Over the past 25 years, I have read countless books and articles, surfed websites and watched videos on anything and everything health, fitness and nutrition related. It started out as a way to better my own health, performance and life, but after a while it became much more than that. After completing my masters degree and beginning work in the fitness industry, my desire to learn was no longer solely for myself but to help everyone I came into contact with have a better life. Below is a non-comprehensive list of books, websites, videos and other resources that have not only influenced the way I approach health and fitness but have also changed my life. I want to give credit where credit is due from the many that have shaped and formed my beliefs. The list is in no particular order and will continue to grow each day, so feel free to peruse at your own pace.
Books have always been my primary go-to for information. While newspaper, magazine and website articles definitely have their place, writing a book is an entirely different beast (as I am finding myself). While no diet or fitness program is perfect, each of these books have influenced me in some way and strengthened the “patterns” I have recognized over the years.
Dr. Sears’ book was the first that helped me to understand the importance hormones play in the foods we eat. While The Atkins Diet book was the first I had read on this topic, I was training many athletes at the time and I saw the affects firsthand on their performance. That’s all it took for me to be sold on the basics of this book.
In the same category as The Zone, another strong argument for (and against) certain hormonal responses from macronutrients.
The first book I read on “clean” eating that actually got my attention. While there are a few chinks in the armor, the book as a whole is very solid.
Dr. Cordain is the leading expert on paleolithic diets in my opinion. While the book may not be overly “exciting” to some, the author gives plenty of evidence as to why we should consider getting “back to our roots” with food.
Robb Wolf is Dr. Cordain’s understudy and presents the findings of the paleo community to a younger, non-academia crowd.
Taubes’ book reviews countless mounds of research on nutrition. A beast of a book but well worth the read if you really want to understand the potential (and likely) “holes” in funded nutrition research.
The first book I ever read on nutrition. Bill Phillips was pivotal not only on impacting how I approached my own fitness but also with influencing me to go into the fitness industry (which I also view as the “preventative health” industry).
The first book which helped me to understand “balance” in nutrition.
I used this as my first fitness and nutrition journal.
While many have their problems with Phillips and how he approaches things, because of his overall influence on my life, he will always have my allegiance.
This was the first book that helped me to understand the importance of a healthy digestive tract and how it affects the immune system.
In my opinion, this book is THE game changer for flexibility, mobility and injury prevention.
While Tim Ferriss’ writings have influenced my life in more ways than one, the 4-Hour Body is the “Choose Your Own Adventure” of fitness and nutrition.
The definitive book on how to improve overall strength.
Arnold Schwarzenegger… what more is there to say?
Stew Smith provides a phenomenal program for preparing potential Navy SEAL and Special Ops candidates for what they will encounter along their journey to completing training.
I read this to see if there were any exercises that I may have not learned or forgotten along the way.
Another great book for approaching our body holistically and with balance.
A game changer (pun intended) with approaching fitness as a competition to measure progress.
An interesting look at sports, health and performance enhancing drugs.
Once again, Arnold – the end.
Taubes has another hit with this one.
A great book for helping people understand that potential detrimental effects to a good chunk of the population with wheat consumption.
24. Kettlebell Rx
Jeff Martone shows how to maximize the benefits of kettlebell training.
Pavel is the leading expert on kettlebells. I have yet to read a bad book or article by him.
I read this in the early 2000s and it helped me to have a much better understanding of anatomy and exercise.
Sisson is in the forefront of health and fitness these days and rightfully so. He knows his stuff and presents solid, common sense arguments against what many consider to be the norm.
Durant is not only a proponent of the paleo diet but also the paleo lifestyle. Great read for simplicity and becoming au natural.
I read this book after attending a conference from a client of mine who was an administrator in the school system. She purchased the book for me and, while I already knew most of what was discussed in the book, this is a great book to help people get started with understanding the science behind how the body responds to exercise.
Another “low carb” diet book that backs its beliefs with results.
Purchased for me by a client, another great book for helping people understand that the body should be approached as a whole. While there are a few things in this book that I disagree with, it still helps point people in the right direction.
Considered a pariah by most in the nutrition world up and through his death–Atkins stood his ground though and may indeed have the last laugh when all is said and done.
While Trudeau has plenty of controversy surrounding him, this book was one of the first that caused me to really question the establishment when it came to health. If for no other reason than that, I recommend this book to get your rebellious side thinking.
Same as above.
Text from my graduate school experience as well as preparation for the NSCA certification examination. While it is very academic based, it helped me to put all the pieces together with what I had learned in graduate school and prior.
37. The G.I. Diet
Great book for helping people understand the glycemic (carbohydrate) effects on the body.
Required reading during my graduate work, of which I disagree with quite a bit. After this book was recommended to one of my clients having cardiovascular issues, I learned that I had to take a stand against much of the current medical establishment.
Also known as The Anabolic Diet (which was its previous title), the author, Pasquale is a world renowned expert on fitness and nutrition. His writings have been a huge influence on my life. This book may have not been as popular within the mainstream world if for no other reason than its early name and the association with anabolic steroids. As mentioned in an early Crossfit Journal article,”it works, and it works very well.”
Text for my Exercise Physiology classes in graduate school. Phenomenal book for understanding the ins and outs of the physiological effects of exercise and increasing performance.