If there’s one thing that never seems to go out of style, it’s resolutions involving diet and fitness during—and especially after—the holidays. And, just as reliably, publishers have a slew of books ready to tempt those seeking to reshape their bodies and lives with a new diet or fitness regimen. With such a dizzying menu of choices, it’s no wonder big names continue to dominate the category.
Celebrity diet and fitness books are an evergreen category because fans always want to know how people in the spotlight are able to keep their edge,” says Lucia Watson, senior editor at Penguin’s Avery. “But we’re also seeing that people are looking beyond quick fixes a little more these days and thinking about their long-term health.”
Avery has two notable titles on the way that aim to meet both goals—giving the celebrity edge to the average person and offering approaches for the long haul. Releasing in early January, Formula 50: A 6-Week Workout and Nutrition Plan That Will Transform Your Life by 50 Cent (with Jeff O’Connell) promises to give the lowdown on how to get a music-video-worthy physique like 50 Cent’s. Meanwhile, Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers shares the story of her health and dietary struggles and how embracing a plant-based diet has helped her in The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life (Mar.), which also offers a host of recipes.
Stars of the Shelves
Perhaps the best-known brand in slimming down these days is NBC-TV’s The Biggest Loser, which not only has its own branded tie-in books, DVDs, and videogame workouts, but features some of the best-known trainers in the business. The latest from the show’s Bob Harper (with Greg Crister), Jumpstart to Skinny: The Simple, 3-Week Plan for Supercharged Weight Loss (Ballantine), is due in April. Ballantine has high hopes for it, given that Harper’s The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Non-negotiable Principles for Getting to Thin hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list when it was released this past May.
Former Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels—now a powerhouse fitness brand all her own—also has a new offering headed to readers next year. Her Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss (Crown, Feb.) is intended to help with one of the biggest challenges dieters face: keeping the weight off.
Heather Jackson, consulting editor-at-large for Crown’s Archetype and Harmony imprints, explains that’s why Michaels—who swore she’d never write another diet book—decided to tackle the subject. “She has taken everything she’s learned about successful long-term weight management and distilled it into a guide to stepping over any and all land mines that might get in the way,” says Jackson.
Crown also has the latest from bestselling diet guru Dr. Pierre Dukan with The Dukan Diet Life Plan: Dukan Made Easy with 60 New Recipes (Mar.). The book aims to bring the doctor’s recommendations more fully into people’s lives and kitchens.
The publisher is also focused on launching celebrity nutritionist Haylie Pomroy’s first book, The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight (Apr.). Senior vice-president and publisher for Crown Archetype/Harmony Tina Constable believes Pomroy is poised to be the next big “wellness franchise,” given her three clinics in Los Angeles, one in Denver, and impressive roster of clients, including Robert Downey Jr. and Jennifer Lopez.
At Rodale, the spotlight is on bestselling author and A-list Hollywood trainer Harley Pasternak’s The Harley Diet: 15 Days to Supercharge Your Metabolism, Boost Your Results, and Slim Down for Life (Mar.). The diet includes a five-day jump-start to boost metabolism and emphasizes easy exercise, like walking and light resistance training.
Rodale publisher Stephen Perrine also singled out The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat! by Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko with Peter Moore (Dec.) as a potential breakout title. Based on Salk Institute research showing that when we eat may be as important as what we eat, the book has uncovered ample evidence this could be the key to weight loss and better health.
Losing Pounds, Gaining Health
The trend in recent years toward an increase in diets based on the latest science and designed to improve overall wellness (and physiques) is so well established at this point, health-focused books hardly seem trendy at all these days.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live and Super Immunity, is back in December with The End of Diabetes: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes (Harper). The potential audience for the book is large, with 26 million Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and an additional 80 million who qualify as prediabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Grand Central Life & Style executive editor Diana Baroni concurs that many people are now looking for these medically sound approaches to dieting. “From gluten intolerance to hypertension to Alzheimer’s and heart disease, readers are looking to heal their ailments and lose weight at the same time,” says Baroni.
Grand Central has four major diet titles for this season, all with a health or wellness slant. Marla Heller’s The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy (Dec.) sets forth the principles people need to follow the U.S. News and World Report top-ranked overall diet of DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The publisher also has Dr. Caroline Apovian and Frances Sharpe’s The Overnight Diet: The Proven Plan for Fast Permanent Weight Loss (Apr.), with Apovian bringing her expertise as director of Boston University Medical Center’s Nutrition and Weight Management Center to the table. And rounding out Grand Central’s diet and fitness list are Lyn-Genet Recitas’s The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat—And Lose Weight Fast (Jan.) and Christine Waltermyer and Jason Wyrick’s Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory (Feb.).
