Lots of fitness, diet, and exercise books and materials seem to be repetitive or refuse to acknowledge that losing weight, dieting, and being fit are all difficult things to do! Others are too boring to make it through, despite having potentially useful tips. Even motivated people looking for some good information can become discouraged wading through the endless materials on fitness and diet that are out there. For some actually useful, beneficial and well-laid-out materials on exercise and health, try:
Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog: The format of this recently published book is over 100 short directives for how to lead a life of health and fitness. Drawing on the most recent science, and ignoring any of the “fad” diets that have sprung up in the past few decades, this book is an easy and useful guide to both physical fitness and nutrition.
Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run is the wonderfully honest story of Alexandra Heminsley, a woman who decided to take up running in her mid-thirties. She expected immediate weight loss, toned legs and the lauded “runners high”… but that’s not exactly what happened. She admits that starting to run can be a brutal and discouraging experience, and talks about motivating herself to get past those first miserable weeks (okay, months) and ultimately reaping the rewards of a running lifestyle.
Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred: Although most workout DVDs don’t do it for me, Jillian Michaels’ are a huge exception. Her workouts combine cardio, strength training and ab workouts in 20 minute workouts that really WORK. Each of her DVDs contains multiple workouts that progress by intensity level as you gain fitness and improve. 30 Day Shred, along with Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 are the perfect solution if you nee d to work out at home and really want to sweat.
Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual clearly and concisely explains how to eat well. Incorporating many of the rules that he describes is easy, and this book is so compact that it’s a great one to have around the house when you need a reminder of how and why to eat healthy. Advice such as “Things that never go bad aren’t food,” is clever and really hits home.
No Sweat: In this brand new book, University of Michigan researcher and professor uses the results of her own research—and that of others—to explain why so many people begin exercise regimes with the best of intentions, but then fail to stick with them after a few weeks or months. Her information and advice are extremely useful, and this book is a quick and straightforward read.
Making healthy, complete meals is a challenge for everyone, and it can be especially difficult to get the nutrients and the right amount of calories when you're increasing physical activity or maintaining an active lifestyle. The Runner's World Cookbook contains over 150 easy and varied recipes that will help with overall nutrition (whether you're a runner or not!). I love the healthy, diverse, and straightforward recipes it offers. It even contains vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options for the athlete with dietary restrictions.
For even more excellent materials on health and fitness, check out the extended list here.