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8 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Bridges Every Day

8 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Bridges Every Day

It’s pretty obvious 2015 is the year of the butt in fitness. Glutes have become the “it” muscles of the minute. They’re so popular they’ve even started the butt selfie (belfie) trend. So butts are everywhere in fitness today and for good reason. I would argue that the glutes may be the most important muscle group in the body. Unfortunately, in our sedentary society, we spend much of the day sitting on our butts instead of using them. This has lead to an an epidemic of flat, flaccid, underused glutes.

Many of the forms of exercise we engage in don’t really do a very good job of training the glutes well. Good thing is, it doesn’t need to be that way. Bridges are a great exercise that you can do everyday to learn how to activate the glutes. When done correctly bridges teach core control, hip control, how to deactivate the hamstrings and maybe most importantly fire up the glutes. Here are some of the amazing things that happen when you start doing bridges everyday.

1. You’ll Say Goodbye to Back Pain.

A weak and under-active butt is a prescription for low back pain. As we live in our sedentary, mostly seated, modern lifestyle our glutes don’t get used much. This results in other muscles like the spinal errectors and hamstrings taking over the job that the glutes are meant for. This process of the glutes becoming less active has been termed “Gluteal Amnesia.” The result of Gluteal Amnesia is often too much movement and loading at the lower back instead of the hips. This has been show to one of the primary causes in the development of low back pain.

Doing bridges everyday (especially after prolonged sitting) will help to “wake up” the glutes and reset the pelvis. This helps the body to remember to use the hips (glutes) to create movement instead of the more fragile lumbar spine.

2. You’re Knee Pain Will Magically Disappear.

One of the primary reasons for knee pain is a lack of control of the upper leg bone, the femur. This lack of femural control can include the femur sliding forward, internally rotating, or collapsing towards the midline of the body (valgus movement). All of these movements, if allowed to occur chronically are associated with knee pain. The glutes play a major role in controlling the femur at the hip joint which will have an effect on how the other bones of the knee joint join together and move.

Bridges, especially of the single leg variety, can help train the femur to stay in line with the knee and toes, avoiding potentially damaging knee movements.

3. Your 5K Time Will Improve.

One of the primary movement functions of the glutes is hip extension. Driving the leg behind you. Many distance runners use a lot of quad and hamstring to run but very little glute. This can not only limit the length of their stride, but also where the foot hits the ground, the amount of force per foot strike and the stability of the pelvis. Improving your glute function, by doing bridges, will help to strengthen and improve all of these aspects of your running and you’ll only become faster and more efficient.

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4. You’ll Stand Up Taller.

Posture is king. We can go to the gym and work out hard for an hour a day but if you spend the other 24 hours of your day slumped over you’re not undoing your chronically awful posture in 60 minutes. The glutes are literally the kingpin of movement. Without glutes that are active and strong the pelvic bowel can not sit properly. This means all the muscles above and below the pelvis, like the core, can’t perform optimally and the body will have to compensate. This compensation usually comes in the form of bad, hang off the low back or slumped forward posture.

Doing bridges will help to teach you not only how to strengthen the glutes so the pelvis sits correctly but also what a neutral spine feels like.

5. Your Boyfriend/ Girlfriend Will Thank You.

Guys and girls agree: a firm, round, butt. The kind that sits high on the hamstrings is considered almost universally to be sexually appealing. And it’s been that way since, well, since forever…

“You’re drawn to a woman’s heinie for the same reason you’re attracted to her breasts, hips, and a little waist: because those traits would have been indicators of fertility to your ancient ancestors.” – David Buss Ph.D.

And women, don’t differ in this opinion. Ask Men did a poll of 100 women and found that they too preferred a tight, muscular, rear. Ranking the butt as the number 1 male body part that “turns them on the most.”

Once you’ve been doing bridges everyday don’t be surprised if your significant other takes notice of your improved posterior and start greeting you with butt grabs instead of hugs.

6. You’ll Finally be Happy With How Your Jeans Fit.

Women are generally not satisfied with how their jeans fit and end up settling more often than not. No more having to search everywhere for a pair of jeans that “fits right” or just “looks ok.” Having a shapely rear will instantly upgrade any pair of jeans. Now, keep in mind that once you add some shape and size to your glutes from bridging everyday you might end up with the dreaded #fitgirl, #fitguy problem of larger than “normal” glutes for the waist cut of the jeans. That creates a “problem” in itself….

