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The 11 Best Books for Smart Meatheads



The Question

What training, diet or self-improvement book would you recommend to readers of T Nation?

Eric Cressey – Sports and Exercise Coach

  Legacy

Legacy by James Kerr [1

9659006] No doubt it would be this book. I've bought more copies of it to pass on to athletes than I can count. The lessons are from the All Blacks Rugby Club and have been in professional, college and high school sports for years.

I really can not recommend it to anyone who trains athletes or trains as part of a training team. If you're someone who always trains alone, you'll wonder how much better you could be if you were surrounded by world-class training partners to take you to higher levels. – Eric Cressey

Chris Colucci – T Nation Forum Director

  Super Strength

Super Strength, by Alan Calvert

Her great-great-grandfather was probably a Broifter. There is a proof. What we now only call "training" has been more commonly referred to as "body culture." Alan Calvert, the then publisher of the Strength magazine and owner of the Milo Barbell Company, wrote Super Strength to share the benefits of power-focused buoyancy.

The training style that Calvert advocated was a popular and effective approach, following the motto "Follow Strength Training and Muscle Size," which continues in modern times. Throughout the book, however, he gives several references to a different way of training on the horizon.

"… The development of abdominal muscles is almost a fad of some physical culture students." When you get a journal with exercises, you're almost certain to find pictures showing young men whose bodies are bent forward, to highlight the muscles on the front of the abdomen in combs. "

" In some places there is a fashion for lifting dumbbells flat on the back. "

" … there are many amateurs who like that fascinated by biceps development, they never bother to gain the physical strength of an average day lemur. "

One hundred years ago, Calvert was training the guys too hard to train abdominal muscles and their arms to build!

Fortunately, the rest of the book describes general methods for building total body strength and size. As I explained in 5 Timeless Lessons, it is a feast for the eyes to see the applied training method, and it's incredibly easy to see how much is left.

A small selection of advices that Calvert spoke about in the 1920s includes the importance of squats and deadlifts; Peasant walks and kettlebell swings; Use of heavy repeats with low repetition rate as well as targeted isolation exercises for medium weight repetitions; Lifting with thick bars for grip strength and forearm size; Starting with basic bodyweight training such as pushups (called "floor dips" at that time) and squats in body weight (called deep squat during the day); the advantages of a hook handle; and the idea of ​​"look like you are lifting".

This is exactly the same stuff that you read about today from the best coaches. If a training principle takes a century, it's a pretty sure thing that it works and it's something you should look out for. And you know the information applies to "natty lifters," since by default every single lifter before the 1940s was undoubtedly natural. Only hard work, good food and constant training.

If you've heard the phrase, "It's the best since bread was cut," then this book is even better. Literally. It was written several years before sliced ​​bread was commercially available. So long has this info delivered results and everything is still working. – Chris Colucci

Dan John – Strength Trainer and Performance Expert

  Total Body Transformation

Total Body Transformation by Steve Ilg

My Lift Library literally contains books from 1910 to the present day when the postman literally read a new edition. I have Strength and Health Magazine from 1946 to the end (almost inclusive) and hundreds of other magazines, books, brochures, and materials.

Total Body Transformation is probably the most underrated text in the history of our collective obsession. It has lifting, eating, nutrition, cardiovascular and mobility work that are neatly packaged in a single volume.

I accept his advice. On my walks, I look for stains in the area and come back later with gloves and bags to tidy up. How does that fit with health, longevity, fitness and performance? I do not know, but it gives me inner strength and peace.

The programs are tough. The programs take time, but they are worth the time. It's also a damn funny book to read. – Dan John

Mark Dugdale – IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

  Championship Bodybuilding

Championship Bodybuilding, by Chris Aceto

Several books influenced my entry into the bodybuilding field, including:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding
  • Mike Mentzer's Heavy Duty
  • Dorian Yates' Blood & Guts
  • Mauro di Pasquale's The Anabolic Solution

But I always went back to a particular book published in 1996: Championship Bodybuilding , In 1999 I bought the 1999 book from Venice Gold's Gym. After a sixth place in the middle class of NPC Nationals and a photo shoot with Muscle & Fitness I bought the book.

While reading it on a flight from LA to Las, I read Vegas on my way to Mr. Olympia when I met the author next week. He traveled with his client Jay Cutler for the first appearance of Olympia.

I honestly can not remember the peculiarities of the book, apart from the fact that it involves training, nutrition, cardio training and peak performance for a competition. The focus was on hypertrophy and outstanding performance in bodybuilding. I used it for the next few years and followed many of the "peak week" methods that led to my overall victory in 2004 at NPC USA.

