New books on healthy living emphasize workouts and eating plans for different lifestyles and goals—whether you want to lose inches fast, make better choices at the drive-thru or simply minimize stress.

Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines are known for their bold design, clean layouts and solid information. The Women’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts and The Men’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts are chunky little powerhouses that feature those same elements while promising “433 ultra-effective exercises, 1 hard body: yours!” Recent research shows that brief workouts can be just as effective as pounding away at the treadmill or spin class for hours at a time; these books are packed with 85 super-fast workouts and hundreds of exercises that banish boredom and maximize results. Each exercise is clearly described with step-by-step photos that make it easy to achieve good form. From the Super-Fast Weight Loss System Workout and  Cardio Interval Training to exercises for Healing, Sports Training and Better Sex, these books target every possible fitness goal a man (see: Iron Glute, Deltoid Definer, Six-Pack Abs, The Flat Butt Fix workouts) or woman (see: Hourglass Body, Pushup Bra, Belly Pooch, Michelle Obama Arms workouts) could ever desire.

The influential Eat This, Not That! franchise introduced readers to the nutritional disasters hidden in supermarket aisles and behind restaurant menus, and the small swaps that promote better health and lower calories without dieting. The updated and expanded 2012 edition of Eat This, Not That! The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution features still-shocking entries in the Not That category (The Cheesecake Factory’s sautéed spinach side has the fat equivalent of 14 strips of bacon). However, it also includes new Eat This items offered by restaurants, thanks to shaming and pressure from anti-obesity crusader David Zinczenko, who co-authors the books with Matt Goulding. Back are the compact, color-coded spreads with product and menu-item comparisons in categories like fast food, chain restaurant and supermarket foods. Also included are Holidays and Special Occasions; foods marketed to kids; and an excellent Cook This section, with recipes for healthier versions of restaurant favorites. Zinczenko also shares Eat This success stories and a list of America’s 20 Worst Foods. While the best approach to eating healthfully is cooking from scratch, the book arms a typical American—who grabs breakfast from the drive-thru, lunch at a chain restaurant and dinner from the freezer most days of the week—with vital information they can use to find the health bonanzas and bombs.

Dr. Mehmet Oz and his sidekick Dr. Michael Roizen, authors of the best-selling You series (You on a Diet, You Staying Young) are back with You: Stress Less. This brief, useful and easily digestible book looks at good stress and bad stress—and provides tips beyond chocolate and bubble baths to minimize its destructive effects so you can live a happy, healthy life. Starting with the science behind stress, the docs take readers through healthy lifestyle basics including recipes for delicious healthy food, or “nature’s best medicine.” Stress management techniques are covered in sections on activity, relationships, pain management, good communication, managing anger, workplace stresses and the “Big Picture” of spirituality and giving, ending with a guide for developing your own stress plan—making this slim volume a mini-doctorate in preventative health care.

Working Out Sucks! (And Why It Doesn’t Have To): The Only 21-Day Kick-Start Plan for Total Health and Fitness You’ll Ever Need is an audacious approach to the challenges that keep people from getting fit. “Working out is a chore that ranks somewhere behind window washing, gutter cleaning and dog poop scooping,” writes author Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, a chain of 1,600 health clubs across America. Aided by colleagues Brian Zehetner, a registered dietitian, and Rebecca A. DeRossett, executive coach and owner of Stillwater Psychological Associates, Runyon lays out the connection between good health and exercise, and the reasons the average person should develop fitness goals. Less a workout book and more an entertaining, kick-in-the-backside companion, Runyon “deprograms” fitness “brainwashing” of bad information, destructive attitudes and habits. His good-natured rants are followed by a section on changing defeatist attitudes, plus a 21-day kick-start plan including daily meal and workout suggestions. “While vanity may provide the initial motivation,” Runyon writes, “it’s the internal reward—the regular dose of accomplishment and pride—that turns regular people into fitness addicts.”

The Physique 57® Solution isn’t for sissies, but the subtitle does promise “A Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body.” Authors and dancers Tanya Becker and Jennifer Maanavi were devotees of the Lotte Berk Method, a strengthening and stretching technique created by Russian ballerina Lotte Berk. After her studio closed, the pair adapted her methods as Physique 57®, a combination of interval training, isometric exercises and orthopedic stretches that aims to lengthen and sculpt muscles for a lean body. Aimed at women with a promise to help them “lose up to 10 inches fast,” the regimen uses a process called “Interval Overload” to bring muscles to the point of fatigue—“where it starts to burn and shake”—to provide “the greatest possible stimulus” for greater results with fewer reps. The book’s 57-minute workouts are illustrated with black and white photographs, and the exercises are followed by a “kitchen diva” section with nutrition tips and recipes for a “macro-nutrient-rich approach to weight loss.” Those familiar with Pilates and other dancer-inspired workouts won’t shy away from this challenging path to an enviable body.

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