How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle (Paperback)
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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.
Athletes featured in How Bad Do You Want It?: Sammy Wanjiru, Jenny Simpson, Greg LeMond, Siri Lindley, Willie Stewart, Cadel Evans, Nathan Cohen and Joe Sullivan, Paula Newby-Fraser, Ryan Vail, Thomas Voeckler, Ned Overend, Steve Prefontaine, and last of all John “The Penguin” Bingham
About the Author
Matt Fitzgerald is a certified sports nutritionist and the author of numerous books on running, triathlon, nutrition, and weight loss. His most recent books are Racing Weight Cookbook, Racing Weight Quick Start Guide, RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel, Racing Weight, Brain Training for Runners, and The Runner's Diary. Matt is a regular contributor to Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Outside, Runner's World, Bicycling, Running Times, Women's Running, and other sports and fitness publications. Fitzgerald is a featured coach on TrainingPeaks, Pear Sports, and Active.com. He is a certified sports nutritionist (CISSN) licensed by the International Society of Sports Nutrition. He lives and trains near San Francisco, California.
"To be a great athlete, you need more than natural ability; you need mental strength to keep going when your body wants to quit. In his new book, writer Matt Fitzgerald dives into the research behind these coping skills and highlights the top athletes who use them. Anyone, whether pro or everyday exercisers, can use these tactics to push further."
— Men's Journal
"Fitzgerald has been writing about the psychology of endurance performance for more than a decade now and is really one of the pioneers in terms of trying to take this body of research out of the laboratory and into the field for everyone to try. His latest book examines a series of notable races through the lens of Samuele Marcora’s 'psychobiological' theory of endurance. The races make it a fun read, and the psychology is thought-provoking."
— Runner's World magazine
"At the highest level of sport, it's often not physiology but psychology that separates the best from the rest. Matt goes well beyond just telling stories of great athletes (though he's really good at doing that, too) and delves deep into cutting-edge brain science to show us all how we can strengthen our own mental muscle."
— Huffington Post, Best Health and Fitness Books in 2015
“The mind is the next frontier for significant performance gains…Mental fitness, says Fitzgerald, means becoming your own sports psychologist and developing coping mechanisms to help you suffer better. Which, while not entierly satisfying, is a good start.”
— Outside magazine
"A book every that every endurance athlete should own…A page-turning read both for the narrative content and hard information…For all athletes drawn to pushing up against the red line to see what they've got."
— LAVA magazine
"Fitzgerald has done an exemplary job in making physiology and psychology understandable with contemporary research framing a creative and entertaining book that makes the subject come alive through charismatic writing."
— Canadian Running magazine
"How Bad Do You Want It? really brings to life how important psychology is for endurance performance."
— Samuele Marcora, PhD
"Harnessing the power of the setback is a powerful motivation. How Bad Do You Want It? recognizes the fact that we all have the power to adapt and be better than before."
— Willie Stewart
"Think of it as the mind-over-matter guide to racing. Fitzgerald’s book dissects pivotal races and features top endurance athletes…illustrating how elite athletes rally their mental strength and amateur athletes can, too."
— Austin-American Statesman
"Imagine you could get into the mind of an elite athlete and use their skills to improve your sporting potential. That's the premise of Matt Fitzgerald's How Bad Do You Want It?"
— Triathlon Magazine Canada