Books every personal trainer should read

February 20, 2020     /    Fitness Business Coaching    /    Liam Thompson

One of my fitness business mentors gave a piece of advice on our very first call together when I was a personal trainer. He said “Liam, The more you learn, the more you earn“. I firmly believe that even after you've qualified you should never stop learning and that the more you learn to better at what you do then the more you will succeed.

In fact, it's not until after you get your certification that your learning really begins. So….we reached out to our network of personal trainers on social media and in our Facebook Group to come up with a list of books we think every personal trainer & fitness professional should read.

Some of these have been recommended by fitness professionals for personal trainers and focus on nutrition, programming and exercise selection. Others have been highly recommended from our own personal experience and will help you as fitness professionals grow your business faster.

So here is the list of books that we think every personal trainer should read. Books that will help you to be better personal trainers, better at marketing your fitness businesses and ultimately serve more people.

Books to Improve Mindset and Inner Game

Let’s start with Mindset because everything starts there. A growth and success mindset is important in all aspects of life but especially when it comes to the business of being a leader and helping others change their lives.

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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future by [Godin, Seth]

Linchpin is ‘about you, your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose’.

According to Godin, linchpins are indispensable in any company. They love their work, are innovative and are great at figuring out how things should work.

Godin reveals the key to being indispensable is overcoming the fears that hold most of us back. If you have you ever found a shortcut that others missed, seen a new way to resolve a conflict, or made a connection with someone others couldn't reach, then you have what it takes to become indispensable. It's time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map.

An inspiring book that helps people create their own path and stand out from the crowd.

Amazon Rating: 4.2 stars

Buy Linchpin on Amazon

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

This book is all about what drives a person to say ‘yes’ and the power of persuasion. From Robert B Cialdini who gathered these strategies and techniques whilst working in sales himself.

By not selling to someone you are avoiding to help them, therefore, you choose to keep them in pain longer. You know you can solve their problem and it is your duty to provide the solution to your clients' problem.

Dr Cialdini’s helps you to get in the right mindset of selling using the 6 Principles of Persuasion. They are as follows:

  • Reciprocity
  • Commitment & Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

“This marvellous book explains in clear, practical language how we become persuaded. It offers excellent insights for those who sell, but even more importantly for all of us who negotiate and buy.” ―ROGER FISHER, Director, Harvard Negotiation Project, Co-author of “Getting to Yes.”

Amazon Rating: 4.4 stars

Buy Influence on Amazon

Personal Trainer Business Skills and Client Attraction Books

The books suggested in this section will help you understand and become clear with sales, marketing and business growth for your fitness business.

In an industry as competitive as ours, it takes more than just being an incredible trainer to succeed. Success in the fitness industry relies on several factors – here is a list of the best books that cover these factors allowing you to understand clearly what it takes to find success in the fitness industry. Our business is ever-evolving and we need to embrace the change. As Gary Vee says ‘Innovate or die' and if you don't take note of that as a result you'll have no business.

The Clarity Project: 4 steps to simplifying your sales message and attracting more clients online by Liam Thompson

If you don’t know how to market your business or attract clients ultimately this book is ideal for you. As a result, you will create a predictable and consistent income.

The Clarity Project is all about making Personal trainers' life's easier and not about over-complicating things. With the reliable actionable advice provided, you will learn how to develop your very own effective marketing strategy. Make more sales every day by standing out from the crowd and becoming the ‘go-to' person in your niche. Ultimately you will learn how to create recurring sales and build relationships with customers that last.

This is definitely a book that you can refer to again and again.

Amazon Rating: 5 stars

Buy The Clarity Project on Amazon

Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career by Jonathan Goodman

Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career (Revised, Updated, and Expanded) by [Goodman, Jonathan]

A fantastic read on how to build your personal trainer career from the ground up.

It focuses on several topics such as:

  • Finding your perfect job
  • Finding, marketing and selling to your ideal client
  • Building workouts
  • Dealing with clients
  • Creating multiple streams of income as a personal trainer

Many reviewers consider it to be an extremely useful text full of hints and tips for new and established personal trainers.

Amazon Rating: 5 stars

Buy Ignite the Fire on Amazon

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

If you decide to become your own boss then having a good foundation in writing is vital, especially for personal trainers that find it so difficult. Websites, blogs and emails are all elements that allow you to attract clients, which this book helps to create sales-boosting content for.

A valuable guide for both writers and non-writers. On Writing Well is a must-have for those who wish to work on their writing skills and grow their business.

Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy ‘On Writing Well' on Amazon

The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

In this bestseller, Chet Holmes gives 12 key strategies for improving your business.

The book focuses on strengthening your business by spending time and prioritising the key areas that cause the most impact and make the biggest difference.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars

Buy ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine' on Amazon

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

‘New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.’

