Does this feel at all familiar? I know that most days after work, this is exactly what I can turn into if I’m not careful … the dreaded couch potato! With fall officially right around the corner, my body just wants to go into hibernation mode. However, with football, one of America’s favorite sports, officially back in season, I thought we could talk about some books that might, just might, inspire some of us to get up off our couches. We might not end up on those particular fields (I’d be terrified of being tackled!), but at least some of us could decide to workout at home or at the gym.
Some great YA nonfiction books to help you get off that tush
Toning for Teens: The 20-Minute Workout That Makes You Look Good and Feel Great! by Joyce L. Vedral, PhD
A former high school teacher turned certified personal trainer teaches teens to eat right and alternate two twenty minute workouts to get fit and healthier, both physically and mentally. She stresses the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise, not crazy fad dieting. Pictures of teens actually doing each weight-lifting moves help to ensure that the reader will know how to complete the workout.
Strike a Pose: The Planet Girl Guide to Yoga by Karen Birkemoe
A yoga instructor who has studied the art in three different countries teaches teens how to use yoga to clear their minds and tone their bodies. Great for beginners to hatha yoga, this illustrated book demonstrates a variety of simple poses, then discusses the importance of breathing and meditation.
Get Strong! Body By Jake’s Guide to Building Confidence, Muscles, and a Great Future for Teenage Guys by Jake Steinfeld
A personal fitness training icon aims to teach teenage guys how to take control of their bodies and their futures. This book emphasizes life goals and strength (both physical and in character) and outlines a plan for a teen to get themselves into shape for life success. Though there are fewer pictures in this one, when they are there they count, showing teens how to do the actual exercises.
Winning Weight Training for Girls: Fitness and Conditioning for Sports by David Porter
A sports writer compiles weight training routines suitable for teen girls specific to the sports they are looking to pursue. Invaluable to help prepare the distinct muscles needed for each sport, this book has tailored guides and tips that will help girls become the best players they can be in their chosen field. There are also sections on safety, nutrition and out-of-season training.
I can almost hear the unspoken thoughts now, “Oh yeah, those look okay … maybe I’ll check them out … tomorrow.” So let’s talk a little bit about why physical fitness should be a priority in all our lives.
Some YA fiction books that will help inspire a good workout
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)
In Mary’s village, they are safe from the zombies on the other side of the fence. As long as they follow the rules that the Sisterhood enforces, they will stay that way — but when Mary has to run for her life, she can practically feel the hungry teeth snapping at her heels.
This is only one example of the popular zombie apocalypse novels flooding the YA market now. I’m not sure about you, but if this scenario ever did come to fruition, I’d like to be able to outrun the zombies.
Invasion: A C.H.A.O.S. Novel by Jon Lewis
Colt’s summer is going just great until his parents are killed in an accident and he must move to Arizona to live with his grandfather. Upon investigation, Colt discovers his parents’ deaths may have been the result of a massive cover up and becomes embroiled in fighting off a full-on alien invasion.
Some aerial acrobatic skills take center stage here as Colt does some awesome and evasive hoverboarding to escape (and fight) the invading aliens. Other than when reading Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies (2006 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults), I have never wanted to learn how to skateboard more.
Underdogs by Markus Zusak
Siblings Cameron and Ruben are generally disappointing to everyone in their lives. They’re not very successful, they get into trouble, and they are not often that ashamed about it. But they are intensely loyal to one another, even when they’re at each others’ throats, and they will defend one another until the end. When Ruben and Cameron begin to participate and excel in an underground boxing ring, it may just be what actually helps them to turn their lives around.
Though these brothers were already somewhat in shape, they each definitely began to train for real once they began boxing. Now, I have no intentions of joining any underground boxing rings, I promise you, but if I were ever forced into a fight (a la Blood Red Road by Moira Young), I would hope to be in good enough shape to at least try to defend myself!
Well, there you have it: some books to actually help someone get up off the couch and into shape and some books that are a little tongue-in-cheek reminder that being physically fit can be a very, very good thing. Since I am definitely on my way to developing a new physical fitness routine, if you have any great book suggestions to help me get off the couch, please feel free to leave them here!
— Jessica Miller, currently reading Prized by Caragh O’Brien and Rift by Andrea Cremer
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