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But isn’t that a good problem to have?

7. You’ll Be Setting Squat and Deadlift Personal Records.

The squat and deadlift are often seen as “leg” exercises and they do work the legs really well. But ask any experienced lifter and they’ll be quick to point out that they are really hip (glute) exercises that also involve the other leg muscles. To squat and deadlift safely and effectively it’s important that the glutes are active and strong. Inactive/ weak glutes that are not creating enough hip tension (external rotation and extension) are some of the most common problems I see in trainees. Glutes that don’t fire can decrease the depth of your squat because the hip and core are not working together effectively.  Allow the knees to collapse in because of a lack of external rotation at the femur, straining the knee joint. And putting excess strain on the low back muscles if the pelvis tucks under.

One of the great things about doing bridges everyday is that there are so many variations of bridges they can be programmed as both glute activation and glute strengthening exercises depending on your focus that day. Doing bridges everyday will help your glutes catch up to your quads and hamstrings making your squats and deadlift form and weights improve quickly.

8. Your Driver will Become Your Best Club.

Golfers tend to focus a lot on the “core,” which is important. But if you’re after a more powerful and consistent swing you need strong glutes to help generate force and stabilize the pelvis so you can stay in the correct posture through the swing.

“If power must generate from the ground upward, the ability to properly transfer through a strong torso position into the arms and club, lies in the strength and correct function of the glutes.” –Meredith Parker, TPI 

A recent study done on high versus low handicap golfers came to this conclusion:

“Golfers with a low handicap are more likely to have increased pelvis rotation speed as well as increased gluteus maximus and medius strength when compared to high handicap golfers.” –Callaway, Glaws et al.

Once you begin doing bridges everyday, not only will your golf buddies envy how your posterior looks, they’ll envy how much your long game has improved.

Bridges really are a great exercise because they’re as versatile as they are effective. Here are some bridge variations that you can progress in difficulty and focus as you improve.

Glute Bridge:

glute bridge

    The two legged bridge is the simplest of the bridge variations. This bridges starts lying on the floor with your knees brought up about half way and shoulder width apart. Keeping the rib cage down, in line with the abs, focus on squeezing the glutes very hard, pressing the heels through the floor and pressing the hips up until the hips are fully extended. At the very top you should concentrate on really squeezing the glutes for a full second before lowering smoothly to the floor. Some of the keys to doing bridges effectively are really focusing on using the glutes and shutting down the hamstrings. Also be sure not to allow the pelvis to shift out of neutral or the rib cage to “pop up.” When done correctly the there should be a straight “unbroken” line from the shoulders through the hips and knees.

    You should start with just body weight but this movement can be brutally effective when loaded up with a barbell across the hips. Just make sure you have some padding for the bar.

    Single Leg Glute Bridge:

    single leg glute bridge

      Once the two leg version becomes too easy you can switch to this variation. Too easy means you can stay in perfect form, the hamstrings never fire, the ribs never come up and the glutes drive the movement achieving full hip extension (lockout) on each rep. This version is exactly the same except one foot is off the ground. Being on one foot doesn’t just increase the difficulty of the movement up and down (hip extension) but also the external rotation (knee collapsing to the mid-line) challenge. Make sure the toes, ankle, knee and hip always stay in a straight line.

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      Glute Bridge External Rotations:

      Holding the top of a glute bridge while pressing the knees out on the band will work the glutes in external rotation and extension. Done correctly this will absolutely set your butt on fire.

      The key to this type of bridge is to maintain full hip extension, even when pushing out on the band. The hips should never fall. Push out on the band as far as you can (maintaining hip lockout) once there allow the knees to come back to the start position and then press out again. Be smooth and deliberate to make sure you maintain maximal tension on the glutes the whole time.

      Shoulders Elevated Glute Bridge (Hip Thrust):

      This exercise, more commonly known as the hip thrust, has become one of the go to exercises for glute development. This is essentially a bridge with a much larger range of motion and a higher hip extension demand. For this bridge you want your shoulders on a stable surface (bench, box, even chair). Set your feet up so that your shins are vertical when you’re at the very top of the movement. The rib cage should stay down in line with the abs and you should focus on hinging through the hips.

