OriGym Awards: Best Books for Personal Trainers (2019)

personal training books: sport psychology

Is your personal training books collection looking a bit drab?

Don’t give up on reading just yet. If you want to up your knowledge in a way that won’t bore you to tears, then we’ve got the 19 best books for personal trainers right here.

Our students and alumni from our Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Trainer courses kindly took part in our survey, and recommended the best personal training books that they’d come across. 

We’re thrilled to share them with you, along with some incredible responses from the winning authors.

With that said, on with OriGym’s Best Books for Personal Trainers Awards!


Become a Level 4 Qualified Specialist Trainer

Enquire to become a Level 4 Specialist Trainer

Personal Training business

Simon Sinek: ‘Start With Why’, 2011. 

Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Twitter: @simonsinek

Your personal training books library is seriously lacking without this gem. Have you ever asked yourself WHY you want a career in personal training? If not, this book will force you to.

If you want a read that inspires you to be innovative and to stand out from the horde of trainers in the UK, then you’ve got it. Sinek will give you that final push that you need to raise the bar in your career, whether it’s climbing the ladder or setting up your own personal training business.

He talks about Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, and shows how ‘WHY?’ is the question that got them to where they needed to be. If you learn to think this way, you can go just as far!

 Q. Why did you write ‘Start With Why’? And what makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘All of my work is semi-autobiographical. I have attempted to solve my own challenges – finding and pursuing purpose, who to trust, how to succeed in a competitive world. Like anyone, when I discover something that helps me, I share it with the people around me to help them.

The WHY resonated with me because it cut through all the semantic noise out there. I went around asking people what the most important thing in their organization or career was and I would get all the same answers expressed in different ways.

One would say their purpose, another their brand, mission, vision, reason for being and so on. When I asked them each what that meant, they would all eventually surmise, it’s WHY we do what we do. I found a simple way to express a powerful and useful concept.

I never imagined I’d be doing what I’m doing. I never intended to become an author or a speaker. I have always defined myself as an optimist and I always will. I seek to find and articulate a vision of the world better than the one we live in today.

I hope to inspire us to build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up inspired, feel safe at work, and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled. That’s the reason I wrote ‘Start With Why’ and that’s WHY I do everything I do.’

Rob Moore: ‘Money: Know More, Make More, Give More’, 2017.

Amazon rating: 4.7 stars

Twitter: @robprogressive

This one is for those who want to push their boundaries, and take things a lot further than they stand at this moment in time. Want to own your own gym instead of working for others for the rest of your life? Then this book is your kryptonite.

Moore’s reviews are off the scale, and it’s no wonder why. He’s a self-made multi-millionaire, so the case study basis of the book is very relatable and inspiring. Want to build your own business from scratch? It’ll give you the push you need, and make you believe you can.

It is a must-have on any personal training books list. Who knows, you might even gain a world record (Moore has 3!)

Q. Why did you write ‘Money: Know More, Make More, Give More’?

‘Most of the financial advice given out by people for free is worth every penny. Time to set the record straight; people have no idea what rich people are really like.

I was in vast personal debt and turned it around without handouts, and want to help people do the same.

Money is a game you can win, but only if you know the rules. Here are the rules of the game to create an advantage. As part of my foundation I want to help as many people across the world get better financial education… All my profits from the book ‘Money’ go to my foundation.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘It is like an encyclopaedia on money: the history, evolution, psychology, strategies and tactics all in one book. It is written from a point of view of someone who has been both poor and wealthy; and you are taken on that journey from rags to riches.

It is written by a UK author where the culture is not as open about money as many nations. I want to get people taking about money without shame or fear; both our mistakes and desires for wealth.’

David Osgathorp: ‘The Trusted Trainer’, 2017. 


Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

Twitter: @DavidOsgathorp

Osgathorp’s insight into personal training business is creditable, honest, and relatable. He talks of his own experiences in order to steer readers in the right direction before they make mistakes, and gives great tips on how to boost client numbers. Not one of your typical health and fitness books, 'The Trusted Trainer' introduces new topics that you really need to grasp.

Not to mention, Osgathorp is a human performance coach for the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team. If you’re after a job title like this, get reading your personal training books!

Q. Why did you write 'The Trusted Trainer'?

‘I initially started to write this book as part of my in-house training that I take each new member of my team through.

