary in intensity and length, and three in-the-gym workouts that also progress in difficulty. Every workout is based on exercises that effectively target multiple muscles to get more workout bang for your second, such as planks and wall sits. Then, and here's the kicker: you hold those exercises for 90 seconds. Sounds easy, huh? It's not. Go ahead. I'll wait. Do a wall sit or plank for 90 seconds. I guarantee it'll be the longest one-and-a-half minutes of your life.
I tried the level two at-home workout, which included 90 seconds of each: superwoman, plank, wall sit, sit-up and leg raise. The only one I didn't try was "Hangin' Out," which required hanging from a pull-up bar, and I don't have a pull-up bar in my home nor do I particularly want one. (If you can't tell, being required to have this bar for the "at-home" workout kind of annoyed me, as you need NO OTHER equipment. Really, who has one of these at home?) Even though my strength session only lasted 10 minutes (including rest between exercises), it sufficiently kicked my arse. I even weenied out on the plank and leg raise after only 60 seconds. I blame that on a super long run the day before, but even if I was rested, doing the full 90 seconds would be a challenge. I'll admit, the long run is really just a cop out.
While the workouts are supposed to be simple and quick, with all six of them having different variations of exercises and sometimes different times and angles in the positions, I found the instructions to be kind of confusing and overly complicated. It's nice that readers have exercises and plans to progress, but when I see too many directions and angles on a page, I tend to turn the page. Geometry and I were not friends in high school.
Also, Petey isn't a cardio fan per se. He recommends that if you have no time to workout, then choose his strength workouts. And, if you do have time to workout, do his quick strength workout and spend more time doing yoga or another exercise you enjoy. He dogs running quite a bit because of its high intensity, which irked me personally, but I know that not every one's knees can take the pounding. I'm masochistic like that, apparently.
Mr. Cerqua also addresses diet in his book. He gives some solid and sane recommendations to eat natural foods (aka Mother Nature made 'em not Little Debbie), and he encourages you to enjoy tea, coffee and wine in moderation (another enthusiastic "yes!" from me). He did make my butt twitch a little when he proposed the "Skinny Black Dress Diet," which consists of a jump-start liquid diet detox. Me likey solid, healthy foods all the time. Just go buy a new dress that fits and you feel fabulous in it RIGHT NOW, I say.
He also includes a chapter on supplements that is straightforward and non-controversial, except for the recommendation of 5-HTP, a serotonin booster, which requires doctor's approval. It's just my skeptical nature: If I need the doc's approval, then I'm kinda freaked to try it.
However, this book is about more than working out and eating right. He includes fantastic tips on how to stay emotionally sane. This was probably my fave part of the book, as health is so directly tied to how we feel. (Ever notice how it's easier to eat right and work out when you're not being pulled in 80,000 directions?) There is also a fabulous chapter on stress-proofing your life with tips to sleep better, destress and declutter, and an entire chapter dedicated to staying motivated. 'Cause we all know, getting in shape is hard, but staying in shape is just as tough.
Addresses issues that women face every darn day.
Gives effective workouts that take more than 90 seconds, but less than your normal 30-minute weight circuit at the gym.
Says a glass of wine is good for weight-loss!
Advanced workouts are overly complicated (and occasionally include math).
Wants you to install a pull-up bar in your home.
Recommends a short-term, get-skinny-quick liquid diet. Ick.
Did I love this book? No. Did I hate this book? Again, no. I liked some parts, a few sections made me scrunch my face, and there were a few chapters that I adored. Although I don't always agree with him, Pete does have substantial research and reader testimonials to back up his statements. While the title may be a little misleading as to the 90-second part, it definitely has some workout solutions for the time-starved lady. — Jenn