This book will teach you how to speak to your audience so they can understand what it is that you do and why they need you to help them.

It will teach you ‘the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for your fitness business websites, brochures, and social media’

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

Buy ‘Building a Story Brand' on Amazon

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy

Image result for the ultimate sales letter

Dan Kennedy explains what it takes to write great sales copy.

Among other things, he provides:

  • Completely updated text and examples.
  • Great headline formulas.
  • New exercises to spark creativity.
  • The best way to use graphics.

“Kennedy is the most successful, highly paid direct-response copywriter in the country.  In this book, he shares his step-by-step formula, so everyone can write letters that will nail the sale.”

Amazon Rating: 4.3 stars

Buy ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter' on Amazon

The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

Image result for The 12 Week Year:

This book teaches you how to stop thinking about plans annually and start thinking of them in a 12 week way. Providing you with urgency and helping you avoid low productivity. It educates you on the steps you need to take to get the most important things done.

Written by leading experts on execution and implementation of this book ‘Offers a how–to for both individuals as well as organisations seeking to improve their execution effectiveness’.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars

Buy ‘The 12 Week Year' on Amazon

Oversubscribed By Daniel Priestley

Being too busy to take on new clients and having a waiting list must be every business owners dream. Daniel Priestley teaches you how to make that a reality. ‘Oversubscribed' also shows you how you can get customers queuing up to use your services and products while competitors are forced to fight for business.

You will learn how to become oversubscribed, even in a crowded marketplace like personal training. It is full of practical tips alongside inspiring examples which will alter your mindset and get you bursting with ideas.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars

Buy ‘Oversubscribed' on Amazon

The Best Books for Muscle Building & Strength

Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be stronger and leaner? This amazing catalogue that we have put together for you will reaffirm everything that you already know. It will also keep you up to date and crystal clear on what works for the industries experts.

Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews

Image result for Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body

Bigger Leaner Stronger is a no-nonsense bestseller that aims to teach people ‘the exact muscle building nutrition and training methods that make putting on 10 to 15 pounds of quality lean mass in a breeze…’

Matthews believes building muscle can be simple and it doesn’t require spending endless hours in the gym or hundreds on supplements each month.

This book’s no-BS approach places emphasis on being able to build muscle without devoting all of your time to it. Everything you need to know about building muscle and diets in one place.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

Buy ‘Bigger Leaner Stronger' on Amazon

Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier

With over 1 million copies sold, consequently, the Strength Training Anatomy is a must-have guide on how muscles perform during exercise.

While many other texts explain what muscles are used during particular exercises, Strength Training Anatomy is more in depth. It comes full of illustrations to provide a better understanding of anatomy along with exercises and stretches for different muscles.

A must have especially relevant reference book for strength training that brings anatomy to life.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 stars

Buy ‘Strength Training Anatomy' on Amazon

The Concise Book Of Muscles by Chris Jarmey and John Sharkey

Chris Jarmey and John Sharkey’s fully updated and the revised manual is a quick reference to the main skeletal muscles. Colour-coded for easy reference this book contains over 400 hundred illustrations. Understanding that jargon is not always helpful, the writers have written in an easy to understand format with the technical terms explained as well. Furthermore, the book discusses the most used muscles and stretches and exercises to strengthen them, very useful and very valuable for anyone in the fitness industry.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

Buy ‘The Concise Book of Muscles' on Amazon

Serious Strength Training by Tudor Bompa

Amazon’s blurb on this book is short and sweet:

“The man who revolutionised Western training methods is back. Based on the latest scientific research, the updated third edition of Tudor Bompa’s best-selling Serious Strength Training provides bodybuilders with a comprehensive guide to experiencing a complete transformation in physique and the kinds of strength gains they thought weren’t possible.”

Tudor O Bomba has personally trained 11 Olympic medalists, including 4 gold medalists.

And that's all that needs to be said on this one.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars

Buy ‘Serious Strength Training' on Amazon

Principles of Muscle Building Program Design (UP Encyclopedia of Personal Training) by Nick Mitchell and Jonathan Taylor

Focusing on people in phase 0 to 24 months of their training, this book will teach you the ins and outs of muscle building.

This book is excellent for beginners and also relevant to be used as a reference manual. With FAQs, detailed guides and 12 weeks of customisable workout programmes the guide is very versatile. There are over 40 illustrated exercise guides with step by step instructions, trainer tips and access to a library of videos showing how to perform every exercise.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

Buy ‘Principles of Muscle Building Program Design' on Amazon

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Jason Kelly

Image result for Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Jason Kelly

‘Starting strength' has been described as a must have and the best and most useful of fitness books. No other book on barbell training ever written provides detailed instruction on every aspect of the basic barbell exercises.

“Your complete guide to developing strength. The foundation of athletic performance and the key to long-term health.”

