Book Reviews, Books

Book Review: ROAR How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology by S. T. Sims

The tips in ROAR have been a huge help as I prepare for my next half marathon!

The book cover shows an athletic woman with her hands on her hips. She is smiling
Image from Goodreads. Includes affiliate link.

Title: ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance and Great Health

Format Read: I read the Kindle version using voiceover software on my iPad, but it is also available in print and Audiobook. Get your copy on Amazon! (Affiliate link)

Genre: Nonfiction

Author(s): Stacy T. Sims (with Selene Yeager)

Publication Date: July 5, 2016

Publisher: Rodale Books

Publisher’s Description from the back of the book: Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one. Because most nutrition products and training plans are designed for men, it’s no wonder that so many female athletes struggle to reach their full potential. ROAR is a comprehensive, physiology-based nutrition and training guide specifically designed for active women. This book teaches you everything you need to know to adapt your nutrition, hydration, and training to your unique physiology so you can work with, rather than against, your female physiology. Exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy T. Sims, PhD, shows you how to be your own biohacker to achieve optimum athletic performance.

Complete with goal-specific meal plans and nutrient-packed recipes to optimize body composition, ROAR contains personalized nutrition advice for all stages of training and recovery. Customizable meal plans and strengthening exercises come together in a comprehensive plan to build a rock-solid fitness foundation as you build lean muscle where you need it most, strengthen bone, and boost power and endurance. Because women’s physiology changes over time, entire chapters are devoted to staying strong and active through pregnancy and menopause. No matter what your sport is—running, cycling, field sports, triathlons—this book will empower you with the nutrition and fitness knowledge you need to be in the healthiest, fittest, strongest shape of your life.

An image reads, "Book Review," and includes the web address

My Review:

I was not born to run– but I love it. I’m short, flat-footed, and extremely myopic. I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I have grown to love the way I feel when I am in peak “racing condition.” For me, being ready to race doesn’t mean getting to a specific number on the scale or looking a certain way in the mirror. Instead, “race ready,” means I feel strong and full of energy. When I’m in good condition for a race, I feel happy and as if, through the grace of God, I can overcome any obstacle life throws my way.

Sadly, I haven’ t felt “race ready,” in over a year. I had two eye surgeries two years in a row and the second surgery was brutally painful. After the second surgery I experienced chronic eye pain for over a year. Finally, I managed to get some much needed relief after my glaucoma specialist at Wills Eye put in a bandage lens. I slowly started training again, but then my beloved fur baby Tinkerbell, passed away during Lent.

After Tinkebell passed, I tried to run again but my heart wasn’t in it. I just felt slow and lethargic. I ran my first 5k in over a year on July 4, 2022 and my time was much slower than what I usually expect from myself. Even though I did my absolute best, I only clocked a 32 minute 5k. That is almost two whole minutes per mile slower than how I usually perform n a race environment.

After my slower than normal (for me) 5k time, I decided I wanted to apply logic and method to my training. I started by searching for ideas on the internet and I came across all sorts of fad diets and fitness trends. I tried intermittent fasting, but it left me feeling light headed and triggered my migraines. After that, I tried cutting out carbs, but I was felt famished and too weak to do my long runs. Finally, I stumbled across this book.

ROAR is full of quality information that is backed by science and research. It focuses on the unique physiology of female athletes and talks about ways to approach training based on age and hormonal cycles. I’m recommending the book ROAR because the author is a professional exercise physiologist and nutritionist. I was relieved to find a reliable source for women’s fitness advice.

ROAR taught me about why intermittent fasting was the exact WRONG thing for me to try. Sims states that fasting increasing cortisol levels in women. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is hard on your body and increases fat storage. I also learned that carbs aren’t my enemy. According to Sims, you DO need them to fuel your workouts! In fact, Sims writes that female athletes can become depressed and risk overtraining and exhaustion without carbs!

Another valuable lesson I learned from ROAR was the importance of protein and weight training for women. I’ve increased my protein consumption and I feel stronger already. I have also added yoga and body weight exercises into my training program. I haven’t done yoga for a long tine, and I feel so much more in tune with body.

I wanted to lift up this book because I think that there are probably other women out there who, like me, want to improve their fitness but aren’t sure where to begin. Diet and exercise have never come naturally to me, and I am grateful I found this well researched book to guide my training. This book is brimming with great information and I know I will refer to it again the next time I’m stuck in a training rut. I don’t know if my next race time will improve, but I do know that I feel happier and healthier after reading this book and putting some of these ideas into practice. (Just one word of caution: some recommendations in this book are really intense for the casual athlete, but I think it can be enjoyed by any woman who loves fitness).

If you want your own copy, it is available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook, an audiobook, and in print (affiliate link). You can also check out my most recent book Hope for the Broken, availble in large print and ebook!

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