Good Reads: 17 Health-and-Fitness Books for Your Summer-Reading List

Looking for a book to pack in your carry-on or beach bag? We asked local nutritionists and trainers for their favorite health-and-fitness reads.

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, $14.63

“This book is a great way to understand expertise in various fields by debunking the myth that some people are ‘just better.’ It’s all about practice.”
Margie Shapiro, professional triathlete and owner of Potomac River Running

Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches by Cynthia Sass, $15.30

“This is a recent release. Written by a registered dietitian, the book takes a very healthy approach to weight loss. I particularly like her daily inclusion of chocolate. Sass provides studies to back up her rationale for a plant-based diet. Cinch! is loaded with menus and quick recipes.”
—Judy Caplan, Vienna-based registered dietician and author of Gobey Gets Full, a children’s nutrition book, and GoBeFull: Eight Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle

How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy! by Paul Chek, $16.47

“A colorfully cartooned and comprehensive book on all things health and fitness, it was designed for fitness professionals as a part of the CHEK Institute’s Holistic Lifestyle Coach Certification, which I went through. I use this book as a resource with all my clients and students. It goes above and beyond the hour that one spends at the gym and discusses sleep, stress, digestion, metabolic-type nutrition, energizing exercises, breathing, hydration, and more. Inside there are exercise programs, flexibility tests, and self-assessments to determine your path to better health and fitness. Although it is geared toward the fitness professional, it’s written in an informative—and not intimidating—way that even health and fitness enthusiasts would connect with.”
—Lance Breger, president of Infinity Wellness and head trainer at Mint gym

Food Guide for Marathoners by Nancy Clark, $11.53

“For the novice to the experienced marathoner, it’s a great reminder of how to fuel before, during, and after training along with some great recipes.”
Mary Perry, Alexandria-based registered dietician and owner of Dynamic Nutrition, LLC

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, $14.62

Spark shows you the many ways—some which might surprise you—that exercise is good for the brain. It reveals how exercise keeps the brain ‘young’ by protecting neurons, helps treat and prevent psychiatric problems, and helps you solve problems more effectively. That means we should really exercise for the brain benefits; the body changes are a side effect.”
Jonathan Ross, certified personal trainer and owner of Aion Fitness

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, $11.15

“A great yoga book that helps motivate you both physically and mentally. You'll feel better and reduce stress.”
—Elie Cossa, certified personal trainer at City Fitness in Cleveland Park

Once a Runner by John L Parker Jr., $16.32

“It’s a cult classic and a must read for every competitive runner!”
George Buckheit, runner and coach of the Capital Area Runners

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole, RD, and Elyse Resch, RD, $9.41

“A great read for those yo-yo dieters and those who want to be free of ‘dieting’ forever! A wise approach that discusses why dieting always fails, and gets us back to listening to our bodies and responding appropriately. It addresses emotional eating and gives tips for how to break the dieting cycle. Oh and it also comes on CDs, so you can listen in the car.”
—Lise Gloede, Arlington-based registered dietician and owner of Nutrition Coaching, LLC

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, $10.17

“This book is great for everyone who thinks that thinness is a desirable health goal. Linda Bacon busts some serious myths about dieting and provides the research to back it up. Readers will discover the surprising ways of working with their bodies for nutrition and movement and start feeling better than ever.”
Rebecca Scritchfield, DC-based registered dietician and exercise expert

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May, MD, $16.47

“This is the most practical book about healthy eating I have ever read. Stuck in the eat-repent-repeat cycle? This book helps you move away from the pressures of dieting and the guilt of eating, and embodies a more positive food-focused mindset. The author really puts herself into her literature and gives personal examples that help make this book believable.”
—Kait Fortunato, nutritionist at Rebecca Bitzer and Associates

The Evolution of Obesity by Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin, $27.73

“This book describes how, on a population level, obesity has developed over time as a result of our changing environments. Now we have energy-dense foods becoming increasingly plentiful and physical activity becoming often unnecessary and sometimes very difficult (i.e., when living in the “suburbs,” we are usually relegated to driving, rather than walking).”
—Scott Kahan, MD, George Washington University Weight Management Program

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, $7.99

“This book guides individuals to understand the psychology behind their eating habits. It provides neat tricks to allow you to eat less and still feel satisfied. Sometimes it really is mind over matter!”
Randi Weissberger, Bethesda-based registered dietician

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, $7.99

“This author traveled the world to explore places where people live the longest and healthiest lives. He uncovers how they do it through the food they eat and their perspectives on life.”
Mary Perry, Alexandria-based registered dietician and owner of Dynamic Nutrition, LLC

Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health by Joseph H. Pilates, $19.77 and $13.57

“I love reading Joseph Pilates’s own words about his method and his health research. Pilates has become a household word—we associate flat tummies and beach bodies with it. But it’s amazing to hear Uncle Jo talk about the benefits of Contrology (as he humbly called his system) and the reasons why he thinks we should all devote time to practice it.”
Timea Presley, head Pilates instructor at Mint gym

Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita A. Johnson, $11.53

“This is one of my very favorite books. It’s thought-provoking on the ways women relate to their bodies, society, and the world. As one of my clients put it, this book should be required reading for all women in high school!  It’s not a light read, but it is a keeper.”
Cheryl Harris, Alexandria-based registered dietician and gluten-free expert

Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Byron Powell, $10.17

"This is written by an ex-Arlingtonian and is a really good training guide for entry-level athletes into ultra-marathon running. I would recommend it to my friends for a guide to what to do and what not to do. This book also inspired me to train even harder, thanks to stories from other elite-level runners. It tells what they do in their training and what they find important. I can't wait to race them and use what I learned to my advantage."
Michael Wardian, winner of the National Marathon earlier this year and an ultra marathon runner

HappyBaby: The Organic Guide to Baby's First 24 Months by Robert W. Sears
Walmart, $10.94

"This book is a fun resource for moms and dads who want to 'green' their lives and everything baby. The book offers great tips for making your own baby food, nursing, reducing toxin exposure, and fostering healthy eating habits in your children (and yourself!)."
Rima Kleiner, Vienna-based registered dietician

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