Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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CLIMBING: Training for Peak Performance

The Mountaineers Books has just published CLIMBING: Training for Peak Performance, 2nd edition, by Clyde Soles. This is a classic fitness manual for climbers. The book is written for climbers of all ages, abilities and interests, and covers the latest advances in the sciences of nutrition and fitness, includes tips for preparing mentally and physically, preventing injury, and rehabilitation, and is clearly also suitable for hikers, skiers, cyclist, and anyone who enjoys recreation in the mountains.

The paperbound book, which retails for $18.95 U.S., contains 320 pages, 120 black and white photographs, 4 illustrations and 17 charts. The chapters are entitled Performance Fundamentals, Nutrition Foundation, Mental Power, Aerobic Conditioning, Climbing at Altitude, Resistance Training, Body Tuning: Joint Mobility, Flexibility and Balance, Recovery: Rest and Rehab, and Synergy: Coalescing and Planning.

The point is well made early in the book that to achieve peak performance, the goal is to enhance overall fitness and health, fine-tune aspects specific to your interests, peak for major excursions, and prevent injury through a balanced program of exercise. Furthermore, fitness is a constant lifestyle - one doesn't just train and condition episodically if there is the desire to have a regular favorable impact upon health and well-being.

I really like this book, if only because the author pulls no punches with his opinions. For instance: "A recent fitness trend has been the emergence of training cults...The most popular of these is CrossFit, which is essentially a business franchise masquerading as a new fitness program...However, there is a high risk of acute injury from many of the exercises; some of which are frivolous...And optimal performance gains always come from addressing individual weaknesses and goals, not generic training programs...It only takes attending a two-day class, with no written exam, to become a certified CrossFit trainer..." Call it like it is! I've been exercising for the purpose of athletic competition, strength and conditioning, weight control, and to be able to enjoy my outdoor recreation for nearly half a century. Mr. Soles is a breath of fresh air.

Whether dealing with nutrition, aging, hydration, supplements, emotion, exercise, or rest and recovery, the advice is sound, and in some cases superlative. I highly recommend this book.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.