On March 10, New York Times Sports and Fitness bestselling author and Cedaredge local Christie Aschwanden presented her newly released book, "Good to Go: What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery."
The presentation also featured Aschwanden's friend Rosemerry Trommer who recorded the session for their new podcast "Emerging Form" about the creative process. During moments of downtime a cellist provided musical commentary.
A frequent contributor to "The New York Times," Aschwanden was previously the lead science writer at "FiveThirtyEight," contributing editor for "Runner's World" and a health columnist for "The Washington Post." One could say all this writing experience set her up for success as an author.
"Good to Go" is a book describing Aschwanden's year of investigation into the world and science of exercise recovery. Ultimately she discovered that recovery is a big deal, but "we've made it far more complicated than necessary," she wrote on her website christieaschwanden.com.
When asked how to pitch and find a publisher Aschwanden admitted she was fortunate enough to have a publisher approach her about writing a book on exercise and recovery. At its core she wanted her work to be a science book on what's reliable in recovery but needed it to be relatable when tapping into the science side.
"It's not a how-to book but goes in-depth on balance," she said. Trommer summarized the book as one for everyone because it's "about our human experience and the crazy lengths we'll go."
Aschwanden read several excerpts from "Good to Go" during the presentation, mainly providing examples of how big the exercise recovery business has become. For example, Aschwanden told about her trial of Tom Brady's special pajamas that, while making plenty of claims, don't actually "pan out" when looked at through science. Instead they build off the fact that sleep is key to recovery and use a product for profit.
Other areas of recovery she covered included nutrition, hydration, massage therapy and foam rolling.
"Recovery at its basic form is rest and relaxation" she concluded. While there are plenty of gizmos and gadgets that promote recovery, Aschwanden realized during her research that most don't have the science to back them up.
After this discussion on what it means to take care of ourselves and what Aschwanden learned from her research, Rosemerry asked her to share about the creative process of writing a book and how she recovered from it.
To recover from the marathon of writing and a book tour Aschwanden relied on the basics.
She prioritized rest -- no 6 a.m. flights -- and found ways to relax in between the stress. "I was glad to know I didn't have to look from what was already known [about recovery]," she said when asked how her research has changed her recovery methods.
Getting started was the hardest part of the book process. After realizing a lot of her research wasn't showing what she expected, Aschwanden struggled with how to put together the book.
Ultimately having firm deadlines pushed her along. She did emphasize the importance of procrastination, saying it allowed her to think and process everything. When deadlines rolled around the panic fueled Aschwanden into finding the energy to put thoughts into chapters.
And her favorite part of the book process? "Finishing it," she said. While certainly a painful ordeal Aschwanden hinted at the possibility of another book being in the works.
Following the presentation Aschwanden signed copies of her book and answered questions from the 30+ attendees.