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Motivational Books, Essays, Tidbits on Going to the Gym
December 19, 2010 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Looking for books that will encourage me to go to the gym. I am making it once a week, sometimes twice. I am okay with memoirs or fitness books. Your own stories or tidbits of advice are helpful, too. Bill Phillips _Transformation_ has a useful chapter as does his older book _Body for Life_. Luckily I work in a library and am the location now. Sooooo, your thoughts, and I will look on the shelves. I have great books on home on what exercises to do, just not things on getting me up and running. (The 30 pounds of fat are getting to me.). BTW, Happy Holidays.
posted by snap_dragon to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think Jim Karas's The Business Plan for the Body is quite interesting.

The thing is, though, that the best exercise is the exercise you will actually do. If you're having trouble sticking to your current exercise regimen, maybe designing something different that you enjoy more might be more effective than trying to browbeat yourself into something you don't enjoy?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2010


I agree with Sidhedevil. I found this workout to be pretty easy to do and lost 25kg by visiting the gym 5 times a week for an hour and eating fewer calories. Also, check out this site.
posted by vkxmai at 10:59 AM on December 19, 2010


@Sidhedevil -- Digging the workout plan BUT I forgot to say in this post that I have a rotator cuff tear (or strain) and cannot do anything overhead. Do you think of any substitute such as shoulder raises might be somewhat decent (but not perfect) until I get the necessary surgery? I am excited by the posts so far. This in itself is motivational.
posted by snap_dragon at 11:09 AM on December 19, 2010


Internet tough love time: you don't need a book to get you to the gym. I know you want one. Why? Because, for you, it's more fun to post on MeFi and browse the shelves and read than it is to just go to the gym.

You say that you already have plenty of books about which exercises to do, so I won't recommend any of those. You know what to do: the exercises from the books. You know what you want: to do the exercises more often so that you'll become more fit. You also already know how to accomplish that: just go to the gym.

You don't need to read 200 pages of text to get inspired to go work out. Here's a short paragraph in lieu of a book: when I leave the office in the evening, I never go straight home. I go to the gym first. That's just how I function. Sometimes I get to the gym and spend 20 minutes stretching and go home. But I go. That's a routine that works for me. Maybe you'd prefer to never go straight to work in the morning, but to go the gym first. Or to always stop at the gym on your way home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I don't know. Set your intention now and then move on with your life (or just go to the gym right now, if you don't have something else going on). Reading about getting inspired isn't going to make you fit.
posted by telegraph at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Telegraph, I hear where you are coming from. Just Do It. But reading motivational literature actually did get me to the gym in the first place. I don't expect to rely on them for eternity. I am upping the ante for myself. And, reading your own post in and of itself is a motivator. I already have some things in place, though. I have my radio set to high to blare me out of bed. I have coffee ready. I have clothes for work packed. The steps are coming into place. Thank you for your post!
posted by snap_dragon at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2010


vkxmai -- I meant to direct that response to you instead of Sidhedevil. Apologies for the confusion of my typing error...the workout posted and info therein looks intriguing and do-able.
posted by snap_dragon at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2010


I have a rotator cuff tear (or strain) and cannot do anything overhead. Do you think of any substitute such as shoulder raises might be somewhat decent (but not perfect) until I get the necessary surgery?

I'm going to answer the question you meant to ask vkxmai--are you getting physical therapy for your rotator cuff injury? If you are, then going over the workout plan with your physical therapist would be ideal, as they should have some good suggestions about how to adapt the exercises.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:54 AM on December 19, 2010


Sidhedevil, I did get some exercises to do with very light weights and I actually do those with stretching at home. At gym, bench press or dumbell press only halfway to 2/3rds down in range of motion. No lifting above head though front and side raises with dumbbells are fine (not above shoulder). But I got this through a therapist who initially had me use bicycle-tubing which helps.
posted by snap_dragon at 12:01 PM on December 19, 2010


Starting Strength - this is my favorite guide to working out with weights and it I am sure many mefites will jump into this thread to recommend it. Mark Rippetoe is the man.

Rippetoe also lays into the bench press-centered gym culture as the source for many a torn rotator cuff. You might want to read up on his thoughts before you start training on the bench after your surgery. (He advocate overhead training as the key to a healthy shoulder system, though it sounds like your PT would disagree...)

Also, most of the books you will find in a public library on gym/weight training won't be worth much in my opinion.* I doubt you'll find anything by Rippetoe in your library - so ILL it!

*I work in a very large public library.
posted by cinemafiend at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


cinemafiend -- Damn straight. I'm ordering that for our library system. 6 copies!
posted by snap_dragon at 12:51 PM on December 19, 2010


I really liked Born to Run. While I’m not into running, it did motivate me to get on a bike and get back into shape. I’m not sure fits the traditional motivational book category, but it’s full of tips and stories about learning to love running. I was able to easily translate it into general exercise and dropped 20 pounds.
posted by iscavenger at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2010


Bridget Jones' Diary?
posted by custard heart at 1:31 PM on December 19, 2010


Seconding Born to Run, one of the most inspirational (and exciting) books you can read, even if you have no interest in running. I also really enjoyed Long Distance: Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously by Bill McKibben. He goes into detail of his year spent taking his cross country skiing to the next level.
posted by daikon at 2:17 PM on December 19, 2010


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.

It's just a regular (wonderful) memoir - though it probably helps if you're a Murakami fan. But somehow, it makes you want to get up and run. It paints long distance running as one of the most intense, wonderful peaceful experiences in the world. I'm the laziest person on earth and it made me want to take up long distance running (for like a day and a half).
posted by lesli212 at 4:10 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Starting Strength is the only thing that ever motivated me to go and stay in the gym.
posted by josher71 at 5:04 PM on December 19, 2010


Not a book, per se, but I get inspired by reading AllTop fitness, and Bodybuilding.com's transformations.
posted by MsKim at 6:36 PM on December 19, 2010


How about Jerry Seinfeld's "Don't Break the Chain" technique?

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of XXXXX, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain," he said again for emphasis.


Here's the article at Lifehacker.
posted by CathyG at 7:11 PM on December 19, 2010


I have yet to read it, but I've heard very good things about Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
posted by TheCavorter at 7:40 PM on December 19, 2010


For whatever reason, this article in Men's Health about Matthew McConaughey's workout routine always makes me want to go to the gym. I read it for inspiration when I'm waffling about whether to work out that day.
posted by vytae at 7:46 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


4 Hour Body
posted by angermanagement at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2010


re: 4 Hour Body...just put a hold on it, angermanagement...thanks!
posted by snap_dragon at 1:11 PM on December 20, 2010


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