I would like to know if Chris Aceto still writes the same principals. Science has made progress, but some truths never lose relevance. – Mark Dugdale

Dr. Jade Teta – Integrative Physician, Naturopath, Trainer

  Life Artist

Life Artist, by Bruce Lee

He looked thin in clothes. At that time, as an Asian man, he was immediately nerdy and weak. Only that something was different about him. He had an intensity in his eyes that telegraphed his power. He had a warmth that made his power more magnetic and mysterious than threatening. And he had a way of listening and communicating so you felt like you were the only person in the room, and he was just there for you.

And then you would find that he was one of the strongest pounds athletes on the planet, and he was not scrawny at all, but tattered. His name was Bruce Lee, and he was a martial artist, philosopher, and cultural icon who fundamentally changed the world of Asian men and fitness in the short 32 years he lived on the planet.

Maybe he invented the protein shake. He took cooked meat and vegetables and mixed them so he could take his diet anywhere. He may also have invented metabolic conditioning because his training was a mix of bodybuilding, intense martial arts, and powerlifting.

He wrote extensively and his work is profound and full of explosive truths. If you're a philosophy student, you immediately recognize him as the perfect mix of Stoik and Taoist. His book "Artist of Life" is also a guideline for education and philosophy with deep insights on almost every page.

Here are just three ideas that I have easily reworded and adapted to illustrate the point:

"Getting to know yourself must be in action with obstacles or with others."

The lesson here is not to take what others tell you or say without testing it yourself. This is an approach from fire to goal and not from goal to fire. What he taught here is that you have to take action first and then adjust based on the results. Every lifter can refer to this principle in the gym and it is the same in life.

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not and add what is clearly your own."

Here Bruce tells us that she can not find a way; you're building a path It's not about finding the perfect diet or exercise program, it's about creating it from experience over time.

"Be like water, my friend, pour water into a cup and it becomes a cup, add water to a kettle and it becomes the kettle, water can flow and water can fall …"

Water can change according to the environment. It can become solid, liquid or vaporous. What he says here is to survive, to improve and to become strong. We must be infinitely adaptable and ready to adapt, grow and change. That's how we get better in the gym or in life. – Jade Teta

Lonnie Lowery, PhD – Sports Physiologist and Nutritionist

  Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sports

Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sports, by Mel Williams

I always press the textbook on my podcast. Each chapter just starts, but runs up to a current lighted overview. It is a university textbook that I use in the classroom. Therefore, it provides a sound interpretation of many nutritional topics without the commercial BS. It costs almost $ 150, but returning only one issue saves a lot and is only a few percent different.

So many people in our industry rely heavily on commercial fitness books. You can play a good game on specific topics, but every time you talk, you see the holes in your training – holes that could fill such a book. It's a solid, unbiased sports nutrition base. – Lonnie Lowery, PhD

Chris Shugart – T Nation CCO

  The End of Overpower

The End of the Overbearing, by David A. Kessler, MD

This is the book that really makes clear how Mighty it is food can be, especially junk foods that combine bad fats, sugar and salt. This combination triggers strong reactions in the brain, similar to certain illegal drugs.

And just as tobacco companies have manipulated cigarettes to make them even more addictive, food manufacturers have done the same to their products, pushing them to their limits criminally.

With some scary science, "food" makers can encourage you to eat when you're not really hungry. Keep the food upright when your stomach is full, and make sure that all the food is NOT saturated. .. so buy and eat more. Even restaurants do it.

Even Frankenstein manufactures these foods so you can eat them faster without any effort, much as tobacco companies have added bronchodilators to cigarettes, so the smoke could more easily get into your lungs.

Well, not all fights with overeating are overweight. Many are able to stay in decent physical shape and strict diet, but their overeating and eating spoils them psychologically. It is a daily struggle that depletes their willpower.

And unfortunately many in the fitness business are causing overeating and eating disorders. This book provides you with the background knowledge needed to avoid falling into these traps.

Even if you do not have an excessive topic, the information here is instructive. If you eat (and I bet you do) it's worth reading. – Chris Shugart

Ryan Taylor – Power and Performance Trainer

  Never Let Go

Never Let Go by Dan John

This book has simplified everything for me. It came at a time when I started working a lot of sessions with clients, and integrated everything in my power to improve my programming and customer experience.

Dan explains what really matters in training. It offers some easy-to-follow programs that deliver significant results, and adds a conglomeration of valuable news to the diet. Plus the stories and concepts are great. I think everyone can withdraw something from this book.

  The Black Book of Secrets of Training

The Black Book of Secrets of Training, by Christian Thibaudeau

The title says it all. This book contains so many programs for each goal (fat loss, performance enhancement, hypertrophy, strength, and strength) that any lifter could benefit. Christian goes into detail about how and why.

