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Big Book of Exercises

by Meghann on May 12, 2011

Amazon are marketing geniuses.

Their free super-saver shipping with a purchase of $25 or more get’s me every time. When ever I want something that’s less than that I immediately shop around the website until I find something I need..errr…. want.

When I ordered the New Rules of Lifting for Women a few weeks ago I was $15 short of the $25 free shipping limit. Luckily The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises showed up in my suggested books area and I immediately knew how I was going to fill that $15 void. 🙂


The Big of Exercises is, well, BIG. It’s over 450 pages full of strength moves, warm ups, stretches, and work out plans (all in FULL color!). Basically, it’s just what this girl needs.


I love how easy it is to read and comprehend. Each move is broken down in full color with plenty of explanation on proper form and follow through.


My favorite part was the workout plans provided in the back. I’m learning that if I’m going to make this go at strength training stick, then I’m going to have to go into it with a plan.


All the workouts are 8 weeks in length with a warmup, set of weights, and cardio.


I really want to find a strength training plan I can stick with during HIM training (there’s one dedicated to athletes in here), but it was fun to take one for a test run this morning.


I wrote the workout out and took mental photos of the moves.


I didn’t follow the plan exactly.

First of all, I did the cardio before instead of after (from what I’ve read in New Rules of Lifting for Women, it’s a personal preference) and my ‘mental photos’ weren’t too reliable (I messed a few up).

The workout went really quick. I was in and out of the gym in an hour and, since I was on a mission, I was focused and motivated.

It was a great morning in the gym 🙂

After my gym session I came home to a big bowl of cereal for breakfast.


In the mix:

  • 1/2 cup Kix
  • 1/2 cup Kashi Honey Sunshine
  • 1/3 cup Uncle Sam’s Strawberry Cereal
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Pineapple



Have a great Thursday everyone!

1 Freya May 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

Aaah what an awesome book! I do a LOT of home workouts, so I’m guessing that would be pretty handy!?
Freya recently posted..New Name!

2 Samantha Angela May 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’ve flipped through that book often at the book store and I think they have some pretty creative exercises in there. It’s nice to have something like that to reference for ideas when you get stuck in a bit of a workout rut.

Do you write down your weights and reps when you’re at the gym so you can reference it the next time you go?

3 Dori May 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

You should join Amazon Prime — no $25 limit for free two-day shipping!
Dori recently posted..Texgate lol 2011- The Aftermath

4 Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet May 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

I love Women’s Health workout routines! I look them up on their website all the time before heading to the gym. But yea, sometimes I get a little mixed up with the motions when I try to just remember them…

5 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

What a great book for inspiration! I love Women’s Health! This morning I posted an upper body workout that I threw together ( and one of the moves was inspired by WH. With a book like that, there’s no excuse for getting bored!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..Friend Date!

6 Jen423 May 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

I would be so overwhelmed with such a big book. How did you ever decide which plan/set of exercises to do?

7 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I just flipped to the back and picked a random one to follow. Trust me, I was getting overwelmed too, that’s why I liked how they had pre-made plans already set up.

8 Lindsey May 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

I have seen this book a few times at Costco and debated buying it, but now I think you just convinced me to get it!
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9 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

Too funny. The pictures you showed of the moves – Bulgarian Split Squat and Dumbbell Pullover were both in my workout on Tuesday. Love both those moves. That book is a great resource. I used to have a copy but it disappeared somewhere when moving once. 🙁
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Self-Love Reflection- Stop Fat Talk

10 Casey May 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

I have this book and love it. I used it when I was training people and didn’t want them to get bored with their workouts. It has so many ways to work the same muscles. Gotta keep the body guessing!
Casey recently posted..Jason’s deli gets an a and I get new books

11 Holly @ The Runny Egg May 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

I got that book from the library and I’m considering buying it.

Amazon does that to me too — they have the best suggestions 🙂
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12 Hats @ See How She Runs May 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

I was considering getting this (coincidentally I had thought about it when buying TNRoLfW!). After reading about it, I think I’ll splurge on it the next time I can treat myself. I just bought a whole load of new workout gear so it might be a while!
Hats @ See How She Runs recently posted..Review of BodyPump 77

13 Michelle May 12, 2011 at 10:28 am

Looks like a great book. Have you done any posts about books you found helpful for working out / running? Like reviews and such?
Michelle recently posted..Inspiration

14 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Not of books. I’m in the middle of reading The New Rules of Lifting for Women, but I haven’t finished it yet, so I haven’t given it a proper review yet.

15 miranda @ working mom works out May 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

Totally sold! I’m getting that book.

16 Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries May 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

I like your idea of writing down the moves and bringing it to the gym with you. I always read the strength training moves in fitness magazines and force myself to remember them only to draw a blank at the gym. Perhaps I need to whip out my pen and paper and start writing it down so I don’t stand there, staring at myself in the mirror with weights in my hands and no clue what I’m doing!
Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries recently posted..Go For the Thrills

17 Jess May 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

That looks like a book I might want to pick up for post-baby retoning.
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18 Kara May 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

Amazon is a genius. Once I had the baby, they gave me a year of free Prime just for buying all my baby stuff through them (and they had the cheapest prices!). Now I buy everything from them because they cut me a deal for subscribing to order diapers!

