How Bad Do You Want It?
Author: Matt Fitzgerald
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
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.
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.