Lift by Daniel Kunitz
Fitness Culture, from Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors

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An excellent contribution to the literature of athletic performance and of interest to anyone with a penchant for self-improvement—and not just physical.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A fascinating cultural history of fitness, from Greek antiquity to the era of the “big-box gym” and beyond, exploring the ways in which human exercise has changed over time—and what we can learn from our ancestors.

We humans have been conditioning our bodies for more than 2,500 years, yet it’s only recently that treadmills and weight machines have become the gold standard of fitness. For all this new technology, are we really healthier, stronger, and more flexible than our ancestors?

Where Born to Run began with an aching foot, Lift begins with a broken gym system—one founded on high-tech machinery and isolation techniques that aren’t necessarily as productive as we think. Looking to the past for context, Daniel Kunitz crafts an insightful cultural history of the human drive for exercise, concluding that we need to get back to basics to be truly healthy.

Lift takes us on an enlightening tour through time, beginning with the ancient Greeks, who made a cult of the human body—the word gymnasium derives from the Greek word for “naked”—and following Roman legions, medieval knights, Persian pahlevans, and eighteenth-century German gymnasts. Kunitz discovers the seeds of the modern gym in nineteenth-century Paris, where weight lifting machines were first employed, and takes us all the way up to the game-changer: the feminist movement of the 1960s, which popularized aerobics and calisthenics classes. This ignited the first true global fitness revolution, and Kunitz explores how it brought us to where we are today.

Once a fast-food inhaler and substance abuser, Kunitz reveals his own decade-long journey to becoming ultra-fit using ancient principals of strengthening and conditioning. With Lift, he argues that, as a culture, we are finally returning to this natural ideal—and that it’s to our great benefit to do so.

 

About Daniel Kunitz

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Daniel Kunitz is the editor-in-chief of Modern Painters, former editor at The Paris Review and Details, and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Harper's, and New York Magazine. He is also an exercise fanatic who spends his weekends competing in grueling fitness challenges. He lives in New York City. Author Image 1
 
Published July 5, 2016 by Harper Wave. 341 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Lift
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 14 2016

An excellent contribution to the literature of athletic performance and of interest to anyone with a penchant for self-improvement—and not just physical.

Read Full Review of Lift: Fitness Culture, from N... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 25 2016

As we are guided through this timeline, Kunitz includes his own challenges with fitness along the way, making this a book not just for those interested in the roots of fitness, but for anyone who struggles to live healthily.

Read Full Review of Lift: Fitness Culture, from N... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Reader Rating for Lift
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 13 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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