When you pair exercise with healthy eating, you are on the pathway to fitness. Add strength training and aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, and you will accelerate your progress, according to the experts. While you can’t sit down and read your way to fitness, the knowledge and expertise in these books will inspire you to start or improve upon your own journey toward health. As the popular fitness mantra states, “In order to become unstoppable, you have to start.”
1. Ask Dr. Nandi
by Dr. Partha S. Nandi
Dr. Partha Nandi is a practicing gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician with his own internationally syndicated television show. In his book, Ask Dr. Nandi, he asks: “What if you made your health the most important part of your life?” When we have our health, we have everything, he writes. Partha encourages readers to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and make movement a key part of each day.
Fit Tip: “Get up and move. Park far away from the store and walk. Take your bike instead of drive. Wash your own car. Garden. Choose purposeful movement.”
2. No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness
by Michelle Segar, Ph.D.
Create an active lifestyle based on your personal preferences so that you will no longer dread having to exercise. Using scientific research, author Michelle Segar, Ph.D, shows you how to stay motivated with her four-point plan. Create a personalized approach to exercise that works for you and feels like play, she writes. For fitness motivation, tap into fitness benefits like mental clarity, emotional calm, feeling strong and capable, and the joy of being in nature.
Fit Tip: “Tap into how fitness and exercise benefit your daily quality of life—having more energy, less stress and an improved mood.”
Best-selling author Tom Rath was diagnosed as a teenager with a rare illness. He shares his discoveries made through extensive research in the areas of nutrition, exercise and sleep. Your everyday decisions significantly impact your health, Tom writes. Forget diets and exercise trends and work more movement into your life. Focus more on getting the restorative sleep your body needs and sit a lot less, he recommends. Discover numerous ways to shift your lifestyle toward activity and fitness.
Fit Tip: “The real magic lies at the intersection between eating, moving and sleeping. If you can do all three well, it will improve your daily energy and your odds of living a long, healthy life.”
4. Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body
by Michael Matthews
In this book, personal trainer Michael Matthews dispels several fitness myths and outlines a plan for using strength training to get fit. By creating more muscle, you will burn more calories—even at rest—and your metabolism will work on your behalf, Michael writes. Experience high energy levels and improve your outlook when you incorporate strength training with heavier weights and intense cardio into your exercise regimen. (Note: This book is recommended primarily for those who already have a well-established workout routine.)
Fit Tip: “What drives muscle growth? The answer is known as progressive tension overload, which means progressively increasing tension levels in the muscle fibers over time.”
5. Mini Habits for Weight Loss: Stop Dieting, Form New Habits. Change Your Lifestyle Without Suffering
by Stephen Guise
If you are done with diets, this is the book for you. Focused on behavior change, Mini Habits makes a case for consistent, daily decisions that lead to lasting change. “It’s more energy efficient to automatically do something than to manually weigh your options and decide to act the same way every time,” writes author Stephen Guise. Mini Habits for Weight Loss shows you how to make dietary changes that don’t include swearing off carbs forever.
Fit Tip: “We’re quick to blame ourselves for lack of progress, but slow to blame our strategies. Then we repeat them over and over again, trying to make them work. But here’s the thing—if you fail using a particular strategy more than a few times, you need to try another one.”
6. The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier, Sexier You
by Adam Campbell, MS, CSCS
The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises focuses specifically on the techniques that work for women—from beginners to fitness enthusiasts. This encyclopedic tome is filled with tips, photos and research and various exercises. It also includes workouts from top trainers and movements to work every muscle group.
Fit Tip: “Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease and cancer.”
7. Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World
by Kelly Starrett
In Deskbound, physical therapist Kelly Starrett takes on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, specifically sitting too much. Research shows the correlation between sitting and a shortened lifespan. Kelly offers solutions for reducing the amount of time you spend sitting, such as not sitting when you have other options (like on a subway). He encourages the use of standing desks or active workstations. He also writes about how to identify and fix poor posture and prevent and treat lower back, neck, shoulder and wrist pain.
Fit Tip: “Sit less. Our bodies were built for movement.”
Read more: 19 Best Books to Help Achieve Your Goals
Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor for Live Happy, and the CEO and owner of themediaconcierge.net.