Wellness Partners

The Top 15 Best Fitness Books for Gym Owners

Feb 1, 2024
Last Updated Feb 1, 2024

In a field where fitness trends and health sciences evolve quickly, continuous learning gives gym owners a competitive edge. Even the most experienced fitness professionals can use some inspiration or advice, and you can find some impressive pearls of wisdom in fitness books. 

This list is compiled of books designed to explore more advanced fitness goals and concepts. Perhaps even more importantly, these books are all written by professionals with real experience and knowledge, not just self-proclaimed experts. There is also advice rooted in evidence-based principles instead of quick-fix fads. You can create a healthy environment at your gym and evolve your business strategy with the insights from these fitness books.

Benefits of Reading Fitness Books for Gym Owners

As a business owner, there is a lot on your plate — but taking the time to expand your knowledge can be incredibly valuable. These fitness books can offer all kinds of insights that drive your passion forward.

Staying Updated with Trends and Social Media

Fitness books can help you develop up-to-date knowledge on the latest fitness trends and scientific discoveries. This not only helps establish their authority in the fitness community but also helps that the training programs you offer be current and effective.

Innovative Class and Workshop Ideas

Fitness books can be a source of inspiration for creating diverse and appealing classes. By introducing unique fitness programs, fitness brands can attract a broader member base and add variety to their offerings.

Psychological Insights for Client Motivation

Understanding the psychological aspects of fitness is a great way to inspire and support clients. This knowledge can lead to increased member satisfaction and loyalty when gym owners approach training with empathy and understanding.

The Top 15 Best Fitness Books

  1. "Bigger Leaner Stronger" by Michael Matthews

"Bigger Leaner Stronger" is a comprehensive fitness guide written by international bestselling author and trainer Mike Matthews. Focused on building muscle and strength, this book offers both strength training programs and nutritional guidance. Matthews especially emphasizes the concept of progressive overload for consistent progress. You can even learn about how supplements can be part of a balanced meal plan, all backed by scientific research. 

The book also encourages goal setting and provides evidence-based strategies for achieving fitness goals. More specifically, readers are taught how to set clear, achievable fitness goals as the book provides strategies for tracking progress and staying motivated. This read is a great option if you want a well-rounded wellness approach for customer since it touches on a little bit of everything in the fitness arena.

  1. "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Do you have clients interested in taking their weightlifting to the next level? "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" by former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is a classic reference book that delves into the world of bodybuilding. It covers a wide range of topics, including a variety of training techniques and nutrition. 

The book provides detailed guidance on lifting techniques and workout plans suitable for beginners and advanced bodybuilders alike. One of the best parts of this book is how Schwarzenegger shares his personal experiences surrounding training philosophies and sports psychology.

Bodybuilders appreciate Schwarzenegger's unique insights as a seven-time Mr. Olympia with practical advice and inspirational commitment to greatness. Whether you have customers looking to refine their training techniques or simply gain motivation from a fitness icon, this is a must-read for gym owners supporting bodybuilders.

  1. "Strength Training Anatomy" by Frederic Delavier

For many of your members, the gym is a place for building a stronger body. This visual guide provides an in-depth look at various exercises and how to target specific muscles with effective strength training. “Strength Training Anatomy” from world-renowned author Frederic Delavier presents anatomical illustrations alongside clear and concise descriptions of each exercise This provides readers with a deep understanding of how different muscles are activated during specific movements. 

Emphasizing form and technique, "Strength Training Anatomy" serves as a valuable resource for gym owners who work with both beginners and experienced weightlifters. By understanding the anatomical aspects of each exercise, you can optimize  training routines to help clients boost their performance. You can use this book as a practical tool for anyone seeking to enhance their strength training knowledge and make informed decisions about workout programs.

  1. "The Science of Running" by Steve Magness

"The Science of Running" by performance coach and author Steve Magness is an exploration of the scientific principles that support the sport of running. Magness delves into various aspects of running, including a variety of training methodologies and injury prevention. 

He also leverages his knowledge of coaching and discusses the best ways to optimize performance. Magness covers physiological and biomechanical factors that influence running performance, offering valuable insights into how to train effectively and avoid common pitfalls. The book emphasizes evidence-based approaches to training, helping runners understand the scientific rationale behind their workouts. This book will help you not only with your running expertise but your coaching methods, too!

  1. "The Complete Guide to Fasting" by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore

"The Complete Guide to Fasting" explores the health benefits of intermittent fasting and provides practical guidance on incorporating it into one's fitness routine. Between Doctor Fung’s medical expertise and Moore’s international success as a best-selling author, this book is rich in real-world insights and data. The book highlights the science behind fasting, explaining how it can aid in weight loss by improving metabolic health long-term. It offers various fasting protocols and addresses common concerns and misconceptions. 

