“…the state of the body isn’t something you choose to care about, or leave be, for your body never just is─ it is always either decaying or getting stronger. Not choosing is still a choice.” – D. Kunitz
I was drawn to this book walking through the isles at the library one day and saw these big yellow letters staring at me. Those letters were L-I-F-T and being a strength coach, I just had to see what this book was about. LIFT is a great book for anyone interested in the history of fitness or how working out was accepted throughout society from the beginning of time to present day. But more than just another fitness fad book, Kunitz goes into the implications of fitness and more directly the political and social changes that help shape fitness throughout different eras. The idea (first applied during the Cold War) that “lifestyle reflects the ethos of a society,” is ever present and Kunitz wrote this book to make all of us more conscious of that fact. Also, Kunitz brings up a term constantly in the book called the New Frontier Fitness, which is apparently going on right now in the form of Cross-fit. I for one found the entire last chapter to be focused solely as an advertisement for Cross-fit, but the reason Kunitz focuses on Cross-fit so much is the lifestyle and the wholistic integration this form of fitness seems to elicit. There are so many Cross-fit enthusiasts out there (good, bad, or in-different), and the point is people are working out which is the goal of this book. Get out there and “practice at life” instead of choosing to decay.
The book is 10 chapters, and is 286 pages long. Each chapter focuses on different fitness styles that influence what we do today. Beginning with the ancient Greeks then taking some roads to Germany, India, France, California, and New York; Kunitz presents the history of fitness in an entertaining way. The writing of this book can be wordy at times but always supremely articulate which I’m sure will turn people off at times. Another great quality of this book are the people that are noted in the different chapters, I found more resources and incredible stories just from googling half the people Kunitz talks about. Strength coaches will find this book entertaining as well as educate those coaches who may not know exactly where the barbells and dumbbells came from in the weight rooms they use today.
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