Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $6.84 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Learning to Breathe Fire:... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very good condition, showing light wear to cover, corners, and edges from handling. Text is clean and free from marking. Spine is not creased.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness Hardcover – June 3, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$18.16
$6.44 $3.79

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$18.16 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness
  • +
  • First: What It Takes to Win
  • +
  • Embrace the Suck: What I learned at the box about hard work, (very) sore muscles, and burpees before sunrise
Total price: $48.59
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

More of a life philosophy than an ­exercise regime, CrossFit has skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade. Herz takes readers on a journey through CrossFit history, beginning with founder and gymnast gone feral Greg Glassman’s idea of a highly intense, functional fitness regime that is measurable, observable, and repeatable. Today, CrossFit has thousands of affiliates and an international competition that is televised on ESPN. Herz intertwines the narrative with passionate descriptions of workouts that push participants to the brink of exhaustion, highlighting men and women who have reached the pinnacle of CrossFit competition. Ironically, some of the greatest personal achievements don’t involve winning but simply completing the workout and using every bit of emotional and physical effort. CrossFit’s workouts of the day are described throughout as well as the fiercely loyal subculture that has evolved from shared moments of agony and triumph. Although this book will appeal to the CrossFit faithful, general readers will find interest in Glassman’s libertarian views on franchising and his scathing opinions of globo-gyms and machine-based fitness. --Craig Clark

Review

"Herz takes readers on a journey through CrossFit history…[she] intertwines the narrative with passionate descriptions of workouts that push participants to the brink of exhaustion…” - Booklist

"“Herz explores this exhilarating, addictive activity…[and] adds a dramatic flair to her prose, igniting excitement and an uptick in interest…A vigorously written must-read for exercise enthusiasts primed for the ultimate fitness challenge.” - Kirkus

"“Much like the workout it documents, [Learning to Breathe Fire] is a relentless, breathless march through CrossFit’s history, the science behind its regimen, and the men and women who live by it.” - The Daily Beast

Learning to Breathe Fire is a must-read for every Crossfitter and fitness enthusiast, beginner or elite.” - Dormiviglia.com

"“A terrific new book that tells the CrossFit story better than anything I have read.” - The Blaze

Learning to Breathe Fire is one of those books that come along every generation or so that brings to life a sub-culture so vividly, so deliciously that it makes you want to run out now and become a part of it!
  Written with great verve, comprehensive research and a novelist’s knack for deft characterizations, this is CrossFit’s War and Peace.”
--Charles Gaines, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Pumping Iron
 
“A beautifully written mix of evocative vignettes and lucid explanations that shows us what we’re capable of when we train hard and connect with our instinctive nature.  This is a book about digging deep, about kindling a spirit that allows us to push past our wildest expectations.  Whether your fitness habit involves going it alone or tunneling through an extreme workout as part of a group, you’ll find this CrossFit journey thoroughly immersive.”
--Marshall Ulrich, Badwater-146 Record Holder and author of Running on Empty
 
“CrossFit is a phenomenon, both as a radical way to confer fitness and as a virally successful business.  Herz tells both stories with exceptional insight---plus the inside lore of a dedicated CrossFitter.”
--Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog (and CrossFitter at age 75)

“The remarkable rise of the CrossFit movement is grounded and propelled by a great moral truth.  Effort alone is all we may bring to life.  Everything else -- our genes, our talents, and our teachers -- are gifts.  J.C. Herz has written a compelling book around this truth as embodied in the CrossFit culture.  As a society, we forget that we are evolved to realize our greatest strength when we are truly tested.  The originators of CrossFit have rediscovered that, and proved it by becoming the fittest humans on the planet.  In the view of CrossFit athletes ‘the only possible sin is slacking off.’ Herz writes with sweep and depth about great characters, often racked with doubt, finding their limits and surpassing them.  This is the ultimate chronicle of how they created a training method, a championship, a corporation and a loving community devoted to the sacred tenant of effort.”
--Kenny Moore, award-winning writer for Sports Illustrated, former American record holder in the marathon, author of Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, and co-screenwriter of “Without Limits”
 
“J.C. Herz expertly debunks many longstanding fitness beliefs and shows how high-intensity exercise can yield the greatest return on your workout investment. Her Learning to Breathe Fire chronicles the rise of CrossFit, showing – in a way that is always interesting and insightful -- how ordinary people have achieved extraordinary results following this program. A must read for anyone looking to maximize his or her potential.”
--Dean Karnazes, ultra-endurance star, New York Times bestselling author, and one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”
 
