Your Ultimate Summer Reading List, According to Philly’s Health and Fitness Pros

In the wild, wild world that is Amazon, nailing down your self-prescribed summer reading list can be a bit, um, overwhelming. So, with summer Fridays and Shore weekends headed our way, we figured we’d help narrow down the giant selection of books available on the world wide web by asking some of our favorite health and wellness pros what their favorite reads are right now.

Below, 12 summer reads to have on your radar, including healthy cookbooks, self-help manifestos, and relationship guides. Happy beach reading—sans Amazon shopping cart stress.


The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

“I read this book like a textbook, a chapter at a time. I take notes on the pages, underline, highlight, and fold pages. Everything Gabby writes is amazing, but I have found specifically that this book is a great read to get out of your own way. She talks through how to focus on positive energy and outcomes because ultimately, we are creating our own movie.”
— Jess Baumgardner, health coach and co-founder of B+YND


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“Everyone should read this at least three times in their life. To me, this is a book about not measuring yourself against where you think you should be or where you think society thinks you should be. As empowering as they come, and uplifting to boot, I get something new out of it every time I read.”
— Tom Wingert, VP of marketing, City Fitness


Eat. Stop. Eat. by Brad Pilon

“This is one of my staple nutrition books. It breaks down intermittent fasting, which can be confusing to people, which many humans should consider as a way to eat regardless of health and wellness goals. This type of eating has a ton of benefit for a wide array of human performance.”
— Sean De Wispelaere, VP of operations at MSBC Thrive


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World by William H. McRaven

“This is my current favorite self-help/all-around life book. The idea is if the first thing you do every morning is make your bed, you have already accomplished something that day. I like to think of exercise the same way: If I start every day with a sweat session, I have already accomplished my first goal of the day. This is a quick read and I finished it ready to crush any obstacle that came my way, and obviously go make my bed!”
— Gabby Drucker, personal trainer


Sweet Potato Soul by Jenné Clairborne

“First of all, the name ‘Sweet Potato Soul’ had me sold from the get. And now that we’re (finally) moving away the heavier, stick-to-your-ribs wintery meals and into lighter, summer fare, it’s nice to have some inspiration that’s not another stinking salad. While I’m not solely plant-based, my diet is plant-forward, so I am so inspired and excited to start making some of these Southern (!) vegan recipes, like Peach-Date BBQ Jackfruit Sliders and Oyster Mushroom étouffée.”
— Adriana Adelé, yoga instructor


Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein (Or literally ANYTHING by Gabby Bernstein!)

“This book will teach you how to release judgements in all aspects of life. Whether it’s resentments, judgment of yourself, of others, or the things that happen around you. The idea of this detox is to release those feelings of defense to form free-flowing love, and doing this brings you to a new view of life with a brighter outlook. In bringing this energy to your life you’ll find that the universe will return it to you! I seriously refer to Gabby as my guru; she finds ways in all of her books to break down how the process will work and then gives you the steps to find your better self. She just sets it all up so seamlessly that these slight shifts leave you feeling lighter, brighter, and down right happier!”
— Christina Howard, yoga and fitness instructor


Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking by Dana Shultz

“Whenever I want something, and want to make it vegan and/or gluten-free, I Google “Minimalist Baker XYZ” (Mac and cheese, baked ziti … any and everything, I’m telling you). Dana has created an amazing platform and this beautiful book is something that I pull off of my bookshelf weekly to inspire our dinners in a healthier way.”
— Jess Baumgardner, health coach and co-founder of B+YND


Radical Candor by Kim Scott

“I spend 40 to 50 percent of my life in a professional context, and prefer to organize those relationships, regardless of their hierarchical positioning, in a way where we can do great things together and have meaningful connections with each other and the work that we do. This book helped frame my management style, and is super relevant to anyone that takes their work life seriously in the 21st century.”
— Tom Wingert, VP of marketing, City Fitness


Beyond The Mediterranean Diet by Layne Lieberman

“There are tons of healthy yet simple recipes in here that I’ve made and they’re sooo yummy! More importantly, this isn’t just another nutrition/health book promoting a fad diet. Layne Lieberman proves that you can change your body while still enjoying chocolate, pasta and wine. I’m not sure about anyone else but I know I don’t want to give those up!”
— Gabby Drucker, personal trainer


Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

“I was somewhat skeptical when a couple friends of mine were raving about this ‘mindblowing’ relationship book. But after coming back chapter after chapter, I totally get the hype. Perel has this amazing ability to offer nauced insight and challenges the preconceived notions of both the internal dynamics and external circumstances that can lead to a dull and (gasp!) sexless relationship. And your relationship doesn’t have to be in crisis/you don’t even have to be in a romantic relationship to get value from this perspective-shifting examination of the ever-moving target that is the balance between the domesticity and desire—really the mundane and the spontaneous that applies to almost every intimate relationship.”
— Adriana Adelé, yoga instructor


Get Sh*t Done by StartupVitamins

“This is literally a book full of unique quotes that serve as a great way to start your day and can be a cool catalyst for motivation in fitness or as a professional.”
— Sean De Wispelaere, VP of operations at MSBC Thrive


Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*** by Thug Kitchen

“As if the title doesn’t draw you in enough, the first page of the book has this quote from Julia Child, ‘The only real stumbling point is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.’ I only recently started dabbling in cooking and have actually found how much I love it! Thug Kitchen takes you all the way from the supermarket, to the kitchen, and to the table—ON A BUDGET! While I am not a vegetarian, this cookbook is veggie-based and I love it just as much as any other cookbook I have. From smoothies to wraps, lasagnas and desserts, you will be amazed. DISCLAIMER: there is a lot of foul language in this book, but I personally find myself laughing everytime I open it in my kitchen. Personals faves include: 5 Spice Fried Rice, Cauliflower Tacos, and Baked Zucchini Chips. Enjoy!”
— Christina Howard, yoga and fitness instructor


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