      Make sure you’re foot pressure is always in the heels, never in the toes and at the finish you achieve full hip lockout. That will result in the best glute activation and development. This movement should be mastered with just body weight before progressing by adding a barbell or band across the hips.

      Tip: Keep the chin “tucked,” down to the chest. While this isn’t a neutral position for the cervical spine, keeping the chin down or even looking at the hip joint helps most people keep the rib cage down “on the abs” at the top of the movement.

      Shoulders Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge

      The single leg hip thrust is a fairly advanced variation. It’s performed exactly like the traditional hip thrust but with only a single leg at a time. This exercise is MUCH more difficult than the two leg version. You can add a dumbbell on the working leg, barbell or even a mini-band just above the knees to increase the difficulty.

      Tip: Take the nonworking leg and bend it at the knee. At the top of the movement the knee should be pointing at the ceiling, squeeze your glute as hard as possible and think about driving the knee of the nonworking leg up to the ceiling.

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      Start with the simplest version and progress as you master the movement. Don’t be afraid to add weight, band tension or range of motion to the movements as long as the quality of the movement stays high. You’re probably not going to build the firmness or roundness you want your butt to have if you’re simply using only your body weight and staying light all the time. Your muscles need to be exposed to progressively higher loads to grow and take shape. That said, don’t let your ego get the better of you. Keep the movement quality high and focus on getting the best, most intense, contraction in the glutes you possibly can.

      Once you start doing bridges everyday, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your glutes improve and the amazing things that will happen once your butt is actually turned on and active through the day.

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      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

      25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

      I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book. I was baffled. At that moment, I realized my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher.

      Every time I committed to a new challenge, I knew it was going to be outside of my comfort zone. But after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me.

      Not all self-improvement books are made equal. Some help start you out on your journey, others give you a boost when you’ve achieved experience in certain areas.

      Here are the best ones that I recommend to read no matter how old you are:

      1. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? And Other Provocations

      by Seth Godin

        This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve.

        With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself. The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.

        If you need a friend who understands you, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book. Make sure to get this one.

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        2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

        by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

          Perhaps it is the fact that randomness played such a significant role in my years as a poker player that I find this book utterly important.

          We often attribute skill where there is only luck; we confuse correlation with causation and we underestimate the incredible effect small changes can have.

          This book gave me a perspective that I unfortunately rarely encounter in others: you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win. It is thus not about the outcome; it is about your actions that have lead you there.

          This important message is central to many of my decisions I make in my life. This book by Taleb helps you develop such a perspective so you will be able to live in a world one cannot fully understand, where the results are not always clear markers of performance and where chance seems to play games with our fates. Stop being fooled by randomness!

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          3. The 48 Laws of Power

          by Robert Greene

            I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us.

            I still recommend this book. I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.

            Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power. It contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes. If read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good.

            From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development. If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself).

            Another great book in the same style, but this time around; covering a wider scope, and perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.

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            4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

            by Stephen. R. Covey

              The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve.

              Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

              This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference.

              And as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a whole integer person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around her.

              A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

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              5. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

              by James Fadiman

                While finding a book on psychedelics in this list of books on self-improvement might come as a surprise, I believe any metaphysical distinction between tools such as books, meditation or molecules hold no ground. They should all be solely judged on their merits. And the merits of certain chemical keys, used in a constructive way, are perhaps bigger than any book in this list.

                The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide will teach you how to prepare yourself and your surroundings, what and how much to take, and what do do when something goes wrong. So you can safely enhance your thinking, creativity, introspection and emotional balance.

                This book contains everything you need to know about using psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement while drawing on extensive scientific literature and personal wisdom. A must have for the beginning and experienced psychonaut alike.

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                6.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

                by Brian Tracy

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                  We all know how that destructive downward spiral feels.

                  We have to do some big tasks of which the thought alone triggers resistance. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feeling overwhelmed before we even start. We get easily distracted to get rid of that feeling, only to suddenly realize that hours went by- precious hours- and then find ourselves in the same position as before, still not knowing where and how to begin, but now, feeling guilty on top of it which expresses itself in more craving for distraction.

                  Ad infinitum

                  To break this spell of procrastination before it paralyzes us, Tracy advises us to Eat That Frog: to set our priorities straight, deconstruct larger tasks into smaller ones, learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start out with something else.

                  Tracy is truly a motivational writer. While I wished he had gone a bit deeper into the psychological reasons why people procrastinate, it is still a must have for anyone who wants to break the spell and get shit done.