He gives sample programs, templates and problem-solving techniques for progress stops. This book really broke up with me, and today I'm referring to program development and theories. Very beneficial book, especially for the more "cerebral" athlete. – Ryan Taylor

Joel Seedman, Ph.D. – Strength Coach and Performance Expert

  Mike Mentzer Book

Each of the Mike Mentzer books

Many do not know that, but when I started my iron game, I was actually a high intensity lover. The HIT or High Intensity training method has been popularized by the legendary Arthur Jones, who is still considered one of the most brilliant innovators in the field of movement science. In addition to his original development of the first variable Nautilus resistance machines in the '60s and' 70s, Jones was also a passionate advocate of what he called high-intensity strength training.

This meant a significant reduction in the training volume and training frequency many bodybuilders used at the time, while they were failing all those sets and beyond. Jones also had many devout followers over the years, including the legendary but controversial Mike Mentzer.

To date, Mentzer is known as one of the most complete and mature bodies that ever graces the bodybuilding stages with muscle and density capabilities that competes with many of our overpowering modern competitors.

Mentzer attributed much of his success to his unusual training method, which continued Arthur Jones' theories several steps by reducing the training volume and training frequency to an excessively low level. For example, Mentzer was known to have many of his advanced bodybuilders training only once every 4-7 days, with only a maximum effort failing a handful of exercises. In addition, Mentzer was known for his claim that the traditional approach many bodybuilders used (and still use) has contributed to more failed physical and training stagnation than any other training method available.

To say that Mentzer thought outside the box and went against the bodybuilding body is a massive understatement. In fact, reading his writings and books has shaped my own career in this area, not so much because I have stuck to his belief in education, but because I've learned to think outside the box and question everything, even if it was popular.

I finally agreed with Mentzer on the subject that most of what is common in the traditional world of mainstream bodybuilding and fitness was filled with lies and misinformation. Although I did not completely agree with his solution to this problem with the HIT method, I showed myself to do more research and do my own research.

In fact, this eventually led me to developing my problem of eccentric isometric protocols and researching them during my PhD thesis. I realized that many of the training methods we have used to date (including those recommended by experienced coaches and coaches) are extremely flawed.

While many mentors quickly appraised Mentzer as an insane and iron heretic and read his books Examining his training methods will change your mindset for strength training forever. You have certainly done for me. – Joel Seedman, PhD

Christian Thibaudeau – strength trainer and performance expert

  Fortitude Training

Fortitude Training, by Scott Stevenson

I really enjoyed this ebook. I remember reading it carefully because I read it at the airport when I was traveling to Europe for a seminar. I also remember writing an e-mail to Scott and telling him, "Piss off, I really wish I had written this book!"

The program presented is solid and shares many things in common with my best. Damn Natural Lifter Training Plan What really brought me home was the way that Scott introduced the hypertrophy process – what triggers him and how can you in the trenches.

The presented science is complex, but it is very well explained and is quite easy to understand. The Fortitude training approach is based on scientific facts about muscle growth and the application of these facts is very interesting. Some important points are:

  1. Hit more frequently on each muscle to trigger protein synthesis more often.
  2. The volume can not be as high as a "normal" program due to the higher frequency.
  3. Using Different Methods Every day you can stimulate muscle growth through many different mechanisms.
  4. Minimize the catabolic response to training (eg release of cortisol) and maximize the anabolic response.
  5. To achieve maximum growth, you need to learn to work with little effort to achieve maximum effort and does not compensate for less effort through more sets / work.

The fact that these principles are the same as one of my most popular programs makes it easy for me to love the book. But as it is written, I hate Scott for writing it first! – Christian Thibaudeau

Paul Carter – Strength and Bodybuilding Coach

  Greater Muscle in 42 Days

Greater Muscle in 42 Days, by Ellington Darden

Man, that can shock some people. This is a HIT-based program that was brutal to do, but I spent a summer with it when I was 17 years old and shoveling the food. Wow, it was worth it.

Many science nerds with spaghetti noodle baby arms would make fun of it because they are based on a very slow repeat cadence protocol. But after completing two laps (84 days), I returned to normal training (towards cadence) and in a few weeks I effortlessly broke through the previous PRs. I went from about 175 to 205 this summer without a ton of fat accumulation.

This summer, I really learned what it means to eat, how important sleep was for recovery (I trained six days a week), and how powerful a new training stimulus could be.

I have read a lot of training books over the years, but I remember them because of the many valuable lessons I learned from them. You know, instead of arguing on the internet about what works and what does not. – Paul Carter


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