Review: The Endurance Handbook

The human body is naturally built for endurance, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

We are all endurance animals, born with the innate ability to perform physical work for long periods of time. Many of us recognize this and have chosen to become athletes, testing our bodies against others or against the clock in a variety of sports.

Many of us also need endurance to get through our busy days.

Unfortunately, the human body does not come with a manual or handbook for how to achieve optimal levels of endurance. Worse yet. society and those who want to sell us products have a way of warping our intuition about how to best achieve endurance.

The Endurance Handbook is Dr. Phil Maffetone’s latest guide to maximizing human performance. The 328-page book published by Skyhorse Publishing is now available on amazon.com. It is a continuation of his The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.

The fundamental basis to building a high degree of endurance is developing the body’s fat-burning system. This book describes the physiology and science behind the unlimited energy provided through fat-burning, as well as how to achieve higher levels of it.

While many programs result in athletes sacrificing their health for the sake of gaining fitness, The Endurance Handbook is a blueprint for striking a balance between these two fundamental keys to optimal human performance.

Most athletes are looking to improve their performance. For most, this means getting faster at their chosen sport or sports. The Endurance Handbook outlines how to get faster by improving aerobic speed. Through a system of using Dr. Maffetone’s proven 180-Formula and regular assessment through his MAF Test, this book teaches athletes the methods for not only improving speed, but doing so at a lower heart rate. This allows the body to use more fat for fuel, the key to maintaining this aerobic speed over great distances.

Thus is the essence of true endurance, and the same methods Dr. Maffetone has used throughout his career working with professional athletes such as six-time Hawaii Ironman Triathlon champion Mark Allen.

The book also takes a look at some other topics that are key to building human endurance. It includes chapters devoted to proper foot function, nutrition and even the importance of optimal brain function for athletic performance. Special chapters also explore the subjects of children as endurance athletes and also the aging athlete and how to actually “grow younger.”

In addition, the book takes up the controversial topic of athletes who are fit but unhealthy, and brings to light the somewhat unpopular fact that many are making themselves sick with their training programs as well as diet and lifestyle choices.

A must for triathletes, runners, cyclists and endurance sports professionals and enthusiasts alike, The Endurance Handbook finally provides athletes what every human animal needs — a guidebook to staying healthy and fit for the long haul.

8 Comments

  • paul walker says:

    I have all his other books – is there new info in this one?

  • adam berg says:

    does the 180 method apply to crossfit? can you train using the 180-age method?
    thank you

  • Paul says:

    Hi,
    Do I need to read ‘ The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing’ before reading the new book, or does the new book cover the principles I will need to start MAF training?

    • Paul:

      All the books have the principles, and anyway you can look at the 4 articles in the Method section, which have the bulk of the stuff. Generally speaking, the endurance handbook is stuff that derives from The Big Book, but it works as a standalone piece as well.

  • Tony says:

    So for elite bike racing will this help with sprint speed and chasing down breaks? Or getting into breakaways and staying away? Is there still a need for speed work if I already race twice a week

    • Tony:

      Yes, yes, and not really. Recent studies have found that the best predictor of future race times is previous race times—not training. What the researchers chalk this up to is that the racing environment (the focus, the pressure, and the physical exertion) is a much better training situation than classical anaerobic training. So, if your race frequently enough that races constitute the bulk of your anaerobic activity, you are basically getting much more bang for your buck out of your anaerobic “training” than someone who races less frequently.

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