Top 10 Fitness and Nutrition Books
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
1. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes– This is a fascinating and accessible science book. It presents devastating arguments against the popular epidemiological studies expounding on low-calorie and low-fat diets. “Good Calories, Bad Calories” is credited with shifting the pendulum (on its head) regarding what we thought we knew about diet, food, and nutrition. His follow up book “Why We Get Fat” is sort of the cliff notes to this one. However there are many cogent counterpoints to Taubes' assertions. The nutrition expert and neuroscientist Stephan J. Guyenet PHD wrote up a list of areas of concern.
2. Facts & Fallacies of Fitness by Mel C Siff– The author reviews many of the unfounded ideas around fitness and exercise and brings in a much needed scientific perspective. As always, Siff’s books are heavy on the research and uncompromising on the facts. His 1st book “Supertraining” is considered by many to be the old and new testament in fitness science…this tome is not for the general public.
3. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink– Dr. Wansink leads Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab and has authored over 100 academic articles on eating behavior. This book is chock full of easy to use tips and ideas to prevent overeating and/or eating the wrong foods. His practical tools manipulate (in a good way) the psychological and emotional mechanisms many of us fall victim to when we overeat. Most of what he says is backed up with good scientific evidence, much of it produced by his group in the food lab. It is an easy quick read.
4. Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, Thomas W. Myers- This is an advanced scientific book which documents the interconnections between the soft tissues in our body. It is primarily geared toward therapists and chiropractors yet the general population would benefit from understanding the global perspective of how their bodies move.
5. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser– In 2001 after reading this book I vowed never to eat at a fast-food joint again. Mr. Schlosser puts together a particularly damning story about the environmental, societal and health implications of fast-food. It is the 21 century’s version of Sinclair’s “The Jungle”.
6.The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes by L. Daniel Howell– This easy to ready book argues the benefits of being barefoot. Mr. Howell backs up his claims with reams of scientific evidence. He covers topics like why shoes negatively affect our posture, how to avoid and eliminate foot pain and how to ease into a more barefoot lifestyle. It is full of practical tips and suggestions for everyone from the minimalist runner to the everyday toddler.
7. Exuberant Animal: The Power of Health, Play and Joyful Movement by Frank Forencich– The author presents the argument that many adults no longer have the capacity to enjoy physical fun. He teaches his readers how to bring back recess into their lives through fun physical play. There are many interesting essays on the value of play and practical tips on how to incorporate it into modern life.
8. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Philip Maffetone and Mark Allen – Dr. Maffetone has been training elite endurance athletes for over 30 years. He developed champions by having them work slower to go faster with his specialized heart rate training method. Anyone who is interested in endurance sports would benefit greatly from reading this book or his other one called “The Maffetone Method”.
9. 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life. by Victor Davich- I have read lots of meditation books and even attended a few courses but was always turned off by the pseudo-sciencey nature and psychobabble that seemed to accompany them. This book is the opposite of that. Mr. Davich shows you how to easily meditate without all the other nonsense…and it only takes 8 minutes.
10. Low Back Disorders, Second Edition by Stuart McGill– Dr. McGill is the preeminent spinal biomechanics researcher in the world. His book is an evidence-based approach on how to deal with and prevent lower back pain. This is a superb book that is useful for both clinicians and patients alike. I recommend it to anyone who has had lower back pain and to any therapist or trainer who hasn’t read it.