I also shared my ideas with a few clients, who then convinced me that it contained a lot of useful information that would be great to turn into a book and share with a wider audience.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘The ethos of my business has always been built around excellent customer service. Numerous books have been written that focus on the various aspects of training, marketing and creating a unique position within the health and fitness industry. 

I believe my book covers all these areas whilst highlighting the need to constantly over-deliver to your clients. In my opinion, your level of success is always determined by the number of people you are able to serve.’

Andy Sutherland: ‘Evolve Your Personal Training Business’, 2014.

Available on Amazon here

Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

If having nearly 20 years of experience in the fitness industry doesn’t qualify you to write top-notch personal training books, then we don’t know what does.

Sutherland outlines the development of practical skills in his book, such as choosing where to work and drawing up pricing structures, but it doesn’t end there. He provides invaluable and unique advice, even concerning online marketing and SEO. You won’t find this in many personal training books!

This is a read for those who want to transcend the competition in every possible way. Your average health and fitness books won't help you with this!

Q. Why did you write ‘Evolve Your Personal Training Business?’

‘I wrote the book because I’ve worked in the fitness industry for many years. For the last 9 years, I’ve worked for PureGym in Edinburgh. As you know, the percentage of people who qualify as a PT and then quit soon after is very high.

As you can imagine I’ve talked to many new PTs that have become quickly disillusioned with the life of a personal trainer.

It seemed to me that a lot of training providers don’t really equip their students with many practical skills aside from the specific stuff they need to gain their level 3 qualification, e.g; how to organise your earnings for tax and how to maintain a good client relationship.

I really wanted to produce something that people could look at before they signed up for a training course, that lets them know what to expect as a busy PT.’

 Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘I’d like to think the book stands out because it’s the product of over 20 years of experience. The last 9 of those years I’ve been working for the country’s largest gym chain, so my experiences will hopefully be more relevant as a lot of prospective PTs will be planning to join PureGym.

I’ve managed a private gym for many years too, so I can let them know what’s expected of a PT, and more importantly what’s not.’

Jeff Chegwin, Carmela Diclemente: ‘Dare to Win’, 2017.

Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

Chegwin and Diclemente’s collaboration is something that every personal training books collection needs, especially when it comes to starting out. ‘Dare to Win’ highlights the idea that making mistakes is a good thing, and it only leads to development.

You won’t feel alone in your endeavours when reading this; with 57 case studies to flick through, you’ll be stuck for choice. The examples include J.K. Rowling, Beyoncé, and Einstein. This book has something for everyone, despite what your interests may be.

It teaches you that there is always a silver lining in seemingly ‘bad’ situations, and that things can always be turned on their head.

Maybe you’re feeling discouraged, or like you’ve reached the end of the road in your fitness career? If so, you won’t regret this making our best books for personal trainers list.

Q. Why did you write ‘Dare To Win?’

‘It’s a motivator for people of all ages with ambitions and dreams, to demonstrate that everything is possible if you set your mind positively to it. It influences them to stay and not give up or be distracted from their personal goals if they believe in them.

It’s like a fitness program; the rewards are gradual and there are some pain barriers along the way to achieving your beneficial life and health fitness goals.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘It uniquely gives real life examples on how people have achieved success from all walks of life, backgrounds, and varied careers. These include: sports, music, film, industry, media, technology, etc.

They are all people who haven’t submitted to failure along the way. They have learned and gained from their experience and turned it to their advantage. It has made them more resilient and stronger to successfully meet future challenges and reach their goals.’

Personal Training books: Physical and Training

Joe Friel: ‘The Triathlete’s Training Bible’, 2009.

Available on Amazon here

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Twitter: @jfriel

The latest edition of this book has everything you could possibly need for training triathletes up, including how to adapt training plans for individuals depending on how their body reacts to training.

It was first written in 1997, meaning it has had plenty of time to be developed! It stands as one of the best fitness books going. 

A fantastic resource for those who want to get their clients the best results, and who want to further their knowledge on the topic – this book is a must.

Not to mention, Friel has been working as a coach for around 38 years, which has provided him with more sports science knowledge than you can swing a stick at. Want a share of this? Get reading!

Q. Why did you write 'The Triathlete's Training Bible’?

‘I wrote the first edition of the book in 1997. The sport was just beginning to grow. It had only been around by about 19 years then. At the time there weren’t any comprehensive books on training for triathlon - only books written by pros which really weren’t appropriate for age group athletes.

Also, at the time, sports science was in the early days of providing valuable information to athletes, but it wasn’t readily available to athletes. So, I wrote the book to update the reader on what science was telling us about training.’ 

