Thursday, February 27, 2014

Learning to Breathe Fire

Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of FitnessLearning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness by J.C. Herz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the ages of 19 to 34, I worked out religiously 3-5 times a week. The last couple years, however, I let myself gradually slip out of the habit. After all, that's 3-5 more hours a week I could be reading. However, my girlfriend read up on CrossFit and told me we were going to start going a few times a week.

Since I was still reasonably fit for a couch potato, I figured I could handle it. I could not. It kicked my ass in less than 20 minutes and I was sore for three days, something that never happened to me in over a decade of lifting weights nearly every day. After that, I was more than a little intrigued about the torture we were paying for. Then this book popped up on Netgalley.

Learning to Breathe Fire tells the story of CrossFit and the science behind how it works. It talks about key figures in CrossFit history and explains why health clubs nerf everything and why they are largely ineffective at getting results. It also covers the CrossFit games.

It was pretty enlightening. I thought the people at CrossFit Warrior RX were just torturing me for fun the first couple of times. The science behind it sounds accurate. It made sense to me that we were doing workouts that blended cardio and strength training to spend maximum energy in a relatively short amount of time. The 20-30 minute workouts of the day (WODs) sure seem more efficient than lifting weights and doing cardio for a hour.

One thing I found interesting/terrifying were some of the workouts I might have to endure at some point. Like Fran, 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pullups, which frequently makes people puke. Or Karen, which is 150 wall balls.

If I had to gripe about something in the book, it's that maybe it went a little too deep into the stories of the notable figures in CrossFit history. They were inspirational but I felt like I was watching a CrossFit infomercial after a while.

For someone who wants to see immediate results with the minimum time spent at the gym, CrossFit is the way to go and if you want to learn all about CrossFit, this is the book to read. Four sweaty stars!

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