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                  7. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

                  by Napoleon Hill

                    A from 1937, this book by Hill is a masterpiece. Don’t bother with the edited versions since they all omit important and controversial information: some historical, and some pertaining to the goal of the book, which is to think and grow rich.

                    The word rich might imply that this book is all about material gain, and while it certainly covers that area, it is about much more than that.

                    This is perhaps the first explicit mention of positive thinking on how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.

                    This book has been able to withstand the destruction of time. It covers all the basics from planning, decision making and persistence, to the more advanced techniques as auto-suggestion, transmutation and what we can learn from fear.

                    This is not a grow rich book, but a timeless guide to find out what actually matters. As it says clearly in the beginning ‘Riches can’t always be measured in money!’

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                    8. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

                    by Alan Wallace

                      In a world that is dominated by ever stronger technologies designed to grab your attention, a way to empower yourself is to bring that attention back to where you want it to shine. This book offers just that.

                      In The Attention Revolution, Wallace describes the path to attaining Shamatha, a buddhist meditation state of mind that is free from any flickering of distraction. It is a hard and long path, probably not possible for us to reach in this lifetime. However, even getting to stage two or three will make everything in life easier.

                      A wonderful introduction to meditation, The Attention Revolution will inspire you to take on the challenge and see what training your mind can actually achieve.

                      Once you have achieved such level of focus, you can put it to use to open your heart with the practice of The Four Immeasurables or deepen the practice with this wonderful commentary by Dudjom Lingpa, both by Alan B. Wallace.

                      Before you read this book, you may want to take a look at this guide so you get a better idea on how to prioritize your life:

                      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

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                      9. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

                      by John Durant

                        In the last 10,000 years or so, it seems we have been propelled into an ever faster paced world forged by our own hands and minds. Only recently have we been able to reconstruct our journey and reflect back upon our humble origins.

                        This amazing book is such a reflection. It goes back to the paleolithic searching for answers to health and longevity.

                        Between science and his personal experiments, Durant weaves a mind blowing story that will convey the importance of an evolutionary perspective on how to live well.

                        It covers everything from nutrition to exercise, from sleep to fasting, from ancient practices to modern biohacking and even has an outline for a vision of the future where depression and obesity have become obsolete.

                        If you only have room for a couple of books on this list, make sure this one is included.

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                        10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

                        by Daniel J. Siegel

                          As my Burmese meditation teacher often proclaimed, ‘Mindfulness alone is not enough!’ Siegel seems to have taken this to heart and made an unique synthesis between meditation, psychoanalysis and neuroscience which he calls ‘Mindsight‘. As he says himself, a potent combination between emotional and social intelligence.

                          All of us deal with one disorder or another, something that seems to disturb the very core of our being at ease; and while it might not always be the best strategy to want to get rid of it, it certainly helps to understand and have compassion for that little aspect that upsets that perfect image of ourselves.

                          Brimming with techniques, insights and epiphanies, this book contains everything you need to know to reprogram your brain and to optimally use its capacity of neuroplasticity. A great book for spiritual seekers and scientists alike.

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                          11. How to Win Friends & Influence People

                          by Dale Carnegie

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                            This is the first self-improvement book I have ever read and it is also probably one of the oldest in this category.

                            Written in 1937, mainly for the door to door salesman of that era, this book by Carnegie can truly be called a classic. It shows what we all intuitively know:

                            It doesn’t matter what your line of work is or what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.

                            Being nice helps, a lot. And while I might not fully defend the premise of this book because it doesn’t distinguish between genuine interest and faking it to get what you want; it still contains a treasure chest full of timeless wisdom.

                            Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and rightfully so. Learning to take a small effort to make someone’s day will make the world better no matter what your goal is.

                            I still spontaneously remember some of his guidance, and perhaps this quality is the reason why this book still draws millions of readers to this day.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            12. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

                            by David D. Burns

                              Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective therapy used by psychologists today. It consists of identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood; and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles.

                              If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further.

                              Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job. Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              13. Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

                              by Maxwell Maltz

                                What can a plastic surgeon tell us about happiness?

                                By dealing with his patients, Dr. Maxwell Maltz experienced firsthand that having your expectations come true doesn’t automatically result into a more positive life experience. Their outward appearances did indeed change but their inner insecurity remained.

