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 Badass Life

Christmas Abbott. William Morrow, $28.99 hardcover (290p) ISBN 978- 0-06-264519-7


the badass life book review


Although health and fitness is a trillion dollar industry, there are a lot of products out there that don’t offer up all that much in the way of effectiveness or useful information.

I see it all the time in publishing: sleekly marketed releases with catchy titles or slogans that are all hype and very little substance.

Just a few chapters into Christmas Abbott’s The Badass Life, I began getting an all-too-familiar feeling, like I had stumbled into an early morning infomercial.

Over-the-top statements like “If you keep performing and perfecting actions that move you closer to your goals… Success in life is guaranteed!” put me on alert. And a full-color, 30-plus page spread in the middle, showing Abbott in a number of editorial fashion poses like jumping on a bed and doing yoga by the water, did little to complement the information in the book.

It seemed like a thinly-veiled attempt to promote brand ‘Christmas Abbott’.

The book, which is subtitled 30 Amazing Days to a Lifetime of Great Habits — Body, Mind, and Spirit focuses on one element every day: Learn to Love Yourself; Eliminate Excuses; Turn Setbacks into Comebacks; etc.

Bracing myself for a book filled with superficial sizzle and no substantive steak, I was pleasantly surprised by the information shared by Abbott.


person surfing a wave


Although the vast majority of the principles are common sense – like embracing structure and daily routines, being positive – there is some solid advice throughout which could not only be helpful to those just beginning their fitness journey, but also a refresher of sorts for those who have been working out for years.

My biggest criticisms? The format is clunky, with multiple pages of essentially empty space at the end of every chapter where the reader is supposed to record their “badass reflections” of the day.

With 30 chapters, that’s a lot of blank pages.

Also, the author only cursorily reflects upon her past as a hardcore drug user, working on Operation Iraqi Freedom, competing in CrossFit, becoming the first full-time female member of a NASCAR pit crew, and I wanted to know so much more.

At book’s end, I felt Abbott was still very much a stranger.

If readers had a deeper connection with her, the impact of her “badass” philosophy would’ve been so much more powerful.

Three things you can take away from it

1. Practice visualization. “Everything you need is right inside you — as long as you believe in yourself and see yourself achieving your goals.”

2. Be authentic. “Becoming authentic—being true to yourself— is one of the most powerful things for your mind, body and spirit.”

3. FIFO (Figure it the f**k out)! “Life won’t always be fair. Sh*t happens. You have the power to create your life and change your destiny… If you just figure your sh*t out.”


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