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Top 10 Exercise Books

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There are tons of exercise books out there...how do you choose? If you're looking for books that cover every aspect of exercise and fitness, from cardio to strength training, you'll like these books. They include pictures and easy-to-follow info without a lot of jargon. Whether you're a professional athlete or a beginner, you'll find the perfect book to meet your exercise needs.

1. ACSM Fitness Book (2nd Edition)

No one knows exercise better than the American College of Sports Medicine. This book offers easy-to-understand instructions on setting up a program and customizing it to fit your goals and schedule. Photos show proper form for strength training and flexibility exercises and you'll even learn how to assess your fitness level and track progress. Includes a blank workout log to record your workouts.
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2. Getting Stronger

I love this book! It covers the basics of weight training for us regular folks as well as for bodybuilders and athletes. It also includes sport-specific training for 21 different sports. You'll find detailed instructions and pictures (over 100 fitness programs) as well as information about equipment, working out with injuries and special attention is given to women who are pregnant.
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3. Fitness for Dummies

Exercise is confusing enough without adding the quackery of fat-burning pills and mysterious exercise gadgets. This book addresses the hype surrounding all the quick-fix products and teaches you how to test your fitness level, design a complete program that fits your needs, join a health club, manage your diet and more. It also covers how to build a home gym and hire a personal trainer.
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4. Body Sculpting Bible for Men & Women

This well-organized book is great for anyone who wants a straightforward strength training program for fitness, health and weight loss. Each version (for men and women) include a variety of 14-day training programs with detailed exercise descriptions along with photos. There are also sections that cover myths and misconceptions, how to be successful, the building blocks of a quality program and nutrition, all specific to each gender. A nice book for beginner/intermediate exercisers.
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5. Body Rx by Scott Connelly

Scott Connelly offers a weight loss program that consists of four six-week cycles, each of which has a different eating and exercise plan. The cycles focus on strength training 4 times a week, changing goals every 6 weeks. Also included are pictures of the exercises (both free weights and machines) and blank logs you can copy to track your own workouts. The nutritional plans have you eating 6 times a day. He doesn't recommend much cardio, which I take issue with. Otherwise, a great book!
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6. Body for Life

This 12-week program by Bill Phillips has been a popular one for years. One reason is it's simplicity--the workout includes traditional exercises (such as bench presses and lat pulldowns) that you may already be familiar with, but uses a high intensity method of training by having you work to failure. The cardio is also short and intense, just 20 minutes, 3 times a week at a very high intensity. The nutritional advice is a bit iffy, but the workout is a nice challenge for regular exercisers.
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7. Body for Life for Women

This is an excellent book for women, whether you want to lose weight or not. The focus is not just on weight loss, but on creating a healthy, balanced life based on what is realistic for your body and your lifestyle. Dr. Peeke provides great information about the different stages women experience, how we change over time and how to change our eating and exercise programs to fit where we are in life.

8. Beginning Runner's Handbook

This book is (duh) for beginning runners who want to make the switch from walking to running but don't know how. These realistic programs detail exactly how you should train every day to become a consistent runner for life. The run/walk programs are easy to follow and you'll improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities. In the end, you'll be able to run for 50 minutes.
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9. The Pocket Food and Exercise Diary

Food diaries are proven to help you lose weight. By writing down everything you eat, you can finally keep track of what you're REALLY putting in your mouth. It's a 10-week food and exercise diary that is non-dated, so you can start anytime. The columns separate food calories and exercise calories that you total up to figure out what you've eaten and what you've burned.
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10. Intuitive Eating

If you're a chronic dieter, you'll love this book. The authors, dieticians and recognized experts, provide realistic information for anyone struggling with food issues. They teach you how to how to eat without fear and get rid of the diet mentality that leads to so much craziness.
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