I’ve just been rooting around on my bookshelf for some fitness inspiration and look at all of the fabulous fitness books I have! These are all fantastic reads and full of great advice.

The Mars and Venus Diet & Exercise Solution by John Gray

Filled with insight on how diet and exercise affect men and women differently, this book delights with classic John Gray humour and charm. I had the privilege of hearing him speak as the keynote at a fitness conference in Toronto when this book first came out and I remember laughing so hysterically that my dear friend Aida and I practically had to hold each other up. After his talk, I rushed to the booth where he was selling and signing books and I was right behind the person who purchased the last book. I did, however, get to shake his hand, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget!

Fit for the Love of It by Uche and Kary Odiatu

I first became aware of this dynamic duo at the same fitness conference in Toronto where I met John Gray, Can Fit Pro, but the previous year. Kary is a former Ms Fitness Universe and Uche is a dentist, and together they are internationally known speakers, authors and fitness experts. They are one of my hero couples – an inspiring and vibrant team – and my husband and I have adopted their yearly practice of writing down goals (dreams with deadlines) at the start of each year. This is an inspiring book that I read again and again – and they’ve just published another fabulous book called The Miracle of Health.

Thrive Fitness by Brendan Brazier

OK, I know I can stop mentioning Brendan Brazier (as evidenced here, here, here, here and here) but this guy is good! This is a great book with great content (including a 6-week workout plan) from the vegan and former professional Ironman triathlete.

5-Factor Fitness by Harley Pasternak

I’ve also mentioned this fellow Canadian and trainer-to-the-stars a couple of times recently (here and here) but he is also very good. The 5-week plan from this book photocopies perfectly onto a double sided piece of letter-size paper and has been a frequent companion on my visits to the gym – it’s a great workout.

Your Best Body Now by Tosca Reno

If you haven’t heard of Tosca Reno, her story is truly inspiring. As a 40-something single mother she was overweight, out of shape, and sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then she found fitness and became a model (gracing the likes of Oxygen, one of my favourite fitness magazines), best-selling author (check out her Eat-Clean series), motivational speaker and wellness consultant.

Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method by Tracy Anderson

I’ve been adding the exercises from Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method to my workout routine (which she wouldn’t approve of because she implores her students to follow only her program, but I currently feel like doing a whole whack of things) and think her “Method” is pretty darn cool (and have recently mentioned it here, here and here). If it’s good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s good enough for me!

Body-for-Life for Women by Dr. Pamela Peeke

I loved Body-for-Life and Eating for Life by Bill Phillips so I was excited when Body-for-Life for Women came out, and it didn’t disappoint. Pamela Peeke is a great coach and addresses issues unique to women, especially as we age. Cindy Crawford is a fan and even wrote the forward for this lovely book.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J Ratey

This is such a great book, and has inspired me to get moving many a time when the urge just wasn’t there. John J Ratey takes a fascinating look at exercise and the brain and gives lots of scientific backing to his discussion of the effects of physical activity on learning, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, hormones, and aging. He includes this quote from Plato that I think nicely sums it up:

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier

An absolute must for anyone interested in human anatomy, especially as it pertains to strength training. This is a detailed and thorough look at the muscles involved in a great selection of resistance exercises.

How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek

I’ve been to a number of sessions with Paul Check at Can Fit Pro conferences over the years and he is one holistic health guru not to be reckoned with. He’s a very intense and slightly intimidating chap (I quietly and discreetly cower in the back of his sessions) but his “personalized 4-step guide to looking and feeling great from the inside out” is a very insightful, impactful and holistic approach to fitness – just take a look at this super-fit and feisty fellow in the video below and you’ll see what I mean! This book even has a section on bowel movements, complete with cartoons of “bowel bandits” and the great advice I like to share with clients (partly to see them squirm): “the sign of a healthy digestive system is excreting at least 12 inches of poop each day.” Do you poop 12 inches a day?