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How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle
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How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,336 ratings  ·  278 reviews
The greatest athletic performances spring from the mind, not the body. Elite athletes have known this for decades and now science is learning why it s true. In his fascinating new book "How Bad Do You Want It?," coach Matt Fitzgerald examines more than a dozen pivotal races to discover the surprising ways elite athletes strengthen their mental toughness.

Fitzgerald puts you
Paperback, 265 pages
Published October 15th 2015 by VeloPress
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GuGuss I recommend reading this book, for everyone interested in sports. The book covers:
1. The psychobiological theory and studies about the power of the mi…more
I recommend reading this book, for everyone interested in sports. The book covers:
1. The psychobiological theory and studies about the power of the mind over the body in endurance sports,
2. Some very entertaining descriptions of races, sport events or various athlete careers, which makes the book fun to read and well balanced.

If you're not interested in any of those 2 topics, you shouldn't waste your time by reading this book.(less)

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Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
In my quest to gain an "edge" in my fitness goals, I picked up this book. I'm interested in the aspects of psyche that separate those who excel and are willing to put themselves into that dark space of pain and disorientation in order to accomplish their goals, and those of us who try hard, but are just ok, and are, in fact, ok with being ok (if that makes sense). I know enough to know that the mental game is most of it. I wanted this book to include more practical application on how to train th ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book because I hoped that it would contain practical exercises to help gain better control over the mind during competition. Fitzgerald offered little in the way of practical application, but I will still give it four stars. The stories were enjoyable and inspiring.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite, but I muscled through. I will say his race descriptions were fantastic and very well written, but ultimately not enough character development for me to care about the athletes I wasn't already familiar with. The "psychobiological” connections to top performers were not at all compelling, kind of obvious, and were more like astrology that could be claimed to apply for many situations, races, and athletes. ...more
Michelle Curie
Sep 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
"The essential challenge of long-distance racing, I understood, was mental."

I'm guess I'm into sports. I know the joy of moving your body, of testing your mental strength. And I've enjoyed both scientific as well as more narrative stories about running and yet I had such a hard time getting through this one.

How Bad Do You Want It? explores the idea of how great athletic performance is as much down to mental strength than it is to physical ability – even more so. In this book, Matt Fitzgerald
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I definitely believe that training your brain is a huge part of being successful in competitive sports. That is what the author is arguing. He then takes a case study from a real-life sports example each chapter and gives a strategy or observation that he thinks helped them overcome their mental struggle. I felt like the author drew a lot of cause-effect conclusions that weren't necessarily logical and made his strategy fit the story, but nevertheless there were some worthwhile ideas.

My take aw
Part story, part science - Matt Fitzgerald weaves a compelling spell as he makes the argument that "mental fitness" is the key to performance in endurance sports. Conventional wisdom says you can run/bike/whatever as hard as you can for as long as you can efficiently consume and process oxygen ... but conventional wisdom doesn't account for when good athletes choke or conversely, when unexpectedly gritty performances show up and blow "better" athletes out of the water. Fitzgerald argues that you ...more
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mostly painful getting to the end of the book. But not so bad as to not finish.

I've recently listened to another Fitzgerald book 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower, which I actually enjoyed way more than this one.

With this book, the title is deceiving.
It doesn't tell you how to master anything.

The book is a collection of inspirational stories of athletes that made it to the top of the ranks. Sometimes failed hard, and made their way back.
The stories are great and the
Lilly  Minasyan
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How bad do you want it? The Question should be asked every single day. No matter what do you want in this life. It can be to be a good runner, or a writer or whatever. As long as you give your 100% you will see the results.
I like the examples that were used in this book. They were inspirational! I can see myself re-reading this book. I actually listened to this, which made this book more special!
Roman Chepurnyi
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was looking for a practical advise on how to train the brain for endurance racing and did not get the information that I've expected. Instead the book contains life stories of endurance athletes and descriptions of races. A lot of races. It is motivational but it didn't catch my interest. It reminded me of motivational videos that are typically suggested by youtube :) ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Call me the anomaly because all these reviewers who write how good this book was seem to enjoy someone who takes loads of anecdotal stories as fact or science.
The guy goes on way too long with this story and that story and if you listen or read closely these are not great examples of people overcoming the mind to gain the edge. They are stories you could hear on the radio or read in a magazine.
This is the same formula as many of the genre: a collection of “if they can do it, you can do it” stor
Daniel Frank
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I wish I read this when I was training for my marathon.

When I picked up this book, I thought it would be filled with scientific studies/tools one could implement to push themselves harder. To the contrary, it's actually a book about inspirational stories of athletes persevering.

This book is fun and inspirational read, but definitely not practical "how to guide".
Karel Baloun
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m an ordinary ultra marathoner, and I was eager to read this to develop stronger resilience against quitting, and yes, a few of the stories are vaguely inspirational and somewhat interesting, even as i had not heard of _any_ of these athletes before.

