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


The Importance of Improving Mobility as You Age

We tend to focus on what we like to do, rather than what’s necessary. Meaning, if we like to strength train or do cardio, we seem to gravitate towards that option. I have always remembered a quote from the former Director of Conditioning of the Chicago White Sox, Vern Gambetta – who stated something to the effect of “it’s easy to do what you like but harder to do what is necessary.” With that said, the majority of people do not focus on the big picture of wellness especially as they age. They continue to lift and do cardio (which is important) but we need to address other areas that are vital to ensure optimal health and wellness.

Life is about movement; all life is based on some form of movement. Just about everyone who walks into a health club or training facility across the country has some type of movement deficiency as a result of age, old injury, muscle imbalance, years of playing sports, etc. In order for movement to occur efficiently (i.e. no wasted energy) various movement patterns need to be executed correctly through their full range of motion.

Let me ask you:
How do you feel when you “pull” or “push” something? How does your body feel when you perform a hip hinge (i.e. think Romanian Deadlift) or squat? How do you feel when you perform an exercise off one-leg? Can you perform a body weight squat movement and work to the bottom of the movement (i.e. bring hips lower than your knees, like your in the baseball catcher position) without pain or instability? As we age, we start to see and have more dysfunction when it comes to the way we move.

The goal here is one word. Mobility.

We need to increase mobility in just about every part of our body, primarily, in our ankles, hips, upper backs and shoulders. We need to make sure we are working on some form of mobility each day even if it’s only five minutes a day. Mobility can be defined as working a muscle or group of muscles through their full range of motion in the absence of pain. Please view the video below. It’s a 4-step mobility progression for the mid-back (thoracic spine) that I put together for you. This is something that I do myself on a regular basis. This is one of the tightest areas in adults (especially for men). Improving mobility in your mid/upper back will not only help your golf and tennis games, it will help in the area of strength training and other activities of daily living known as ADL’s. Start today by performing 5 repetitions of each movement and progressing eventually to 15 repetitions over time. Try doing this routine every other day – your body will love you for it.

Originally published on The Stronger Blog.