You don’t need the start of a new year to dedicate yourself to a healthier life; you just need the right intel at the right time.
So to carpe that diem and finally get in shape, today we’re going to share our favorite diet and fitness books to help you succeed no matter where you are in your journey for better health.
Stage 1: Get Prepped, Informed, and Motivated
We don’t become overweight, obese, or out-of-shape overnight.
To understand how you got to the present—and to make sure you never wind up in this crummy place again—it’s important to identify and understand what works best for your body.
These three books are sure to answer your questions, provide insight, and inspire you to leap forward with your newfound knowledge:
The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
Dr. Jason Fung believes most people struggle with weight gain and obesity because they don’t understand how the effects of insulin, insulin resistance, and their hormones affect the number they see on the scale.
Fung gives readers five basic lifestyle habits to control their insulin levels and break the cycle of insulin resistance so weight loss comes naturally. It’s a worthy read for anyone struggling with a lot of weight to lose.
The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body
Despite her killer figure, Cameron Diaz, actress and author, wasn’t always a healthy eater or exercise fanatic. Through her own discoveries in nutrition and fitness, Diaz offers readers an honest, holistic approach to health that focuses on learning to make consistent lifestyle and dietary choices.
Bonus points awarded for sharing science-backed advice in humorous, easy-to-understand bites.
Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
Before you start working out, let Dr. Kelly Starrett show you how to move your body safely. After all, you’ll need to understand how your body works so you don’t sideline yourself before completing your first set.
There’s a reason trainers are so strict about proper form: moving your muscles correctly will not only improve your body’s ability to torch calories, it will also banish stiffness and achiness, prevent future injuries, and actually heal pre-existing pains. #win
Packed with photos to show you how to tackle common strength-conditioning exercises the right way (think: squats, pushups, deadlifts, etc.), you’ll avoid clumsy mistakes everyone else usually makes and get the most out of your time spent working out.
Starret even teaches you how to speed up muscle recovery so you’re not so sore after your workouts. Less pain, all gain? We think so.
Now that your head’s in the game, let’s get your body in motion.
Stage 2: Expert Advice for How to Reach Your Fitness Goals
You don’t need a personal trainer to carve out the body you’ve always wanted.
These six books are the perfect place to start on your own; from low-impact yoga to running and lifting, you’re sure to find (and love!) a new activity that gets your butt off the couch:
You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises
Elite Special Operations physical trainer Mark Lauren knows how to get people in shape for the front line. In his book, he shares his do-anywhere program of 125 exercises that require nothing more than your own bodyweight. This means you’ll see results faster the more weight you have to lose!
Lauren’s full body exercises burn more calories than cardio, build more muscle than straight lifting, and help you develop correct form and balance. His moves are doable for men and women of all fitness levels and will get you lean and strong in just 30 minutes. Ten-hut!
The Yoga Bible
Christina Brown’s illustrated collection of over 150 yoga poses and postures will help you fall into lotus position at the drop of an ohm.
Her step-by-step guide teaches beginners the fundamentals, pushes those with a little more experience on the mat to take their poses further, and challenges even the most experienced yogis to deepen their practice.
PS: Did we mention yoga’s also awesome for de-stressing? Clear your mind and good health will follow.
Yoga: A Man's Guide: The 30 Most Powerful Yoga Poses to Sharpen Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body (Just 10 Minutes a Day!)
Certified yoga teacher Olivia Summers has been shattering the misconception that yoga is a girls-only club. In fact, she points out that the first yoga poses were created by men for men over 5,000 years ago.
Encouraging men everywhere to fully embrace a modern yoga practice, Summers teaches dudes how to strengthen their muscles, focus their mind, and give their whole body a challenging workout. Tight yoga pants not required.
Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving--and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity
Authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea know all the reasons a working woman, wife, or mother can’t lace up her running shoes and hit the pavement.
So to give women the help and advice they need to make running a daily habit, they’re handing out practical tips for training and racing, fueling up with healthy foods, and preventing injuries (‘cause moms don’t get recovery days!).
They prove women can have a professional, personal, and fitness life with the right balancing.
High-Intensity Interval Training for Women: Burn More Fat in Less Time with HIIT Workouts You Can Do Anywhere
Get on board the HIIT trend because it’s not going anywhere soon. Using very short bursts of targeted exercise, Sean Bartram shows women how to achieve amazing results in very little time.
This highly visual guide of more than 80 HIIT exercises work your overall body, plus the specific areas women want toned the most. Busy girlbosses can tailor these multi-day programs and routines to fit their hectic schedules and reach their ideal body ASAP.
Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
Michael Matthews says muscle building, losing weight, and eating healthy are all much easier than the health and fitness industries have been telling us. With his insider info, he promises to give readers the truth about what it really takes to achieve a ripped body (hint: flexible eating and very little cardio).
Matthews reveals the mistakes guys make when they first start lifting and supplies an all-in-one routine for a bigger chest and back and more powerful arms and legs. It won’t take long for you to hit Shred Town with his help.
Sure, all of this working out will do wonders for your mind and body, but if you’re still feeding your temple processed junk, you’ll never reach healthy nirvana.
Stage 3: Time to Overhaul Your Diet
These three books will help you ditch the fast food and feed your body what it needs to thrive:
It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
Authors Dallas and Melissa Hartwig started the underground Whole30 program back in 2009 to help people give their body a nutritional reset in just 30 days.
They believe that many of the most troublesome conditions—from acne, diabetes, and allergies to depression, IBS, and obesity—are caused by specific trigger foods. Their plan starts by identifying and eliminating these foods to rejuvenate your metabolism, reduce inflammation, stop unwanted food cravings, repair your digestive tract, and help you lose weight.
Apologies in advance if they nix your fave food. #SorryNotSorry your body will thank you.
Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health
There’s a reason the ketogenic diet remains a top search for Google: it contradicts everything we know about nutrition and it actually works.
Crushing the widely-held myth that fat is our enemy in the battle of the bulge, bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman explains why eating more fat (and less carbs) helps our bodies lose weight and drop fat.
His meal plan advice, recipes, and shopping list ease the transition from carbs to fats and show you a whole new side of contemporary healthy eating.
The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
Based on the bestselling book and documentary film Forks Over Knives, authors and doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman share their easy-to-follow plan to switch to a plant-based diet in just 28 days.
Based on their research, they make a pretty compelling argument for why cutting out meat, dairy, and highly processed foods in favor of whole, plant-based meals may prevent and even reverse modern-day metabolic diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
The hardest part about making the switch to plant fuel is figuring out how to stock your fridge and give your old meals the green makeover. Luckily, this book is filled with 100 yummy recipes, a daily eating guide, and tips and tricks for snacking so you’re never hungry. #veggiepower
Choose one (or more!) book from each category and you’ll have a solid plan for learning how to get healthy, achieve a bangin’ body, and fuel your greatness!