Gym owners may find this book particularly appealing because it discusses how fasting can be used to optimize workouts and enhance fat loss, all while maintaining muscle mass. This can be especially relevant for your patrons since many of their primary goals are to lose weight, which requires optimizing their gym time and their nutrition.

  1. "The Vertical Diet" by Stan Efferding

Next, there is "The Vertical Diet" by powerlifter and bodybuilder Stan Efferding, a nutrition guide tailored for serious athletes aiming to optimize muscle growth and performance. Efferding's approach centers on a simplified diet plan that prioritizes easily digestible, nutrient-dense foods. The book emphasizes the consumption of red meat, rice, and various fruits and vegetables to provide essential macronutrients and micronutrients for athletes. 

This is another  practical, no-nonsense approach to nutrition, which can help streamline meal planning and support muscle development. Efferding also discusses topics like digestion, hydration, and supplementation to aid in recovery and performance. Overall, "The Vertical Diet" offers a straightforward and effective dietary strategy that can benefit clients dedicated to intense training regimens and muscle-building goals.

  1. "Supple Leopard 2nd Edition" by Kelly Starrett

If you’ve heard of “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” then you may be familiar with "Supple Leopard 2nd Edition" by Kelly Starrett, which is an updated version of the classic book that emphasizes mobility and injury prevention. Starrett, a physical therapist and trainer, provides a guide to understanding and improving movement patterns and joint mobility. The book includes detailed instructions and exercises to address common issues that can hinder athletic performance and lead to injuries. 

If you work with athletes, you may find this book valuable in helping them enhance their mobility and flexibility while optimizing their training. You can empower individuals to take control of their physical wellbeing, ensuring they can push themselves in the gym while reducing the risk of setbacks due to mobility restrictions. It’s also written by a trainer, so you know that you are getting a relevant perspective as a gym owner.

  1. "The Triathlete's Training Bible" by Joe Friel

​​"The Triathlete's Training Bible" is a guide primarily designed for triathletes and endurance athletes seeking peak performance. Friel, an experienced endurance sports coach, delves into the intricacies of triathlon training, offering detailed plans and strategies for various disciplines like cycling and running. The book also covers intensity and recovery, helping athletes structure their training to maximize results while minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury. 

Even if not focused on triathlons, readers interested in endurance sports can benefit from Friel's expertise in optimizing training regimens and achieving peak fitness. Gym owners can leverage this information and implement its training suggestions in their own programs. It serves as a powerful resource for those looking to take their fitness and athletic performance to the next level.

  1. "Powerlifting: A Scientific Approach" by Dr. Fred Hatfield

"Powerlifting: A Scientific Approach" is a scientifically grounded exploration of powerlifting techniques and strategies. Dr. Hatfield, a renowned powerlifter and sports scientist, delves into the biomechanics, and physiology behind powerlifting. This book is another insightful read for gym owners who work with powerlifters seeking to improve their strength and performance. It covers topics such as proper form, periodization, nutrition, and mental preparation, all backed by scientific research.

  1. "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe

Widely regarded as a classic, “Starting Strength” focuses on the fundamentals of strength training, with detailed instruction on proper technique and programming. Rippetoe is not only a former powerlifter, but he also owns his own gym as a strength training coach. This makes “Starting Strength” an even more engaging read for gym owners who want a relatable and helpful perspective from a fellow expert. The content here is useful for both beginners and intermediate learners. Gym owners can get potent insights into client workouts like the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and power clean.

Rippetoe emphasizes the importance of mastering the basic barbell exercises, which he considers the foundation of strength training. He provides step-by-step instructions, accompanied by illustrations. This you solidify your understanding of the movement patterns for each exercise, better to optimize the experience you offer.

  1. "Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger" by Michael Matthews

"Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger" is a follow-up to Matthew’s first book and offers advanced training and nutrition strategies for experienced lifters and fitness enthusiasts. In this book, Matthews explores the science and techniques behind muscle building, strength gains, and body composition optimization. He provides more experienced health experts with advanced workout routines and dietary insights to take their fitness journey to the next level. 

Gym owners can benefit from this book by gaining a deeper understanding of advanced training principles, especially to help advanced clients break through their personal plateaus. It's a great resource for those seeking continued progress and looking to fine-tune their approach.

