15 Must Read Health, Exercise, Nutrition & Coaching Books from Fitness Expert Michael Wood

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” – Henry David Thoreau

We all understand the value of reading good books especially when they come from the industry that we work in. For me that world is the health and fitness industry. Over the past thirty years I have read and have had the good fortune of reviewing hundreds of books.

Before we get to my book recommendations, I first wanted to share two articles that I read this week, the first is an article that talks about the reading habits of a few big name entrepreneurs. The second article also appeared this week on Business Insider regarding the one book college professors from some of our elite schools would recommend to others.

The following list includes some of the best health/fitness/nutrition/coaching books I have read. For a review and more information on any of the books, simply click the title of the book and to find out more about the author click on their respective name. Finally, if you’re interested, you can find my complete suggested reading list here.


The One-Minute Exercise, Martin Gibala, PhD, Avery, 2017

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Michael Otto, PhD,  Jasper Smits, PhD, Oxford Press, 2011


Deep NutritionCate Shanahan, MD, Flatiron, 2017

Always Hungry?, David Ludwig, MD, Life & Style, 2016

The Diet Fix, Yoni Freedhoff, MD, Harmony, 2014

Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, Ph.D, Bantom Books, 2006


The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman, PhD, Pantheon, 2013

How Fat Works, Philip Wood, PhD, Harvard University Press, 2006


Supple Leopard, Kelly Starrett, DPT, Victory Belt Publishing, 2013

Conscious Coaching, Brett Bartholomew, MS, CSCS, Create Space, 2017

Functional Training for Sport, Michael Boyle, MS, ATC, Human Kinetics, 2003

Athletic Development, Vern Gambetta, MA, Human Kinetics, 2006

Core Performance, Mark Verstegen, Rodale Books, 2005

Can You Go?, Dan John, MS, On Target, 2015


Challenging Beliefs, (and the Lore of Running), Tim Noakes, MD, Zebra Press, 2012


How Reducing Calories After Dinner Helps with Weight Loss

There are many different thoughts on how an individual can reduce their body weight in a safe, effective manner.  A good idea is to keep a food journal of what a person is eating over a three to five-day period.  Research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has shown that people who keep a journal lose more weight than those that do not keep some type of record.  Exercise and nutritional modification can also help with weight loss.  Simply becoming more active throughout the day will also play a role in reaching a specific weight loss goal.  A great training and accountability tool that will help increase daily activity and steps is a pedometer.

Credit: http://growingnaturals.com

We understand intuitively, that to lose weight, a negative deficit needs to occur.  More calories need to be expended than consumed over time in order to eventually lose weight.  With all this insight we still have high levels of obesity and many people still have trouble changing their body composition.

Let’s say that you exercise regularly and you “think” your diet is pretty good, but you just can’t lose weight.  Make sure to keep up the exercise, especially, strength training at least 2-3 times each week.  Keep that pedometer on you and continue to work towards getting your 10,000 steps a day but make one change with how you’re eating.

Get plenty of protein with each meal, never skip a meal and finally, the one change, avoid all calories after dinner – for a week – and see how you look and feel after seven days.  The average person easily eats a few hundred calories watching a little late night TV.  Reducing any extra late-night calories, collectively over the course of a week, is a surefire way to help reduce body weight.  I know, it sounds simple, but it works.  Your goal should be to consume the majority of your calories with a bigger meal in the morning, a high protein lunch, and the smallest amount of calories coming at dinner.

A study published in the journal Diabetologia confirms that, when people with type 2 diabetes ate a large breakfast and lunch and no dinner, compared with those eating six small meals with the same calories, lost body fat and improved insulin sensitivity.  The majority of people are pretty good during the day with what they are eating.  It’s when they get home after a long day, have dinner, and then a few hours later you’re bored or stressed out and start to mindlessly eat whatever favorite comfort food is available.  If you can put together a few good nights where you’re not eating any additional calories in the evening, after dinner, you may experience some unexpected weight loss.  Here are a few good tips to follow to help you be more successful.

Suggested Reading

Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, PhD (Bantam, 2006).

How to Avoid Mindless Eating During March Madness

Source: http://mensfitness.com

Each year, during the month of March, we enter into what is known as March Madness, a plethora of college basketball games that in the end will crown national champions on the men/women’s side during the first week in April. With the full-time availability of games via phones, tablets and TV, a Saturday afternoon could come down to watching college hoops for the majority of the day. There will be a need to fuel the body and we can typically eat more when watching sporting events with family and/or friends.

Did you know that your college basketball teams’ on-the-court performance could influence how you eat? (Especially if your team doesn¹t fare well on its way to The Big Dance.) According to a GrubHub study in 2014, pizza orders are 19% more common after losses than wins, and dessert orders increase more than 9% if your team gets knocked out of the tournament. Talk about “emotional eating.” But your waistline shouldn’t depend on the fate of your team…

Here are a few tips from Tami Lyon, MPH, RD, for avoiding mindless snacking and overeating during March Madness. Tami served as the nutrition specialist for student athletes at UC Berkeley with eating and weight issues. This year, let’s ensure your team’s performance doesn’t get the best of you!

  • At the Bar: Quarter your order — Place your order pre-game and have items come in quarterly intervals, from least to most caloric.
  • Hosting: Tapas — Offer non-traditional, healthier finger foods, such as summer rolls, grilled chicken wings, or flatbread sandwiches loaded with veggies.
  • At a Party: Bring it ‹ Bring a healthy fallback dish, such as veggies/hummus, and a bowl of clementines (mini basketballs!).
  • At the Office: Be prepared — Even if you can’t control the spread, you can know how you will say no. *MealEnders are a great way to curb overeating and conquer cravings. Pop one in your mouth when you feel the urge to overindulge.
  • College Dorm (budget): Build Your Own — Create your own corn soft taco bar with rotisserie chicken, black beans, salsa, chopped cabbage and corn. You can also make sliders with the chicken; just add BBQ sauce and buns.

Tami J. Lyon, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian with 25 years of experience helping children, adolescents and adults meet their nutrition and wellness goals. Tami received her undergraduate degree in Dietetics and Food Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and her Master¹s of Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

As a clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, Tami provided individual counseling and patient classes for the Departments of Internal and Family Medicine, specializing in eating and weight disorders, sports nutrition and diabetes education. She was the primary dietitian for the Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorders Program at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute from 1988-1992. Tami was a contributing editor of Eating Disorders Review and a Diabetes Educator from 1988 ­ 2009.

In 1998, Tami founded Healthy Living ­ Nutritional Counseling and Consulting, a group practice to help individuals, families and groups achieve their dietary and health goals through sensible, scientifically based methods. She is also Chief Nutritionist for Mealenders and they will be giving away “survival packs” to help people not overeat during March Madness.