The Endurance Handbook

How to Achieve Athletic Potential, Stay Healthy, and Get the Most Out of Your Body
by Dr. Philip Maffetone | 328 pages

Phil Maffetone is a brilliant, iconoclastic philosopher-coach. He’s one of the best endurance coaches ever and has been advocating a fat-burning approach to ultra-endurance for decades. The sub-title to this book captures the essence of all his work perfectly: “How to Achieve Your Athletic Potential, Stay Healthy and Get the Most Out of Your Body.” This "Endurance Handbook" is basically an abridged version of "The Big Book of Endurance." As I was shining a flash light into all the nooks and crannies of Maffetone’s brain that I could find (hah), I kinda thought of these two books as a sort of parallel to Epictetus’s "Discourses" (the “Big Book”!) and "Enchiridion" (the “Handbook”!). Big Ideas we explore include Rule #1 (first, do no harm!), Rule #2 (build your aerobic base!), the importance of fat burning (and how to build it), the #1 pro tip (ELIMINATE SUGAR!!!), body economy 101 (uncapping your athletic potential), and winning the ultimate endurance race: life (see you at 100!).


“For many years, athletes, health professionals, coaches and trainers, and others have talked, written, debated and discussed the Maffetone Method. As often happens, some of these discussions lose accuracy or become distorted, so I want to introduce myself again, so to speak.

Throughout my career I have received questions asking why, after closely reading one of my books or articles, there was no workout schedule to follow. Or, people ask, where is the structured diet plan, you know the kind with calorie charts that is a staple of most weight-loss books?

I can understand their frustration. We live in a quick-fix society. Everyone is looking for that single, magical diet or miracle workout plan that will change their lives overnight. But this is fiction, and one that all the health and fitness magazines love promising their readers.

But the only way to make long-lasting changes with one’s health and fitness is to think in terms of the individual. Meaning you.

After close to forty years of working with individuals of all ages, levels of athleticism, and persons with the widest possible spectrum of illnesses and personal goals, I’ve yet to find the best diet for all to follow, or the ideal training program. That’s because neither program exists, despite new books coming out each year that offer the long sought-after answer.

And that is why I created a unique approach, which became known as the Maffetone Method.”

~ Phil Maffetone from The Endurance Handbook

Welcome to the sixth Note on Phil Maffetone’s books. As we’ve discussed, he’s a brilliant, iconoclastic philosopher-coach. He’s one of the best endurance coaches ever and has been advocating a fat-burning approach to ultra-endurance for decades.

We started with The Maffetone Method. Then, as I stepped up my athletic goals, I decided to go on a Maffetone binge. I read five more books in a week. Enter: Notes on The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing, Fix Your Feet, The Overfat Pandemic and 1:59.

I see the whole collection as, ultimately, a series of books on how to reach your athletic potential. The sub-title to this book puts it perfectly actually: “How to Achieve Your Athletic Potential, Stay Healthy and Get the Most Out of Your Body.”

This Endurance Handbook is basically an abridged version of The Big Book of Endurance. As I was shining a flash light into all the nooks and crannies of Maffetone’s brain that I could find (hah), I kinda thought of these two books as a sort of parallel to Epictetus’s Discourses (the “Big Book”!) and Enchiridion (the “Handbook”!).

However you want to look at it, this book is awesome. It’s a great place to start if you want a thorough but more abridged introduction to his thinking. Get a copy of the book here.

btw: Before we jump/run in, I’d like to share a little Joseph Campbell wisdom that has guided my literary tastes over the years and served as an impetus to read so much of what Maffetone has written. In The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell. I love this:

Moyers: “How do we know these things [how to experience bliss]?”

Campbell: “I’ll tell you a way, a very nice way. Sit in a room and read—and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’—and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem—but he hasn’t said anything to you.”

<- Yep. Exactly my experience.

Now… With that, let’s have fun exploring another route through Maffetone’s brilliant mind!

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About the author

Authors

Dr. Philip Maffetone

Author, researcher, clinician. Founder: MAF. Teaching LCHF since before 1977.