  1. "The Renaissance Diet" by Dr. Mike Israetel, Dr. Jennifer Case, and Dr. James Hoffmann

Another great book for food efforts, "The Renaissance Diet" provides an in-depth guide to advanced nutrition strategies for optimizing muscle gain and fat loss. This author trio comes with a range of experience and insights. First, Dr. Mike Israetel is a renowned sports scientist and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization. Then there is Dr. Jennifer Case, an accomplished dietitian and expert in nutritional counseling. Dr. James Hoffmann rounds the group out as a distinguished exercise physiologist and professor. 

Their book is rooted in scientific principles and offers a systematic approach to nutrition, covering topics such as macronutrient ratios and meal timing. It can help gym owners advise their clients on how to tailor their food to support their fitness goals. This can include goals like bulking, cutting, or maintaining. The book is a stand-out resource for gym owners helping members fine-tune their dietary habits for body composition and performance goals.

  1. "Maximum Muscle Bible" by Christian Thibaudeau

"Maximum Muscle Bible" by Christian Thibaudeau, a renowned strength coach, offers advanced training techniques and strategies for people looking to maximize muscle growth. The book digs into the science of muscle hypertrophy, providing gym owners with a wide understanding of training variables like intensity and frequency. 

Thibaudeau also outlines various periodization strategies to help individuals break through plateaus and optimize their muscle-building efforts. Gym owners can especially benefit from his expertise in and approach to effective workout routines that prevent overtraining. 

  1. "Running with the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear

If you work with runners, you won’t want to miss experienced running enthusiast Chris Lear’s  "Running with the Buffaloes." This is a captivating narrative that provides an inside look into the world of high-level collegiate cross-country running. The book follows the University of Colorado's cross-country team as they prepare and compete in a challenging season. It delves into the physical and mental demands of competitive running, with insights into the athletes' dedication and sacrifices required for success. 

You and fellow fitness buffs can benefit from the insights in book, especially as a source of inspiration. It provides valuable lessons about mindset and the importance of discipline in achieving athletic goals.  It highlights the mental fortitude and work ethic needed in running and any fitness pursuit, which gym owners can use to encourage their clients

  1. "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf

"The Paleo Solution" is written by health expert and former research biochemist Robb Wolf. His work details the paleo diet and its potential benefits for fitness enthusiasts. Gym owners can expect a detailed exploration that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and the elimination of grains, dairy, and processed sugars. It emphasizes the importance of nutrient-dense foods for improved energy and recovery. 

You may have customers interested in the paleo diet, which can support muscle gain and fat loss. By understanding the core concepts here, you can help them boost their performance in tandem with their diet approach. It also addresses common fitness-related concerns, such as inflammation and autoimmune conditions, so you can guide clients on how their dietary choices can impact these issues.

Elevating You Holistic Wellness Regimen

Fitness books are incredible sources of knowledge and experience that can play a pivotal role in elevating wellness strategies. Whether it's unlocking new levels of performance or fine-tuning diet plans, these fitness books are worthwhile resources that help gym owners maximize the fitness experience for their clients. 

Boosting your own expertise is just the beginning of making your gym all the more appealing to your patrons. You can also partner with Wellhub! Wellhub is a wellness brand that takes gym accessibility to the next level. 

Connect with Wellhub to draw in new clients today



  • Delavier, F. (2010). Strength training anatomy. Human Kinetics.
  • Efferding, S. (2021). Vertical diet. Tuttle Publishing.
  • Friel, J. (2012). The triathlete’s training bible. VeloPress.
  • Fung, J., & Moore, J. (2016). The complete guide to fasting: heal your body through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting. Victory Belt Publishing.
  • Hatfield, F. (2015). Powerlifting: a scientific approach.
  • Israetel, M., Davis, M., Case, J., & Hoffmann, J. (2020). The renaissance diet 2.0. Meyer & Meyer Sport.
  • Lear, C. (2011). Running with the buffaloes: a season inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado men’s cross country team. Lyons Press, An Imprint Of Globe Pequot Press.
  • Magness, S. (2014). The science of running: how to find your limit and train to maximize your performance. Origin Press.
  • Matthews, M. (2014). Beyond bigger leaner stronger: the advanced guide to building muscle, staying lean, and getting strong. Oculus.
  • ‌Rippetoe, M., & Stephani Elizabeth Bradford. (2017). Starting strength: basic barbell training. Aasgaard Company.
  • Robb Wolf, & Cordain, L. (2010). The paleo solution: the original human diet. Victory Belt.
  • Schwarzenegger, A., & Dobbins, B. (2014). The new encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding: the bible of bodybuilding. Simon & Schuster USA.
  • Starrett, K. (2012). Becoming a supple leopard: movement, mobility, and maintenance of the human animal. Victory; Enfield.
  • Thibaudeau, C., & Carter, P. (n.d.). Maximum muscle bible.


Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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