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Lift : fitness culture, from naked Greeks and acrobats to jazzercise and ninja warriors /

by Kunitz, Daniel [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, NY : Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2016]Edition: First edition.Description: viii, 320 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780062336187; 0062336185.Subject(s): Physical fitness -- Social aspects | Physical education and training -- Social aspects | Exercise -- Social aspects | Exercise -- Social aspects | Physical education and training -- Social aspects | Physical fitness -- Social aspectsOnline resources: Cover image | Cover image
Contents:
Into the new frontier -- The inner statue -- But is it good for you? -- Feeling, breathing, going to war -- Bodyweight politics -- Hercules and the athletic Renaissance -- Training for the mirror -- Acrobats and beefcake -- The tyranny of the wheel -- From women's work to the women's movement -- Practicing at life.
Summary: "A cultural history of fitness explores the ways in which human exercise has changed over time and what can be learned from our athletic ancestors, evaluating whether today's high-tech exercise machines are actually productive while making recommendations based on early health practices"-- NoveList.
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Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult NonFiction 613.7 KUN (Browse shelf) Available 39270004533208

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A riveting cultural history of fitness, from Greek antiquity to the era of the "big-box gym" and beyond, exploring the ways in which human exercise and physical ideals have changed over time--and what we can learn from our past.

 

How did treadmills and weight machines become the gold standard of fitness? Why have some of us turned our backs on the mirrors and gleaming devices of the traditional gym? What is the appeal of the stripped-down, functional approach to fitness that's currently on the rise?

In this captivating narrative, Daniel Kunitz sets out on a journey through history to answer these questions and more. What he finds is that, while we humans have been conditioning our bodies for more than 2,500 years, we've done so for a variety of reasons: to imitate gods, to be great warriors, to build nations and create communities, to achieve physical perfection, and, of course, to look good naked. Behind each of these goals is a story and method of exercise that not only illuminates the past but also sheds light on aspects of the widespread, multi-faceted fitness culture of today.

Lift begins with the ancient Greeks, who made a cult of the human body--the word "gymnasium" derives from the Greek word for "naked"--and then takes us on an enlightening tour through time, following Asian martial artists, Persian pahlevans, nineteenth-century German gymnasts, and the bronzed bodies of California's Muscle Beach. Kunitz uncovers the seeds of the modern gym in the late nineteenth-century with the invention of the first weightlifting machines, and brings us all the way up to the ultimate game-changer: the feminist movement, which kicked off the exercise boom of the 1970s with aerobics, and ultimately helped create the big-box gyms we know today.

Using his own decade-long journey to transform himself from a fast-food junkie into an ultra-fit--if aging--athlete as a jumping off point, Kunitz argues that another exercise revolution is underway now--a new frontier in fitness, in which the ideal of a bikini body is giving way to a focus on mastering the movements of life.  

 

Includes bibliographical references ([283]-304) and index.

Into the new frontier -- The inner statue -- But is it good for you? -- Feeling, breathing, going to war -- Bodyweight politics -- Hercules and the athletic Renaissance -- Training for the mirror -- Acrobats and beefcake -- The tyranny of the wheel -- From women's work to the women's movement -- Practicing at life.

"A cultural history of fitness explores the ways in which human exercise has changed over time and what can be learned from our athletic ancestors, evaluating whether today's high-tech exercise machines are actually productive while making recommendations based on early health practices"-- NoveList.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Prologue (p. 1)
  • Introduction: Into the New Frontier (p. 15)
  • Chapter 1 The Inner Statue (p. 25)
  • Chapter 2 But Is It Good for You? (p. 47)
  • Chapter 3 Feeling, Breathing, Going to War (p. 65)
  • Chapter 4 Bodyweight Politics (p. 87)
  • Chapter 5 Hercules and the Athletic Renaissance (p. 105)
  • Chapter 6 Training for the Mirror (p. 135)
  • Chapter 7 Acrobats and Beefcake (p. 169)
  • Chapter 8 The Tyranny of the Wheel (p. 203)
  • Chapter 9 From Women's Work to the Women's Movement (p. 219)
  • Chapter 10 Practicing at Life (p. 251)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 281)
  • General Notes on Sources (p. 283)
  • Bibliography (p. 291)
  • Index (p. 305)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In this time line of physical fitness and body ideals, Kunitz (former editor in chief, Modern Painters) takes us all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who made the gymnasium the focal point of their cities and inspired the modern-day Olympic Games. The author explains how modern exercise evolved into new approaches based on millennia-old concepts of conditioning. For most Americans, keeping and staying fit means hours at the gym (weights, spinning, treadmills), all in an effort to tone and strengthen the body. Kunitz guides readers through the influences of Eastern practices such as yoga, Renaissance art depicting the human form, the advent of new equipment and the bodybuilding culture, and modern-day fitness icons including Jane Fonda and Jack -LaLanne. The author's experiences lead him to examine the connection between the life of the body and the life of the mind, ultimately challenging the multibillion-dollar fitness industry. He concludes that the most effective tools are already at hand and successfully shows how classic methods of conditioning can still be effective today. VERDICT More of a history-based exploration than a guide to physical fitness, this book will be of interest to cultural historians and fitness enthusiasts. Appropriate for larger collections.-Janet -Davis, Darien P.L., CT © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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