“I couldn’t put this book down. J.C. spares no detail in helping us see into into the heart and soul of a CrossFitter.  Her description of what CrossFit athletes overcome is truly unbelievable.  She captures the essence of the sport and what it represents, most especially the ability to push through barriers, whether physical or mental. This is about the gut-busting journey to the last rep, but it’s also about life.  Whether you’ve tried CrossFit or just thought about trying it, Learning to Breathe Fire is a must read.”
--Chrisanna Northrup, New York Times bestselling author, CrossFit Level 1 Coach, and former CrossFit Box owner  

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385348878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385348874
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mitchell Hamm on June 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been around CrossFit since 2007 and have been peripherally aware of the majority of what Ms. Herz covers here, but didn't know the whole story until now. This is a VERY engaging book and just will not let you put it down. Someone who has not imbibed of the Kool-Aid may not get such a strong emotional response without the shared experience to draw upon, but that should not deter them from enjoying this well-researched treasure. I'm sure to read this again and spend lots of time in the bibliography and suggested reading sections. I have been lucky enough to find one of those old fashioned CrossFit boxes (rusty, stuffy building in a trashy industrial park) that excels due to its community of athletes and coaches. The change it has brought to my life has been profound. Hopefully, this book will drive others to find that special box and experience the perfect fitness storm that is CrossFit.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started on a workout journey one year ago. Crossfit became the key to the success for this 39 year old stay at home mom/daycare provider. It has transformed me. Now reading this book has confirmed to me that crossfit is seriously the best thing for all human beings, all ages, all levels EVERYONE. The book is filled with scientific data and real studies. Each page is loaded with so much information and stories of individuals integral to the forming of crossfit. If you are someone who has never worked out, reluctant and even if you are an avid fitness guru, this book will leave you running out the door to find the nearest crossfit gym. (Please make sure they are crossfit certified, there are imposters). Buy this book and tell your friends and family, even your grandmother, she too is capable of doing more than what she is now and this book will explain how this can happen. This book is inspiring and absolute wonderful. The people responsible for Crossfit are passionate and genuine.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're a Crossfitter and want to learn more about the origins of your favorite cult, read this book.

If you're not a Crossfitter and you want to understand what the hell we Crossfitters are up to, don't read this book, go start crossfitting and then come back later and read this book to shake the mosaic pieces into place.

Either way you probably won't be able to put it down. JC mixes history, science, and participant narratives into a great read that makes you want to set it down only long enough to go hit your next WOD even harder.

I love the description of the experience o fa WOD from page 16 (of the hardback): "By round five, the depletion of every metabolic pathway, muscle fiber, and neural circuit has all internal diagnostics on the blink. There isn't even an abstract notion of heroic effort, or any abstract notion -- the part of your brain that tells stories is off line. There is only the raw impetus to finish somehow…"

This book is destined to find its way into every Crossfitter's library, and perhaps some cultural anthropologist's reading lists too.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is probably the best book on personal fitness currently available. Very well written exposition of the most current thinking on fitness. Pros and cons of traditional training and Crossfit. You do not have to join a Crossfit gym to incorporate the ideas contained in this book.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Everyone in a Crossfit gym secretly believes that their friends would be the ones to survive the zombie apocalypse." Well I make no secret about that but does everyone here think so? I called out to the trainer on duty who was non-committal but she allowed that it sounded like something another one of the guys might say. On reflection it seems to me that since zombies just keep coming it would be the fast ultra-marathoners who would survive. Surely in 96 miles you would find shelter. So it wouldn't be us. We would be the ones sprinting with a baseball bat, stopping in a group to knock heads, then sprinting again. Good cinema but we would go down in a few hours. SEALS do Crossfit because they have air evacuation on call. I was reading the book in the gym with time and oxygen to think this through because I am not doing many Crossfit workouts lately. It seems to me that I am one of many over 50 who cannot recover from heavy lifting fast enough to lift more each week if I am also doing high-intensity intervals. Once I max out to where I can increase weight only once a month no matter what I will return to our thrilling WODs. One thing Crossfit offers is association and identification with men and women who started the sport with advanced achievement. We all do the same workouts and compete together. This is part of the kool-aid which this book reports on very well. Everyone needs some kool-aid. Our flavor helps a slice of the population get up and do what you need to do to be quick and strong and tough, harder to kill:
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This a great book about the history of Crossfit and the people surrounding it's subculuture. As a Crossfitter I really enjoyed learning about why some things are they way they are. However, I only gave this book 4 stars because the Author dragged on a bit. This book could have been half as long and still fulfilled the objective.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness