The 13 Best Personal Training Books: Quickly Become the Best PT You Can Be

The best personal trainer books may be difficult to uncover, until now. Below, you’ll find 13 of my favorite personal trainer books placed into categories that are important to trainers with high aspirations, including:

  • Business, Sales and Marketing
  • Flexibility and Pain Management
  • Strength and Hypertrophy
  • Power, Olympic Lifting, Athletic Performance
  • Nutrition
  • Personal Development

Most of these books are personal trainer-specific, meaning they were written specifically for you. I did include a few industry-agnostic books in the mix just to provide some insight into other valuable personal training skillsets.

What makes me qualified to recommend personal training books you ask? Well, I’ve written my own for starters, Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer, and I was a former college personal training professor, meaning I was forced to read many books on the topic, on top of wanting to.

But I digress, my pain is your gain. You only have to read 13 rather than the 100’s of others out there, and you should come out better for it. After you read some or all of these books, you’ll:

  • Know how to start and maintain a profitable personal training business
  • Sell personal training to potential clients to keep a robust rolodex and the money to buy a Rolex
  • Gain physical, technical, and anatomical insight into all types of training so you’ll be able to help nearly any client with any goal
  • Understand how to incorporate nutrition into your deliverables so you can be the ultimate client resource

My hand-picked list of personal trainer books includes:

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Business, Sales and Marketing

Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer – Eddie Lester

Written by yours truly, this book was created based on my experience helping more than 4,000 trainers achieve their financial goals while training. The book starts with fundamentals like getting a personal training certification and covers sales, business checkpoints, and marketing.

Little Red Book of Selling – Jeffrey Gittomer

Short and sweet, this book on selling can be applied to selling personal training as well. This book focuses less on how to sell and more on why people buy. I like this book because it includes buyer excuses and how to overcome them.

Flexibility and Pain Management

Becoming a Supple Leopard – Dr. Kelly Starrett

A must-read for the personal trainer who loves to learn about human movement. Ever wondered how to help your clients unlearn bad habits when squatting, snatches, or muscle-ups? Learn to work around range of motion issues, break down the areas of the body that restrict movement, and reclaim the mobility of you and your clients.

Strength and Hypertrophy

Strength Training Anatomy – Frederic Delavier

Put your old high school anatomy book away and pick up this one designed for personal trainers. This book is beneficial for those who want to see what is going on under the skin – bones, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue. This book is described as “having an x-ray for each exercise,” providing you the ultimate in how you can improve your training to build strength in your clients quickly.

Get Buffed I-IV – Ian King

A four-part series, the Get Buffed books will help you take on those clients whose sole purpose in life is to get huge. While the title can be a bit geared towards the serious bodybuilder, there are also a whole bunch of tips and tricks for those who want strength and/or advice on leaning out.

Power, Olympic Lifting, Athletic Performance

Olympic Lifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches – Greg Everett

“The best book on Olympic weightlifting” is what the VP of the Pacific Weightlifting Associated called this book. A comprehensive guide, it is geared to not only athletes, but coaches and trainers who benefit from progressions, error correction, programming, competition, warm-ups, and more.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning – Thomas Baechle

The preferred book for the preparation of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam, this five-part book covers an all-inclusive application framework, a program design section, and real-world examples for organizational and administrative (i.e. trainers) professionals in which to operate a specialist program.

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Good Calories, Bad Calories – Gary Taubes

I like this book because it sheds light on the ideas of what is considered to be a healthy diet and dismantles them. A truly eye-opening read, this book changed the way I think about diet, how I make recommendations to clients on nutrition, and that the energy sources we take in are all about the varieties and not so much the number of calories. It gets heavy into the fat and carb debate, which you can use to educate clients on better eating habits backed by evidence.

The Protein Power Lifeplan – Michael Eades

Much of the content of this book is based on the authors’ reference to man’s meat-eating days. A true reference to what many call the “original Paleo diet,” The Protein Power Lifeplan contains no recipes but does contain lots of science, research references, and medical advice opposition.

Wired to Eat – Robb Wolf

Written by a former research biochemist and powerlifting champion, Robb Wolf has championed a book that provides weight loss solutions based on personal genetics as they pertain to diet and metabolism. For the trainer, this book will help you individualize your nutritional planning and help you to repair your clients’ appetites, making you the shining light on custom dieting.

Personal Development

Know: A Spiritual Wake-Up Call – Royce Morales

I recommend this book because it shines the light on our ability to understand how to transform one’s life. As a personal trainer, this is often what you are doing, or, at the very least, selling. After reading Know, you’ll gain some insight into how to bring out the power of intention in yourself as well as be able to see it in your clients to help them achieve their personal goals.

The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris

Personal trainers often gravitate to the industry because of the quality of life benefits the career affords. One of these benefits is hours worked per week, which tends to sit well below the 40-hours of most other American’s. The most popular book on this list, the 4-Hour Work Week provides a blueprint to a luxury lifestyle with high-income and lots of free time as its backbone.

Jump into a Book Today and Excel Your Career

Many of the books on this list are under $20, a small price to pay for a ton of knowledge. Why go through the challenge of becoming an awesome personal trainer when you can learn from the experience of others and quickly apply it to your business model, clients, and your own workout routines? I hope you enjoy this list and please let me know in the comments if you have any solid recommendations that didn’t make it here.

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