With so many personal training books out there, how do you know which ones are worth your time? When you’re busy finding and training clients, you don’t have time to waste on books that aren’t worth it.

In this article – we share the best books for personal trainers that cover fitness, exercise programming, nutrition, mindset, business skills, and more.

We’ve read lots of PT books over the years (including every single one on this list). We love learning about new training techniques, business skills, and the latest scientific research. So, we’ve collated an ‘essential reading list’ of books that every fitness professional should read. Whether you’re a personal trainer, fitness instructor, or health coach, this list will help you to avoid the duds and skip straight to the best ones.

Here are our picks for the 10 best personal training books that every PT should read…

  1. NASM Essentials of Personal Training
  2. Ignite the Fire by Jon Goodman
  3. How To Sell Personal Training
  4. Essentials of Human Nutrition
  5. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  6. The Business of Personal Training
  7. The Power of Habit
  8. The 4-Hour Work Week
  9. To Sell Is Human
  10. The Business of Personal Training: Marketing Strategies

Let’s explore these books and what makes them essential reading for personal trainers (as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases).

#1 – NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (6th Edition)

The NASM textbook is considered by many to be the bible of personal training. It contains everything you need to know in order to pass their exam and conduct safe, effective client sessions.

The book is a very easy read and contains plenty of illustrations to explain different topics. As personal training books go, this one is long – over 600 pages! But it really does contain everything you need to know and is considered the complete book of personal training.

#2 – Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career

Jonathan Goodman runs the legendary Personal Trainer Development Centre (PTDC) website. He’s written one of the must-read books for personal trainers or anyone considering it as a career. It walks you through the entire journey, from choosing a certification to developing sales skills.

It’s packed with practical tips that you can realistically implement and is a very easy read. The 5-star reviews speak for themselves, so if you read nothing else on this list, be sure to make time for this one. 

⇒ Available For Free Via Kindle Unlimited

#3 – How To Sell Personal Training

This personal trainer ebook will teach you how to sell your services with confidence. It’s not like other sleazy sales books and really is an alternative guide for those who don’t like the hard-sell approach. The book walks you through the exact steps to finding profitable, long-term clients and earn a decent wage.

The book explains how to improve your sales skills, get more clients, and increase your income way above the typical average. It condenses 15+ years of fitness sales and marketing knowledge into 7 chapters and covers all the info we wish we’d known when first starting out…

  • Why You ARE Cut Out For Selling (Even If You Think You Aren’t)
  • Essential Selling Skills For The Ethical Fitness Pro
  • Identifying Your Ideal Client
  • Establishing A Client Base
  • Networking & How To Approach People In The Gym
  • Creating Effective Testimonials
  • Closing The Sale & Handling Objections

Unlike most personal training books, it’s in PDF format. This means it also includes practical templates, scripts, and worksheets to help you put what you learn into practice. We love that it comes with all these additional freebies and is our pick for one of the best personal training business books.

Personal Training Sales Success [Online Course]

You might also like… 25 Must-read books for fitness entrepreneurs & gym owners..

#4 – Essentials of Human Nutrition

This is one of the absolute best nutrition books for personal trainers (or anyone interested in healthy eating). It contains the latest scientific information on every aspect of food and is a core textbook for many nutrition degrees. If you just buy one book on nutrition, it should definitely be this one.

The book begins with chapters on macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals). It then expands into all of the key food groups, discusses the links between nutrition and disease, along with needs at various stages of the life cycle (including pregnancy and active aging).

There is also a section on sports nutrition and client assessment which is especially helpful for conducting your own sessions. It’s one of the most informative and comprehensive nutrition books for personal trainers available.

You might also like… Top Nutrition Certifications For Fitness Professionals.

#5 – Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Think you know how to motivate others? This book may just make you think differently about how you go about it. Although it’s not about fitness or nutrition, it’s one of the best books for fitness trainers to read.

It’ll help you to motive clients and identify what’s holding them back. Many of the examples are from the corporate world but the scientific research he draws on is just as applicable to health and fitness. You can also check out this TED Talk on the topic by author Dan Pink…

#6 – The Business of Personal Training

This is the first book in ‘The Business Of Personal Training’ series by Andrea Oh. It’s subtitled the ‘essential guide for the successful personal trainer’ and is an excellent introduction to the business aspects of being self-employed.

It covers a range of topics, including how to structure and operate your business, generate revenue, and increase client loyalty. This is one of the best books for personal trainers to read if they want to build their own successful business.

⇒ Available for free via Kindle Unlimited

Fitness Business Templates

#7 – The Power Of Habit

Personal training isn’t just about the workouts you do with your clients – it’s about helping them develop healthy habits outside of the gym too. Charles Duhigg’s book details WHY we do what we do, as well as HOW to change ingrained behaviours. It’s one of the top books for personal trainers who want to understand how to help their clients long-term.

#8 – The 4-Hour Work Week

This book is an inspirational read that’ll unleash your inner entrepreneur. Tim Ferris will show you that it’s possible to build a lifestyle business that gives you the freedom to pursue your passions.

Although it’s not strictly a personal training book, it’ll teach you a great deal about growing your own business. Plus, there’s plenty of practical info about identifying opportunities for automation and freeing up your time.

Personal Training Sales Success [Online Course]

#9 – To Sell Is Human

This book turns the traditional idea of sales on its head. Dan Pink uses scientific studies to present a new approach to selling, that’s based on honesty and transparency (instead of the usual sleazy stereotypes). We love this book because it proves that you don’t need to be ‘salesy’ to convince customers, and comes with loads of practical tips for real-world application.

#10 – The Business of Personal Training: Marketing Strategies for the Profitable Personal Trainer

The second in ‘The Business Of Personal Training’ series, this book is entirely focused on marketing. Unlike other personal training books on this topic, this one isn’t just a list of marketing tactics. Andrea Oh gets to the heart of strategic planning and is a must-read if you really want to get to grips with PT marketing.

⇒ Available for free via Kindle Unlimited

Best Personal Training Books – Have Your Say

What are your favourite personal training books? Are there any others you think we should add to the list? Or have you written one that you’d like us to review? Get in touch to let us know

Personal Trainer Business Resources

Our ready-made templates make it quicker, cheaper, and easier to promote your fitness business. They can improve the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns. If you aren’t an experienced marketer, then templates also provide a useful guide for you to follow.

Fitness Business Templates

Whether you run a freelance personal training business or operate a PT studio, these templates will save you time and effort. They’ll help you to plan and organize your promotional activities so that you generate more revenue. You’ll get 60+ templates covering sales, marketing, lead gen, client training, and business start-up resources.

Best Personal Training Books List

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.