How To Achieve Your Athletic Potential

Move, eat well and you’ll be on the road to health. That is a well accepted principle. No matter how we approach an athletic effort, our bodies are wired to respond best to certain methods. In the Endurance Handbook, Dr Philip Maffetone reveals those hard wired methods that can support our journey to better health.


It does not matter whether you are aiming for an athletic competition or are aiming for a trim body look, our bodies operate on certain basic principles.

Dr Philip Maffetone, is an internationally recognized researcher and triathlete coach. The EnduranceHandbook highlights Maffetone’s unique, truly “individualized” approach to endurance along with his specialized system, refined over three decades of training and treating athletes ranging from world champions to weekend warriors.

“The human body is made to be athletic, evolving from millions of years into a great movement machine. Body economy is a priority for the brain, which naturally wants the body to be both highly efficient and effective in all movements.” Maffetone emphasizes that each of us can improve our body economy by:

  • making our muscles more efficient
  • having a positive mental-emotional state to guide the body
  • optimizing our feet function because they are the foundation of our movement
  • proper energy production and balance to endure a long effort

Maffetone’s training and racing philosophy emphasizes building a strong aerobic base for increased fat burning, weight loss, sustained energy, and a healthy immune system. Good nutrition and stress reduction are also keys to this common-sense, big-picture approach.

For example, he identifies several key factors for healthy aging. He has found over the years that the following have a powerful impact on how successfully we age:

  • Brain nutrients and brain stimulation
  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Antioxidant foods
  • Avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars (junk food)
  • Eating adequate protein foods
  • Building aerobic fitness
  • Controlling stress

There are many other gems in this book. I liked the easy calculation of maximal aerobic training heart rate. He talks about the fit but unhealthy athlete. Ensuring the proper intake of nutrients like Omega-3. The importance of a good muscle core and feet muscle balance – issues that I highlight in my yoga teachings. Your training sessions should not have you experiencing excessive soreness the next day. This means you over trained and can easily be injured.  I see this so often with people doing the “bootcamp” workouts.

I recommend this book for anyone trying to improve their performance. Although Maffetone approaches health from an endurance triathlete perspective – the concepts are all true and equally applicable to everyone.


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