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Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness [Kindle Edition]

J.C. Herz
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"Herz takes readers on a journey through CrossFit history…[she] intertwines the narrative with passionate descriptions of workouts that push participants to the brink of exhaustion…” - Booklist

"“Herz explores this exhilarating, addictive activity…[and] adds a dramatic flair to her prose, igniting excitement and an uptick in interest…A vigorously written must-read for exercise enthusiasts primed for the ultimate fitness challenge.” - Kirkus

"“Much like the workout it documents, [Learning to Breathe Fire] is a relentless, breathless march through CrossFit’s history, the science behind its regimen, and the men and women who live by it.” - The Daily Beast

Learning to Breathe Fire is a must-read for every Crossfitter and fitness enthusiast, beginner or elite.” -

"“A terrific new book that tells the CrossFit story better than anything I have read.” - The Blaze

Learning to Breathe Fire is one of those books that come along every generation or so that brings to life a sub-culture so vividly, so deliciously that it makes you want to run out now and become a part of it!
  Written with great verve, comprehensive research and a novelist’s knack for deft characterizations, this is CrossFit’s War and Peace.”
--Charles Gaines, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Pumping Iron
“A beautifully written mix of evocative vignettes and lucid explanations that shows us what we’re capable of when we train hard and connect with our instinctive nature.  This is a book about digging deep, about kindling a spirit that allows us to push past our wildest expectations.  Whether your fitness habit involves going it alone or tunneling through an extreme workout as part of a group, you’ll find this CrossFit journey thoroughly immersive.”
--Marshall Ulrich, Badwater-146 Record Holder and author of Running on Empty
“CrossFit is a phenomenon, both as a radical way to confer fitness and as a virally successful business.  Herz tells both stories with exceptional insight---plus the inside lore of a dedicated CrossFitter.”
--Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog (and CrossFitter at age 75)

“The remarkable rise of the CrossFit movement is grounded and propelled by a great moral truth.  Effort alone is all we may bring to life.  Everything else -- our genes, our talents, and our teachers -- are gifts.  J.C. Herz has written a compelling book around this truth as embodied in the CrossFit culture.  As a society, we forget that we are evolved to realize our greatest strength when we are truly tested.  The originators of CrossFit have rediscovered that, and proved it by becoming the fittest humans on the planet.  In the view of CrossFit athletes ‘the only possible sin is slacking off.’ Herz writes with sweep and depth about great characters, often racked with doubt, finding their limits and surpassing them.  This is the ultimate chronicle of how they created a training method, a championship, a corporation and a loving community devoted to the sacred tenant of effort.”
--Kenny Moore, award-winning writer for Sports Illustrated, former American record holder in the marathon, author of Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, and co-screenwriter of “Without Limits”
“J.C. Herz expertly debunks many longstanding fitness beliefs and shows how high-intensity exercise can yield the greatest return on your workout investment. Her Learning to Breathe Fire chronicles the rise of CrossFit, showing – in a way that is always interesting and insightful -- how ordinary people have achieved extraordinary results following this program. A must read for anyone looking to maximize his or her potential.”
--Dean Karnazes, ultra-endurance star, New York Times bestselling author, and one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”
“I couldn’t put this book down. J.C. spares no detail in helping us see into into the heart and soul of a CrossFitter.  Her description of what CrossFit athletes overcome is truly unbelievable.  She captures the essence of the sport and what it represents, most especially the ability to push through barriers, whether physical or mental. This is about the gut-busting journey to the last rep, but it’s also about life.  Whether you’ve tried CrossFit or just thought about trying it, Learning to Breathe Fire is a must read.”
--Chrisanna Northrup, New York Times bestselling author, CrossFit Level 1 Coach, and former CrossFit Box owner  

From the Hardcover edition.


The absorbing, definitive account of CrossFit's origins, its explosive grassroots growth, and its emergence as a global phenomenon.
One of the most illuminating books ever on a sports subculture, Learning to Breathe Fire combines vivid sports writing with a thoughtful meditation on what it means to be human. In the book, veteran journalist J.C. Herz explains the science of maximum effort, why the modern gym fails an obese society, and the psychic rewards of ending up on the floor feeling as though you're about to die. 
The story traces CrossFit’s rise, from a single underground gym in Santa Cruz to its adoption as the workout of choice for elite special forces, firefighters and cops, to its popularity as the go-to fitness routine for regular Joes and Janes. Especially riveting is Herz’s description of The CrossFit Games, which begin as an informal throw-down on a California ranch and evolve into a televised global proving ground for the fittest men and women on Earth, as well as hundreds of thousands of lesser mortals. 
In her portrayal of the sport's star athletes, its passionate coaches and its “chief armorer,” Rogue Fitness, Herz powerfully evokes the uniqueness of a fitness culture that  cultivates primal fierceness in average people. And in the shared ordeal of an all-consuming workout, she unearths the ritual intensity that's been with us since humans invented sports, showing us how, on a deep level, we're all tribal hunters and first responders, waiting for the signal to go all-out. 