A weight training plan is critical, otherwise it’s so hard to lose focus!
Kara recently posted..Round of applause!

19 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food May 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

They are geniuses with that free shipping offer!

Thanks so much for the second rep I need both books now! 🙂

20 Anne @thefitbridesmaid May 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

My trainer told me to do cardio after strength training to double up your calorie burn. After strength training, you are still burning calories (which is not true for cardio), so if you cardio AFTER strength training, you are increasing the amount of calories you burn.

However, since I don’t think that you are looking to lose any more weight, it probably doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Anne @thefitbridesmaid recently posted..Weather

21 Biz May 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

I’ll have to get that book – I need the visual pictures otherwise I have no clue what I am doing – thanks for the suggestion Meghann! 😀 And great workout!

22 Hope May 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

That is a good book! There are so many excerise ideas. I definitely need to look throught it! 🙂

Happy Thursday!
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23 Karen May 12, 2011 at 11:37 am

I have that book and I love it!

24 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine May 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

LOVE that book. I bought it about a year ago and it’s taught me so much about strength training!!
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25 Jamie May 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

I have that book and have been using it lately for my strength training. My boyfriend said my arms are looking more toned and that I have tightened up so it is a good resource.

26 Carolyn H. May 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

This book looks great. I might put it on hold at the library and check it out before making a purchase.

Love pictures. I usually draw stick figures on my workout plan to help me remember, or I come up with names like “hail to the cheif.”
Carolyn H. recently posted..Hurricane Man Swim

27 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I like the stick figures idea! I was thinking next time of taking a photo of the workout with my phone and just bringing that with me to the gym instead of the book. 🙂

28 Brie @ Brie Fit May 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

A trick: Take a picture of the workout with your phone, and carry it with you to the gym. That way you don’t have to copy everything down!
Brie @ Brie Fit recently posted..Swings

29 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

haha, i was just saying in reply to another comment that that’s what I want to do next time!

30 Sarah @ May 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I just got this book in the mail from Women’s Health and haven’t had time to look through it! You just made me so excited to go check it out.
Sarah @ recently posted..I love Blake Lively  She always looks stunning  I was inspired

31 Mimi May 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I always tear workout pages from magazines, but they get crumpled and discarded. This book would be great!
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32 Ashley May 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I’ve never seen that book but it looks great! I usually screw up work out moves if I don’t see them in action.

33 Steph @321delish May 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I always see those workout in Women’s Health magazines, and say, oh I need to do that…but then I never do; I get embarrassed about doing those workouts at the gym by myself. Any suggestions for getting over that?

34 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Just ignore everyone else or go to the gym at non-peak hours. 🙂

35 Amber from Girl with the Red Hair May 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I have the Women’s Health Workout app on my iPhone and it’s great! Full of awesome workout moves AND combined workouts with a way to log them right there on your phone. I used it last night for the first time and I’m DEFINITELY sore today!

36 Meghann May 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Awesome suggestion. I wonder if they have that for the droid too?

37 Meagan May 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I have that book and I love it! The photos of all of the exercises are great and I love that the book offers variations of most of the exercises too.

38 Tami May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Oxygen magazine is a good one and has lots pictures which would make it easier for you to take to the gym. I wish that Big Book came with a cd so you could create a workout with pictures

39 Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm

is the book worth buying?! it’s been in my “shopping cart” forever!
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40 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I LOVE weight training!!! Good books, yes?

41 Hilary May 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Looks like a good buy! I love the SHAPE workouts…they kill me every time, in the best way!
Hilary recently posted..Such a Softie

42 gasem May 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Just store some pics of the exercises in your phone form is extremely important or you will get hurt

43 Kaitlyn @ 7 Plates May 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Wow, I need this book. I feel so lost about strength training. I am also embarrassed to do it in my college’s gym because I am TINY and all the guys at my college in the gym are massive, ripped males. How am I supposed to do this?!?! haha. 😛
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44 Nikki May 13, 2011 at 1:06 am

That’s a Rodale book. Rodale is the company that publishes Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention magazine just to name a few. I worked for that company in 2009 and 2010 as they are located in PA. What was nice was we got to purchase books for either a $1 or $2 in their bookstore. I actually got that book and gave it to a friend for Christmas.

45 Christine @ Burning It Off May 14, 2011 at 7:53 am

That was the first strength training book I ever bought. At the time, I had just been cured of my “strength training is only for gaining muscle not losing weight” madness, so I mostly just read all of the introductory stuff about why women should lift. I started doing some of the workouts but never really stuck to it, but now that I’m starting to do more free weight workouts, I might have another go at it. Either way, the information inside is pretty helfpul (except for the diet plan… from what I remember, it’s either no or very low carb)
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