The Endurance Diet [Book Review]

The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald book
I was sent the book The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald free to review. Opinions on the site are always my own.

The Endurance Diet is Matt Fitzgerald’s latest book to be published. Fitzgerald is a pretty prominent expert in the endurance sports industry, serving as a coach, writer, and nutritionist. He’s written for just about every major publication you can think of in the field and has a pretty extensive library of books he’s authored. Pro athletes and amateur enthusiasts/competitors have used his books to improve their performance in various areas. This latest one wants to help in the arena of what you eat.

First… let me point out, this isn’t a “diet plan” lest anyone think that from the title. The word diet has been altered in our world and often is linked to a specific plan/method for losing weight. But first and foremost a diet is simply the food and drink that is regularly consumed by a person. So we all have a diet.

Second… I don’t like the sub-text of the title with the word “look” in it, but I have a feeling that was stuck in there as whatever the printed book equivalent of clickbait is. Because really, the book is not focused on how this will change your looks, it’s all about how to adapt your nutrient consumption so that you feel better and perform better.

The book focuses on 5 core habits that top athletes worldwide all seem to fall into with their food consumption and then breaks these down in further detail. The habits are:

  1. Eat everything
  2. Eat quality
  3. Eat carb-centered
  4. Eat enough
  5. Eat individually

Endurance Diet Highlights:

Under Eat Everything: “eating refined grains, sweets, processed meats, and fried foods in small amounts does no harm.”  And “many low-quality foods taste really good!… I strongly believe that foods that bring pleasure but not physical health have a place, albeit a small one”

As an individual who went through treatment for an eating disorder and spent countless hours in different therapies where the concepts that you can eat something just for fun and that doing so every now and then won’t damage you, I’m glad this was pointed out. It’s all about balance and I like that this book (and most of the example daily eating logs from pro athletes that are in this book) reflect that.

Under Eat Enough: “as a weight-control method, restrained eating entails repeated self-denial, a systematic tuning-out and thwarting of the body’s wants that is based on an implicit belief that the body’s wants cannot be trusted” and “research has shown that men and women who exhibit the highest levels of eating restraint are likely to become anorexic or bulimic.” 

This whole chapter resonates as it points out all the ways that eating too little is detrimental. It can either cause overeating later on or lead to more serious eating disorders. And in athletes that are putting a lot of demand on their bodies, consistently underfueling leads to fatigue, increased risk of colds/flu, overuse injuries, bone-mineral depletion and potentially even worse.

Under Eat Individually: “eating consciously means paying attention to yourself as an eater and acting upon what you learn.”

We are all unique and have different likes/dislikes, allergies/intolerances, morals/values, traditions/schedules, etc. But probably one of the biggest things we have in common is we live in a world that is increasingly hectic and we all tend to inhale our food as we move from one task to the next. I’m super guilty of this, it’s gotten worse since I became a parent. But everyone can benefit from eating more mindfully, paying attention to how the food makes them feel and acting accordingly. Some people thrive on a plant-only diet, others feel like garbage. Some cannot consume dairy products, some recovery remarkably well when those are included. It’s because we are all different, we need to recognize that quality instead of looking for the next magic bullet solution being sold to the masses.

Endurance Diet Extras:

One chapter details endurance “superfoods”, with superfoods being in quotes because the author doesn’t like to imply that a certain food has special qualities over another, but repeated patterns showed specific foods in athletes’ diets. Things like bananas, spinach, brown rice, black beans… and the one that made me laugh the most was almonds. Simply because I’d seen this poster from Dumb Runner recently.

There are recipes in one of the last chapters… there’s one for an edamame hummus that I want to try soon. And a one-bowl cornbread recipe that sounds really good and remarkably similar to the version I invented years back when I liked experimenting with cooking. It’s probably got the “something’s missing” secret ingredient that mine didn’t have! 🙂

The Endurance Diet retails on Amazon for $10.27 in print and $11.99 for Kindle.

For anyone who is looking to improve their diet (food consumption) for improved performance in their sport and life, this is a good option. It’s not something that’s going to turn into a weird empire trying to sell you pre-packaged foods, just good info that you can adapt to fit your own needs. (Remember… the last habit!)

One comment

  1. Diet combined with running activities is a great way to gain and maintain weight control. I’m also training for a marathon and this article is super inspiring. I run with SportMe runner app, which calculates distance, pace, time and calories and adjusts running plans to my progress.

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