Book Fix: 18 Health and Fitness Books for Your Summer Reading List

Philly's top health and fitness experts recommend their picks for feel-good summer reads.

Summer reading lists aren’t just for kids. If you’re planning some R&R time this summer, you’ll definitely want some good reads on hand, right? Right. We asked local health and fitness experts what they’ll be reading on the beach or by the pool this season. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re into marathons, vegan diets or fitness history. Check it out, bookworms!


Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
“I love to run. My 2013 summer reading list is topped by the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.  Many people have referenced this book to me over the years and I am excited to finally delve into it! It is said to be an interesting, informative and inspiring read. – Schuyler Nunn, owner of Indigo Schuy activewear boutique in Chestnut Hill

“I am currently reading Born to Run, which started the whole barefoot running phenomenon.” – Gavin McKay, president and fead coach of Unite Fitness in Philadelphia

Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
“An amazing book that I’ve read and connects meditation and running for getting more than just a physical workout from your running. Spiritual meets fitness with an amazing author who is the head of a massive meditation community as well as a Tibetan lama and marathon runner.” – Gavin McKay

Marathon Man by Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin
“This is Bill Rodgers’s new autobiography. Knowing a little of Bill’s training and racing, I could see reading this book on the beach and being inspired to do an afternoon run. Rodgers is also famous for eating a gallon of ice cream at night during hard training, so you might want to flip back and forth with my other suggestion below.” Ross Martinson, co-owner of Philadelphia Runner

The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald
“Matt is one of the top writers on training techniques and I always learn something new and useful in his books and articles. His focus is generally on elite or top-level athletes, but his writing style makes him approachable for nearly everyone. He went to undergrad at Haverford College, so he has some local ties as well.” – Ross Martinson


The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

“I’m fascinated by other perspectives of how to approach diet and well-being through the pathway of natural hormone balance, which is where these books come in handy. The current Western diet is overflowing with processed starches, carbs and sugar that not only create fat, but also upend one’s hormonal balance. The result is a near inability to lose weight because your body is working against you no matter how much you work out and count calories. Thanks to the bounty of fresh summer produce, it’s easier to put these ideas into effect and eat cleaner.” – Jennifer Fugo, gluten-free health coach and founder of the Gluten-Free School

My Beef with Meat by Rip Esselstyn
Whole by T. Colin Campbell
VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 by Mark Bittman
The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

“At Real Food Works, we’re all over the three plant-based books on the New York Times Bestseller List right now: My Beef with Meat, Whole and VB6. Each one has an angle on why eating foods from the earth is key to health. Also, because we’re foodies and we think that taste is as important as health, we’re planning to work our way through The Flavour Thesaurus.” – Lucinda Duncalfe, owner of Real Food Works

Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin
“Dr. Rankin explores our mind’s influence on our health. A large percentage of my clients have a psychosomatic or unconscious reason that ‘sabotages’ their eating and weight loss—until we work together to fix those reasons. Convention often disregards emotions and I’m excited to learn more evidence-based ideas on this missing piece to the weight-loss puzzle.” – Ali Shapiro, health coach

The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried
“This one’s all about how you can regain balance in your hormones to fianlly lose weight, gain energy and increase your sex drive.” – Juliet Burgh, vice president and nutrition director of Unite Fitness


The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess by Lou Schuler
“So many women are terrified of lifting heavy weights because they don’t want to get bulky. They lose sight of how important it is to build and strengthen muscles. Plus, lifting makes you feel like a badass, and who doesn’t want that?” – Shoshana Katz, manager of Body Cycle Studio

Making the American Body: The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness History by Jonathan Black
Getting Physical: The Rise of  Fitness in America by Shelly McKenzie
Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack and David Casstevens

“I am obsessed with the history of fitness, the psychology of fitness and how people see professional athletes.” – Holly Waters, aquatics director and personal trainer at Sweat Fitness

Paleo Fitness by Darryl Edwards

“I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the Paleo Diet in some capacity. While Paleo is a polarizing word, its fundamental underpinning of eating and moving like your body was meant to isn’t as controversial. Paleo Fitness dives more into exercise and fitness, which makes for a great summer read. After all, outdoor workouts are indeed very Paleo!” – Roger Dickerman, owner of Relentless Fitness

See Also >> Ultimate Summer Workout Playlist

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