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The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything

3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  202 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Body image and fitness are hot topics for both men and women. The Great Fitness Experiment is not a how-to guide but rather a fitness memoir in which Charlotte Hilton Andersen sifts through the morass of contradictory claims and information in today’s health- and fitness-obsessed world. Andersen tries a new workout each month for a year in an attempt to discover what works ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Clerisy Press (first published December 1st 2010)
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Feb 07, 2011 Katherine rated it it was ok
The more I think about this book, the more disturbed I am about it.

On the plus side, Anderson is a good and entertaining writer with a nice sense of humor and a good persona.

On the (petty) negative side, this book shows signs of being assembled from a pre-existing blog, sometimes rather sloppily. There's some cutesy language that grows tiresome in book form (though I can imagine it would be tolerable in periodic blog entries); if I had to read a reference to Gym Buddies one more time, I thought
Feb 26, 2011 Lisa rated it did not like it
Is it just me or is everyone else getting sick of women writing about their "year of finding themselves"? It's getting a little old.

Is this book entertaining? Yes. Is it an easy, uneventful read? Yes.

I have a few snarky complaints, though.

1) Nothing at all here that I couldn't find from a simple search on the Internet. The Internet has more information than I'll ever need about CrossFit, kettlebells, etc. from technical info to blogs. I don't really need a book to explain it to me.

2) I'm really
Jan 01, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, readin2010
Subjectively, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. However, as a regular reader of Charlotte's blog and a fitness enthusiast in my own right (though not nearly at Charlotte's level of dedication or zeal), I'm square in the target audience for The Great Fitness Experiment. I think that someone coming into this book cold might be a little lost without some of the background understanding of who Charlotte is, and might find some of the "Whooo! Look how wacky I am!" persona a bit offputting—especially w ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Melody rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I have multiple issues with this blog-to-book. The most glaring is that Andersen has disordered eating and is a compulsive over-exerciser. Her BMI is well below normal, and she doesn't menstruate because her body fat percentage is so low. She also does not actually do the workouts/diets that she claims to be trying each month- she either doesn't buy the book and cobbles together what she thinks the workout is from the internet, or she modifies the diet. Andersen is a good writer, and she can be ...more
Maura Jones
Jan 17, 2015 Maura Jones rated it it was ok
I have read this blog a few times before, and I was excited to try out the book. Andersen's writing style is witty, and entertaining, but that wasn't enough to make the book good.

1. Although Andersen says she tries each experiment for a month, she admits to being cheap and not does not actually buy most of the programs. She makes up her own version off of internet research. Therefore, they are not all accurate reviews of the actual products.

2. While I appreciate her candidness about her eating d
Oct 03, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost done with this book, thank goodness. It's entertaining until I get to the potty humor (she does have four kids, so I guess that's where she's at right now) and all of the stuff about her eating and exercising disorder. I have a feeling that any data one can glean from this book is going to be heavily skewed, as she was in the middle of an eating disorder episode for most of the book, so her weight loss and muscle gain is probably not typical.

I have never had an eating disorder, so I
Sep 15, 2011 Cleokatra rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
The author spent 30 days trying various fitness plans and then wrote a book about it. That part was interesting. The endless navel gazing about her eating disorder was less interesting. Yes, I get that you aren't really fat. I get it, even without pictures. I don't need to keep hearing about it. I know your kids wrecked your body. That's sad, but they are here now and they didn't ask to be born.

Something to consider... I exercise for health. Most grown-ups I know who exercise do it to be health
Mar 09, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 s ...more
Feb 03, 2012 Cori rated it it was amazing
I figured I'd start off my 2012 reviews with a fitness book - just in time to catch you all as you are reconsidering your fitness resolutions! Just kidding - I know you're all still going strong!

The Great Fitness Experiment by Charlotte Hilton Andersen is perfect for us goal setters who crave some variety but want to see if it's worth the effort. The premise of the book (and her accompanying blog) is that each month she take a different fitness craze and spends that month devoting herself to it
Angela Risner
Jun 04, 2012 Angela Risner rated it it was amazing
If you're a blogger, you most likely already know Charlotte, via her blog of the same name. I've been reading her blog for some time and was thrilled to see her wonderful writing rewarded with a book deal.

