As a personal trainer, keeping up with the latest research and best practices is essential to providing the best possible service to your clients. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or simply help clients develop healthy habits, there are many great books out there to help you achieve your goals. In this blog, we’ll cover some of the best books for personal trainers, covering a range of topics from exercise science and resistance training to business and sales.
I’ve personally read every single book on this list but don’t be overwhelmed, simply choose the area where you think you need to work on most and get started. This list took me a couple of years to get through!
Best Business Books for Personal Trainers
- “The E-Myth Revisited” – This book by Michael Gerber is a classic guide to small business ownership, with a focus on developing systems and processes for success.
- “Ignite The Fire” – Jon Goodman’s book provides a clear road map to starting your personal training career, building your clientele, establishing your reputation, and boosting your income. This book has 1,000+ 5-star reviews and is also available in both Spanish and Chinese but was one of the first books I ever read way back when I started.
- “Hooked” – The original hit by Nir Eyal explains how to build habit-forming products in a simple way which allows you to apply the learnings to your own sales process and fitness products
- “The Cold Start Problem” – If you’re an online personal trainer or someone who has aspirations of building an app, this book will explain how apps like facebook solve the hard side of product problems and scale through network effects.’
- ‘Zero To One” – The book is predominantly about startups but features great lessons and insights into the more modern-day, successful companies. It provides a lesson on focus and execution, perfect for those personal trainers that want to build a world-class business.
- “The Four Steps To The Epiphany” – The OG lean startup book. This is a great resource if you want. a step-by-step playbook on how to find your product, niche or unique offering. I’ve used this personally to build a couple of businesses now as it’s detailed and battle proven.
Best Sale Books for Personal Trainers
- “The Ultimate Sales Machine” – This book by Chet Holmes provides practical advice and strategies for building a successful sales organization, including techniques for prospecting, closing deals, and managing a sales team.
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – This classic book by Dale Carnegie offers timeless advice on building strong relationships and communicating effectively, both of which are crucial skills for any business owner.
- “Spin Selling” – The best seller by Neil Rackham Focuses on the art of asking effective questions in sales conversations, with the goal of uncovering a prospect’s needs and creating a customized solution that meets those needs.
- “The Challenger Sale” – This book challenges traditional sales approaches and provides a framework for a new way of selling that involves challenging the prospect’s assumptions and providing insights that they may not have considered.
- “Fanatical Prospecting” – This book authored by Jeb Blount emphasizes the importance of consistent and persistent prospecting, providing practical tips and strategies for finding and engaging potential customers.
Best Books on Psychology & Habits for Coaches
- “Mindset” – This book by Carol Dweck is a guide to developing a growth mindset, with a focus on the importance of persistence and resilience.
- “The Talent Code” – This book by Daniel Coyle is a guide to developing talent through deliberate practice, with a focus on the importance of myelin and neural connections.
- “Atomic Habits” – This book by James Clear is a guide to developing good habits and breaking bad ones, with a focus on the importance of small, consistent actions over time. I read this book well after I had designed my own habit shaping system, I wish I had read this sooner!
- “Indistractable” – This instant classic by Nir Eyal explains how we are distracted in this modern world and what to do about it. It’s perfect not only for personal trainers but their clients as well.
- “Thinking, Fast & Slow” – This can be a bit of a dry read but even handpicking elements that are of interest will change the way you think. This book is a masterclass on biases, and heuristics and give you a deeper understanding in the way people think.
Best Workout & Fitness Books
- “The Minimalism Effect 2.0” – I had to give myself a plug at some point. ME 2.0 is a complete guide to mindset, habits, movement and strength training for the minimalist athlete. There’s over 300 minutes of video content to help make you a better personal trainer regardless of the tools and equipment you use.
- “Body by Science” – This book by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little is a science-based approach to high-intensity training, with a focus on maximum muscle hypertrophy and aerobic function.
Best Weight Loss and Nutrition Books
- “The Obesity Code” – This book by Dr. Jason Fung is a comprehensive guide to the science of weight loss, with a focus on the role of insulin resistance and the benefits of intermittent fasting.
- “The Hungry Brain” – The Hungry Brain explains the hardwired systems that cause so many people to overeat, and gives you strategies to help your clients fight back.
Best Books for Mobility & Movement
- “Becoming a Supple Leopard” – This book by Kelly Starrett is a great resource for mobility and movement, with exercises and techniques to improve flexibility and prevent injury.
- “Movement” – The world renowned book by Gray Cook and the team at Functional Movement gives you a complete training system to improve mobility, stability and movement. Alot of what you will read on this blog will be based on my experience using the FMS.
- “Deskbound” – This book by Dr. Kelly Starrett is a comprehensive guide to addressing the negative effects of prolonged sitting, with a focus on exercises and techniques to improve posture and mobility.
- “Back Mechanic” – Stuart McGill’s best work transferred into user-friendly information and advice, informed by decades of research and hands-on application. You owe it to yourself, and your future clients, to understand what causes back pain, and how you can help them
Best Strength Training Books
- “Starting Strength” – This book by Mark Rippetoe is a classic guide to strength training, with a focus on proper form and technique. The strength standards in this book helped form the basis of the Minimalist Strength Standards here.
- “Power to the People!” – This book by Pavel Tsatsouline is a guide to minimalist strength training, with a focus on high-intensity, low-volume workouts.
- “Easy Strength” – The book written by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline is a perfect guide to building strength as an athlete. It covers hypertrophy, strength and other training for in and out of season. I love this book so much that I produced a complete review and video here.
- “5-3-1” – Jim Wendlers 5-3-1 provides a universal strength training system that’s applicable for the athlete all the way to the novice trainer. Regardless of who your clients are, this book and strength program will be useful.
- “Enter the Kettlebell” – This book by Pavel Tsatsouline introduces the reader to kettlebell training, including the fundamentals of kettlebell techniques, programming for strength and conditioning, and tips for avoiding common mistakes.
- “Convict Conditioning” – This book by Paul Wade presents a bodyweight training system that is designed to help readers build strength and muscle using only their own body weight. The book provides progressions for six foundational exercises, as well as tips for structuring a training program.
The 5 Best Books For Personal Trainers
The list below is based on two things, the value and impact that they will have on your business and clients.
- Ignite The Fire – A great, well-rounded book for PT’s early on their journey
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany – A systematic approach to building a product or business
- Spin Selling – A great resource to learn how to sell to clients
- Atomic Habits – A great guide on habit shaping and human psychology
- The Minimalism Effect 2.0 – A comprehensive guide that combines a lot of the books above into a full training system
In conclusion, there are many excellent personal training books available to help you stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in the field. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or simply help clients develop healthy habits, there is a book out there for you.
As you can see though, the best books for personal trainers are usually ones that have been around for years! Use reviews and social proof to help you make your purchasing decision.
So, whether you prefer audiobooks, Kindle, or physical copies, head to Amazon or where ever you prefer to buy your books and start reading your way to success in the personal training industry!