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Review – How Bad Do You Want It? – Matt Fitzgerald

how-bad-do-you-want-itHow Bad Do You Want It?
Author: Matt Fitzgerald
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
The greatest athletic performances spring from the mind, not the body. Elite athletes have known this for decades and now science is learning why it s true. In his fascinating new book “How Bad Do You Want It?,” coach Matt Fitzgerald examines more than a dozen pivotal races to discover the surprising ways elite athletes strengthen their mental toughness.

Fitzgerald puts you into the pulse-pounding action of more than a dozen epic races from running, cycling, triathlon, XTERRA, and rowing with thrilling race reports and revealing post-race interviews with the elites. Their own words reinforce what the research has found: strong mental fitness lets us approach our true physical limits, giving us an edge over physically stronger competitors. Each chapter explores the how and why of an elite athlete s transformative moment, revealing powerful new psychobiological principles you can practice to flex your own mental fitness.

The new psychobiological model of endurance performance shows that the most important question in endurance sports is: how bad do you want it? Fitzgerald s fascinating book will forever change how you answer this question and show you how to master the psychology of mind over muscle. These lessons will help you push back your limits and uncover your full potential.

“How Bad Do You Want It?” reveals new psychobiological findings including: Mental toughness determines how close you can get to your physical limit. Bracing yourself for a tough race or workout can boost performance by 15% or more. Champions have learned how to give more of what they have. The only way to improve performance is by altering how you perceive effort. Choking under pressure is a form of self-consciousness. Your attitude in daily life is the same one you bring to sports. There’s no such thing as going as fast as you can only going faster than before. The fastest racecourse is the one with the loudest spectators. Faith in your training is as important as the training itself.

Review:
At the end of August, I completed in an Half Iron event in Maine (a half iron consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run). While talking to my coach the night before, we were talking game plan and goals and my response was, I’d love to PR (personal record) – my fastest time was 7:12 in 2013 in North Carolina, my other times had all been in the 7:30 range). I had a solid swim and my bike was within 10 minutes of my goal (I wanted to get 3:30 and ended up with 3:39) and so knew going into my run that there was a chance if my run went as planned, that I might PR…and then at mile 8 (of 13 on the run)…when I realized how close it truely was…my brain started playing tricking on me and I nearly sabotaged myself with my finish. in case you are wondering, I did PR by a grand 40 seconds! But after that race, I knew I needed to focus not only on the physical aspect of my training, but also the mental. So when I realized I had a review copy of How Bad Do You Want It? to read, I figured now was a good time to dig in.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read by Matt Fitzgerald – I’ve already skimmed through his book about race weight, and he has a whole host of other books out there about various aspects of triathlon and marathon training. The publisher (Velo Press) is also known for their books focusing on different aspects of athletic performance (I previously reviewed their book on Strength Training for Triathletes and have used several of the workouts included in it). In How Bad Do You Want It – Fitzgerald uses a series of stories about elite athletes and different pressures that they had faced in their careers while competing. From coping with the pressure to be successful to adapting strategies to do with physical limitations, to overcoming from behind (or being the underdog). Each chapter in the book starts with a story of an athlete and then the author talks about current research that is available that talks about that particular coping mechanism. There is a bibliography at the end of the book so you can research further into the research if you are intrigued but it wasn’t written in a way that was overly scientific. For me, the biggest take away was to have fun because if you don’t, then the stress of training and trying to improve will start to eat you up and you will fail.

I gave How Bad Do You Want It? 4 stars and its a great book for understanding some of the psychology that goes into endurance training. I know I’ll be looking for more books by Matt Fitzgerald in the future.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – A Mango-shaped Space – Wendy Mass

mango-shaped spaceA Mango-Shaped Space
Author: Wendy Mass

Description:
Mia Winchell appears to be a typical kid, but she’s keeping a big secret—sounds, numbers, and words have color for her. No one knows, and Mia wants to keep it that way. But when trouble at school finally forces Mia to reveal her secret, she must learn to accept herself and embrace her ability, called synesthesia, a mingling of the senses.

Review:
It was funny, when I was talking to my friend Naomi about the book I was currently reading (this one), she made the comment back that I find the weirdest/interesting books to read and how did I do it (of course, there was various other friendly banter in the convo, but that was the gist of it). And I came to realize that is true – so many of my book recommendations come from lists off goodreads and they are ones I never would have picked up before. Case in point, I found A Mango-Shaped Space on a thread called, the best books you never would have read except for this challenge – talking about the Seasonal Reading Challenge, I have done for nearly two years now (and it was the first time I have looked at that thread).

The thing I loved the most about this book was the pure simplicity of it – while so many YA books now a days are so complicated with family issues; or world building – Mia’s life was about as close to perfect as you can get, except for the fact that she sees colors in everything around her – not in the way that most of us see colors (trees are green etc), but rather that words have colors – her name and those around her; numbers; dates in history. I vaguely remember learning about synethesia when i was taking psychology in college, but haven’t read/heard much about it since then – so I was intrigued. You could tell that the author had really done her research and managed to balance telling about the disease through the characterizations; but also just letting the story play out.

I have to admit that I did see the ending coming relatively early on, but then, since it was a YA book that doesn’t surprise me – they normally are fairly telling if you can pick up on the clues. I would probably recommend that parents preview the end before letting their kids read because of one thing that happens (death is a theme through-out and something that parents should be aware of because all kids react differently). I’ll definately be looking for more books by the author in the future. 4 stars overall.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Lifeboat – Charlotte Rogan (@charlotte_rogan @RebeccaGibel)

The Lifeboat
Author: Charlotte Rogan

Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Run Time: 7hrs and 47 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio

Book Description:
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

Review:
So I have to say upfront, that I originally started reading this book in print and kept getting distracted. I know that it wasn’t a very long book, but for some reason at that time, it just wasn’t clicking. But after seeing the good review that my friend Naomi gave it, I decided to give it another try and put my name on the reservation list for the audiobook (and FWIW, having to wait for it to come in when you are 45th on the list sucks! I think it took about 4 months for it to come in…).

Being a psychologist in training (if I ever finish this damn PhD), I loved the way that the author managed to intersperse different ideas into the novel. Yes, it was a story of survival – but there were so many other elements – the idea of hope and giving up – can you survive when you think there is nothing more out there? How various people emerge different roles in situations of high stress. The notion of group think in a scenario like this? Stockholm syndrome and how it can affect people’s behavior, both during and after events. And so many more – but don’t worry, I won’t be too much of a dork – but it did hit my enjoyment button in all the right places. I enjoyed how she used flashbacks to tell most of the story – it is often a hard writing style to pull off, but it was well-done. My only gripe I had was the ending was fairly obvious – I was able to figure out what was going to happen about half-way through – but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book.

Rebecca Gibel is a brand-new audiobook narrator to me, and I can tell you for sure that it won’t be the last time I listen to something done by her. There was something melodic about her voice, that I was just sucked in. It was a relatively short audiobook and because I enjoyed the narration so much – I sat in my car at work one morning and listened to like another 15 minutes of the book (much to my co-workers disgust because she was waiting for me to get coffee – don’t worry, she gave up and went by herself😉 ) I did like how she was able to draw on a variety of accents that encompassed the different countries of origin of the passengers. As the majority of the book was told from Grace’s perspective, I wasn’t really able to tell how well she did male voices, so that is going to be something that I am looking out for in the future listens. But overall, totally worth it. I would give both the narration and the book itself 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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