I was so excited to read her book. And it was everything I expected it to be - laugh out loud funny and extremely well-written. Charlotte's recount of her fitness experiments is hysterical. She and her Gym Buddies took on a new challenge each month and then gave their results and opinions at th
Mar 04, 2012 Katie rated it liked it
A woman tries out one fitness plan per month for a year to see which work well for her and which don't. I thought this book would be entertaining even though personally I have nothing to gain from it... I'm a die-hard outdoor runner who hates the gym and is suspicious of basically all diet and/or exercise plans. They just all feel so "cult-like." But for some reason I thought this book would be interesting, and it was, primary for 2 reasons--I thought the author's voice was engaging and humorous ...more
Galen Johnson
Feb 24, 2012 Galen Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book, which claims to be "an informative guide" about testing the latest fitness and diet programs for a month each and telling us which works and which doesn't, is more like an extra-long mommy/thinspo blog. Often, the author doesn't even do the "real" version of the programs she is supposed to be reviewing; for example, her exploration of the Tracey Anderson Method is cobbled together from some magazine interviews with Anderson and some Lotte Berk Method the author knew. So she isn't test ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Monica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
With so many diet and exercise fads out there, who knows which ones will work? An extra problem is that many will require you to buy their book or equipment to learn their “secrets.” In the face of so many choices, it is easy to understand the urge to give up before even delving in. Enter Charlotte Hilton Andersen who is ready to do the work for you. In “The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything,” she tackles on different diets and workouts, a new one for every month. Her perso ...more
2.5 stars

This book was kind of.... strange. I was expecting a funny exposé on weird exercise trends and stupid diets. It's actually authored by a woman who suffers pretty substantial body issues and has an addiction to exercise. Yet she still tries 12 different workouts/diet trends and reports on their effectiveness. I can't help but thinking about how triggering this would be for somebody with an exercise addiction or eating disorder. She even details the inches she loses and her weight and
Once I learned this author was/has suffered from an eating disorder/orthorexia, reading this book made me feel as if I was part of exploiting her illness. I was generally disappointed by the book overall, it felt choppy and repetitive, and is a perfect example of how NOT to take a blog and turn it into a book. I typically enjoy the genre of human guinea pig/experiment for a year book, but this just fell flat. It didn't seem like there was really a point to her different workouts, and it seemed l ...more
Kelly Olexa
May 06, 2011 Kelly Olexa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Book!!! I stumbled across Charlotte's blog and then her book and wow- I can't recommend it enough. She's taken each month of one year to attack a different fitness "plan" and share her opinions and results. Totally awesome--- she wasn't paid to do this and quite often, instead of buying the extra equipment or paying for a gym, she would adapt the programs to do at home or at the YMCA....just goes to show you there are no excuses for not getting your fitness groove on. She addresses man ...more
Apr 19, 2013 Bron rated it really liked it
This book wasn't what I was expecting. Then again I didn't really know what to expect - I've never intentionally sat down to read a 'fitness' book before.

But I liked it. Though not really because it was a fitness book - despite several really interesting fitness options that it does explore. This book is much more a look into the psychological issues that surround the author.

She is forth coming and honest. Admitting to her problems - and getting pretty brave if she's airing them so publicly. I d
Apr 21, 2011 Sybil rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I absolutely adore Charlotte's blog, so I was excited to read this book. What I discovered is that it was a bit of an akward mash-up between a hilarious, light-hearted read about all of the different fitness experiments Charlotte has tried and a painful, heart-breaking story of abuse and disordered eating and exercise. Had Charlotte chosen to write two separate books, one full of her witty charm and one laying out the struggles she faces, I am sure that they would both be five star worthy.

Most o
Mar 01, 2015 Susie rated it really liked it
The book had a lot more depth than expected. I figured it would be something light hearted where the author tries new fitness crazes and hilarity ensues. And to some extent that does happen. But the book also unexpectedly contrasts the light with the dark. Charlotte shares some deeply personal essays with each fitness challenge where she speaks candidly about her battles with anxiety, orthorexia, anorexia and compulsive exercising.
Jul 25, 2012 Dale rated it it was ok
Ok, here the deal - I really enjoyed her writing. Yes, it was clear this book was little more than a published version of her blog but then agan, it didn't pretend to be anything but that.

