We spend so much of our time staring at electronic devises, I think it’s important to ‘disconnect’ from the digital age now and again, and get our information or entertainment from a good old fashioned book.
As much as I use the internet for research, if there’s a subject I’m really keen on, I will often order the physical book.
Here’s my list of 10 awesome fitness books..
- 1 Top 10 Fitness Books:
- 1.1 1. Strength Training Anatomy-3rd Edition [Paperback]
- 1.2 2. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
- 1.3 3. The Complete Book of Pilates For Men
- 1.4 4. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
- 1.5 5. You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises [Paperback]
- 1.6 6. The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle
- 1.7 7. The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy
- 1.8 8. ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health
- 1.9 9. The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises
- 1.10 10. Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise [Paperback]
I’ve already got a few of them, but am looking forward to adding a few more to my little library at home.
Even if you’re not into ultra-marathon running or Pilates, these books are excellent fitness resources.
They might also give you some new ideas or perhaps inspire you to try something new.
I can’t be arsed I’m not feeling particularly motivated to go to the gym, I often read an article from a fitness magazine or chapter from a book.
It more often than not gives me that motivation to get out of the house and do my workout.
Top 10 Fitness Books:
1. Strength Training Anatomy-3rd Edition [Paperback]
This is definitely an educational book for those who enjoy strength training and want to learn more about how the body works when you lift weights.
I actually bought this book for a friend’s son who was studying to become a personal trainer.
He told me the book was perfect for the level of knowledge he needed. I’m hoping to loan it back off him soon so I can have a proper read through.
The book explains in depth, how muscles work and grow, what type of exercises will engage them, how to prevent common muscular injuries, the benefits of stretching and much more.
Whether you need to explain to someone the name of a muscle and what it actually does, or if you just want to know what’s going on ‘inside’, this book covers it all.
It also explains about the surrounding structure of a muscle, such as supporting ligaments, bones, tendons and connective tissue. This aspect helps you understand why injuries occur and how you can prevent them.
With over 1 million copies sold worldwide, it has an almost perfect review rating on Amazon with 4.9 out of 5 stars being awarded by nearly 200 reviews.
Just like his original book, Tim courts controversy with his ideas and teachings. However there’s no getting away from the fact that he is extremely thought-provoking.
The idea behind the book is that you can achieve a number of physical goals much quicker than you ever thought possible.
The author has conducted thousands of tests over 10 years to prove his theories and believes the opportunities are available to anyone.
Here’s just some of what the book promises:
• How to prevent fat gain while bingeing (X-mas, holidays, weekends)
• How to increase fat-loss 300% with a few bags of ice
• How Tim gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time
• How to sleep 2 hours per day and feel fully rested
• How to produce 15-minute female orgasms (random!)
• How to triple testosterone and double sperm count (random x2!)
• How to go from running 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers in 12 weeks
• How to reverse “permanent” injuries
• How to add 150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 50 topics covered, all with real-world experiments, many including more than 200 test subjects.
Whether you are a skeptic or not, The 4-Hour Body has over 2000 reviews on Amazon with the majority being 5 stars.
I really enjoyed this book simply because it challenges you to push your physical boundaries and to realize what can be achieved when you focus the mind.
Here’s a good video summary of the book:
I had to include a book on Pilates as it’s now an activity I regularly enjoy.
Since starting Pilates a few years ago I have definitely noticed an improvement to my posture and my core strength.
It’s also a way to feel more ‘connected’ to your body and to notice how certain small movements can impact on certain muscles.
This book is ideal if you want to try Pilates at home or to use the illustrative guide to perfect your technique.
If you prefer to follow a program by watching and listening, then you might like the Pilates For Men DVD set.
This is a book that educates as much as it inspires. Eat and Run is an impressive follow-up to the author’s best seller – Born to Run, which is one of those ‘must have’ books for runners.
In Eat and Run, the author – Scott Jurek documents his journey from his childhood upbringing in Midwest America to competing in grueling ultra-marathons and endurance events.
As a converted vegan he blows the myth of what is required to fuel such athletes as he becomes a world champion in his sport with a plant-based diet.
I’ve always believed we can get all the nutrients our body needs to thrive without eating meat, and there’s no better example of this than Scott Jurek.
Inspirational stories of personal endurance and sacrifice combined with the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of it all, make Eat and Run the book to get you lacing up your running shoes again.
5. You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises [Paperback]
It is co-written by an ex US Special Forces physical trainer; so he should know what he’s talking about!
There are no less than 125 different exercises that require nothing more than your own bodyweight to get you in amazing shape.
No muscle group is left out and there such a variety to choose from, you won’t get bored.
Just like a gym, you could devise your own bodyweight workout, targeting upper-body, lower-body or a full body routine.
Some exercise involve everyday household objects such as doors, tables and chairs, but nothing you won’t expect to see pretty much anywhere.
I really enjoy the simplicity (and often difficulty) of bodyweight exercises, but also find myself having to think of what exercises to do other than push-ups and squats!
