I think books make excellent Christmas presents. But then again I’m a bibliophile, so maybe I’m a bit biased. Here are three books I’ve read recently and my recommendations for gift-giving.
The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, by Sage Rountree
Ms. Rountree was recently quoted as saying that there’s no scientific basis for the things that athletes do for recovery, so I find it a little odd that she wrote a book on recovery. However the book fills a void, since there are plenty of books on how to train, but not many on how to recover. The book is great in that it puts a lot of formerly scattered information at an athlete’s fingertips. While we can all use a reminder and a refresher, this book is best for somebody fairly new to the sport, as the experienced athlete will find that there’s really nothing new here. If you liked Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald this is a good bet for you. If you finished it quickly nodding to yourself the whole time
Best for: Newer Athletes
Skip it if: You’ve ever researched recovery before
The Feed Zone Cook Book: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, by Allen Lim PhD and Biju Thomas
This book is refreshingly short on science, but long on practical insights and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. This isn’t a book about what to eat and why, but rather the authors telling you “what we like and feed our athletes.” Dr. Lim’s credibility if off the charts, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Recipes scoured from his blog years ago are still a mainstay around our house, and my wife credits Lim’s real workout foods for getting her through her first Ironman with no GI issues.
There is something here for everyone, from elite athletes scarfing thousands of calories a day, to busy weekend warriors looking for quick, healthy meals instead of takeout.
Best for: Everybody
Skip it if: Neither healthy eating nor behind-the-scenes stories from pro cycling interest you.
I’m Here to Win: A World Champion’s Advice for Peak Performance by Chris McCormack and Tim Vandehey
Let’s be honest, most famous people’s books are a bit dry. We buy them because we’re fans of the author, or because we respect what someone has accomplished in their field. We buy and read these books to learn more about our heroes, or to gain some insight into what it takes to succeed. I won’t pick on anyone in particular here, but you know what I’m talking about. In truth that doesn’t bother us; we forgive it because they aren’t supposed to be great authors – they are good at something else.
So I was a bit stunned this past weekend when I couldn’t put my Kindle down. It’s a riveting read. “Macca” has always been a controversial figure, but approached with an open mind the book gives you insight into the private man behind the public persona. And even those that don’t care for him should read what the man has to say, since he’s the most successful triathlete in the history of the sport.
Best for: Everybody
Skip it if: You have no interest in triathlon, or learning from a hugely successful athlete.