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘Besides the intent of improving the reader’s ability to apply sport science to their training, I was also able to provide the reader with my experience as one of the earliest triathlon coaches going back to 1980.

The fourth edition, which came out in 2016, is a total rewrite of the original version. I threw away the entire book and started writing the newest version on a blank sheet of paper.

That was necessary because so much had changed in the 20 years since I had written the original. It is an entirely new book despite having the same title. The changes were not only in sport science, which has become a major force in endurance training, but also because I had grown as a coach.

The newest edition was intended to allow the reader to customize his/her training based on certain personal characteristics which are described in the book. It is now in a dozen languages and used by some national triathlon federations worldwide to train their coaches.’

Nick Grantham: ‘The Strength and Conditioning Bible: How to Train Like an Athlete’, 2015.


Available on Amazon here

Amazon rating: 4.8 stars

Twitter: @coachnickg

Not only has Grantham worked in facilities such as the US Olympic Training Centre, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Cirque du Soleil, he has also worked as an independent Performance Enhancement Specialist since 2007.

He has trained everyone from Olympic athletes to Premiership football teams, making his work one of the best books for personal trainers.

If you want to learn the secrets behind his mastered techniques, then this is the way forward. You could be training top athletes in no time…

Q. Why did you write 'The Strength and Conditioning Bible’?

‘The idea to write the book probably came about after I had finished working at the London 2012 Olympics – S&C was becoming very visible but all of the books were aimed at the S&C coaches – nothing was out there that was aimed at the man and woman on the street.

I spent 15 years working in high performance sport with elite athletes from a wide range of sports. I then started to work with members of the general population and recreational athletes and saw that the training advice they were being given fell way short of the mark.

I realised that ‘everyone can train like an athlete’ – the strategies that I had used to help athletes win Olympic medals could be applied to anyone.

I started to pull together my training ideas into a format that could be applied to anyone, to prove to them that anyone can train like an athlete. The research for the book was 18 years in the making – every session I’ve written has informed the content of this book.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘Training principles used by high performance athletes. Information that is usually reserved for the elite is now accessible for everyone.

Authors experience: 36 Sports - 4 Olympic cycles - 18 years’ experience – worked with high performance athletes and military personnel, as well as members of the general population and recreation athletes.

The book provides underpinning science in an easy to understand format, and includes generic programmes as well as the ability to create bespoke ones.

It includes contributions from 20 of the world leading experts in strength and conditioning, fitness, injury rehabilitation and psychology, who are working with Olympic Athletes, professional athletes, Premiership and Champions League Football Players, and Multi-National Companies.’

Nick Tumminello: Your Workout PERFECTED, 2018.


Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

Twitter: @CoachNickT

Tumminello’s book is packed with unique ideas that challenge you to adjust your workout routine for the better (rather than change it).

As the NSCA Personal Trainer of the year, it’s safe to say that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to strength and conditioning. It's no wonder he's written one of the best fitness books going!

He climbed to where he is now without your typical academic background, taking a practical and experienced based approach instead. This has certainly taken him far, and proves that his creativity and natural passion for fitness is enough to take out his competition.

If you’re an outsider in the fitness world or have an unconventional approach, then you’ll find common ground in Tumminello, along with the courage to step outside of your comfort zone.

Q. Why did you write ‘Your Workout PERFECTED’?

‘There are four reasons why most people work out: for fat loss, to build muscle, to improve function and performance, or for general fitness and health.

I wrote this book to simplify the science and techniques behind training each of these goals, clarify misconceptions, and provide you with a variety of specific workout plans—gym workouts and bodyweight workouts—that you can use for each of the goals. 

It’s important to note that most people who are exercising around the world are not interested in being a gym rat who organizes their entire life around food and gyms. When it comes to diet, most people don’t change their eating habits all that much, so they’re mainly exercising to offset the foods they love to eat.

And when it comes to exercising, most people aren’t trying to win a contest for the best body on the beach. They’re also not interested in chasing impressive lifting numbers.

Yet, most training books are focused on fat loss, building muscle, or geared toward sports performance while ignoring most people in the world who are training for general fitness and health.

When most normal people exercise, with or without the guidance of a personal trainer, they just want a great workout experience that challenges them but doesn’t hurt them.

They often gauge their success by how much they’ve enjoyed each workout, how they feel at the end of the workout, and how many workouts they’ve completed per week. I wanted to provide these individuals with a realistic training resource they could relate to and represents them.

