If you’re looking to become healthy and get into shape, there’s no shortage of books out there that will give you the knowledge and encouragement you need to get moving.  But with so many self-proclaimed gurus and marketers just trying to get you to buy their latest program and products, how do you know which ones are the real deal? That’s why we’ve done the research! We’ve gathered up the best fitness books that you should read right here, in this guide.

Sport woman in sportswear sitting relax reading a book and drink

Best Fitness Books

There’s a lot of knowledge out there when it comes to fitness. Determining what you need to know and what you don’t can seem overwhelming. That’s where finding the right fitness books come in. Below we’ll go over the 7 best fitness books you can start reading today that will give the results you’ve been dreaming to achieve.

1. “Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body” by Michael Matthews

Bigger Leaner Stronger

“Nobody cuts through the fitness and nutrition confusion and clutter like Mike Matthews.” – Ben Greenfield, author of the New York Times bestseller “Beyond Training”.

Hands down, Bigger Learner Stronger is the book you need if you want to get in shape and understand what it takes to stay that way.  

Author Mike Matthews promises that with the Bigger Leaner Stronger program you:

  • Don’t have to spend hours at the gym.
  • Don’t have to waste time doing boring cardio.
  • Don’t have to obsess over clean eating.
  • Don’t have to do complex or complicated weight lifting routines.

Similar to his Muscle for Life podcast, Matthews takes no prisoners as he tells it like it is and provides more evidence-based research to support his claims than you’ll find anywhere else.  Right from the beginning, you’ll see proof of this as the first couple dozen pages are devoted to before and after photos of the people who have followed his program and gotten the results they were after.

If there’s one book you could read that will absolutely change the way you think about eating, exercise, and lifting weights, Bigger Leaner Stronger is it.

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2. “Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body” by Michael Matthews

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Recognizing that Bigger Leaner Stronger was mainly aimed at men, author Mike Matthews created Thinner Leaner Stronger to help meet the needs of his female audience.

Thinner Leaner Stronger contains exactly the same core material as Bigger Leaner Stronger but everything is specific to helping women.  Matthews has said in his podcasts that much of the content came about from years of working with thousands of female clients.  

After reading this book, you’ll want to ditch all of the nonsense advice you commonly find in fitness magazines and scammy work-out videos.  Thinner Leaner Stronger is the real deal that will help you to produce the toned, muscular body you’re after.  

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3. “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Transform Your Body Forever Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World” by Tom Venuto

Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle

One of the common challenges of getting in shape is that when you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll also end up losing muscle.  Then on the flip-side when you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll end up packing on some fat.

If this is a struggle you’re familiar with, then Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle is what you’re looking for.  Author Tom Venuto shares the secrets he’s learned from bodybuilders that have helped him achieve a leaner and more muscular physique (without the use of drugs).

This book is comprehensive and well-structured into four major sections: Mindset, nutrition, cardio, and weight training.  Venuto packs every chapter with evidence-based advice for everything from exercise to recommendations for eating the right macro-nutrients.

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop about everything related to getting in shape, losing fat, and eating healthy, then this is one book you’re going to want to check out.

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4. “The Fitness Mindset: Eat for Energy, Train for Tension, Manage Your Mindset, Reap the Results” by Brian Keane

The Fitness Mindset

From the Irishman behind the BKF Podcast, Brian Keane takes his practical and concise advice on fitness and nutrition and packages it into his book The Fitness Mindset. 

If you’ve ever felt like you were eating right and doing all the workouts the way you’re supposed to but not seeing any results, then Keane will help you to break through the plateau.  You’ll learn how High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) should be paired up with weight lifting to help you lose fat and build truly lean muscle.

Aside from just diet and exercise advice, Keane will also focus on the importance of staying motivated, positive, and developing the right habits that will keep you healthy.  If you’re looking for something that’s going to jump-start your ambition and teach you the discipline you’ll need to get in the shape you want, then this is your book.

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5. “ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life” by Stacy Sims


With most of the fitness industry and nutrition products being aimed towards men, Dr. Stacy Sims takes a bold approach by promoting the theme: Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one.

Roar will teach women how to exercise and eat in ways that are specifically tailored for women.  You’ll learn everything you need to know about how to adapt your nutrition, hydration, and training so you can work with, rather than against, your female physiology. 

If you’d like to know more about how to increase your energy, work through those days when you don’t feel like it, and get your body to start responding again, then let Dr. Sims teach you.  This is an extremely informative must-read for any female athlete, no matter if you’re competitive or just trying to get back in shape.

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6. “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training” by Mark Rippetoe

Starting Strength

If there’s anyone you want to take weightlifting advice from, its fitness guru Mark Rippetoe. As a regular guest on the Muscle for Life podcast with Mike Matthews, Rippetoe has a concise, no-nonsense approach when it comes to his delivery that you know it’s going to produce results

In Starting Strength, you’ll learn everything you need to know about barbell training and why it’s mechanically superior for creating muscle.  In addition, you’ll also learn about how the human body adapts to stress through recovery, and how this can help improve not just your appearance but also your quality of life.

Though its primarily targeted at young athletes, the principles of Starting Strength can be successfully to anyone at any age or gender.  Let Rippetoe teach you everything you need to know about correcting your workout form so that you can do it properly, spend less time hurting yourself, and more time building muscle efficiently.

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7. “Strength Training Anatomy” by Frédéric Delavier

Strength Training Anatomy

With 4.8 out of 5 stars from over +1,800 ratings on Amazon, apparently a book about human anatomy can teach you quite a lot about proper exercise!

The author, former editor in chief of the French magazine “PowerMag” and powerlifter Frédéric Delavier, dives deep into the mechanics of exercise with his book Strength Training Anatomy.  You’ll find over 600 full-color anatomical illustrations showing exactly how various setup positions affect muscle recruitment and emphasize the underlying structures.  You’ll not only gain a better understanding of how to exercise safely but also how to avoid common training injuries.

Readers from all demographics and experience levels will benefit from seeing exactly how exercising engages your muscles.  There are even different illustrations showing the differences between men and women’s bodies.  For anyone looking to exercise properly and deepen their understanding of the mechanics behind weight lifting, this book is your bible.

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The Right Fitness Book Can Make All The Difference

When it comes to fitness, knowing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is key. Whether you’re looking for knowledge on strength training, diet, fat burning, or just overall health and fitness – there’s a book that’s right for that.

Once you have the knowledge, you also get the added benefit of using it to possibly explore other fitness avenues. Maybe you want to become a personal trainer? Or maybe you learn that yoga courses or CrossFit courses are your thing. You might even decide that you want to learn more about health and take a nutrition course. Either way, use this guide to the best fitness books and learn from the experts themselves. Grow your brain and your muscles at the same time!

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