Top Health and Fitness Industry Books
“The broad truth is that nature and nurture are so interlaced in any realm of athletic performance that the answer is always: it’s both.”
- David Epstein
Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson - 9.5/10
This book explores how we are able to push our bodies to their endurance limits, and then some. The book is packed with studies, interviews with field experts, and stories from all areas of endurance, including running, cycling, and mountain climbing. If you want to better understand how the body maximizes endurance potential and the balance between biological principles (such as VO2 max) and psychological (effort) then you must read this book. I highly recommend it for all athletes, physios, trainers, and anyone else working in the healthcare or fitness industries.
The Little Black Book of Training Wisdom: How to train to improve at any sport by Dan Cleather - 9/10
Every coach, trainer, and physio needs to read this book. It provides a firm foundation in programming and training principles. It encompasses training in the weight room and on the field or court. It's a quick read with actionable takeaways that translate to many rehabilitation and training endeavors.
The sports gene provides tremendous insights into training and performance. Epstein explores the nature (genes) vs. nurture (environment) debate with respect to athletic development. It’s never strictly one or the other leading to success, but the deck is stacked for or against people depending on their situation. This book will help any physio, coach, or trainer.
Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare by Imogen Evans, Hazel Thornton, Iain Chalmers - 9/10
I highly recommend the book 'Testing Treatments' to everyone. It discusses issues with medical research and traps patients and providers should watch out for. This book will help anyone make more informed medical decisions.
How We Learn to Move: A Revolution in the Way We Coach $ Practice Sports Skills by Rob Gray - 8.5/10
A great book exploring motor learning and movement principles. It is primarily targeting athletes and coaches, but the content applies to all clinicians focused on movement as well. The book pulls in a variety of studies and real-world examples of how to enhance movement and performance.
How Doctors Think discusses the common cognitive fallacies that impact physician decision-making. It covers several heuristics that can both help and hinder assessment and treatment decisions. Groopman uses clinical stories, primarily from physicians he interviewed, to highlight key concepts. He then uses the interviews to provide a reflection on the mistakes physicians make. He uses research to support the errors in thinking and what should be used. He is focused on empowering the patient to ask the right questions. This is a valuable read for both clinicians (not exclusively doctors) and non-clinicians.
Your Medical Mind - How to Decide What is Right for You by Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband - 8.5/10
Your Medical Mind highlights the challenges patients face when making medical decisions. It covers many cognitive biases that influence patient decisions. It conveys the importance of understanding a patient’s values and circumstances. These patient variables are the primary drivers of a treatment decision, not necessarily what the research states. Often, as healthcare providers, we are taught to use the research base rates and layer in patient preferences to make a decision. This book challenges this approach and suggests that the reverse should occur in some situations.
Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery by Christie Aschwanden - 8/10
Good to Go provides an outstanding balance of assessing anecdotes and the science of recovery. I agree with the author's takeaway that belief and enjoyment are powerful factors that shouldn’t be dismissed. New recovery strategies and innovations are constantly sought by coaches, trainers, athletes, and physios. In the end, it's hard to beat sleep, proper programming, and a sound diet.