I also wrote this book to show that different training goals (i.e., for fat loss, to build muscle, to improve function and performance, or for general fitness and health) require different training approach, and no one training approach is best for all goals.’

 Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘There are three main unique elements to this book. The first is that each of the first four chapters identifies common myths that can create confusion and hold you back from improving in each of the four training goals; to lose fat, to build muscle, to improve function and performance, or for general fitness and health.

These chapters also establish the scientific principles and methods you need to know in order to enjoy long-term success. 

The second element is in each of the exercise technique chapters. What makes these chapters unique is that in addition to providing easy-to-follow exercise descriptions, they also include a section on ways to perfect basic exercises, showing you how to do these exercises better than the way they are commonly performed. 

The third unique element is in the workout programming chapters of the book where everything you’ve learned in the previous chapters is put into action.

Each of these chapters not only provides a multitude of workout programs for you to choose from, but does so depending on your individual preferences from the types of workouts you’re most interested in doing to how many days per week you prefer to exercise based on your schedule. 

Lastly, if you’re an inexperienced exerciser, you will appreciate the clear and user-friendly manner the information and workouts provided in this book are delivered in.

If you’re an advanced exerciser, fitness professional, or sport coach, you will certainly recognize the effectiveness of the training methods utilized here and will gain exciting new ideas, insights, and strategies for exercise programming.’

Andrea Thatcher: ‘Practical Anatomy and Movement’, 2015.


Available on Amazon here

Amazon rating: 3.8 stars

Having worked in the fitness industry since 1994, Thatcher certainly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to anatomy. She also knows how difficult it can be to grasp, which is why she created an amusing approach to learning it!

Struggling with anatomy? Look no further. She also gives some great suggestions for joint exercises to use with your clients, making it a flexible read, and one of the best fitness books in the industry. 

Our list of best books for personal trainers would be lost without Thatcher’s insight…

 Q. Why did you write ‘Practical Anatomy and Movement’

‘I have been teaching Anatomy to Fitness Professionals for almost 19 years. There is such a disconnect from the typical anatomy in typical PT manuals. It’s tough to grasp anatomy from a book. Hell, it’s tough to grasp anatomy even with a teacher!

It was the #1 stumbling block for most new trainers wanting to get certified. They felt overwhelmed, confused, and unclear on what they needed to know.

The understanding of anatomy is one critical piece to becoming an amazing trainer.

I had so much feedback from so many students over the years, ‘Hey Teach you have got to write a book on this!’ is what I kept hearing.

After I stopped laughing, I took this repeated feedback to heart. I contacted my best friend who is also an artist and asked her to draw all the anatomy pics. I got busy with my photographer taking all the pics, and spent a lot of time on the computer, extracting from my head the ‘system’ upon which I taught anatomy. Charts were formed in a clear fashion that made sense to so many.

When the artist returned the anatomy drawings, they were beyond perfect and beautiful. They were practically medical grade pics! I asked her to re-draw them all in simpler form. She did that.

I then got busy labelling the pics, and before I knew it the book was off to the designer to finish up.'

 Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

'My goal was to create an adult colouring book, (colouring is meditative) so students could meditate and apply what they are learning in anatomy in a slowed down fashion.

I included a column for compound or multi-joint exercises with one example to help them get started, then white space for them to add in their own time.

All stretching pictures are unloaded, and don’t use any equipment or walls or anything, making them useful and adaptable in any environment.

The study guide was created for study and exam purposes. All answers are in the front, and copyright permission is given to print both the study guide and stretching guide. I have also included these two guides for anyone to download for free as my gift to the community to help those who seek it.

The book has helped many, and I continue to get emails and calls of thanks, for making anatomy make sense and to easily apply the teachings.

Morc Coulson: ‘The Complete Guide to Personal Training’, 2018.

Amazon rating: 4.3 stars

He’s the placement Module Leader on the BA (Hons) Physical Education and Sports Coaching degree course at the University of Sunderland, and has extensive experience in the health and fitness industry. 

If that’s not enough for you, his book has brilliant reviews from personal training graduates; they’re swearing by it. If you’re embarking on a personal training course yourself, then this guide would be one of the best personal training books to check out. 

Q. Why did you write ‘The Complete Guide to Personal Training’?

‘After more than 30 years of experience in the industry, I have witnessed the personal training market become so saturated that trainers need to build a unique and ‘sellable’ profile to stay one step ahead of the competition.

