Cover image for Embrace the suck : what I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise
Embrace the suck : what I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise
Madden, Stephen, active 2011, author.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : HarperWave, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Physical Description:
xxi, 184 pages ; 22 cm
A lifelong amateur athlete and former editor of "Bicycling" magazine chronicles the year he devoted to trying to master all of the basic CrossFit exercises and immersing himself in the paleo diet.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


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GV481 .M22 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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With irreverence, humor, and soul-touching candor, the former editor of Bicycling magazine explores the CrossFit phenomenon, the fitness revolution sweeping America, chronicling his experience "inside the box" and how he got into the best shape of his life.

Lifelong amateur athlete Stephen Madden decided to put himself to the test, physically and mentally, by immersing himself in the culture, diet, and psyche of CrossFit--the fast-growing but controversial fitness regime that's a stripped-down combination of high intensity aerobic activity, weightlifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics practiced by more than two million athletes worldwide. But what's crazier? The fact that such a grueling regimen--in which puking and muscle breakdowns during workouts are common--is so popular, or that people pay good money to do it?

In Embrace the Suck, Madden chronicles the year he devoted to mastering all of the basic Crossfit exercises like double unders, muscle ups and kipping pullups, and immersing himself in the Paleo diet that strips weight from its followers but leaves them fantasizing about loaves of bread. Throughout, he explores the culture of the sport, visiting gyms (boxes) around the country, becoming a CrossFit coach, and confronting some basic questions about himself, his past and athletic limitations--and why something so difficult and punishing can be at once beautiful, funny, and rewarding.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

An avid cyclist, runner, and swimmer, Madden rode more than 4,000 miles per year while editor in chief of Bicycling magazine (2002-08), but when he could no longer do a simple sit-up to pull himself from the couch, he knew he needed a different approach to fitness. He slowly immersed himself in the culture of CrossFit and now offers a painful, sweaty, and exhausting insider's view of this popular exercise regimen. He details his failures and successes completing CrossFit's WODs (Workout of the Day), the advantages of the Paleo and zone diets, and his relationships with his fellow CrossFitters. There are some poignant and humorous moments as Madden realizes that CrossFit is more than a workout; it embraces a no-quit attitude, emphasizes camaraderie over competition, and challenges the mind as much as the body. His willingness to test his limits and do more than he thought possible helped him become a better person, husband, and father. The numerous workout anecdotes will entertain the CrossFit faithful, but Madden's well-written personal narrative may appeal to a more general fitness audience.--Clark, Craig Copyright 2014 Booklist

Library Journal Review

No matter what the leisure or exercise activity, there are always people who want to push it to extremes. For fitness fans, this is a program called CrossFit, which makes the Ironman triathlon look like a walk in the park. CrossFit is where drill instructors who are deemed too mean for the marines find their niche. It's the only leisure-time activity this reviewer has encountered that has a cute mascot for vomiting. Madden, once a "fat kid" and former editor of Bicycling magazine, considered himself no good because he wasn't athletic. He came to this sport in middle age and through sheer force of will mastered a series of extreme weight and cardio workouts, "embracing the suck" for one year. The exercises are not easily understood as described here. All that is clear is that too much is not enough. This title will appeal to hard-core athletes and students of psychology but may leave average readers feeling as though CrossFit practitioners have gone mad. VERDICT Limited appeal but provides exciting insight into a highly unusual lifestyle.-Susan B. Hagloch, formerly with Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1 The WODp. 1
2 How and why It worksp. 17
3 That Fleeting Feelingp. 35
4 Finding a Boxp. 51
5 A Few Words About Pain, Fatigue, and Nauseap. 69
6 Diet and Body Imagep. 97
7 The 20Xp. 115
8 Nine Days in Mayp. 143
Epiloguep. 175
Acknowledgmentsp. 181