Forget the workout and fitness books that promise you to become superhuman in a month or secret shortcuts to awesome health and enormous muscle mass. It’s all second-hand knowledge – go to the source!
You Are A Critical Thinker
When I looked at hottest selling books in the health and fitness genre, I couldn’t help but wonder: why read books by people who just regurgitate what they read elsewhere? And maybe even got it wrong?
This is why in this list you won’t find fitness and workout books that promise you “secrets”, “shortcuts” or your dream body in “fifteen minutes a day.”
Through the books I feature here you will gain an elementary understanding of human anatomy, learn how muscles work, what the true principles of strength training are and how can you can apply all this to your own workouts. You won’t depend on others to tell you what is right and wrong
But please, don’t then go and write your own book seeling the “ultimate method.”
The Best Workout And Fitness Books
The first three books are for the layman and provide you with a good, basic overview. The second three are textbooks and to get something out of them, you should have more than a fleeting interest in working out and fitness:
I can read your thoughts: “what does this do on here?” It’s here because tinkering with your body without knowing its basics is like trying to repair your car blindfolded.
This book is not very expensive, easy to read and gives you a good general understanding of the human body. You will learn how muscles function and where they get their energy from, how bones and joints work, how blood transports nutrients to every cell, how all this is assembled into a well-oiled clockwork and much more.
ACSM, the American College of Sports Medicine, is one of the very few organizations in the world of fitness that I truly respect.
When they put out a book that claims to be a “complete” guide to fitness and health, you can count on them getting together some of the leading researchers in these fields and assemble their words into something that will appeal to lay and professional audiences.
If you ever looked for one single book to answer all the “practical” fitness questions in one volume, this is it. It has it all: Does listening to music hurt my workout? Should I train when I’m sick? What role does my brain play in fatigue? Will running ruin my knees? Do I need extra protein to build muscle? Etc. Etc. Etc.
A fun and entertaining read, yet based on real scientific research.
With this book, we leave the area of those casually interested in working out and enter the sanctuary of those who truly want to know how things work.
You have been warned: this is not for the faint of heart. Cardinale et al. go in-depth about micro- and macrostructure of muscles, motor units, genetics, the biomechanical concepts of strength and conditioning, the practical applications and much more.
Similar to the book above, but more focused on resistance training and covers everything from that perspective.
It may also be one of the few textbooks that takes bodybuilding seriously and classifies it as a “competitive sport”.
Last but not least, this book. Because it’s the one those guys writing articles like “100 weird food rules for maximum muscle gain” and “ancient marathon nutrition secret discovered” should read.
A textbook, but not dry and explains practically all you need to know about sports nutrition: carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, when, what, why, how much.
An Expensive But Useful Investment
Some of these books are expensive. But you only have to pay the full price if you want them brand new. Get a used edition and you’ll only pay a fraction.
And if we compare a textbook on strength training full of solid research to guys selling supposed “shortcuts” to six-pack abs for $97, even the $60 for a new edition don’t look that bad anymore.