CrossFit, Tracy Anderson and More: Try Fitness Trends at Home with Books

CrossFit, Tracy Anderson and More: Try Fitness Trends at Home with Books


A few years ago, during a particularly snowy January, I trained for a half-marathon indoors, which meant pounding miles on the treadmill, sometimes for hours at a time. After logging yet another 15K in front of a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” marathon, I finally lost it. My joints were screaming, and holy ravioli, was I bored.

Cardio at the gym can feel like a penance. But, working out doesn’t have to be. There’s a host of new fitness trends out there that’ll whip your butt without boring you to tears. We’ve rounded up books on fun, trendy exercise options, from CrossFit to mud runs. If you can’t stand the gym, take these books home, learn a few tricks, and get out of your workout rut, pronto.

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    1. Breaking Parallel

    Can you flip a 400-pound tractor tire? How about power-lift your own body weight? If you answered, “yes” to either of these questions, CrossFit–the ultra-popular, high-intensity workout that incorporates running, gymnastics, plyometrics, and weightlifting–is the program for you. In “Breaking Parallel,” CrossFit trainer Jeff R. Tucker walks readers through gymnastics exercises designed to help you with balance, building core strength and improving your overall fitness.

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    2. Bring It!

    I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a P90X infomercial. From the before and after shots to those tearful testimonials, I can’t help feeling inspired. You might be a tougher sell—understandable. Before purchasing the program off the TV, try it at home with founder Tony Horton’s book, “Bring It!,” which features step-by-step instructions to exercises from Horton’s bestselling 90-day boot camp-style workout.

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    3. Obstacle Race Training Bible

    Forget road racing. These days, mud runs—grueling, wilderness-set courses featuring crazy obstacles (think scaling walls and crawling through barbed wire) –are the endurance events everyone’s talking about. If you’re nervous about tackling your first Warrior Dash, check out James Villepigue’s “Obstacle Race Training Bible,” which offers specialized training tips and eight-week training guides for athletes at every level.

  4. 4. Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga

    Bikram yoga isn’t for the faint of heart: The 26-posture, 90-minute classes take place in rooms heated up to 110 degrees. In his memoir “Hell-Bent,”casual practitioner turned serious yogi Benjamin Lorr recounts the eye-opening two years he spent immersed in the competitive Bikram world. Some of what he learned–particularly about Bikram’s controversial 67-year-old founder–was shocking. Whether you’re advanced or brand-new to the practice, you’ll want to give this a read.

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    5. Raise the Barre

    Over the last few years, ballet barre classes have taken America by storm. Celebrities like Kelly Ripa swear by programs like New York-based Physique 57, which promise to help women sculpt the long, lean muscles of a dancer. Membership to studios can be pricey, so to get results at minimal cost, try Richard Giorla’s “Raise the Barre,” a how-to guide with exercise instructions, tips on posture, and full workout plans.

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    6. Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method

    Everybody loves to rag on Gwyneth Paltrow, but we’ve got to give the girl some credit: She’s got a great booty. She owes it to pal and investment partner Tracy Anderson, whose eponymous fitness plan puts an emphasis on working small muscles. I tried Tracy’s class once and, despite the odd, sometimes counterintuitive movements she puts you through, walked out of her studio with seriously shaky legs (in the “I worked my booty off” sort of way). To give it a whirl without too much commitment, check out her book, “Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method.”


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