How Bad Do You Want It? Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle Racing the Sunset
Matt Fitzgerald Velopress
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? Fitzgerald is an established sports writer with successes like Racing Weight and Iron War. Fitzgerald is also an accomplished athlete and this combination of writing chops, lived experience with sport and curiosity about the mind comes together here.
Fitzgerald’s premise examines the psychobiological model of endurance performance intended to reduce perceived exertion and to create the potential for mind over muscle to expand our capabilities. Borrowing strongly from exercise physiologist Dr. Samuele Marcora of the University of Kent and other research groups and their clinical findings, Fitzgerald undertakes the ambitious goal of making the mind more accessible. What is perceived exertion? What role does “flow” or the “group effect” play in performance? What makes each athlete unique?
Fitzgerald draws on stories ranging from the Tour de France, to the Ironman World Championships, to the IAAF track. While there are no pictures in the book, Velopress has companion Youtube videos to dynamically bring it to life found at velopress.com/howbad. Fitzgerald has done a exemplary job in making physiology and psychology understandable with contemporary research framing a creative and entertaining book.– Scott Tinley Skyhorse Publishing
Tinley’s victories at Kona in 1983 and 1985 are legendary in Ironman history and Tinley himself was one of the most inf luential figures in the history of the sport. In 2003, he published the story of what happened after his professional career in the first edition of Racing the Sunset. This updated edition includes many of the same revealing anecdotes plus added resources and reference material.
When Tinley retired from competing professionally in Ironman, he took a 90 per cent pay cut despite having a family to support. He also, as he says, had to adjust to the reality that not everyone knew about, or was impressed by his achievements. As he shows, using a range of anecdotes from boxer Sonny Liston to Lance Armstrong, leaving professional sport, one way or the other, is a painful and complex process that has crushed many ex-pros. Tinley, however, went about it methodically and explored other interests and makes a life for himself in new activities and professions. Tinley, who has a PHD, isn’t your average exathlete cashing in on a story of demise and redemption. His life turned out well, he has no long-term resentment and along the way, he learned to write well. Recommended for anyone who wants to know more about the author or who is looking for insight from a legendary triathlete on how to navigate a dramatic change in life.–