From the Hardcover edition.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen good read 26. Juni 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a very good read
gives a good picture of culture behind Crossfit.
A must read for any person enjoying sport
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  97 Rezensionen
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Required reading for CrossFitters 13. Juni 2014
Von Mitchell Hamm - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I've been around CrossFit since 2007 and have been peripherally aware of the majority of what Ms. Herz covers here, but didn't know the whole story until now. This is a VERY engaging book and just will not let you put it down. Someone who has not imbibed of the Kool-Aid may not get such a strong emotional response without the shared experience to draw upon, but that should not deter them from enjoying this well-researched treasure. I'm sure to read this again and spend lots of time in the bibliography and suggested reading sections. I have been lucky enough to find one of those old fashioned CrossFit boxes (rusty, stuffy building in a trashy industrial park) that excels due to its community of athletes and coaches. The change it has brought to my life has been profound. Hopefully, this book will drive others to find that special box and experience the perfect fitness storm that is CrossFit.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Can't put it down 6. Juni 2014
Von Jim - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
If you're a Crossfitter and want to learn more about the origins of your favorite cult, read this book.

If you're not a Crossfitter and you want to understand what the hell we Crossfitters are up to, don't read this book, go start crossfitting and then come back later and read this book to shake the mosaic pieces into place.

Either way you probably won't be able to put it down. JC mixes history, science, and participant narratives into a great read that makes you want to set it down only long enough to go hit your next WOD even harder.

I love the description of the experience o fa WOD from page 16 (of the hardback): "By round five, the depletion of every metabolic pathway, muscle fiber, and neural circuit has all internal diagnostics on the blink. There isn't even an abstract notion of heroic effort, or any abstract notion -- the part of your brain that tells stories is off line. There is only the raw impetus to finish somehow…"

This book is destined to find its way into every Crossfitter's library, and perhaps some cultural anthropologist's reading lists too.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This BOOK IS AMAZING AND WILL CHANGE YOU!!!!! DESERVES 10 STARS 13. Juni 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I started on a workout journey one year ago. Crossfit became the key to the success for this 39 year old stay at home mom/daycare provider. It has transformed me. Now reading this book has confirmed to me that crossfit is seriously the best thing for all human beings, all ages, all levels EVERYONE. The book is filled with scientific data and real studies. Each page is loaded with so much information and stories of individuals integral to the forming of crossfit. If you are someone who has never worked out, reluctant and even if you are an avid fitness guru, this book will leave you running out the door to find the nearest crossfit gym. (Please make sure they are crossfit certified, there are imposters). Buy this book and tell your friends and family, even your grandmother, she too is capable of doing more than what she is now and this book will explain how this can happen. This book is inspiring and absolute wonderful. The people responsible for Crossfit are passionate and genuine.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent! 14. Juni 2014
Von Robert C. O'brien - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Very detailed. Loved the stories and the how and why since day one. Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in CrossFit. .
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Participant observation at the level of professional anthropology 20. Juni 2014
Von Dan Duffy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
"Everyone in a Crossfit gym secretly believes that their friends would be the ones to survive the zombie apocalypse." Well I make no secret about that but does everyone here think so? I called out to the trainer on duty who was non-committal but she allowed that it sounded like something another one of the guys might say. On reflection it seems to me that since zombies just keep coming it would be the fast ultra-marathoners who would survive. Surely in 96 miles you would find shelter. So it wouldn't be us. We would be the ones sprinting with a baseball bat, stopping in a group to knock heads, then sprinting again. Good cinema but we would go down in a few hours. SEALS do Crossfit because they have air evacuation on call. I was reading the book in the gym with time and oxygen to think this through because I am not doing many Crossfit workouts lately. It seems to me that I am one of many over 50 who cannot recover from heavy lifting fast enough to lift more each week if I am also doing high-intensity intervals. Once I max out to where I can increase weight only once a month no matter what I will return to our thrilling WODs. One thing Crossfit offers is association and identification with men and women who started the sport with advanced achievement. We all do the same workouts and compete together. This is part of the kool-aid which this book reports on very well. Everyone needs some kool-aid. Our flavor helps a slice of the population get up and do what you need to do to be quick and strong and tough, harder to kill:
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