A few years ago I reviewed a book, Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? written by a high school classmate of Adam, physiologist and journalist, Alex Hutchinson.
I very much liked that book so was eager to read his latest one, Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. Adam purchased it and read it first and after raving about how well it is written, gave it to me to read.
This book is all about the factors that affect human physical performance. If you are an endurance athlete of any kind, either professionally or even just recreationally, than you must read this book. Even if you are not, in fact, even if you do no physical activity at all and the closest you get to sports is watching them on TV with beer in hand, you will still enjoy this book.
That is what I liked best about Endure: Alex manages to make the science interesting and proves himself as a story teller. He weaves in engaging tales about arctic explorers from a century ago, elite athletes from today, as well as his own personal experiences being a competitive runner.
The book has 3 parts:
Part 1: Mind and Muscle (dominate theories)
Part 2: Limits (pain, muscle, oxygen, heat, thirst, fuel)
Part 3: Limit Breakers (brain training, brain stimulation and belief)
If you think you know everything about physical limits, this book will likely prove you wrong. The theory about lactic acid build up that many people in the field still adhere to has been disproved. New research in this area is far more complicated and fascinating. I don't want to give away everything, but lets just say this book provides further evidence that mind and body are one. It is also good for debunking a lot of myths about products and practices that supposedly affect performance.
I also find it fascinating to read about some of these extreme endurance athletes, who run like 100 miles without rest, not sleeping for days. Its totally insane to me but also amazing at the same time.
Usually I reserve bed time reading for fiction as its my zone out/chill out time, but this book was such an easy read and so compelling, I read it before bed and found myself staying awake longer because I didn't want to put it down.
Read this book!