Here are my current top 5 books to help you save time in your training, get lean, be strong and feel sexy. This post is inspired by a guy I met in the sauna at a gym I strongly dislike (more on that in another post). He was working so hard and spending so many hours on minor things in my opinion. Through conversation I learned that he had a wedding to attend in six months. He not only wanted to look good, but he wanted to blow people away with a lean, strong and healthy being. His heart was in the right place and I admired his work ethic and dedication. I quickly began teaching methods to improve strength gains, decrease body fat and more importantly how he didn't need to hang out at the gym for 4+ hours per day to get the results he desired. This one's for you George. Keep up the hard work!
Notice in the title I said “training” and not “work out” What does “workout” even mean? I think it's for people who dislike their jobs or current life situation and they go to the gym to get the “work” out of their system. This is something I picked up from legendary strength coach and author Pavel Tsatsouline. He says the Russian language doesn't have a word for “work out” they simply approach any physical or mental endeavor by training and refining skills. He also refers to people as “comrades” or “sissies” which is badass.
When I first heard Katy speak about biomechanics, movement and lifestyle design I was mesmerized. Finally someone who was as crazy as I was about optimizing our human experience with an ancestral/scientific approach to evolve. She never used a stroller, gathers wild edibles regularly, and knows biomechanics inside and out. She practices what she preaches and she preaches natural movement. Read it, take notes, and stretch while you read it rather than being slumped over in a chair.
You may be wondering why a book about sleeping made the top 5 list of books to help you gain strength,save time and feel sexy. I am a huge nutrition nerd and I believed it was the biggest piece of the puzzle of health. I still think its a huge part but with my private clients I have changed my approach to their sleep habits and then nutrition. Most people overlook sleep due to our societies “Ill sleep when Im dead” mentality. The bottom line is everything involving your sleep matters. Your environment, room temperature, light pollution, EMF, sound, ritual, air quality...the list goes on and on. This book is a short read and Shawn Stevenson is great at offering simple strategies to optimize your sleep. Want to get leaner? Sleep better. Want to increase libido? Create a nighttime ritual. Want to balance your hormones? Read “Sleep Smarter”. He also has a great podcast called “The Model Health Show”.
Dr. Kelly Starrett changed my life through this book and his youtube channel @mobilityWOD. He made me aware that 99% of the time we get injured it is due to flaws in our biomechanics and mobility. For most of my life I sprained my ankles on a fairly regular basis. I accepted it as a part of being a swimmer with hypermobile ankles. It wasn't until I totally destroyed my right ankle 4 years ago then my left 1 year ago in the same way that I really made a change. I realized that it was my biomechanics and movement pathology that was causing this issue. This book teaches you how to perform physical therapy on yourself and how to correct the imbalances all of us acquire over our lifetimes . If you are a human and spend any time on a computer, at a desk job etc you need this book. Basically I have yet to meet any human being who would not greatly benefit from Becoming a Supple Leopard. If you are a runner or aspire to be check out his other book Ready To Run.
This book changed my life by showing me that my obsession with self experimentation was not only ok but extremely valuable. This book will be a great introduction to nutrition for some of you that may not know fruit juice is about as good for your health as a pop tart. When I see people in the gym looking miserable on the stairmaster I often want to give them this book...or hit them with it. The 4HB will save you many hours per week in your strength, aerobic and mobility training. Extrapolate this time saved out over your training lifetime and were talking about years of your life. Years that you could spend outside, with loved ones, pursuing your passion and fulfilling your dreams.
Ok comrades, if you are struggling to get to the gym at all or claim you don't have enough time to train this book is for you. It's an awesome read and I love Pavel’s no BS writing style. He will teach you progressions you can do in your living room, office, bathroom or prison cell. Pavel is credited for bringing kettlebells to America, being a “Master of Sports” and being a special forces fitness instructor. After reading this you will have no excuses for being a weak little sissy. He teaches you about IAP (intra abdominal pressure), creating torque and other Russian strength secrets. Check out his website here http://www.strongfirst.com/
Get these books, read them, listen to them, study them, reread them and be happy knowing you aren't going to waste valuable years of your life huffing and puffing on a treadmill next to some cardio bunny that spent more time on her makeup and hair than planning her actual training session and wondering why your 15 lbs of stubborn belly fat won't go away.