Fitness books or fitness DVD’s are likely to form a big part of your journey to a fitter you. Beginners tend to prefer these two options as they are more private than a fitness class, and of course cheaper than a personal trainer.
What are the Best Fitness Books?
The best fitness books are the ones that you make yourself. Here is a photo of one of my own fitness books:
It's just a cheap notebook with scribbled notes and some stick men to jog my memory about what certain moves look like. This is a really just an extension of exercise being a SKILL that you need to learn. When you learn anything new you don’t revise from the textbooks, you revise from your own notes (at least I did!). You can scribble, you can cross out, you can put asterisk’s next to your favourite exercises, you can jot down your repetitions. It’s OWNERSHIP.
Learning a NEW Exercise Routine is a SKILL!
We ALL make mistakes when we’re learning. Sometimes you’ll forget where to put your hands, or how many repetitions you’ve done. Sometimes your balance will be a little off, and you’ll get the muscle shakes. That’s all part of exercising. That’s all part of learning a new SKILL. And that’s what good exercise routines are; a SKILL you can take anywhere and do anywhere. Toddlers don’t give up trying to walk after repeated falls and stumbles, and we’re supposed to be slightly smarter!
Picking the Best Fitness Books
Most fitness books have an agenda. The biggest one of course is that they want you to buy the book – which is fine. What bothers me most about them however is the page space they then take up telling you why theirs is the best fitness book you ever will see (until they release an ‘update’ of course). The quality of a fitness book is something only YOU can decide AFTER you have done whatever the book is recommending. I have books that are several hundred pages long that have maybe TEN pages of exercises. If I don’t think a fitness routine is very good, or isn’t working for me, that isn’t MY fault. I haven’t FAILED.
I am not of course talking about the motivational side of fitness books, which is a subject in itself really, because I do think that some kind of ‘spur’ is important. By the time that fitness book is in your hands however you are as ready as you are going to get. What you don’t need is to read another 100 pages about how your current life is terrible and you’re lucky not to be dead already.
Are Fitness Videos Better to Learn From than Fitness Books?
In my opinion, for learning a new exercise, a GOOD fitness book is just as good as a GOOD fitness video. Personally, I prefer to learn from books, because I like to prop the book up then slowly try the move(s). Learning a new exercise from a video is dependent on the instructor being good enough to explain the move(s) properly, and YOU being able to listen, understand AND follow what is happening on screen AND keep control of what you are doing with your body (which is where I kinda fall down). A well illustrated fitness book can give you SO much more information to take away with you (rather than just hitting STOP and forgetting all about it).
Fitness videos however are good for beginners, because you can literally COPY the moves. You don’t need to know WHY or WHAT or WHEN or HOW LONG, you just copy. If we look at exercise as merely a means to an end, then this is fine – it will get you there.
I want you to know WHAT exercises you are doing, and WHY you are doing them. I want you to think about WHEN you are doing them, and taking note of HOW LONG you can do them for.
Start Your Own Fitness Journal
A bit like a wedding scrapbook, a fitness journal can be just a collection of things you read and see. The only thing I will say is, try and get a spiral bound notebook like the one I have above. Can you guess why? Yep – it’s so it can lie flat when you are trying to exercise!