Amazon Rating: 4.8 stars

Buy ‘Starting Strength' on Amazon

Beyond Brawn by Stuart McRobert

Now in its third edition Beyond Brawn is the sequel to Brawn which is deemed to be a book which created a body revolution.

Beyond Brawn offers to make you your own expert trainer. No matter your gender or level of experience. Debunking pseudoscience, unnecessary supplements and promoting natural gains. This book will teach you how to build muscle without great genetics, steroids or spending endless hours in the gym.

Amazon Rating: 4.2 stars

Buy ‘Beyond Brawn' on Amazon

Functional and Comprehensive Guides

This section covers all the technical bits that take you from a fitness professional to an expert. Ensuring that you know absolutely everything you need to know to stay at the top of your field and hold authority.

The Complete Guide to Stretching by Dr Christopher Norris

‘The Complete Guide to Stretching' does exactly what it says in the title. It includes over 70 exercises in full colour and with up to do images. This is the absolute go-to guide for the often neglected practises of stretching. This is ideal for rehabilitation clients but especially fundamental in flexibility and the healthy functioning of joint and muscles, including stretching which reduces the risk of injury.

Written by Dr Christopher M Norris who is a popular lecturer and Physiotherapist with a Masters in Exercise Science and a doctorate in Spinal rehabilitation.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

Buy ‘The Complete Guide to Stretching' on Amazon

The Complete Guide to Postural Training by Kesh Patel

This reference book is ideal for fitness professionals looking to help their clients or themselves improve their posture. It provides a postural assessment and corrective exercises. Claiming ‘the average person can add half an inch to their height, 1 inch to their shoulder width and reduce their waistline by two-thirds of an inch purely by improving posture’ this book is the first to take a systematic approach to improve posture.

Brought to you by Kesh Patel who has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years.

Amazon Rating: 3.9 stars

Buy ‘The Complete Guide to Postural Training' on Amazon

How to Eat, Move and be Healthy by Paul Chek

This book claims to be a tailored 4 part guide whereby the user picks and chooses what they need based on the results of the four parts. Chek claims we are all unique and as such will all need to use the book differently.

How to eat, move and be healthy provides a ‘proven four-step program that has helped thousands of people look and feel their best.’

A good guide to see how an internationally acclaimed presenter and consultant work to achieve the results he does.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 stars

Buy ‘How to Eat, Move and be Healthy' on Amazon

Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance (International Edition) by William D. McArdle and Frank I. Katch

Now in its 8th edition, this book has helped over 350,000 students. Designed to be as engaging as possible, this book teaches the scientific principles underlying modern exercise physiology. A fully comprehensive manual.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 stars

Buy ‘Exercise Physiology' on Amazon

New Functional Training for Sports by Michael Boyle

Mike Boyle is a leading sports performance coach. In this book, he presents methods, concepts and exercises to help athletes maximise their movements.

A clear, concise and easy to follow book. It covers functional training with sample programmes that ‘assist in the customisation process and ensure each aspect of preparation for physical performance’.

Amazon Rating: 4.9 stars

Buy ‘New Functional Training for Sports' on Amazon

Weight Loss and Quick Results

In the fast paced world that we live in, and with everything at our fingertips, we all have those clients that want to see faster results. Therefore, the books in the following list are all designed to teach you what has worked for other trainers.  Maybe, they will inspire you to create your own signature programme.

The Clean & Lean Diet by James Duigan

Working with the likes of Elle ‘the body’ Macpherson, Hugh Grant and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, James Duigan brings you ‘The Clean and Lean Diet'. He is world-renowned and is the founder of BODYISM. This book offers expert advice, recipes, exercise programmes and guidance on using nutrition to function at your highest level.

“If one thing will inspire you to buy James Duigan’s ‘Clean and Lean Diet’, it’s that he’s the personal trainer to model Elle Macpherson. It’s his easy-to-follow advice, 14-day kick-start diet and eight-minute toning workouts that’ll keep you reading.” (Easy Living).

‘The Clean and Lean Diet' will show you how he does it and is a great insight into achieving amazing results quickly, something you can use for your own clients.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 stars

Buy ‘The Clean & Lean Diet' on Amazon

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

International bestseller Timothy Ferriss’ book asks if you want to lose fat, double testosterone and get the perfect posterior.

Boasting that it eclipses every other health manual and can help you reach your true genetic potential in just 3-6 months. This book seems ideal for quick results.

This 4 Hour Body is based on 15 years worth of research which also includes personal stories as well as recipes. Ferriss has provided a menu of options ranging from simple to the extreme. This means that no matter your ability as a trainer you will have options to try.

Amazon Rating: 4.1 stars

Buy ‘The 4-Hour Body' on Amazon

What other books would you recommend for personal trainers?

If you read this article you may also be interested in this >> Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Personal Training



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