All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners who are always looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. The purpose of learning is growth. Growth of our minds and growth of our bodies. But science proves that our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue to grow as long as we live. Once you stop learning, you stop growing. You stop moving towards excellence.
As I learned in the book Spark by John Ratay M.D., improving your fitness will have a profound effect on your intellect. My own personal goal is to achieve maximum strength of both the body and mind. Endlessly and relentlessly. Now if I could only figure out a way to deadlift 1,000lbs with my mind I would make billions.
Here is a list of the books, websites, and programs I have used and continue to use to grow, both mentally and physically. There are many books that I have not listed as I still have much reading to do. Either that or they suck. I highly recommend the following to all coaches, fitness enthusiasts, scholars, and strength junkies like myself. (P.S. it is o.k. to read a book twice or even multiple times)
Maximum Strength – Great book for the fitness enthusiast that provides insight into solid program design.
Science and Practice of Strength Training – Gives an in depth look into the science behind strength training and sports performance.
Supertraining – Probably the most comprehensive, scientifically backed book on training I have ever come across. Mel Siff was way ahead of his time and this book is a must have for anyone who is serious about their education.
Core Performance – This is a great book that covers all the basics for the beginner to create a diet and exercise program that is not only effective but reasonably simple and easy to progress.
The New Rules of Lifting for Women – If you are a woman, or know one who likes the gym or is interested, you need to read this book. Alwyn creates some fantastic programming that will get you more fit than you have ever been in your life. Cassandra lays out some excellent dietary strategies written specifically for women. It is really the best of both worlds!
Female Body Breakthrough – As a male strength coach with the majority of my clients being females, I found Rachel’s book to be the best and most complete training book for women that I have read so far.
Anatomy and Kinesiology
Muscles: Testing and Function – A great book for functional anatomy that includes
Diagnosis and Treatment of Impairment Syndromes – A great resource for insight into movement in the joints
Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques – A great resource for applications of the connections between the fascia, trigger points, and neuromuscular systems of the upper body.
Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach – Great insight into the work of Vladimir Janda on muscular imbalances.
Precision Nutrition by John Berardi- This is THE best nutritional resource out there. Everything you need to know to help you get started setting up your own nutritional plan. You have no excuse not to succeed with this resource.
The Perfect Body Diet by Cassandra Forsythe- A diet book (and much more) written for women by a woman. Forsythe goes out of her way to debunk many common myths concerning women and dieting. For instance, you actually need to eat something more than a carrot stick and lift weights!
Body By Eats by Leigh Peele – In this resource, that is so much more than a book, Leigh covers some of the myths and tricks of fat loss, which is her specialty. There aren’t many people, if any, who are better at getting people lean than Leigh. This book also covers the myths and methods to gaining muscle, and explores the truth behind many “healthy superfoods.” Check it out.
The Metabolism Advantage by John Berardi- Do you think because you’re over 30 your metabolism is doomed to slow down? Think again.
Ultrametabolism – Another practical book with lots of useful information pertaining to the topic of your metabolism and how to boost it through simple tweaks in your diet.
Nutrient Timing – Discusses how to time nutrient intake for optimum performance and recovery. I really wish more registered dietitians would read this book.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan- I would rank this book on my list of Top 5 books to own. A truly eye-opening read that will make you think twice about what you put down your pie hole. To summarize: corn……is……in……everything.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan- This is a spectacular look at what we should eat. Now I don’t totally agree with his conclusions, but I applaud his work. His work is always a great read.
Self Myofacial Release (self massage)
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Self-applied soft-tissue work strategies for pain relief.
Powerlifting equipment for pro powerlifters and powerlifting enthusiasts. Powerlifting programs and strength training certificates by the legendary powerlifter Louie Simmons.