Uncategorized The Best 15 Books for Personal Trainers

The Best 15 Books for Personal Trainers

Looking for the best books to skyrocket your personal training business in 2023? We’ve got the 15 best books for personal trainers right here. 

Theory and practice go hand-in-hand for personal trainers. Being tapped into the fitness literature can help you prevent injuries, demonstrate your expertise and get better results for your training clients. But there’s a million jillion books out there, and trying to figure out what you need to read can give you delayed onset brain soreness. (Yes, that’s a DOMS reference.)

Don’t worry though. At Trainerize, we’re up-to-date on all the personal training books you’ll need to build a successful fitness business, from exercise theory to business and nutrition, too. So let’s dive in. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of being a muscly bookworm and put you onto the top 5 books in three crucial categories: personal training, business, and nutrition.

Which types of books are most useful for personal trainers? 

The fitness industry’s best personal trainers read books across the fields of exercise science, business, and nutrition. Exercise science is the obvious one, of course—‘cause trainers like you need to stay informed about the latest fitness research and techniques to get effective, safe results for clients. Big brain = big muscles, albeit with a few intermediate steps.

Trainers are business people too, and business books can give you valuable insights into marketing, customer service, time management, and all the other essential parts of running your fitness business. Last, nutrition books can help you understand the role your clients’ diets play in achieving fitness goals and provide insights into creating effective meal plans.

The 5 best books for personal trainers

Let’s start with some of the key books you’ll need to expand your knowledge of training theory—both on the gym floor and off it.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning

Developed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA), Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning is basically the gold standard for strength and conditioning pros. The authors sketch out the principles of training theory, program design, and safe exercise techniques. So if you’re looking to understand the human body and train it to perfection, start here.

Price: $72.99 (via Amazon)

Ignite The Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career

Jonathan Goodman’s Ignite The Fire is titled like a ‘90s R&B jam, but it’s actually a complete book of personal training insights that’ll help you build a thriving fitness career. Covering everything from client acquisition and marketing to program design and nutrition, this book comes jam-packed with a careful blend of practical advice and training theory. What’s not to love?

Price: $19.99 (via Amazon)

Strength Training Anatomy

Books with pictures hit harder, and Strength Training Anatomy is the most picture-heavy guide to the anatomy behind strength training out there. There’s 600 full-color diagrams that’ll show you how different exercises work different muscles (and how they work together), so you’ll never be stuck trying to connect theory to anatomy again.

Price: $26.96 (via Amazon)

Becoming a Supple Leopard

Stretching is a vital part of safe training, and Becoming a Supple Leopard is a comprehensive guide to improving flexibility, staying mobile and preventing avoidable injuries. Packed with useful tips on everything from stretching, to foam rolling and core recovery techniques, this book will help you grow your clients’ muscles without tearing them.

Price: $39.95 (via Amazon)

Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training

Simple training exercises? Yup. Biomechanical analysis? Also yup. Starting Strength isn’t the fundamental guide to barbell training for nothing—it really covers it all.

You’ll reinforce your knowledge of the proper form and technique for the squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and other essential exercises you’ll use in your daily training practice.

Price: $23.54 (via Amazon)

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The best 5 business books for personal trainers

There’s way more to running a successful training business than just training, so let’s dive into some business books that’ll help you run your work life right.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

If there’s one book on this list you’ve heard of before, it’s probably Atomic Habits. This classic on habit formation will help you find your groove with new habits and transform how you structure time in your business life and beyond. As a personal trainer, you’ll find this book helpful for coaching clients in building healthy fitness habits and generally keeping yourself sane. (Both are important!)

Price: $14.11 (via Amazon)

The Lean Startup

No, this one isn’t just for the techies. The Lean Startup is a modern business must-read that teaches entrepreneurs how to build businesses that’re both innovative and durable. So give it a lil’ read! Fitness pros like you will pick up ideas for testing and validating new program ideas, reaching your target audience, and becoming a successful personal trainer.

Price: $17.04 (via Amazon)

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

We know the title’s a little spicy, but The E-Myth Revisited is a crucial text for any small business owner, including personal trainers. You ever heard of the concept of working on your business as well as in your business? This’s where it comes from. You’ll learn how to create a business model tailored to your goals, develop your own systems and processes, and build a fitness team you can grow with.

Price: $13.89 (via Amazon)

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results

Locking in and working on your fitness takes a lot of focus and if you’re trying to get in the zone, look no further than The ONE Thing. It’s the guide to focus, productivity, prioritization, and eliminating distractions we all needed back in undergrad. Personal trainers like you will find this one useful for achieving more in less time and becoming a more efficient trainer—and business leader, too.

Price: $14.19 (via Amazon)

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

It’s near-cliche, but communication is the key to all business. Tap into Start With Why for a comprehensive guide to communicating your purpose and vision to everyone around you. As a personal trainer, you’ll be able to use learnings from this book to craft messaging that resonates with your dream clients, create a personal or business brand that reflects your values, and build a client community that believes in you.

Price: $12.89 (via Amazon)

The best 5 nutrition books for personal trainers

You are what you eat, and let’s be real: you’d rather be a whole salad than a bag of Cheetos. In other words, nutrition is important. Here’s five nutrition books that’ll get you up to speed on your daily feed.

Good Calories, Bad Calories 

Not all calories are built equal. Good Calories, Bad Calories challenged the orthodox wisdom about nutrition and weight loss—which had people avoiding healthy lipids out of sheer fatphobia. Gary Taubes explains how the world’s love affair with high-carb diets contributed to rising obesity rates and why rediscovering good fats is the key to sustainable weight loss and better health.

Price: $17.99 (via Amazon)

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living 

Building on the last recommendation, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living provides a comprehensive plan for building a low-carb, high-fat diet. After diving deep into the science behind the diet, the authors explain how to make it a part of your life. You’ll reference this all the time when building meal plans for your clients.

Price: $20.99 (via Amazon)

The China Study 

The China Study is the Michael Jordan of nutrition studies, or maybe the Wayne Gretsky. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. T. Colin Campbell outlines how plant-based diets can reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The China Study isn’t a diet book, and it doesn’t try to be—it’s decades of nutrition research condensed down so we can apply it.

Price: $12.72 (via Amazon)

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration 

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is another classic that’ll ground your understanding of the links between nutrition and physical health. As part of his research, author Weston Price traveled extensively and studied the diets of dozens of different indigenous peoples, focusing on the healthy instead of the sick. The result? A volume full of valuable insights into the many, many benefits of nutrient-dense diets.

Price: $27.95 (via Amazon)

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food

Catherine Shanahan’s Deep Nutrition is an in-depth guide to the benefits of traditional foods—and their role in reinforcing personal health and preventing disease. Personal trainers who’re curious about historical approaches to nutrition will love this one, ‘cause it dives into how we ate in the time before processed foods.

Price: $32.50 (via Amazon)

So, what’s next? 

Now that you’re up to speed on the best nutrition books for personal trainers, you’ve got all the theoretical knowledge you’ll need to build your dream training business. And to make the logistics a piece of cake simple scoop of healthy protein powder, just fire up the Trainerize app. (We’ve gotta use healthy analogies, sorry not sorry.)

The Trainerize interface is plain and simple, so you’ll start seeing value immediately. You’ll be able to create appointment times for your training sessions, invite your clients, and send handy reminder emails. Soon, you’ll have that bustling training schedule you’ve been reading about in all these training books—and we love that for you.

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