I’ve read a lot of diet books in my time. I worked at a bookstore in college so I had access to every one of them. I started my own fitness journey with two great books – Body for Life by Bill Phillips and Weight Training for Dummies. Body for Life taught me how to manage portions and eat a more balanced diet. (I was the vegetarian who didn’t eat vegetables and certainly lacked in protein as well.) Weight Training for Dummies taught me how to get off the treadmill and use those mysterious dumbbells.
You don’t have to work at a bookstore to know that there are thousands of diet and fitness books published annually. While each one claims to have THE ANSWER and their way is THE WAY to fitness, they actually all say pretty much the same thing:
- Eat less (doing this by either cutting out entire food groups or with a specific meal plan/food combinations/nutrient timing).
- Eat better (give up sugar, wheat, animal products, dairy, processed foods or some combination of these).
- Exercise (although not always).
I do believe you can learn just about anything from a book, but I have a better use for your book budget and precious reading time when it comes to fitness. The top five books I recommend to my clients are not about nutrition or exercise but they will help you live a fitter life.
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UPDATE 7/16/12: The bestselling author’s family confirmed today that Stephen Covey died at age 79. He was surrounded at the hospital by his wife, children and their spouses when he passed. In a statement issued by his family, they say his death was the result of effects of a bicycle accident he had this spring.
In 1989, Dr. Stephen Covey published the book he is best known for, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since then, he has kept up a demanding schedule, to understate greatly, of writing, lecturing, teaching, leading his company FranklinCovey, and staying in touch with his 9 children and 47 grandchildren. Among other awards, Covey was named one of TIME Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, given an International Man of Peace Award, and received a National Fatherhood Award.
Covey teaches people to live by principles of honesty and integrity to achieve personal and professional success. He uses jargon like “Think win-win,” “Begin with the End in Mind,” “Synergize,” and “Be Proactive,” four of his seven habits, to get his points across. He emphasizes things such as writing personal mission statements and focusing on what one can control in their life instead of what they can’t. He believes that each person can shape their own destiny, to live fully by living a life in balance and continual self-renewal in all areas of life. Covey added an 8th habit in 2004 with the publishing of a book of the same name, and that one deals with leadership and finding your personal voice in today’s globalized world.
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