Thursday, May 12, 2016

REVIEW: "How Bad Do You Want It?" By Matt Fitzgerald

Thanks to my #RockNBlog relationship, we were able to select two books from Velo Press {which specializes in books for cyclists, triathletes and runners} to read and review. Although I don't do it often enough, I really do love reading so was stoked for the opportunity. The hardest part was deciding which of the titles to choose. There were options from cook books to training journals and just about anything in between. I finally decided on an area that I need the most help in... The mental aspect of running!

My two final choices

I was STOKED when my picks arrived and almost immediately jumped into How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald {I've gotta say, I was drawn to it not only by the title and subject, but also because Pre is on the cover ;) #KeepinItReal}

I will be the first to admit that I run a lot, but I don't race a ton... I mean, sure, I run a lot of races, but I don't push myself to actually race them (obviously I'm not going to win a race, but when I say "race" I mean race against myself... me vs my previous PRs, giving it my all, etc). I love running and the enjoyment and fulfillment that it brings to my life and am slightly nervous that if I push myself too hard that I may lose that passion... But at the same time, it very well might be that I am actually more scared to fail or not live up to my own standards and THAT is why I don't push myself.

But enough about me and my issues, let's jump into this book, shall we?!

Before even fully diving in I knew it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear when the Introduction had me nodding in agreement and underlining like a mad woman! Some of the ideas ROCKED MY WORLD, like how muscles are not needed in endurance sports or in other forms of movement AT ALL! There are quadriplegics who compete in endurance sports by using their MIND to control robotic limbs... And what truly limits them (and ALL athletes) is their mind! It is all about the MENTAL EFFORT! Come on now, these are things I had heard and 'knew' before but hadn't ever thought of it in this light, and this is all before I even started chapter one!

This book is all about mental fitness. And the hope is at the end you become your own sports psychologist. The pages aren't filled with techniques or exercises or a list of "how-to's", but true stories of overcoming which become "teachable moments" when viewed through the lens of the mind's role on endurance performance.

Now obviously I am not going to give you all the tips and tricks and earth shattering perspectives I gained from this book because I want you to read it yourself, but I did want to give you my overall thoughts and feels on it. {SPOILER ALERT: I LOVED EVERY PAGE OF THIS BOOK!}

To give you a brief overview, let me recap the chapter names so you can get an idea of the different topics discussed throughout the pages: "A Race is Like a Fire Walk", "Brace Yourself", "Time is on Your Side", "The Art of Letting Go", "The Workaround Effect", "The Gift of Failure", "Today's Weakness, Tomorrow's Strength", "The Answer is Inside of You", "The Group Effect", "What Do You Expect?", "Passion Knows No Age", and "Is it Worth it?". Awesome stuff, right?!


Oh yeah, and this has very little to do with the book itself, but it was something that stuck out to me (since it is NOT the norm) and I wanted to call it out. I APPRECIATE that Matt uses the pronouns "she" and "her" instead of the typical "he" and "him" throughout the book when describing a generic athlete. Like I said, it is so not expected that it really caught my attention and I smiled every time I noticed it. Athletes are not only men and I LOVE when folks acknowledge that!


I think this closing quote from the book is a PERFECT way to wrap up the post: "... a complete and generic roadmap for the cultivation of maximum mental fitness does not exist, because again, there are many ways of exercising "mind over muscle" that work brilliantly for some athletes and not at all for others, based on who they are at the deepest level." This book does not claim to be a step-by-step guide on how to fortify your mental fitness, but one filled with real life stories of endurance athletes (most of whom are at an elite level but are still relatable) who used specific coping skills to better their performances and data to prove how these skills can aid others (like you and me)

And, just like last week, I am linking up with Smitha for Try It Thursdays. Make sure to head over to her post HERE to see what everyone else is trying (and I hear she has a GIVEAWAY with her review)!

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being 'I've got NONE' and 10 being 'I'm tough as nails', how would you rate your mental fitness?


Hollie said...

The train your brain book sounds fascinating. I might have to download it for my kindle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Carlee!

Janelle @ Run With No Regrets said...

Great review! This sounds like a great read. My running buddies call me a "head case", so I know I have issues with the mental aspects of racing and training.

Ali Ronan said...

This book sounds awesome! I think the mental aspects of fitness are often overlooked or oversimplified so a book like this sounds like just the thing to explore how to improve this particular aspect of your fitness. Thanks for sharing!

SD Mom said...

I am a 2. I let my mind give up way before I need to. Maybe we need to switch out books and I need to read this one!

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

I'd say my mental fitness is totally situational. Like tonight I could see myself not even attempting a forearm plank on my toes, but when I teach I would never consider dropping to my knees. In a race, I can push myself to run longer and faster, but on training runs I'm like "woo! walk break!"

Sarah said...

I loved this book as well! Very inspiring - it is one of my favorites!!