Review: Carney’s What Doesn’t Kill Us

What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Enviromental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength.

Scott Carney

Ok, the title is awful. But this might still be worth your time.

An exploration of the philosophy of weirdo fitness guru of the moment Wim Hof as well as the latest science on breath holding, cold immersion, and other bodily stressors which are very much in vogue in the fitness community these days.

So, basically catnip for someone like me.

Carney is an investigative journalist who previously wrote an expose on the cult of personality surrounding Buddhist teacher Michael Roche, and he came to Hof with a heavy dose of skepticism. He left a convert, incorporating Hof’s breath exercises and cold exposure philosophy into his daily life (with measurable improvements in his health) and eventually accompanying Hof and a group who attempt to set the record for group speed assault of Kilimanjaro… shirtless.

If, like me, you’re fascinated with the outliers of the health and fitness world, it’s a great read. Hof is probably the most scientifically tested fitness guru of the modern age, and many of his ideas seem to be panning out. Science appears to be showing that his breath holding exercises and advocacy for exposure to cold work on a variety of auto-immune issues. Of course, as with all things fitness, its impossible to say whether these results are placebo effect or real. But who cares right? Either way, its changing people’s lives.

Still, despite the good work, Hof isn’t without his flaws of ego and hubris, which Carney points out. That Hof knows these things about himself is a bit of a consolation, but suffice to say, I won’t be putting myself in his hands anytime soon. All in all he’s an incredible guy and this is an interesting story for the fitness enthusiasts among you.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Review: Itzler’s Living with a Seal

Living with a Seal: 30 Days of Training with the Toughest Man On The Planet

Jesse Itzler

Fun.

Rich New Yorker hires famed navy seal and ultra-endurance athlete David Goggins to come live with him for a month and train him. Goggins agrees with the condition that Itzler agrees to follow his every instruction, no questions asked. Hilarity and a lot of very serious work outs ensue.

The book is largely written for laughs, with Itzler trying to keep up with the demands of the world’s hardest drill sergeant, but there are a couple nuggets of wisdom in here. The most quoted is Goggin’s pronouncement that when you think you’re done, you’re only forty percent done. This is surely motivating (if unlikely to be actually true).

For me, the biggest lesson to take out of this arises when Itzler’s wife questions the purpose of some of the more ridiculous workouts and Goggins responds that there is no purpose.  There is no, real, purpose to any of this.

It does nothing and no one cares.

Athletic nihilism. My jam.

Goggins is a fascinating character (and someone I’ve written about before) he’s inspiring, for sure, but there’s also something dark in how driven he is. I enjoyed Itzler’s portrayal of him here (though Itzinger’s stories about himself, I could have done without). Still, I’d be more interested in a more in-depth look into who Goggins is, and how he got that way. Hopefully with all the publicity surrounding this book, someone will write that piece.

Recommended for the Enthusiast.

hey, I also made this quick page of bodyweight workouts inspired by the book. 

living-with-a-seal