Do the latest fitness books have the info you need to be a better athlete, or are they junk? TRAIN finds out
Review by Paul Goat Allen
Paul is a powerlifter and professional book critic, who loves nothing more than a heavy read.
The Champion Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness
Joanna Zeiger. St. Martin’s Gri n, $17.99 trade paperback (260p)
In the beginning pages of The Champion Mindset, Joanna Zeiger – who overcame a multitude of near career-ending injuries during her time as an Olympic and world champion triathlete – writes:
“There is no substitute for hard work. That’s the lesson that was continually drilled into my head during my formative years. At some point, though, as I continued to achieve higher and higher levels of success, it occurred to me that the prevailing wisdom was plain wrong. What truly distinguishes champions is their mental edge.”
“Mental toughness” is a term thrown around in sports and fitness, but what does it mean? Zeiger breaks it down to its basic components and outlines what amounts to a life philosophy to reprogram a competitor’s mind. “Many athletes know how to train their bodies. Too few know how to train their mind.”
Insightful and candid, this follows Zeiger’s journey from novice swimmer to world champion triathlete, and there’s a glut of useful information. But the true brilliance of her advice is in its simplicity.
The big takeaway here is the power of positivity. A PMA goes a long way in goal-setting, performance, relationship- building and recovering from injury, and a big part of nurturing that outlook is finding contentment in your endeavors. Zeiger writes: “Find joy first, and success will come after.”
We all need to rediscover and embrace the joy that brought us to our sports in the first place. I know runners, power-lifters, and cyclists who go through the motions. Working out or training is just another ‘thing’ they have to do: it’s no longer fun.
But what if your health was suddenly taken from you? With this in mind – Zeiger calls it the “gratitude approach” – I’ve found a renewed passion for workouts and a new commitment to accomplishing my various goals.
This book is so much more than reconnecting with that passion and embracing positivity. The Champion Mindset will compel readers to reevaluate their personal and professional lives, how you deal with adversity and change and how your lack of mental toughness negatively impacts you.
It’s not just about understanding the mental side of sports – it’s much more about understanding the mental side of life.
The Champion Mindset has the strong potential to be a transformative read for athletes who are open to changing the way they look at themselves and their behavior, so get reading!
Three things you can take away from the book…
1. “Goal achievement depends on accountability, consistency and a well- formulated plan.”
2. “It is possible to turn a bad day into a good day with an open mind and a positive attitude.”
3. “Use your mistakes as a springboard to educate yourself and create a new plan for the future.”
For more book reviews, nutrition, and workouts, get TRAIN magazine direct into your inbox every month for free by signing up to our newsletter