Embrace The Suck: What I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise by Stephen Madden

Embrace The Suck: What I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise by Stephen Madden

Embrace The Suck: What I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise by Stephen MaddenA book for people interested in fitness or curious about Crossfit. If you’re re-examining your health and are wondering what to do, Stephen Madden gives good insights on what you can achieve, no matter how you choose to get there.

An advance reading copy of this book was generously provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss.

Stephen Madden started out as a self-described chunky, fat kid who morphed into a fairly fit adult who really, really enjoyed cycling. Then he discovered fitness program Crossfit. After getting hooked on Crossfit, Madden decided to fully immerse himself into the experience, mastering the movements, going paleo and even getting himself certified as a coach.

I Crossfit. I read this book some time ago and could really relate to a lot of the things Madden does, like getting up at 5.30am to go to the gym, enjoying punishing workouts, and loving the community that comes with the sport. This is the only competitive sport I know where people cheer you even if you’re beating them. (At the last Crossfit games, people helped each other out of their weight vests, even if that meant losing time.)

I decided to read this book to get a better understanding of what Crossfit was, as Madden did while he was writing it. What I found was that I related more to Madden’s journey into fitness and not just, I guess, the whole Crossfit thing itself. How he struggled to build up to a certain level, and how, well, it’s harder sometimes to get fitter when you’re older! Madden writes about working out with people in different age groups and sometimes there were certain situations where he would be the slowest one there, the best of the back of the pack, and I really related to that. (Also ageing! People age differently, that is all.) Being a non-competitive person in an activity that can be very competitive, I generally just strive to get a good workout, but I don’t necessarily have to be number one. (Also, my box is full of 20-year old machines.)

Madden is not preachy obsessive about Crossfit. The thing about people who start Crossfit — and I have been guilty of this on occasion — is that they never shut up about it. I don’t like forcing people to do what they don’t want to do, and while I believe the program can be scaled to suit anybody — there are wheelchair Crossfit workouts, for example — it’s not for everybody, simply because, just like everything else in life, it might not be something you like doing. So I’ve never appreciated the pushy kind of Crossfitter, the one who keeps going, Do it do it do it! Reading this book, I never felt that Madden is that kind of guy. Embrace The Suck is just an exploration of fitness, Madden’s life, and how fitness shaped him, interspersed with how he got into Crossfit and what it’s all about. I thoroughly enjoyed going on this journey with him.

Content advisory: Doesn’t actually suck

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Wandergurl is a sometime traveller who spends her daylight hours making sure that things go the way they're supposed to with minimum bureaucracy (don't ask!). A firm believer that thirty is the new twenty, she will probably never look her age (or act it!). An enthusiastic football supporter (that would be soccer to you) she will get up at odd hours to watch a game, and of course it's not just because the players are hot. She loves history, geography and is pretty good at trivia, thanks to her propensity to remember random bits of celebrity gossip. When not reading or travelling, she can be found indulging in her other passion -- eating -- and can be found at Wake up and smell the coffee.

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