In order to do this, trainers should strive continually to improve their knowledge and skills through continued professional development.

The Complete Guide to Personal Training was written to provide trainers with the most up-to date applied scientific guide that not only addresses the knowledge requirements to help succeed in a competitive industry, but also focusses on professional development as a key component of a stand-out personal trainer.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘This is the only book that addresses all of the knowledge criteria in the national occupational standards for Personal Training, yet challenges the reader to develop their knowledge beyond that. The book covers the 3 main areas that are crucial to client success; exercise, diet, and behaviour change.

Beyond the knowledge, the book offers the trainer an easy to follow practical guide that addresses each step of the client journey from sign-up through to assessment, programme design, and monitoring.

The book also provides online access to many templates that can help the trainer in years to come, ranging from fitness and diet assessment sheets through to sales, marketing, and finance spreadsheets.’


Paul McCarthy, Mark Allen: ‘Psychology Express: Sport Psychology’, 2014.

Available on Amazon here.

Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

If you’re looking for some psychology to add to your personal training books collection, McCarthy and Allen’s work is a great shout.

A revision guide containing all the concepts and technical aspects that you need, you’ll be able to take the knowledge and apply it to your clients’ training programmes. How can they be their best without having the right mental approach?

Give this one a read, and you’ll have them running laps around your competitor's clients.

If you’re studying sports science or psychology, this is your bible. It’s also a great one to refer back to during your career.

Q. Why did you write 'Psychology Express: Sports Psychology’?

‘Our book – Psychology Express Sport Psychology – is a compact textbook for students revising at undergraduate level. We wrote the book to help students revise quickly and efficiently.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘The book is unique because it aims to help students to grasp complex topics quickly with sensible guidelines for studying, answering questions for coursework, and examinations.

The topics we included within the book reflect the primary topics delivered in sport and exercise courses with a steer towards how these constructs (e.g. motivations) are applied in practice. In other words, how to translate theory into practice.

We recognised the gap within the market for a textbook of this nature, and we were delighted to write for the university audience and beyond.’

James Atkinson: ‘Fitness & Exercise Motivation’, 2016.

Amazon rating: 4.8 stars

Twitter: @jimsHM

Atkinson has an expert grasp on the psychology behind staying motivated and consistent in fitness routines, so it’s no wonder he made our best books for personal trainers list.

His flood of great reviews are no surprise, and show just how effective his methods are. He is unashamedly passionate about helping others reach their goals, and this shines through his work; you’ll be left feeling as though you can overcome any barrier to your fitness goals. Easily one of the best health and fitness books out there. 

Why not recommend this to your clients, as well as putting his ideas into practice during your sessions? Afterall, the gym itself isn’t going to call your clients back; only the assurance that they CAN achieve their goals will.

Q. Why did you write Fitness & Exercise Motivation?

‘“Fitness & Exercise Motivation” was inspired by my experience as a personal trainer, my clients, and my own fitness journey. 

It’s good to know the mechanics of the human body: the most efficient way to burn excess fat stores; how to build strength in muscle and how to gain solid cardiovascular fitness. But as I stepped into the world of personal training, I soon realised that all my knowledge and passion for my chosen career meant nothing if my clients didn’t have the right mind-set and motivation to achieve the goals that they set out to reach.

Every single fitness success story, bar none, started at the same place and it wasn’t in the gym. It was in the mind of the aspirant. I have come to realise that motivation and mind-set can be extremely powerful driving forces, but can also be very fragile too.

I wanted to offer a guide that helped a beginner to plan a sustainable healthy lifestyle and to build mental robustness so that they were prepared to get back up and keep moving forward when inevitable setbacks presented themselves.

Too many people give up on their goals. I hate to see this happen, I wanted to offer a guide that would make a real life-changing difference to the reader.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘This book is an honest no nonsense read with no false promises. It doesn’t offer an easy ride to fitness success either.

Instead, “Fitness & Exercise Motivation” guides those who struggle with weight loss and fitness in general, to build a solid foundation from which they can develop a long term sustainable approach to whatever their health, fitness and lifestyle goals may be.

Before a single dumbbell is lifted, exercise band is stretched, healthy meal is prepared or new running trainers are purchased, there needs to be a plan in place, milestones need to be plotted, winning routines need to be identified and the correct mind-set needs to be adopted.

This guide embodies the true nature of what it takes to achieve any type of fitness result, whether it is fat loss, marathon running or bodybuilding, get the fundamentals right and you can achieve any fitness goal. This is where it starts!’

