I can’t tell you how many countless hours I spend reading books which help expand my knowledge of the Human body. I not (and never have been) interested in reading fiction books. It’s just not my thing. But, because I’m lucky enough to say my job (improving human performance) is also my hobby – I love learning about the body and posses an undying fire inside, which drives me to learn as much as I can about how the body works. And, to keep searching for a better way of helping my clients achieve their goals.

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Plus, I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at as a Fitness professional and don’t plan on ever getting complacent in my position. The books I read help me to continually grow smarter, stronger and more versatile as a professional. Let’s not forget that we all exist in a competitive world. Once you stop learning and growing, some one who’s younger and more passionate will be glad to take your spot and leave you in the dust. As they saying goes “if you don’t enjoy your job and take pride in it – Some one else will”. I don’t know about you. But, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let any one catch me from behind!

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All that said, if you want to stay ahead of the game and get to the top of your field – Keep on learning any time, from everyone and every where you can!

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Now, before I tell you about some great books you’ve probably never heard of. I wanted to plug an amazing book you may already know about.

That book is “Movement: Functional Movement Systems, Screening, Assessment & Corrective Strategies” by Gray Cook.

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Gray Cook simply doesn’t know how to put out a bad product! I buy everything he produces because it’s always top notch. And, the value of the knowledge I gain from his stuff always far out weights my $ investment.

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Go here to learn more about Gray’s MOVEMENT book and to purchase your copy.

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Now, here’s three books that I’ve highly benefited from that you’ve probably never heard of. That said, in my opinion, these books are must reads for any and all Health & Fitness Professionals.

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Note: Some of these books are geared toward Physical Therapists. So, if you’re a Fitness Professional, read them for the knowledge you gain about the human body and how it works. But, don’t forget that reading a rehab book doesn’t make you qualified to utilize everything you learned in the book.

As the Rock say’s “Know Your Role!”

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Dynamic Patterns: The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior (Complex Adaptive Systems)

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This book is written in 1995 by J.A. Scott Kelso PhD: One of the leading movement scientists in the world from FAU.

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Here’s a glimpse into what you’ll learn from this book. The below is taken from Hermann Haken who wrote the forward in this book.

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“For the past twenty years Scott Kelso’s research has focused on extending the physical concepts of self- organization and the mathematical tools of nonlinear dynamics to understand how human beings (and human brains) perceive, intend, learn, control, and coordinate complex behaviors. In this book Kelso proposes a new, general framework within which to connect brain, mind, and behavior.”

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“Kelso begins with a general account of dynamic pattern formation. He then takes up behavior, focusing initially on identifying pattern-forming instabilities in human sensorimotor coordination. Moving back and forth between theory and experiment, he establishes the notion that the same pattern-forming mechanisms apply regardless of the component parts involved (parts of the body, parts of the nervous system, parts of society) and the medium through which the parts are coupled. Finally, employing the latest techniques to observe spatiotemporal patterns of brain activity, Kelso shows that the human brain is fundamentally a pattern forming dynamical system, poised on the brink of instability. Self-organization thus underlies the cooperative action of neurons that produces human behavior in all its forms.”

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Coordination Dynamics: Issues and Trends (Understanding Complex Systems)

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This book is Scott Kelso’s most recent project and was just released in 2010. I’m currently reading it and only through the first 1/4 of the book. So far, it’s great read. But, take heed: it’s some intense bedtime reading.

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Here’s what you’ll get out of this book based on the statements of it’s front (lead in) cover:

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“This book brings together scientists from all over the world who have defined and developed the field of Coordination Dynamics. Grounded in the concepts of self-organization and the tools of nonlinear dynamics, appropriately extended to handle informational aspects of living things, Coordination Dynamics aims to understand the coordinated functioning of a variety of different systems at multiple levels of description. The book addresses the themes of Coordination Dynamics and Dynamic Patterns in the context of the following topics: Coordination of Brain and Behavior, Perception-Action Coupling, Control, Posture, Learning, Intention, Attention, and Cognition.”

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A Manual Therapist’s Guide to Movement: Teaching Motor Skills to the Orthopaedic Patient

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This book was written by Physical Therapists and Feldenkris practitioner: Gordon Browne in 2006.

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First off, don’t be thrown off by the Yoga/Gymnastic pose on the cover. There’s nothing like that even remtotely shown in this book. I spoke with Gordon Brown about the cover picture after attending his live workshop at the Spine Symposium this past year. He informed me that the book publisher decided to put that picture on the book cover. That’s just business I guess?

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Anyway, here’s a review of this book I took from Amazon.com from a reviewer who happened to be a Professor in Physical Therapy from Arkansas State University:

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“This book does what the author set out to do for the intended audience. That is, to bridge between traditional/objective/scientific thoughts on movements and exercise, and a more integrative/subjective/awareness based model for the physical therapist/manual therapist who mainly works with an orthopedic clientele. ”

“Many practitioners could benefit from reading this book to gain a deeper understanding of motor learning, biomechanical and/or neurological aspect of movements. Readers will get much more enjoyment out of the book if they buy the CD set that is sold separately from the book. The CD set will make it easier and more pleasurable to do the experiential lessons described and analyzed in the book.”

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The Wrap Up!

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Our industry – the Health & Fitness industry – although growing at a rapid rate. Seems to be getting very small when it comes to where we are getting our information and education from.

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Everyone one seems to be quoting the same people’s work and rehashing the same stuff over and over again. To me, it’s great we all agree on certain things. But, it’s also a little scary because when we all start drinking the same kool-aid, we stop asking questions. When we stop asking questions, we cease to grow.

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All my intense traveling and constant educational ventures have taught me that there are so many smart people out there. Many of whom are not well known. But, none the less, these folks are out there and willing to share their knowledge if you make the effort to seak them out.

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So, in conclusion, as my good friend Martin Rooney likes to say “if you want what other people don’t have, you must do what other people don’t do”.

With Martin’s insightful words in mind: If you want to stay ahead of the game and be the best in the field of Human movement, you’ve got to actively seek out and learn from the resources the rest of your competition hasn’t taken the time or initiative to discover!

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In other words, if you want to know what other Health & Fitness Professionals don’t know, you’ve got read the book’s they’re not reading! These three books I listed above a great start!

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If you’ve got any recommendations for some valuable, but lesser known books – Please tell us about them in comments section!