Globe Pequot has two January releases under its women-focused skirt! imprint that bring messages it hopes will resonate with members of its target demographic: The Quick & Clean Diet: Lose the Weight, Feel Great, and Stay Lean for Life by veteran TV anchor Dari Alexander and You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life, by frequent TV guest Dr. Ramani Durvasula. And Wiley has teamed up with the AARP for AARP The New American Diet: Lose Weight, Live Longer by Discovery Channel medical expert Dr. John Whyte, which offers a new diet for Americans 50 years and older that draws on NIH-AARP joint research.
“Food as medicine—both preventive and curative—is the latest trend in diet and health books,” says Nichole Argyre, St. Martin’s editor.
At St. Martin’s, Tana Amen’s The Omni Diet: The Revolutionary PLANT + PROTEIN Program to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, Fight Inflammation, and Change Your Life Forever (Apr.) sets out a science-based nutritional and lifestyle program that blends the best of plant-based and high-protein programs. The publisher also sees Dr. Ian K. Smith’s SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet (Dec.) cutting through a cluttered market with its instructions on how people can drop those stubborn last 20 pounds or get out of a diet plateau by using “diet confusion” to their advantage.
If diet is the evergreen side of the category, most publishers agreed that activity-focused fitness books are a tougher sell, and thinner lists bear that out.
Crown’s Jackson says the reasons for this are simple. “Fitness is tougher, as so much of that readership has moved to apps, online, and DVD. I don’t see that trend changing, though a merging of all these within electronic and other e-related channels seems imminent,” she says.
Ballantine is experimenting with extra content for its Body by You: The You Are Your Own Gym Guide to Total Women’s Fitness by Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark (Jan.). The book provides women with at-home weight workout options, and embedded QR codes will allow readers to see videos of more complicated exercises. Ballantine’s Cochran notes, “When it comes to fitness programs, it’s hard to compete with a live trainer or class instructor at the gym, so we need to let book readers interact some with a routine.”
Endurance sports and weight lifting are maintaining a toehold within the fitness category. Human Kinetics published Running for Women by Jason Karp and Dr. Carolyn Smith in June to an audience that welcomed the specific nature of its advice. Human Kinetics also has Delavier’s Sculpting Anatomy for Women: Core, Butt, and Legs by Frederic Delavier and Jean-Pierre Clemenceau, and Delavier’s Anatomy for Bigger, Stronger Arms by Frederic Delavier and Michael Gundill on the way in November.
Da Capo still sees space for fitness titles that offer a specific approach. Former competitive body builder Mikki Reilly’s Your Primal Body: The Paleo Way to Living Lean, Fit, and Healthy at Any Age (Dec.) focuses on the body while also exploring paleo-based nutrition and the dangers of the modern sedentary lifestyle. In addition, Da Capo has Matt Fitzgerald’s The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition (Feb.).
“I see a mix of new trends and old favorites—the numbers of runners tackling longer distances (full or half-marathons) continues to grow,” says Renee Sedliar, executive editor at Da Capo Lifelong. “Participants in endurance/obstacle races, à la Tough Mudder [10–12-mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces] are also increasing tremendously in number, so fitness programs that use equipment such as kettlebells are increasing in popularity.”
Skyhorse also has a pair of specifically focused titles out in January. Author Pete Cerqua owns the 90-Second Fitness flagship studio in New York and is building a sizable online platform to promote The High Intensity Fitness Revolution for Men and The High Intensity Fitness Revolution for Women.
“Everyone knows how competitive the fitness category is—big-name authors and celebrities are always coming out with new books,” Skyhorse associate publisher Bill Wolfsthal says. “When we find someone we believe in, we think we can compete.”
Cookbooks and other recipe-heavy offerings tied to various diet and exercise approaches continue to be popular, and the upcoming season is no exception.
Andrews McMeel has two cookbooks coming. The first, Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity Cookbook: Eat to Live, Live Long, and Be Healthy by Dr. Mao Shing Ni (Jan.), seeks to bring the results of the doctor’s years of research and interviews with centenarians into the kitchen in a way that is accessible to all cooks. Trained in both Chinese medicine and Western techniques, he has been called “doctor to the stars,” and Sex and the City fans will know him as “Dr. Wow.” His meal plans highlight specific goals alongside healthful dishes. The publisher’s second cookbook addresses the hot topic of how to be gluten-free. Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love by Carlyn Berghoff, Sarah Berghoff McClure, Dr. Susan Nelson, and Nancy Ross Ryan releases in April.
