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Survival of the Fittest: Understanding Health And Peak Physical Performance Paperback – 6 May 1999

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Paperback, 6 May 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099272598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099272595
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Mike Stroud, it would seem to most, is a very remarkable man. A qualified doctor, his fascination and involvement in the study of human performance and endurance fitness have obsessed him rather more than the average fitness fanatic. From crossing Antarctica unaided with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, to participating in countless marathons and triathlons traversing deserts and glaciers, Stroud has become his own human guinea pig, testing the limits of human strength and survival in some of the most extreme and inhospitable environments of our planet.

Yet far from simply the journal of one man's extraordinary fitness, Stroud sets out in Survival of the Fittest to tell us that we are all capable of the physical achievements usually left to realm of world class athletes. We are all able to attain such performance levels, Stroud assures us, because we are evolutionary designed to do just this.

At the heart of the book, Stroud claims that human beings have not altered genetically in the last 10,000 years, so physiologically we are identical to our ancestors. The problem is that we now have a markedly different lifestyle to the hunter-gathering times of our Cro-Magnon forefathers-–a lifestyle that simply does not match our evolutionary heritage. This, Stroud believes, is the reason why we are seeing an emergence of modern diseases such as heart disease, obesity and cancer.

Illustrating each chapter with adrenline-inducing accounts of his own expeditions and Adventures--falling through Antarctica ice into minus 40 degree water is just one that springs to mind--Stroud examines the physiological capacities of our bodies to perform and adapt to extreme situations, all the time reminding us that these capabilities are a fundamental part of our evolutionary inheritance.

This is a captivating book, not only a serious comment on the dangers of our modern "civilised" lifestyle, but also a source of remarkable facts on our human design, sure to liven up conversations and office chit- chat (this book certainly gets you talking). Although unlikely to spur you on to organise the next Polar expedition, it will give you the confidence--and quite possibly the inspiration--to become more active and to take up the challenges our genes intend us to do. --Abi Frisby

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dr. Mike Stroud explores all aspects of human performance from a firm scientific and evolutionary perspective. His book draws on his own education in Medicine and Anthropology and his personal experiences as a medical doctor, a researcher in human performance, polar explorer and an ultra endurance athlete.
He digresses into many areas, (from the physiology of running and explanations for the dominance of black sprinters to the evolution of homo sapiens on the plains of Africa and deep water free divers in Polynesia), and then draws it all back together, to produce a very enjoyable, and ultimately highly educational book.
He explains the necessity of exercise in our lives, and explores the advent of lifestyle diseases in our sedentary lifestyle, from an evolutionary perspective. The overriding message of this book is that the body is built for work, which it does not do in this age of the car, the office and ready made meals, and echoes the sentiments of Hippocrates who, long ago, realised that when the body is not used, it becomes riddled with illness and disease.
This book should serve as an inspiration to us all
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Format: Paperback
Within the last year I really decided to improve my fitness and have read many books on the subject. This book definitely stands out.
This guy knows what he's talking about and furthermore has done more exercise than the average member of the SAS. Despite this he is clearly modest about his own achievements and makes you feel (and proves it) that your body is capable of doing a lot more than you think. He argues his points very well and leaves you feeling that you need to get out more (which can only be a good thing).
If your serious about getting fit or just want to know more about the way the body functions then buy this book.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book and a pleasure to read. Consists of alternating chapters, firstly relating Mike's personal experience of an event or physical situation, followed by a chapter discussing the physiology and theory behind the story. The human body is an amazing unit. Amazing n terms of what it is capable of and amazing in terms of how little is commonly understood about it's functionality. Mike does a great job in highlighting possiblilites and potentials of it... We know only too little of what we are capable.
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By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
Dr Mike Stroud is a man who understands the two most important aspects of physical fitness better than most. Firstly, he is a medical doctor (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians since 1995) and, therefore, possesses an appreciation of the therapeutic and material effects of keeping fit and participating in other physically demanding pursuits on the human body. Secondly, his personal achievements include accompanying Ranulph Fiennes in 1992 on the first unsupported crossing of Antarctica in which the two men pulled loaded sledges across the entire length of that continent.

No human being has a right to stay in shape just because of their previous achievements and the high standards of fitness that went with any former situation. Whilst “time and tide wait for no man,” the same is also true of the human body. The dreaded middle age spread, however, can be avoided by accepting two main principles; Firstly, there is a requirement for self-discipline in one’s approach to personal fitness, condition and diet. Secondly, having finally decided to so something about your own fitness and health, you need to understand precisely what is required - and that is where this book comes into its own.

The content, however, is not what you might expect to find. Whereas one might be expecting a blow-by-blow explanation of the best exercises and the most advantageous diets, instead, we have a mini personal biography of Stroud’s physical adventures and achievements and of the lessons learned during his participation in each. Every one of these lessons provides the reader with a valuable insight into another element of the overall subject for which we should be grateful - if only because we did not have to trudge across Antarctica (or elsewhere!) to gather that knowledge.
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