Whether you're off to the beach for Memorial Day weekend or just in the mood to learn something new, the following books are sure to be a captivating read. Need some new recipes to add to your cooking repertoire? Want the answers to all of your burning fitness questions? These expert-recommended books have got you covered.
Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries From the Science of Exercise, by Alex Hutchinson
"I like this book because it's almost a verbatim list of the questions I receive regarding how to use either cardio or weight for gains," says Mint personal trainer Will Noel. Another perk: The book may be filled with study-based answers, but even a fitness novice "could dive into this book and come away feeling well-informed as a result."
Live Young Forever, by Jack Lalanne
"It's the number one book I have read, re-read, and am reading again," says personal trainer Errick McAdams of this book. LaLanne, sometimes called the "godfather of fitness," died last year, but he left a lasting mark on the health and fitness world. "The man was a visionary [and] way ahead of his time with ideas on working out, but more important, nutrition."
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer, by Gretchen Reynolds
Our own pick here at Well+Being goes to Reynolds's new book, which answers everyone's burning fitness questions: Do I work out enough? What exercise is best? and more. The New York Times Phys Ed columnist looks back on everything she's gathered and learned from covering fitness over the years and puts it all into this 288-page book.
The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart, by Stephen Amidon and Thomas Amidon
Body in Balance Center owner Ann Bartlett recently read this book, which delves into a lyrical history of the beating heart. The authors, who are brothers--one a novelist and the other a leading cardiologist--trace the heart's role in our lives. "This book is an account of the different ways we have thought about the heart ever since it first took root in the Western imagination," they write.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck
It's an "astonishing" read, says life and health coach Sara Oliveri. Success is achieved not by our abilities and talent, psychologist Dweck tells us in the book, but by how we choose to approach them with a certain mindset. Oliveri says she learned how "your perception of victory and failure will either hold you back or facilitate greatness."
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
It's an oldie but a goodie, says personal trainer Elizabeth Brooks of Effervescence Training Studio. Published almost 22 years ago, Covey's book continues to be a bestseller. It cites real-life lessons dealing with family situations and business challenges, and Brooks says it's been "significant to my personal growth and development."
Younger Next Year for Women, by Chris Crowley
This is another of Brooks's favorites; she says no matter how many times she's read it, she always learns something new. With seven rules, Crowley teaches women how to gain control of their bodies in order to grow instead of decay.
The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!, by Mark Hyman
This is another of McAdams's favorites. Author Dr. Hyman argues that controlling blood sugar and insulin is key to weight loss and control as well as heart health and emotional stability. "I've been saying, 'Junk foods make junk moods,' forever, but I'm learning that I'm even more correct than I realized," McAdams says.
Raw Food for Everyone: Essential Techniques and 300 Simple-to-Sophisticated Recipes, by Alissa Cohen
Registered dietitian Danielle Omar recommends Cohen's book for anyone interested in expanding their plant-based diet. As a plus, the book will teach readers some "cool non-cooking techniques and recipe ideas that will take their diet to the next level and improve their health."
Hero Food: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better, by Seamus Mullen
Bartlett says Mullen's book on 18 ingredients dubbed "hero foods" is a recent favorite read of hers. Celebrity chef Mullen shares with readers how Spanish cuisine and farm-to-table food helped improve his diet and well-being after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss, by Marc David
This 368-page book had a big impact on health and nutrition coach Elise Museles's own health and wellness journey--she calls it her "bible that I refer to over and over again." The book emphasizes the importance of our relationship to food as well as of food itself. Museles adds, "Readers can learn to release weight, liberate energy, and enhance digestive force by focusing not merely on what to eat, but on how to eat."