However, what bothered me was her "experiments." For more than a couple of them she'd hobble together what she thought the program was, refusing to actually spend the time and money to find out the specifics of the program (like the Celebrity workout). Additionally, she's only follow some of the programs in a h
Aug 29, 2011 Melonie rated it liked it
I liked this book, and I love Charlotte and her open, funny, self-deprecating writing style...however, I don't feel the book truly delivered what it promised, because so many of her experiments were fudged due to not investing in the full program she was trying, ie: using alternate forms of equipment, etc. That's fine, and a frugal girl myself, I often do the same, and while I appreciate her showing me cheaper options and like that they are in the book, I also feel that in order to do the experi ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Christa rated it liked it
It was interesting to read about the author's experiences with different exercise regimens. Her addiction to fitness was somewhat concerning to me, so I would not recommend that persons who tend toward addictive behaviors with regards to eating and exercise read this book. I would be concerned they might see it as a how-to manual.
Nov 28, 2011 Aimee rated it it was ok
I picked this book up at the library looking for some motivation and new ideas. I did judge a book by its cover, front and back, and based on the colors and synopsis I expected a lighthearted, comical read about a woman bumbling through different fitness routines. So perhaps some of what I didn't care for from the book was more that it wasn't what I anticipated, not that it wasn't what was advertised. This book has a serious side about a women struggling with several painful experiences and addi ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, but may be a bit biased on the fact that I followed the author's blog for several years. Charlotte is honest, funny, accurate, and sincere in all of her writing. I highly recommend any of her writings.
Mar 15, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
This is one of those books which is assembled from a blog. I think it works as a book, and the writing is funny and compelling. In it, the author tries an assortment of exercise programs for 30 days and evaluates them. I loved the chapter on Jillian Michaels, of Biggest Loser fame.

This book would have been terrific if the author was either a schlubby everywoman or a fitness expert. In either one of those cases, I would have trusted her. However, she confesses to her eating disorders and exercise
Rachel Jaffe
Apr 14, 2013 Rachel Jaffe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, health
I wasn't really sure how to react to this book. The parts about the author trying different fitness experiments was fun (if at times a little precious in style). The parts about her struggle with body image, orthorexia, and overexercising were real and moving. The juxtaposition of the two types of parts was very jarring. What does it mean when a woman who has lost so much weight that she cased menstruating gives thumb's up to an exercise routine based on the fact that she lost weight on it, or f ...more
Jan 19, 2011 Tonia rated it really liked it
Currently reading. When my sister recommended this book, she told me its author admitted to having eating disorders and an addiction to fitness. I had my doubts about the book and some anger over someone who seems to be giving advice when they're in no place to give it.

After reading about 100 pages, though, my opinion is changing. I don't think everyone should follow exactly what the author is saying about each "experiment," but I think readers can gain insight from the book. It's certainly insi
Julia Jones
Sep 06, 2011 Julia Jones rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! Anderson is so candid about her struggles with body image and frank about her obsession with exercising that it actually helped me find her information reliable. Each month, Anderson and her coterie of "Gym Buddies" engaged in a new fitness regime. They tackled everything from karate to kettlebells to to a grueling workout called "CrossFit." She gives the pro and cons of each program, as well as her personal results. I definitely want to try a few of these workouts. I ...more
Kara Johnson
Feb 20, 2014 Kara Johnson rated it liked it
Bottom line? I really need to add some variety to my workouts!!
Laura Craner
Apr 30, 2011 Laura Craner rated it it was amazing
So this is my sister's book and I loved it. I don't usually read this genre so I'm not sure how it compares to other memoir/fitness books but Charlotte is at turns smart, slapstick, poignant--she covers it all. I've read it a couple times now and I especially enjoy the best/worst moments in each chapter. I'm the unfit sister in the family and, well, Charlotte's book was so much fun I've actually started working out a bit. (Don't tell anyone though; I don't want the pressure of expectations!) Thi ...more
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