                                This caused him to find other means to help his patients, resulting in visualization techniques. He found a person’s outer success can never rise above the one visualized internally.

                                This book carries a very honest and humbling story, loaded with fundamental truths about our psychology and how our own philosophy affects us. This is all told by a very compassionate writer.

                                Of some books it can be said that it will be valuable for years to come, and I am absolutely positive that this is one of them.

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                                14. Thinking, Fast and Slow

                                by Daniel Kahneman

                                  This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years. He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow. (Here’s an explanation on how these two systems work.)

                                  The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.

                                  The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort.

                                  Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.

                                  Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  15. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

                                  by Chris Hadfield

                                    A few extraordinary people journey to the edge of our world and come back with a unique story to tell. Colonel Hadfield is such a person, and his story is perhaps the most important one in this list.

                                    While the other books in this list teach you to be independent, visualize your future and dream big, this astronaut’s guide turns these all upside down.

                                    A truly remarkable book, overflowing with mind-blowing stories that illustrate the life lessons he learned as one of the most accomplished astronauts that ever lived.

                                    Full of compassion, warmth and genuine self-reflexive humor, he conveys to us to be prepared for the worst and never let yourself be swayed from enjoying every moment.

                                    Part action story, part no-nonsense hard truth and part timeless spiritual wisdom, this book makes you feel like you stepped onto a rocket ship and experienced what he did while learning these most valuable lessons on the way.

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                                    16. Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

                                    by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet

                                      No self-improvement list is complete without a nutrition book and the Perfect Health Diet is arguably the best diet book on the market now.

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                                      If you are overweight or not, feel sick, or just looking for an extra boost in health (and keep it this way), then look no further.

                                      From reading decades of studies the authors construct the optimal way to eat, destroying popular food fads in the process. They explain in sufficient details the optimal macro-ratios of which starches are safe, which vitamins and supplements to take and what foods, or what they call toxins, to avoid.

                                      This book is a great supplement to the Paleo Manifesto as it shares its basic evolutionary perspective; we were evolved to eat non-toxic, high fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates.

                                      And sometimes, going around with no food at all, can be a very healthy thing. If your body is not in optimal health, then it is almost no use to read the other books. Make this your priority number one.

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                                      17. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

                                      by John C. Maxwell

                                        At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do.

                                        Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success?

                                        I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.

                                        Why?

                                        Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver.

                                        Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.

                                        Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.

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                                        18. The Power of Now

                                        by Eckhart Tolle

                                          The Power of Now hardly needs any introduction. It is perhaps the book that has had the most impact on our collective consciousness in recent years.

                                          It inspired millions of people all over the world to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life, all through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. 

                                          It is a technique that alleviates depression, increases emotional intelligence and develops compassion. And only recently has come to the west, which remained weary and skeptical until science had validated a wide array of its claims.

                                          The brain can be trained. The Power of Now teaches you how to release your attachment to certain thoughts and states of mind, thereby clearing the mind to fully embrace the present moment.

                                          If you already have read this book and are looking for deeper understanding, readWherever You Go, There You Are.

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                                          19. The Last Lecture

                                          by Randy Pausch

                                            At some point or another, almost all of us has come across The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. (If you haven’t, watch this powerful message here.)

                                            What would you say when you only have a few months left to live? This was probably Pausch’s question he posed to himself when he had to deliver his lecture a week later.

                                            But being confined to an academic setting and short time frame, he felt he had more to share, thus marking the birth of this book.

                                            Filled with stories about his childhood, it is a very down to earth exploration of what it means to chase your dreams, to be a good person and live a life that gives value to others.

                                            A beautiful mixture of humor and optimism, his tender voice will be a source of inspiration for everyone who will take the time to listen, something he tried to impart on his readers.

                                            A very lovely read. And don’t forget, ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
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                                            20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

                                            by Brené Brown

                                              I love Brené Brown’s books. She writes about an insight that I have found to be scary but true at the same time.

                                              Vulnerability, unlike we have been taught, is not a weakness, but a power to be tapped. Growing up with the idea that we have to hide certain parts of ourselves, to look strong and persevere at all costs always seemed a facade to me. And now she has the research to back that up.

                                              From that place of vulnerability comes a sense of worthiness, which for most of us, needs to be cultivated every day. Only if we get in touch with that tender spot of our hearts can we connect with others and develop genuine compassion, which are prerequisites, Brown tells us, for living a ‘wholehearted life.’

