After you’ve been reading fitness books and taking courses for years, you get bored.
You see the same tips and programs being regurgitated in different ways.
You ask yourself “Why bother, there’s nothing new out there.”
It’s hard to find high-quality information that teaches you something new and gets you excited about training.
Over the past few months, there have been several new fitness products that surpassed my expectations. Not only are these great products, they were created by people you’ve probably heard on Evidence Radio, or at least know online.
Here they are…
1. *The Lean Muscle Diet by Alan Aragon and Lou Schuler
The underlying principle of this book is that you should start with maintenance in mind from the beginning. Or, in question form: What kind of physique do you want, and what behaviors will you need to maintain it?
In very simple terms, this book guides you through why it’s so hard to change your body, pick a diet, and stick to a program.
The last part of the book shows you how to eat and train to improve your physique as efficiently as possible. This book is kind of like a pocket reference to many of the articles in Alan Aragon’s Research Review. But because it’s a book, it flows together to form an expert program that will get you in shape.
This book is more for beginners than advanced athletes, but many of my veteran bodybuilder and physique coach friends have said they learned something new. I sure did, and I think you will, too.
2. The Daily Undulating Periodization Course by Jason Maxwell and Mike Samuels
As long as you’re pushing yourself to get stronger, any training program will help you get in better shape.
But that’s not the right question. Here’s what you’re really thinking: “*Is this program optimal for me right now?*”
Daily Undulating Periodization, or DUP, is one training method that gives you more flexibility than traditional approaches.
Using DUP, you change the rep ranges for different exercises from day-to-day, instead of week-to-week or month-to-month. This style of training helps you maintain your previous gains, while making consistent progress on different lifts. If you want to learn more about DUP, watch this video and read this article.
I finished reading Jason Maxwell and Mike Samuel’s course, *Daily Undulating Periodization*,” a few days ago, and loved it. (This is displayed more like a “course,” but it’s close enough to a book to include.)
It’s well written, concise, and made me think differently about training.
The program includes…
– The DUP Main Manual, which is your guidebook for all of the programs.
– The Standard 4 Day Per Week Workout Plan, which is a good starting place if you’re new to DUP.
– The “Beat Up Lifters” Workout Plan, for people with injuries.
– The Busy Man’s DUP Workout Plan, for people on a tight schedule.
– The DUP Nutrition Guide
– The DUP Hypertrophy Workout Plan, for building muscle.
– The Optimal DUP Plan
I plan on using DUP for the next several months of my training, and I’m using this course as my guide.
3. The Bayesian Personal Traininer Course by Menno Henselmans
I know, this isn’t a book, but it involves a lot of reading, so I felt justified in including it.
I first heard about Menno when he began writing for Alan Aragon’s Research Review, and I’ve read every article he’s written since. He’s one of the few people in the fitness world who has unique ideas on training, and is able to back them with proof.
Menno has built a reputation as one of the best personal trainers in the business, and now he’s sharing his knowledge with this course.
The course includes…
– Videos and articles on new topics every week.
– Q & A sessions with Menno.
– Unlimited email access to Menno for questions.
– Recommended reading lists.
– Access to a private Facebook group to ask questions and talk with other class members.
– Client case studies.
– The opportunity to get certified as a “Certified Bayesian Personal Trainer.”
The next course starts on April 3, 2015 and lasts six months. There’s an exam at the end, and if you pass, you get certified.
Think of this as the evidence-based version of the ISSA, NSCA, or NASM certification courses.
4. The Goddess Toning Program by Gregory O’Ghallager and Dell Farrell
Whether they admit it or not, most guys want to look like bodybuilders.
But many women want to look athletic and slim, not necessarily bulging with muscle. (And there are many women who *do* want to be big and muscular, which is awesome, too).
“More like a Victoria’s Secret Model than a bodybuilder,” as one friend described it to me.
Greg and Dell’s Goddess Toning Program is one of the few fitness products that’s aimed at achieving that goal.
The strength training program is built around lifting three times per week, with an emphasis on butt (glute) development.
The cardio recommendations were excellent: lots of light to moderate activity, instead of sprinting three times a week. This was one of my favorite parts.
The nutrition plan is built on the concepts of flexible dieting, with the addition of intermittent fasting.
The whole program is simple, effective, and easily doable for most women.
These are two of the few extremely popular fitness books that are also based on good science.
Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, is for men who want to look like a recreational bodybuilder.
Thinner, Leaner, Stronger is for women who want to look athletic, but not necessarily “big.”
The books are very similar, with minor adjustments in programming and nutrition for men and women.
The training is a well-designed bodybuilding split that focuses on compound movements like squat, deadlift, and bench press.
The nutrition is basically flexible dieting.
There are a few parts I don’t agree with, such worrying about nutrient timing around workouts, but overall these are fantastic books.
If you’re a beginner, these are worth buying. If you’ve been training and eating smart for a while, and you’re familiar with concepts like flexible dieting, barbell training, etc, you probably don’t need these books.
6. 33 Ways to Break Free from Binge Eating by Nia Shanks and Alan Aragon
Nobody wants to talk about it, yet many people in the fitness world have dealt with binge eating.
Nia Shanks is one of those people, and that’s why this book is so powerful. It’s based on good research and it shows you how to regain a healthy relationship with food.
Even if you don’t have problems with binge eating, the tips in this book will still help you pursue fitness and dieting in a healthier way.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Ben Franklin
Think back to when you first became interested in fitness.
You probably surfed the internet, talked to the fit people in the gym, and read a few books. You learned some valuable things, but much of what you learned was inaccurate or overblown.
Maybe you “ate clean,” only lifted light weights, or felt that you needed to eat six meals a day.
The difference between the person you are now, and the person you were then, is that you’re better educated. The reason you’re in better shape is because you’ve learned better methods to stay fit.
That process doesn’t stop. If you want to keep learning, you need to keep investing in your education.
Reading these books is one of the best ways to start.