You Are Your Own Gym solves that, and some.
All you need is 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week in order to burn more fat, increase muscle, and reduce the likelihood of injuries.
My current workout routine involves lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week, and is usually a full-body, compound workout.
I only have 4 to 6 exercises that I perform, and since I’ve begun this type of training nearly 12 months ago, the results have been ‘significant’ to say the least.
So to find a book written purely on this principle was very exciting!
Although I’m a massive advocate of compound moves, I can see why some people might get bored with the same routine, week in – week out.
The New Rules of Lifting actually provides you with 12 months worth of workouts based around the 6 basic moves – pushing, pulling, squatting, dead-lift, lunging and twisting.
You can mix and match them, and design your own workouts to keep it fresh.
It has received a lot of positive reviews and is continuing to gain in popularity.
Stay tuned for blog updates once I’ve devoured the content!
7. The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy
Mark Sisson from MarksDailyApple.com was the main reason I started to eat more in line with the Paleo diet and change the way I exercise.
He is my inspiration and my ‘go-to guy’ if I ever need advice or answers to nutritional questions.
His latest book (updated 2016) is a scientific approach to living a more basic life and explains why we are getting fatter and less healthy as opposed to leaner and healthier.
With that in mind he sets out a simple set of laws to live by, in order to reverse these health issues.
There are 10 Primal Blueprint Laws that Mark insists will help you lose weight, increase your energy levels and improve your health:
1. Eat lots of plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently at a slower pace
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get adequate sleep
8. Get adequate sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain
That’s pretty much it, and how Mark lives his life.
It is a common sense guide to living and improving, with scientific evidence to back up his teachings, whilst challenging the status-quo of conventional health, fitness and nutrition advice.
You can pretty much learn everything from his website, but for a general overview with everything packaged in one neat little book, The New Primal Blueprint is well worth the read.
As you would expect from one of the world’s largest and most respected sports medicine and exercise science organizations, the book is awash with scientific studies and research.
If you’re looking for medical or fitness advice, the chances are the ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness and Health can help.
Everything ranging from common health conditions as you age, to how specific exercise routines can improve your cardiovascular fitness, to nutritional advice, is all covered in the 408 page paperback book.
Here’s an extract taken from Amazon revealing the insights to this 1st edition:
“You will learn these strategies:
- Optimize your weight, improve heart health, and increase aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Improve your health by managing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and joint pain, pregnancy, and osteoporosis through exercise and proper nutrition.
- Determine your body composition and current cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness levels.
- Monitor, evaluate, and adjust your exercise program over time for optimal results.
- Introduce exercise, increase physical activity, and improve your diet for more energy and better health (no matter what your age!).”
There are also color photos of individual exercises, and sample ‘age-specific’ workouts.
Just like a medical reference book, ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health is a resource that belongs in every family’s library.
I bought this book last year after several recommendations. There’s also a Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises, but according to the reviews it is exactly the same as the Men’s version but with pictures of women doing the exercises.
This book is sooo comprehensive and has hundreds of exercises for you to try (733 to be precise!).
Each exercise is accompanied by lots of photos that show you the correct technique and explains how the exercise works the muscles it’s supposed to.
The 472 page book is divided into chapters that cover all the major and minor muscle groups, with one chapter emphasizing total body exercises.
There is also a ‘best workouts’ chapter which covers almost every type of workout you can imagine. There are:
- Workouts for a crowded gym
- The Ultimate Fat Loss Workout
- The Scrawny to Brawny Workout
- The Best Three-Exercises Workout
- The Best 15 Minute Workouts
- There’s even a Wedding Workout!
This chapter alone is a great resource if you like to frequently change your workout routines.
I’m not necessarily a big fan of Men’s Health Magazine, but the Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises is an excellent resource, and one I often refer to.
10. Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise [Paperback]
However, some exercises we perform, we take for granted – not really understanding what effect it’s having on our muscles, or what else is going on in the process.
What I like about this book is the science behind exercise.
Backed up by referenced studies Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? reveals some interesting answers to questions you hadn’t even thought about!
It is written by physicist and award-winning journalist – Alex Hutchinson. He also writes for ‘Runner’s World’ specializing in the latest training and fitness research.
It’s definitely a reference book that you can delve straight into, and covers a myriad of questions on strength training, cardio, stretching, nutrition, weight loss and more.
Hutchinson is very good at debunking a lot of fitness myths that regularly appear in articles and newspapers.
You will be surprised at how much you’ve read that may not actually be correct or certainly not the whole story!
I always recommend that you shouldn’t take for granted what anyone says regarding health and fitness unless it is backed-up by completely unbiased research.
All my articles that cover any sort of factual information are backed up by referenced research, and that’s how I like to read similar information.
If you also like this type of approach, you’ll certainly enjoy Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?
Do you have a fitness book that you think deserves to be on the list?
Perhaps you feel I’ve mentioned a book that shouldn’t be on the list.
Let me know what you think in the comments box below.