Som Bathla: ‘Living Beyond Self Doubt’, 2018.

Amazon rating: 3.8 stars

Twitter: @sombathla

Imposter syndrome is the biggest silent killer when it comes to fitness goals and dreams. Have your clients ever come to you discouraged, beaten, and proclaiming ‘I can’t do it’? Have you ever had one give up before they reached their goals?

This doesn’t have to be inevitable. WHO trains your clients is bound to have a huge effect on whether they stick it out or not.

If you’re a relatable motivator who makes them feel as though they can conquer anything, and you can truly get them into that mindset, then you’re cooking with gas.

Bathla gives you some amazing advice to use for your clients when they are feeling disheartened, and you won’t regret adding it to your bookcase of personal training books.

He’s a #1 Best Seller on Amazon too, so this speaks for itself…

Q. Why did you write ‘Living Beyond Self Doubt’?

‘Everyone suffers from self-doubt (including me). The idea to write about conquering self-doubt was for two reasons. Firstly, I realized that even after writing 4 books at the time of writing that book, while thinking about my next book topic, one day I caught my inner critic telling me that I was not good enough as a writer.

Thankfully at that moment, I realized that if someone like me after producing so much work can have this doubt, then how do those people feel, who are just starting out their career or such people who never start anything worth-while, because they are marred by their own self-doubts.

That thought prompted me to recollect all my wisdom gained through decades of reading personal development – not only theoretical, I also recalled my significant life instances where I suffered from self-doubt and acted upon it.

I also captured all the examples where people conquered their self-doubts. And all this culminated into this my close-to-the-heart book Living Beyond Self Doubt’.

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘This book is not only an inspirational, but more importantly a practical book (with a kick-in-the-butt approach) to make people move out of their comfort zone, overcome their undesirable stress, and jump into the real world of action.

I wanted this book to wake up the people who are somehow tolerating slow pain or slight discomfort only because they are fearful of uncertainties or judgement by other people.

The book shows the world of possibilities to the reader – the examples of people who were about to commit suicide and how they turned around their life gives a ray of hope to the reader that all is not over – even when it seems like it. The book is loaded with many such real-life inspirational examples.

The key objective of the book is to get people’s real selves out to the world without worrying; ‘what will people think?’ or any other kind of fear of failure.

The book offers 13 practical strategies that have the potential to trigger the reader into an action mode. In a nutshell, this is motivational reference book, plus practical guide to overcome any kind of self-doubt.’

Michal Stawicki: ‘The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success’, 2015.

Amazon rating: 3.4 stars

Twitter: @StawickiMichal

Stawicki’s work is one of the best personal training books for the new year, mainly because he reveals the secret to consistency, and having a predominantly healthy and balanced life.

Once you read more on the topic and discover this secret yourself, it will start to show in your clients’ results. They’ll achieve far more if you get them into the right mindset, and they’re bound to recommend you to everyone they know if you’re the only personal trainer that’s had this breakthrough with them.

You may think this sounds difficult, but it really isn’t! Build up your own knowledge and confidence, and they’ll follow suit.

Stawicki’s methods will turn you into a psychology pro and give you everything you need to push the boundaries with your clients.

Make your own mentality infectious, and you’ll put the rest of your knowledge into practice in the most effective way!

Q. Why did you write ‘The Art of Persistence’?

‘I read ‘The Slight Edge’ in August 2012 and changed my life’s direction. In 2013, I started a writing career. After my success with ‘Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day’, I confessed to two friends that I was a published author.

They, of course, were curious. They don’t know each other, so the two conversations were a few months and hundreds of miles apart, but they both had the same question.

First, my one friend asked me what had happened to cause the change in me. I summarized my story and emphasized what I had realised: the importance of consistency in achieving one’s goals.

My friend was affirmative: ‘Yeah, I know the importance of consistency’. His next question really blew my mind: ‘How will you stay consistent, Michal? How will you keep going on days when you don’t feel like it?’

I was a bit surprised. At one point, I hadn’t known that the basic requirement for success was consistency. I had considered luck or talent the leading factors. But as soon as I was introduced to ‘The Slight Edge’ philosophy and understood it, I set my mind to focus on consistency and have never stopped.

All I’d needed was an understanding that persistence would enable me to reach my goals. Since then, I’d known that every little step I took brought me a bit closer to what I wanted. But my friend didn’t seem to grasp this idea.