Yet the book felt like a loose collection of (well executed) sporting event result articles. I did not collect anything concrete for my self improvement, nor well summarized conclusions of “psychobiology” related to regulating my own perception of
Jana Viktoria
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running-books
It’s not my favorite -

I liked Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance much better...

And was familiar with most of the concepts introduced in there...

But it is a good - and quite easy read - with fun race recaps, in particular the tour de france stuff... I was never into that, but guess I'll watch it at some point...

And maybe I want to get into triathlon...

No seriously, it is about becoming your own sports psychologist, which can only be helpful... and even i
Kim  Dennis
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. My sisters and I are training to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. One of them recommended this book, and I can see why. There are some really good principles in it. My biggest criticism of the book is that he uses sports vocabulary that he doesn't always explain. I guess because he was writing to an audience of endurance athletes, he figured they already knew the vocabulary and basic rules of the competitions. I had to get some help understanding all that. However, it wasn't eno ...more
Sara Vangeneugden
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An interesting book for everyone who is into (endurance)sports and who keeps looking to overcome his/her own physical and mental limits.
Each chapter of the book consists of a story about a professional athlete and his/her psychological struggle in terms of their sport and how they overcame it. In every chapter the coping skill of the athlete is then explained by scientific research and further discussed.
An easy read for sports- and psychology enthousiasts that explains the enormous mental part
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
In typical Fitzgerald form, this book combines specific, personal stories and complements them with the science and psychology behind them. Each tale of athletic challenges - successes, failures and in between - are inspirational. This is not a how-to book, but one that allows amateur athletes to eavesdrop on a conversation of epic athletic endeavors that provides some insight (but more inspiration) for our own endeavors.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was surprisingly good and I'd say a must-read for fans of endurance sports. I picked it up the night before running a half marathon looking for inspiration, and I actually did think about some of the things it said as i was heading into the hardest part of the race. Still, in terms of actual actionable advice, I'm not sure how useful it really was, but I really enjoyed all the anecdotes of great moments in endurance sport. ...more
James Nance
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book presents great mental tips for endurance athletes. Fitzgerald expertly marries science and storytelling to relate these psychological concepts to the reader. I enjoyed listening to this book and am eager to put some of these tips to use!
Amber Phillips-Lee
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating incite into mind vs. body. I am not an ultra marathoner or Iron Man athlete but I do run half marathons. I’m excited to explore these new ways of thinking to try and get faster at my sport. I definitely enjoyed the positive message and it makes me want to try harder to be better not only at running but at every day life.
Nate Hawthorne
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love how each chapter focused on a different athlete. There is a lot of interesting stuff. Very motivating and inspiring, but I thought it kind of fizzled at the end. Overall worth the read.
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is rather a simple story about underdogs taking the win, but it was nice to read how some elite athletes use recognizable mental tricks to keep themselves going.
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book that I highly recommend to people wanting to improve on their fitness goals. Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. It was definitely a much needed read as I prepare for my 100 mile air dyne challenge.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came back and changed my rating from a 3 to 4, since I am still thinking about the book and that indicates to me it had some impact. I had to plow through it in the early stages, as it had just too many science stats for my brain. I enjoyed the real life stories more, and those stuck with me. I do wish that the author had made some kind of summary of the conclusions with a chart or table or something so for sport you could reference it easily. I would consider reading it again and taking notes ...more
Vishal Jain
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant one from Matt. The collection of episodes across the sporting world to depict the themes of each chapter is so well placed. Great motivational read.
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
A good Bock to help you push towards and through your traning goals or just life in general.
Grace Burns
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I very fun book, and helpful to me. I really enjoyed it!
Joanna Taylor Stone
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Two weeks until I attempt to reach an enormous personal best marathon goal and this book helped my mental game so much. I will probably think about it all during the race.
Ben Hale
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent compilation of science-backed psychological principles and mental coping mechanisms for any endurance athlete. I really appreciated the powerful stories illustrating each principle; it really drove the points home. This book has already helped me improve my performance.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish i have read this when i started cycling and before a big 300km ride.
Really good approach on developing a mindset that can endure.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was entertained, and I learned something about myself and my world. That is the measure of a successful book to me. Much more so for a book of this genre. Forgoing platitudes, didactic lessons, and formulas, Fitzgerald provides riveting play-by-play accounts of athletes facing career challenges. My heart beat faster, and I rooted for races that took place years ago. Intermixed, he reports on psychological and biological research behind common concerns that face all of us, athlete or not. He pr ...more
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Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books on sports history and endurance sports. He has enjoyed unprecedented access to professional endurance athletes over the course of his career. His best-sellers include Racing Weight and Brain Training for Runners. He has also written extensively for Triathlete, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Outside, Runner's World, Bicycling, Competitor, and countless ...more

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