Trisha Calvo, executive editor at Rodale, says there’s a demand for more trustworthy information on how to be gluten-free, and hopes The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Gluten-Aware Plan for Losing Weight and Feeling Great—Fast! by Dr. Arthur Agatston with Dr. Natalie Geary (Mar.) will help fill that need. Coming out on the 10th anniversary of Agatston’s wildly successful The South Beach Diet, the latest tome gives detailed meal plans, including 20 recipes.
Other forthcoming titles may be of interest to those concerned about gluten intake as well. Nancy McEachern’s Student’s Gluten-Free Cookbook for Dummies (Wiley, Apr.) provides instruction on how to make classic student food like pizzas and pasta without gluten. And from the Healing Arts imprint of Inner Traditions/Bear and Company comes Chef Pauli Halstead’s Primal Cuisine: Cooking for the Paleo Diet (Jan.), featuring recipes free of grains, gluten, sugar, chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones. Halstead’s cookbook ties in with a bestselling Healing Arts title, Nora Gedgaudas’s Primal Body, Primal Mind, which has sold more than 50,000 copies since its release in 2011.
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman returns with The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss (Little, Brown, Feb.). Recipes include Mexican shrimp ceviche, Tuscan zucchini soup, and chocolate nut cake.
HCI director of communications Kim Weiss says health cookbooks are doing well, citing Melissa Costello’s The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook as “selling nicely” since its October release. This marks the publisher’s second vegan cookbook (following 2009’s well-received Vegan Yum Yum). Costello is chef to Tony Horton, creator of the popular P90X fitness system.
Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief of Self magazine and bestselling author of The Drop 10 Diet, adds The Drop 10 Diet Cookbook: More Than 100 Tasty, Easy Superfood Recipes That Effortlessly Peel Off Pounds (Ballantine, Mar.) to her plan for weight loss via superfoods. Highlights of the latest include a weekly meal planner with shopping lists as well as kitchen and cooking tips, along with four-color images throughout.
And SquareOne hopes to continue the success it has seen covering raw food topics with Jay and Linda Kordich’s Live Foods, Live Bodies! Recipes for Life (Apr.). The reader-friendly guide to juice therapy will be supported by a new slate of infomercials featuring the husband and wife team.
Faith and Fitness, a Q & A with HarperOne’s Claudia Riemer Boutote
With a plethora of books already incorporating spirituality and religion into dealing with issues like job loss, divorce, and mental and physical health, it’s no surprise that some titles are also bringing faith to the fore in diet and fitness. In December, HarperOne will release Witness to Fitness: Pumped Up! Powered Up! All Things Are Possible! by Donna Richardson Joyner, creator of the bestselling Body Gospel fitness DVDs. PW caught up with Claudia Riemer Boutote, senior vice-president and associate publisher of HarperOne, to discuss how faith is finding a place in this competitive category.
Do you feel the market for diet and fitness–related titles that include an element of spirituality is expanding?
There is certainly potential for growth in this arena, if created authentically for the target market. Consumers attracted to Eastern spiritual concepts may or may not be attracted to books with Bible verse included. In general, though, we have seen that consumers recognize that there is an emotional hurdle in starting and sticking to a diet and fitness plan and are open to the idea that tools to keep you on track could come from a spiritual or faith source. We have had great success with books like The Guru in You by Yogi Cameron Alborzian—we are set to publish his new book, The One Plan, in January, and Savor by Thich Nhat Hahn and Lillian Cheung. Each of these takes a more mindful approach to diet and wellness. What does Donna Richardson Joyner bring to the table that reflects this? CRB: In short, faith… and a lot of fun! Witness to Fitness brings together faith, food, and fitness in a unique way—day-by-day. Along with proven-to-work recipes and routines, Donna also inspires the reader to follow her on a 28-day journey to good health, using faith to provide the strength to make the changes needed. What do you think a book needs to be successful in the category right now? National media bookings are still critical. However, author platform is key—which means either running or being connected to strong organizations. For our Body Confidence by Mark MacDonald, our marketing activities were supported by his national organization, Venice Nutrition, which reached out to his consumer base for the book. Jennifer Tuma-Young, whose book is Balance Your Life, Balance the Scale, operates a franchise with the international fitness giant Curves, which amplified her book’s message through its channels.