Book Review: Lift by Daniel Kunitz

July 26, 2016

Lift: Fitness Culture, from Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors by Daniel Kunitz is a non-fiction book about the history of exercise. Mr. Kunitz is the editor in chief of Modern Painters and an exercise fanatic.

  • 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062336185

Buy Lift from*My rat­ing for Lift — 2
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I’m not an exercise fanatic by any means, I used to be an avid weight lifter but life/kids/work/money got in the way. I recently started getting off the psychological hurdle of starting to work out again, after years of laziness and weight gain and I think I’m making a slow, but steady progress.

I was looking forward to reading Lift: Fitness Culture, from Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors by Daniel Kunitz, the subject sounded interesting and I figured I could use some extra motivation. The book does have some interesting tidbits about history and the way people used to work out, as well as the way society and the medical profession have changed their minds about exercise.

The author’s narrative is dry at times, but it was tight and well written. The issue I have with this book is that I felt cheated after starting to read. This is not a history of exercise, but a history of social attitudes towards exercise and a blatant advertisement for the new exercise fad known as CrossFit, which really ticked me off. I don’t like being sold to, especially under false pretenses. The author makes it seems like CrossFit is the end all and a perfect fit for all.
It’s not!
People exercise for different reasons, to compete, to get stronger and for many it’s simply a social interaction with other. Not everyone wants to be on a TV game show and some people do want bigger muscles. There is even a whole section discussing why CrossFit is not like a religion or a cult which sounded just like someone defending… a religion or a cult.

At the end of the book, Mr. Kunitz does state that “I did not set out to rewrite the history of exercise, the facts of which are freely available, if at times difficult to track down; rather, I aimed to synthesize that history into a series of arguments.
That would have been nice to know in the beginning

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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