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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Diaz-Gilbert

Review of Bohdanna Zazulak's Master Your Core

As I get older, I have to work harder to strengthen my core. Sometimes I do not get up from a sitting position as effortlessly as I used to. I had been going to physical therapy to learn exercises and techniques to strengthen my core. When Covid struck, visits came to a screeching halt. I continued to do some of the exercises at home, some of the time.

Recently, I was invited by TCKPublishing to review Bohdanna Zazulak's new book Master Your Core: A Science-based Guide to Achieve Peak Performance and Resilience to Injury. At first, I was overwhelmed by the dense and detailed scholarly writing. I thought the book might not hold the attention of a general audience. After reading the book, I feel Dr. Zazulak is my personal physical therapist in the comfort of my own home. I highly recommend her book.

In Master Your Core Zazulak, a Boston marathoner and triathlete, and doctor of physical therapy and researcher, blends detailed research in a conversational tone, along with personal anecdotes, quotes, and mind, body, and spirit wisdom from ancient and modern day philosophers, healers, scientists, and other great minds.

Master Your Core consists of two parts. Part I consists of eight exhaustive yet, fascinating chapters on topics ranging from local and global muscles and how muscles work together, to the role of the brain, nervous system, and the heart in mastering our core, as well as the importance of posture, breathing, core empowering meditation, positivity, spirituality, and sex-based differences. Zazulak also shares that instead of surgery to repair the split in her abdominal muscles after giving birth, she used the CoreBase principles to repair it.

At the end of each chapter, Zazulak includes a section called Seeds for Thought. Here readers have the opportunity to engage and reflect on the chapter they've just read, as well as think about their core, life, and health with guided questions. For example, What effects - either positive or negative - do you think your current life style choices have on your core and overall health? and, Were you able to feel your core muscles activating?

Part II of Master Your Core consists of five chapters dedicated to the CoreBase Guide, and the four phases necessary to develop a strong core: breathing, awareness, stability, and empowerment. A detailed chapter is devoted to each phase, along with stretches/exercises that come with each phase.

Each chapter includes seven different stretches/exercises, such as the core butterfly stretch, core awareness plank, the core balance happy tree, and core stability bird dog exercise. Each stretch/exercise comes with a black and white illustration of a woman. This might suggest that the book is intended for women looking to master their core, but everyone will benefit from these stretches and exercises.

Don't let the boundless and daunting exercises diminish your excitement to start engaging your core. You can personalize your CoreBASE journey. Zazulak stresses that, "you are size does not fit all...listen to your body to determine what is right for you..focus on your breath and the quality of your movements rather than the quantity. Do not feel pressured to complete all the patient...continue will see improvements over time if you stick with it."

As an ultrarunner, who also hikes, snowshoes, and climbs walls, I look forward to personalizing my CoreBASE routine, and mastering my core at home with this practical resource.

Master Your Core is a 256-page softcover book that also contains an impressive bibliography and a glossary. At first, this practical resource might be a bit intimidating. But the more you turn the pages, the more you will develop your core. Zazulak's knowledge and common sense approach based on science will help you to master your core, gain strength, and improve your all around quality of life.

Whether you are a young person, a young or aging ordinary or elite athlete dealing with a health issue or injury, or an aging adult having balance and gait issues, and struggling with getting up from a sitting position, Master Your Core is for you.


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If you are interested in my book, read excerpts, editorial praise and reader reviews, listen to the podcast interviews, and order your copy of Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Time


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