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Extreme and Rare Sports: Performance Demands, Drivers, Functional Foods, and Nutrition

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2020 - Volume 52 - Issue 4 - p 1005
doi: 10.1249/
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This book explains what extreme sports are, their nutritional and energy requirements, their evolution and history, and the growth, market, and future of these sports.


The purpose is to foster a greater understanding of the types of extreme sports and the unique nutritional, physical, and mental demands of each. The book breaks down the different types of sports into land, water, and high-altitude and discusses both traditional and nontraditional extreme sports. With increasing participation in these sports all around the world, this book is a much-needed resource for the unique needs of these athletes.


It is intended for sports practitioners, health professionals, sports enthusiasts, and sports nutritionists, along with food experts and researchers. It is most suitable for those looking to gain a greater understanding of extreme sports and how to improve performance, prevent injury, and improve training practices for these athletes.


This book covers topics related to the specific requirements needed by athletes who perform extreme sports. The authors do a thorough job of breaking down the sports into different categories and expanding on the demands, both mental and physical, that are unique to each of them. Factors such as extreme temperatures, altitude, and excessive energy demands during these events are addressed, and research-driven information on nutraceutical supplements and functional foods is discussed. Because these factors create an added challenge for athletes and the practitioners who work with them, they must be understood in order to develop better training programs and ultimately improve performance in the sport. The book also reviews ergogenic and nutritional aids and their value in each sport.


This is an interesting and comprehensive look into the world of extreme sports. With the rapid growth of adventure racing, ultramarathons, and the less traditional diverse sports (bouldering, caving, hang gliding, etc.), more research is needed to further understand the specific needs of these athletes. This book does a great job of breaking down the book into seven detailed sections. Most notable for readers probably is the physical requirements of each sport and the importance of nutraceuticals and functional foods for these athletes to improve performance and prevent injury. A unique feature is the chapter discussing the use of prosthetics and limb health in extreme sports and how technology, with improved fit and material, enables these athletes to participate with fewer limitations. Overall, this book is comprehensive and well organized.

Rating: ★★★

Reviewed by: Melissa Mellady, MS (Northwestern Medicine Executive Health)

Copyright © 2020 by the American College of Sports Medicine