Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2019-02-05)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Fitness & diet


What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from The Strange Science of Recovery

by Aschwanden, Christie

An eye-opening, myth-busting exploration of how the human body can best recover and adapt to sports and fitness training

In recent years "recovery" has become a sports and fitness buzzword. Anyone who works out or competes at any level is bombarded with the latest recovery products and services: from drinks and shakes to compression sleeves, foam rollers, electrical muscle stimulators, and sleep trackers.

Acclaimed FiveThirtyEight science writer Christie Aschwanden takes readers on an entertaining and enlightening tour through this strange world. She investigates whether drinking Gatorade or beer after training helps or hinders performance, she examines the latest trends among athletesfrom NFL star Tom Brady's infrared pajamas to gymnast Simone Biles' pneumatic compression boots to swimmer Michael Phelps's "cupping" ritual - and she tests some of the most controversial methods herself, including cryochambers, floatation tanks, and infrared saunas.

At a time when the latest recovery products and services promise so much, Good to Go seeks answers to the fundamental question: do any of them actually help the body recover and achieve peak performance?

Christie Aschwanden is the lead writer for science at FiveThirtyEight and a health columnist for The Washington Post. She's also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, a contributing editor for Runner's World and a contributing writer for Bicycling. Her work appears in dozens of publications, including Discover, Slate, Proto, Consumer Reports, New Scientist, More, Men's Journal,, Smithsonian and O, the Oprah Magazine.

A lifetime athlete, Aschwanden has raced in Europe and North America on the Team Rossignol Nordic ski racing squad. She lives with her husband and numerous animals on a small vineyard and farm in western Colorado. In her spare time, she enjoys trail running, bicycling, digging in the garden and raising heritage poultry.

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This book is fascinating! Christie Aschwanden makes the mind-boggling world of sports recovery a hilarious adventure, and she mixes science with stories that everyone can relate to. Recreational athletes, professionals, and coaches alike will find Good to Go entertaining and informative in answering the ever-changing question: How do I feel better, faster?

Quote: Jessie Diggins, member of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, 2018 Olympic Gold

The Verge spoke to Aschwanden about problems in sports science, why dehydration isn't a huge risk, and what the best recovery advice might actually be.

Quote: The Verge

...Recovery used to be a passive state something that happened to athletes between their workouts. These days, in contrast, it's anything but passive. Athletes "do" their recovery, and they spend significant amounts of time, energy and money on their ice baths, compression garments, recovery shakes, cryosaunas, sleep trackers and so on. One industry analyst pegs the athletic-recovery sector at hundreds of millions of dollars a year and growing. But, as the recovery-oil study illustrates, the science underpinning this recovery boom is slipperier than it seems. What exactly are recovery aids aiming to accomplish, and do they deliver on their promises? These are the questions that science writer Christie Aschwanden takes on in a new book, Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery...

Review: The Globe and Mail

[A] spry narrative, which makes a good guide for those contemplating adding recovery to their routines . . . A smart, engaging book.

Review: Kirkus

Christie Aschwanden's experience as both a journalist and a competitive athlete makes her uniquely well-qualified to write this book. The result is a skeptical and precise but also immensely enjoyable and relatable examination of the science of recovery. Even if you're not someone who regularly trains, you should read this book as a tour de force of great science journalism, shining a critical light onto a field that has historically been dominated by pseudoscientific and exaggerated claims.

Quote: Nate Silver, best-selling author of The Signal and the Noise

Listen in this episode as we reveal the backstory behind such stadium staples as Gatorade and Muscle Milkand the evidence for their efficacy. ... Christie Aschwanden, who explores the science of recovery in her new book, Good to Go, joins us to untangle the science behind the hype.

Quote: Gastropod

Inquisitive and informative.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Deeply researched and artfully written. . . a must-read for all athletes, from the professional to the weekend warrior.

Review: Wall Street Journal

GOOD TO GO is one of the five best science picks: In the tortuously complex world of sport, stunning athletic performance is only half the story. The shadow side, reveals science writer Christie Aschwanden, is recovery from all that muscle-popping, nerve-straining effort...

Review: Nature

This authoritative, delightful, and much-needed book slices through the hype around athletic recovery, and will surely cement Christie Aschwanden's status as one of the world's top science writers. I laughed a lot, and learned even more.

Quote: Ed Yong, best-selling author of I Contain Multitudes

As buzzy as recovery is among athletes right now, the question of how to best adapt to and benefit from training is still fraught with confusion... Christie Aschwanden offers much-needed clarity on the subject in Good to Go.

Review: Runner's World

Christie Aschwanden is the real deal, an engaging and inspiring champion of good science. What makes Good to Go so delightful and unique is how much fun it is to read her equally persuasive debunking of pseudoscience. A rollicking read.

Quote: Seth Mnookin, best-selling author of The Panic Virus a book that's littered with insights into trendy recovery methods, you'll find few endorsements. Instead, Aschwanden advocates for common sense over flash, arguing that, whether it's a question of getting more sleep or drinking when we're thirsty, our own bodies may be the best recovery tools we have. "The fact that a whole industry has popped up to help healthy people find ways to feel anxious about their bodies seems like a statement about the weird times we live in," she writes. "Learn to read your own body and pay attention to what it's telling you." Below, we've rounded up five key lessons at the heart of the book...

Review: Outside

interview with author on NPR on The 'Strange Science' Behind The Big Business Of Exercise Recovery

Quote: NPR

UK: Macmillan ; Japanese: Seidosha ; Spanish: Urano

Quote: Norton

...In Good to Go, science writer and athlete Christie Aschwanden places everyone's exercise-recovery darlings under the microscope of scientific skepticism. Recovery is relatively simple. It's just about getting the body ready to perform again, hopefully harder, faster and better. And yet, she notes, athletes have "managed to make every aspect of it . vastly more complicated, expensive and time-consuming."

Review: ScienceNews

Science writer and athlete Aschwanden engagingly zooms in on the neglected topic of exercise recovery... Slicing through all the fads and hoopla, Good to Go reinforces the absolute necessity of listening to and trusting your body.

Review: Booklist

Aschwanden provides an amusing and exhaustive takedown of the recovery products and trends that fitness enthusiasts have transformed into a multibillion-dollar industry, from sweating at infrared saunas to hydrating with sports drinks. Her findings debunk many ideas about what does help the body recover - and what does not.

Review: Scientific American

Recovery is the great athletic obsession of our time. But how much do we really understand about it? Christie Aschwanden cuts through the hype to explore the topic with nuance, humor, and - most important - scientific rigor. The result is a much-needed reappraisal of how we should think about recovery, making Good to Go the most important book about training you'll read this year.

Quote: Alex Hutchinson, best-selling author of Endure

Christie Aschwanden is simply one of the best science writers in the world. Good to Go is the definitive tour through a bewildering jungle of scientific (and pseudoscientific) claims that comprise a multibillion-dollar recovery industry.

Quote: David Epstein, best-selling author of The Sports Gene

The exercise "recovery" industry is largely bogus: Christie Aschwanden investigated the sports recovery market and found you don't need sports drinks, cupping, or ice baths...

Review: Vox

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