Here are all the fitness and nutrition books and videos that you need to help you on your fitness journey. Even though I could probably easily compile 100 resources, I have narrowed down the essentials to only 12. These are also great materials for any fitness professional that wants to enhance their knowledge base tremendously. In no particular order, here are my recommendations:
1. Periodization - Dr. Tudor Bompa, Gregory Haff
Buy Now (Canada)
Dr. Tudor Bompa is world famous for his methodology of training and systematic exercise programming - periodization. For decades, he trained some of the world's top athletes (especially Olympic athletes) and was a human kinetics professor for many years. When I become more and more serious about my fitness and sports performance (and becoming a kinesiologist and personal trainer), his resources were the first ones I turned to. In university, I heavily studied his amazing work. From beginners to anyone who is serious about training for fitness or sport, Dr. Bompa's books are some of the most helpful.
2. Serious Strength Training - Dr. Tudor Bompa, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
"Dr. Tudor Bompa (the world’s foremost expert on optimal schedules for training), Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale (a leading authority on nutrition for strength training), and former bodybuilder Lorenzo Cornacchia have again teamed up to bring you the latest, greatest, and most effective exercises and programs for hard-core strength."
This book is geared to bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. It features 67 exercises and training plan accompanied by a nutrition plan to help you efficiently gain strength and muscle mass. Exercise programming follows Dr. Bompa's periodization of training (with manipulation of principles of training), occurring in six phases.
3. Conditioning for Young Athletes - Dr. Tudor Bompa, Michael Carrera
This is one of the best books for any serious young athlete looking to excel in their sport. It is detailed with instructions of how to help young athletes (ages 6-18) safely, effectively, and efficiently build a solid foundation of fitness (strength, power, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility). The book contains 182 age-appropriate exercises. The training regimen occurs in three phases with short and long-term plans geared towards many sports including; hockey, baseball, basketball, track and field and more.
4. Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting 1+2 - Steve Cotter, President of International Kettlebell Fitness Federation (IKFF).
Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting 1 - Buy Now
Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting 2 - Buy Now
These DVDs (along with Pavel Tsatouline's) first introduced me to kettlebell lifting. I have fallen in love with this training tool ever since! Steve Cotter has a human kinetics and martial arts background and is one of the most knowledgeable experts in kettlebell training and kettlebell sport performance. He has trained beginner to elite athletes around the world and has great understanding of biomechanics. He is also one of the most passionate and caring persons you can meet in the fitness industry. I have had the privilege to learn from him and correspond with him. This kettlebell DVD series is so detailed, it is like attending a workshop for certification. Cotter breaks down each movement so well and shows you them at different angles. He provides all the important cues. You will learn how to safely and effectively train with kettlebells if you follow his instruction.
5. Encyclopedia of Bodyweight Conditioning - Steve Cotter
Encyclopedia of Bodyweight Conditioning is one of the best instructional videos available for bodyweight training. This 3 DVD set is a vast collection of instructional exercise videos. Cotter covers exercises for the whole body and breaks them down into muscle groups. He reinforces that you can have an effective workout program without any tools other than your whole body. Just like his kettlebell series, these DVDs are so detailed with so many cues and camera angles that it is like having a one-on-one training session with him. His instructions and demonstrations and delivery is very clear and concise. This DVD set is a great resource for those who are looking to workout at home or on the go.
6. Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength - Dr. Jim Stoppani
Dr. Stoppani is a a leading expert in exercise physiology, human kinetics, and sports nutrition, and is a former competitive bodybuilder. He also has his own line of high quality, effective supplements that he formulated himself (JYM Supplement Science). I feel this book is an essential resource for gym-goers, bodybuilders, and other athletes. As the title suggests, this is an extensive collection of exercises (isolation and compound) for the whole body using a wide variety of tools (standard barbell, dumbbell, machines, kettlebells, TRX etc.). 381 exercises are presented and illustrated in this book, along with 116 training programs! Dr. Stoppani also provides a detailed section on nutrition planning for losing fat or gaining muscle.
7. Stretch to Win - Ann Frederick, Christopher Frederick
Stretch to Win is another great resource - an encylcopedia of stretches to improve flexibility and to help recover, and enhance performance. Ann and Christopher Frederick have trained beginner to elite athletes. The dynamic stretching methods in this book will help you improve power, speed, and agility as well as help to prevent injury. First your flexibility is assessed and then a science-based stretching program is tailored to your body and specific sport's demands.
8. Foam Roller Workbook: Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide to Stretching, Strengthening and Rehabilitative Techniques - Karl Knopf
This book illustrates 50 foam rolling exercises and stretching exercises using a foam roller to help improve flexibility/range of motion, release tension, and alleviate pain.
9. Strength Training Anatomy 3rd Edition - Frederic Delavier
Strength Training Anatomy provides a visual illustration of which muscles are stimulated by performing each exercise. This book contains over 600 illustrations showing the muscles worked along with the bones, tendons, and ligaments. It is the combination of an impressive anatomy book and strength training guide. I feel it is an essential resource for anyone studying human kinetics/kinesiology or anyone who is serious about their training.
10. Strength Ball Training 3rd Edition - Lorne Goldenberg and Peter Twist
Lorne Goldenberg and Peter Twist are both world-renowned strength and conditioning coaches. They have worked with amateur to professional hockey players. Peter Twist is the former strength and conditioning coach for the Vancouver Canucks. Strength Ball Training is a collection of stability and medicine ball exercises to help develop your core power, strength, balance,coordination, and stability. First the book provides assessments to gauge your ability and see where any deficiencies may lie. The exercise programming utilizes cables, bands, and dumbbells for versatility and and added resistance. This book also includes access to an extensive online video library of strength ball exercises.
11. Clubbell Training for Circular Strength: An Ancient Tool for the Modern Athlete - Scott Sonnon
Indian Clubs (clubbells) are ancient tools that have been used for centuries. Persian wrestlers and military personnel used them (wooden meels) to develop amazing strength. Lighter ones were also used in aerobic-like, choreographed group sessions. They are just recently being introduced in North America. The clubbells commonly used in North America are much smaller than wooden meels and made of steel. They are great tools for developing overall body strength - especially grip, core, and shoulders. They also help to enhance shoulder stability and mobility.
This is the video that first got me interested in this training tool. Scott Sonnon is a master of clubbell training and has an impressive martial arts background. Clubbell Training for Circular Strength demonstrates many clubbell exercises with very precise instructional cues. This video will help you safely and effectively implement club training into your fitness regimen.
12. The Hormone Diet: A 3-Step Program to Help you Lose Weight, Gain Strength, and Live Longer - Dr. Natasha Turner
Dr. Natasha Turner is a naturopathic doctor and the founder and owner of Clear Medicine. I have had the pleasure of meeting her at her clinic in the Annex in Toronto. She is one of the leading doctors in her field of expertise. I read her first book before her popularity exploded and she became world-renowned. Her first book, The Hormone Diet piqued my interest on how nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle factors (exercise, sleep, stress, toxins) affect our hormonal balance and have many health and body composition consequences. I was particularly interested in the hormonal influences on mental health and body composition (muscle mass and body fat) and what we can do to improve our hormonal status. Since this book has been released, Dr. Turner has written three more best-selling books - The Super-Charged Hormone Diet, The Carb Sensitivity Program, and The Hormone Boost.
I wanted to include only one nutrition-focused resource in this list of my essential readings. But here are some other honourable mentions for resources on nutrition: Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean series, Rick Gallop's The G.I. Diet, and Mike Mahler's extensive writings on hormonal optimization.
Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A.(Kinesiology), P.T.S.