I’ve just finished reading Ben Greenfield’s Beyond Training, and I have to say, I’m blown away.
I suspect that the book, which came out last year, is going to become the new bible for athletes.
The book is mostly focused on professional triathletes, runners, swimmers, or CrossFitters, but I think anyone, professional or not, who challenges his body to any kind of hard physical training will benefit from this book.
Greenfield is a coach, nutritionist, speaker, blogger, writer, and of course, triathlete by himself. He seems to be all over, as you must have noticed if you’re in the world of sport, nutrition, and bio-hacking. Greenfield dedicates a section of the book to tips on how to be efficient and productive in your day-to–day life, and looking at the amount of information and work he produces through his different outlets, provides a living proof that his tips work.
The book is divided into five sections – fitness, recovery, nutrition, lifestyle, and brain. It’s loaded with information that goes from good-quality common sense tips like “sleep seven to nine hours” to deep science in subjects like adaptation to repeated training stimulus or the connection between over-training and adrenal fatigue.
What I liked the most about the book is its holistic approach to sport and training, or as the book title indicates, beyond training. Greenfield emphasizes the concept of well-being and health vs. performance. He demonstrates how the two can many times contradict each other. If you are the super-achiever, too-hard-on-yourself type, you may know what I’m talking about.
The book suggests a way of being a high-performance athlete, keeping in mind that your body was meant to serve you for purposes other than pounding your joints for miles of running over hard pavements, or lifting bars loaded with weights over your head. It suggests a healthy way of prioritizing your energy distribution for the long-term and with the consideration of the inevitable wear and tear on your body.
The recovery section of the book is particularly important and full of tips and hacks on how to accelerate the recovery process. It includes a very interesting explanation about the vicious cycle of under-recovery and how over-training can be a serious stressor in one’s life just like death, divorce, depression, or overworking.
Although full of good information, the book can be overwhelming, especially if you decide to read it all at once like I did. I admit that at times, reading the book and taking in all this information, I was hearing a familiar voice in my head. the voice that obsessively tells me I’m not doing enough to improve my body or brain, or self in general. I suspect that many hardcore bio-hackers, or just exercise addicts, are already busy putting a checkmark next to the long list of things to do or to buy which Greenfield is writing about.
That made me think and ask myself, where does the purpose of being healthy, or aspiring to be the best version of myself, defeats itself by over-analyzing and thinking? Where do I draw the line between being active in this endless process of self-improving and letting go? Greenfield himself advises us not to obsess about counting and measuring and tries to suggest a more balanced approach. That would be challenging i think, for some of the people reading this book.
So I think it’s a great book, but it will benefit you the most if you can be a smart user of it.
Greenfield is obviously some serious bio-hacker, and he goes deep with his information and use of tracking and measuring equipment. But remember that he just lays the information in front of you. You, on the other hand, need to be sensitive enough to your needs, resources, and limitations in order not to be sucked into what can become a rabbit hole. Know where on this wide scale of options you are located. If you smart enough to do that, the information here is gold. Purchase book below.
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