Book & Product Reviews

Book Review: “The Great Fitness Experiment” by Charlotte Hilton Andersen

You read that correctly: the book I’m reviewing today was written by none other than our favourite Charlotte of The Great Fitness Experiment blog!

The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything details one year of trying twelve different fitness and nutrition experiments, from Functional Training to CrossFit to The Action Hero Workout to Kettlebells to Veganism. True to form, Charlotte includes the bad with the good in the write-ups of her experiences. Her stories make me simultaneously wish that I were one of her Gym Buddies and also kind of grateful that I haven’t had to undergo some of those hard-core experiments 😉

Each chapter (or rather, month) is broken down into six parts: a short intro, the theory of the experiment, a description of the workout itself, how the exercise works in the practical sense at the gym, the results of the experiment, and a personal essay to conclude that experiment.

I hadn’t even finished reading the first page of Charlotte’s book and I was already snorting with laughter:

If I were a real fitness professional, I’d make you wade through pages of randomly BOLDED and CAPITALIZED stuff with lots of extraneous punctuation!!! and hyperbolic promises (You WILL get the RIPPED BODY of your dreams in just 25.2 days by just changing your thought patterns!?!?! Oh, and maybe doing some crack.)

Charlotte is just as funny and frank in her book as she is on her blog. You’ve got to be a good storyteller to write a book like this, and Charlotte fits the bill! Included in this book are references to The Karate Kid and The Princess Bride, which is reason enough to read this book.

She also makes mention of some of the strange and silly things that she has done which I also have an affection for such as reading while walking (true story: I was actually doing that while I read that part of her book) and running in the dark at night in the middle of winter.

But between the amusing anecdotes, Charlotte also addresses some serious topics. She offers advice for compulsive exercisers, tips for how to exercise depending on your fitness level, and how to deal with insecurities and get over embarrassment you might face at the gym or in everyday life. Reading it in the midst of having difficulties with my own eating patterns was incredibly helpful: it’s fantastic to know that someone else feels the same way I often do. Parts of the book were like reading a diary I could have written. And that was very comforting.

The Great Fitness Experiment is pure personality. When you read this book, you’re having a conversation with a friend. What can be much better than that?

What people don’t realize about the Gym Buddies and me is that, other than an overabundance of crazy, we are not extraordinary athletes in any way. We are women who have birthed children. Men who work night shifts. People with old sports injuries and fears and family obligations and homework and overcrowded schedules […] We’re normal.

You can get a copy of Charlotte’s book too by pre-ordering it now – it’ll be released to the public in January 2011!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free and even though I’m a tiny bit biased because I adore Charlotte and her blog, the opinions expressed in this post are still entirely my own and I would love the book just as much even if I didn’t “know” Charlotte (in the blogging sense of the word). Now get thee to to find her book! You’ll love it 🙂


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