My Favorite Fitness Books

This list of books features some of the standards that focus on overall fitness. They are books that will help you to build a well-rounded workout that includes flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. While they are likely to be familiar to some, it never hurts to review the classics for those who are looking for guidance in achieving a new level of fitness.

ACSM Fitness Book

This book, written and periodically revised by the American College of Sports Medicine, has earned its status as a standard. It is my all time favorite, and the one I most often recommend. Tests of flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness along with an assessment of your Body Mass Index (BMI) determine your fitness level for your age and gender in each of the above areas. The book then guides you to a six-week long program of carefully described exercises that start at an appropriate level and build from there. Photographs also illustrate the proper form for the exercises. At the end of six weeks, you repeat the tests to find the exercises appropriate for you new level of fitness. The book also contains a fitness maintenance program and suggestions for ways to vary the routine or to increase the difficulty levels of the exercises should you want to move beyond the level of fitness attained in the maintenance program.

Fitness for Dummies

Fitness for DummiesAs with all of the books in this series, this book is a comprehensive guide. It cuts through hype and quick fixes. Then, like the ACSM Fitness Book, Fitness for Dummies addresses the need for testing to find an exercise program appropriate for your fitness level. It goes beyond the ACSM Fitness Book, however, to discuss diet, finding a health club, hiring a personal trainer, and creating a home gym. Once you read these sections, you will better understand which route is the best for you.

Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises

This book from Women’s Health Magazine is the book to graduate to when you have reached the maintenance level program in the ACSM Fitness Book and are seeking ways to vary your routine. The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises includes 619 exercises with full color photographs. The exercises are arranged in hundreds of four-week programs designed by some of the world’s top trainers. These programs are targeted to meet fitness goals that you select whether you want a prenatal fitness program or to look good in skinny jeans or a bikini.

Body for Life for Women

This book addresses how women and their bodies change over time and how diet and exercise programs can be adapted to accommodate those life stages and your lifestyle. The focus is not just on diet, weight loss, and physical fitness but also on creating a healthy, balanced life overall.

Use these four books as guides to a healthy, balanced, life-long fitness routine and to a healthy, balanced life overall.