Forget the workout and fitness books that everyone reads. It’s all second-hand knowledge – go to the source!
These Books Make You Independent!
When I looked at the best-selling books in the health, fitness and exercise genre, I couldn’t help wonder: what is wrong with these books that new ones come out every year?
It’s because they tell you to do stuff, but never explain the why. They never empower you to make your own decisions.
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.” These books are the real deal and the stuff so-called “fitness pros” read to give it to you second-hand.
If you buy any of the below books through the links I provided, I earn a small commission, which helps me in keeping this site running. It’s free of charge for you.
The Best Workout And Fitness Books
The first three books get you kickstarted into fitness, answer the most pressing questions and give you a basic understanding about how your body works.
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 claiming it’s 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 excellent.
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.
I can read your thoughts: “what does this do on here?” Well, tinkering with your body without knowing its basics is like trying to repair your car blindfolded.
This book isn’t very expensive, easy to read and gives a good general understanding of the human body. You learn how muscles function, where they get their energy from, how bones and joints work, how all this turns into a well-oiled clockwork and much more.
For The Hardcore Workout Freaks
You are really serious about fitness and working out? Then check these books that explain the science and principles behind resistance training and ultimate conditioning.
They are not for the faint of heart, but with this knowledge you won’t depend on others to tell you what is right and wrong. Just don’t go then and write your own book selling the next “abs in 30 days”! It would be on my conscious that I created a monster!
Warning: this book makes working with your body sound like you are trying to assemble the USS Enterprise. But it is one of the best books to go in-depth!
Cardinale et al. explain the 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’s also 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.
Another textbook, but not dry and explains practically all you need to know about sports nutrition: carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, when, what, why, how much and why you glow in the dark.
Ok, the last one I made up.
Get Used Textbooks!
The last three are expensive. But only if you buy them brand new. Get a used edition and you’ll 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.