                                              The reality, however, is that we often close down, feel neglected and misunderstood, and rather want the vulnerability and perhaps even ourselves to disappear.

                                              This book is an amazing antidote for that common instinct. Want to be truly convinced? Check out her amazing ted talk here.

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                                              21. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

                                              by Carl Sagan

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                                                We all find UFO’s fascinating. We all really want to believe in magic or visiting aliens. (Surely the crop circles are conclusive proof!) And some of us believe the government is poisoning us with chemtrails.

                                                At the same time we are fascinated by the progress made by science, by all the new technology and medicines and the fascinating discoveries being

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                                                22. Philosophy for Life

                                                by Jules Evans

                                                  As philosopher Sloterdijk puts it; ‘philosophy is a beautiful child of an ugly mother.’

                                                  Philosophy first arose when the old Greek polis states were at the brink of destruction. Philosophy, according to Sloterdijk, was not just a way to make sense of the world, to come to knowledge or truth, but to serve as a psychological immune system.

                                                  This book is an amazing expression of this perspective. From the stoics to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Jules Evans writes about some of the amazing philosophical techniques we can use to train and improve our cognitive immune systems.

                                                  He weaves ancient stories with modern applications, from heroism to cosmic contemplation. Philosophy for Life is a beautifully written book that makes it easy to understand the practical nature of philosophy.

                                                  Perhaps the book would have been better if he would have gone deeper into the subject matter, but nonetheless he captures the essence of what philosophy can mean for the modern person. A must read.

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                                                  23. Man’s Search For Meaning

                                                  by Victor. E. Frankl

                                                    If I had to pick one book from this list for mandatory reading, I would choose this one.

                                                    For three years, Viktor Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He tells us about his experience and that of his fellow prisoners.

                                                    Both chilling and uplifting, confronted with the idea that they would be trapped there for the rest of their lives; he gives us an account of those who found meaning and those who succumbed to nihilism.

                                                    A blend between a memoir, a psychological investigation and a self-help book, Frankl delivers a powerful message:

                                                    Finding meaning lies at the core of being human.

                                                    From his own experience as a psychiatrist, combined with anecdotes from his time in the concentration camps, he tells us how important it is to find meaning in our own lives and what we can become if we don’t.

                                                    Suffering, he conveys to us, is inevitable. But as to how we cope with it is dependent on ourselves. If we can find meaning, even in the worst acts our species have ever inflicted upon their fellow men, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose.

                                                    I also recommend you to check out this article to help you find out your purpose and passion that will motivate you to live in a meaningful way: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

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                                                    24. Simplify

                                                    by Joshua Becker

                                                      This is a fun little book written by Joshua Becker, a big proponent of minimalist living. We all know that quote from Fightclub: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 

                                                      Well, this is ending.

                                                      Slowly we are outgrowing an era where the unquestioned mantra ‘more is always better’ dictates our behavior. Rather, we now find ourselves, our lives and our homes cluttered with too much information, too much stuff and just too much shit we don’t need.

                                                      This simple book helps you become aware of the freedom gained from living with less. It is a small book, easily read under an hour, but it carries a persuasive punch to start living live in a very different way.

                                                      eBook

                                                      25. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

                                                      by Kamal Ravikant

                                                        The fundamental ground upon which all true self improvement is build is called self-love. Because in the end, no matter which way you turn, if you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage yourself at one point. You will think that, for some reason or another, you are not worthy. And if you think that, why would you truly want to achieve anything?

                                                        And this is not just about achievement. This is about how you approach yourself every day; this is what you see when you look in the mirror.

                                                        We make so many snap-judgments about ourselves- often without being conscious of them- that are filled with negativity, haltering us before we can even begin to heal. This powerful book shows you the antidote.

                                                        Self love. Not to be confused with creating some narcissistic image of ourselves that some previous books in this list implicitly endorse, but self love, that inner gratefulness that no external condition can take away.

                                                        Self love, that infinite source you can share with others.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        Final Thoughts

                                                        Now that you’ve got a list of the most inspirational books to improve your life, what should you do next? Read them all?

                                                        It’s of course best to read them all, but we only have so much brain energy to take all this knowledge. What if I tell you there’s a way to boost your brain power? Here it is:

                                                        How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

                                                        More Books for Your Inspiration

                                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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