I had almost forgotten that conversation until I talked with another friend and the same questions were asked. Then a third friend asked me the question in a FB group:

‘I begin to wonder how does Michal uphold his consistency… or don’t you have troubled moments at all, troubling enough to throw you off-balance for even a day?’

Then I was enlightened. Theoretical knowledge is not enough. Applied knowledge is what counts. My clever friends knew what to do. They just couldn’t make themselves do this consistently. Knowledge itself was not the solution.

Thus, I wrote a book for bright people out there who recognize the importance of consistency and yet struggle with implementing it in their lives.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘The Art of Persistence’ is a workbook for developing consistency. I don’t know any other book like this. The most widely known similar book is ‘Grit’ by Angela Duckworth. It tackles the same topic, but from a theoretical point of view; what is it, how it works, etc.

My close friends nicknamed me ‘Mr. Consistency’. Before I started changing, I wasn’t the worst case of inconsistency, but I was far from being a role model for persistence. I was average in that regard.

If I could transform from ordinary into ‘Mr. Consistency,’ anybody can do it. I reverse-engineered my experience and wrote a workbook that teaches how to develop consistency in your life. Even if you have led a completely normal life till now.’

Nutrition books for personal trainers 

Alisa Fleming: ‘Go Dairy Free’, 2018.

Amazon rating: 4.3 stars

Twitter: @GoDairyFree

You’re bound to have clients that are interested in going dairy free, whatever their reasons. Known as the #1 resource for dairy-free recipes, this book is your best way to get clued up! And one of the best books for personal trainers to have...

We’re thrilled to have Fleming’s book on our personal training books list, especially because of its originality. Where else can you find 250 dairy-free recipes in one book, including tips for everyday dining solutions? (eating out doesn’t have to be a worry!)

In terms of nutrition books for personal trainers, this is an essential. 

Q. Why did you write ‘Go Dairy Free?’

‘It was completely based on reader demand! For years people wrote in asking for an offline resource with more recipes and more information. I finally took the time to write it back in 2008.

In the past decade, I’ve discovered so much more about dairy-free living and had the opportunity to create so many new recipes. That’s why my 2nd edition (just released this year) is twice as big as the 1st edition. It’s over 450 pages!’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘This really is the complete resource for dairy-free living. It covers the how and the why in detail and has over 250 recipes with helpful tips on nearly every page and has the most extensive dairy substitute guides imaginable.

I tested homemade milk beverages made with 25 different types of foods. A few didn’t make the cut, but for the rest, you will find tasting notes, key nutrient information, how they performed in tea/coffee, and more.

Some people might think this book is just for beginners, but I actually reference my own book nearly every day! It’s what I like to call the book of everyday solutions.’

Jonno Proudfoot: ‘The Real Meal Revolution: Low Carb Cookery’, 2018.

Amazon rating: 5.0

Twitter: @jonnoproudfoot

If your clients shy away when you ask them about their nutrition, then this would be a great book to get them to read. Always hearing ‘I can’t afford to eat healthy’, or ‘I don’t have the time’? This book is the answer to those excuses, and one of the greatest nutrition books for personal trainers.

With 300 cheap and easy to follow recipes to choose from, they’ll start seeing the results of your training sessions much sooner. And guess what this means? More business for you!

Proudfoot’s book is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with expensive and time-consuming recipes. Personal training books have never looked so handy!

Q. Why did you write ‘The Real Meal Revolution: Low Carb Cooking’?

‘Low carb has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of diabetics around the world, and I have seen it touch the lives of people really close to me. People who bought my first book, The Real Meal Revolution have seen dramatic weight loss and come off many types of chronic medication.

At my core I will always be a chef, and as chefs we are taught to concentrate on the quality of ingredients, and the pleasure of food. Food is so much more than fuel. It is a way of giving, achieving, receiving, and even indulging. So, I wrote this book because I wanted to take low carb to the next level, by engrossing people in that side of food, where we embrace food.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘Most diet and health books focus on the nitty gritty of the nutrition or exercise to adapt to a certain lifestyle. 

This book boasts 300 low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free recipes and entices readers into indulging in real foods, with no mention of the diabetes, obesity or even exercise.

This book teaches people a new skill, which is cookery. It takes the attention away from restriction and puts the focus on making food more delicious. When this happens, preparing food becomes more enjoyable, and weight-loss and awesome health are mere side effects.’

Lorraine Nicolle, Christine Bailey: ‘The Functional Nutrition Cookbook’, 2017.

Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Twitter: @LNNutrition

Perhaps your clients are looking to be more adventurous in their nutrition, and they’re asking you for inspiration? 

With Nicolle and Bailey’s book, you’ll never be stuck for ideas to bounce back at them. Not only do they cover the prevention of health problems and diseases through nutrition, but they also go into how it can improve wellbeing and correct imbalances. When browsing nutrition books for personal trainers, this one stands out as a must-have. 

There are even recipes that target specific imbalances, so making yourself familiar with them could be more rewarding for yourself and your clients. It’s obvious why this is one of our best personal training books…

Clients want a well-rounded trainer that can help them in every aspect of their health and fitness; be this, and you’ll wipe out the competition!

Q. Why did you write ‘The Functional Nutrition Cookbook’?

‘We wrote the book because we practice nutritional therapy using a personalised, systems-based approach to healthcare, which means that we focus on finding the root cause of health problems, rather than just trying to quash symptoms by giving ‘a pill for an ill’ (albeit a dietary supplement rather than a pharmaceutical medicine).

We felt there was a big gap in the market for evidence-informed information on how to use nutrition in this way. We wanted the info to be accessible and very easy to put into practice, which is why we wrote so much of it in bullet point format’.

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘As for the answer to Q1, one big difference is that we are using nutrition, but we are using it to identify and treat underlying causes, rather than to simply address symptoms without knowing why those symptoms have occurred.

We have been in practice for many years and we find that this is by far the best way to help people get healthier, both mentally and physically. So, what we are doing is helping the reader to interpret his/her symptoms in order to work out what body systems are not functioning well, and then putting in nutrition and lifestyle interventions that support those flagging body systems.

This usually has the result of not only helping with the original symptoms but addressing many other aspects of health that the patient had not previously even thought about much because maybe they had just become a ‘fact of life’. (Typical symptoms in this category might be, for example, feeling generally sluggish, or waking up every morning with a stuffy nose, or getting regular sore throats, or GI bloating after eating).

So, the books is really a way that individuals can start to become their own detectives on their own health and experiment with some nutritional interventions that may help them.

The book has also turned out to be a fantastic companion guide for patients of healthcare practitioners: when we prescribe programmes, we often direct the patient to the relevant chapters in the book so that they can read more about the body systems we are supporting with the programme, and how this may help with their symptoms.’

Kate Harrison: ‘The 5:2 Diet Book’, 2013.

Amazon rating: 4.1 stars

Twitter: @KateWritesBooks

Intermittent fasting is something you probably get asked about a lot on the job. After all, it is one of the most popular ways of dieting in the modern fitness world. There must be a reason behind this…

Harrison’s approach to sharing the 5:2 diet with her readers is spot on, especially through the case study of her own weight loss journey. She uses scientific evidence without taking away from the honesty and openness of her writing, so the book is very engaging. It certainly deserves its spot on our personal training books list!

Next time your clients ask you about intermittent fasting, lend them your copy of ‘The 5:2 Diet Book’! It's vital in terms of nutrition books for personal trainers, which is why our students strongly recommended it. 

Q. Why did you write ‘The 5:2 Diet Book’?

‘Because I’d tried intermittent fasting and it was helping me to lose weight, after three decades of being in a yoyo dieting cycle trying so many other things. When I set out to try it, there were no books on the topic, so I set up a little Facebook group with friends to share tips, and that had a huge benefit.

I realised this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and I thought; maybe I could write the book I was looking for. Our group was growing, and people asked the same questions, so I combined my own diary and experiences, with simple explanations of the scientific research, and my own recipes.

It was self-published first, in 2012, before Orion in the UK and over 20 other international publishers, produced more editions.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘So many readers email me to say they feel that reading my diary is like reading their own thoughts – and frustrations – around losing weight. Because I’ve been there, it’s not patronising or preachy: it came from the heart.

I wrote this because I wanted to share what had worked for me. That small Facebook group has now over 55,000 members, sharing their successes and experiences – all free. I’ve written several other related books now, and the group and the members’ needs are always my starting point.

I think intermittent fasting works because it’s realistic and a strategy rather than a straitjacket and so it’s easy for people to adapt to their own tastes and lifestyle. I am still a full 14kg/2 stone lighter than I was when I started this 6 years ago, and it’s cut my risk of diabetes, which affected both my parents, and cancer, which my mum died of earlier this year.

I am very grateful to all the students who recommend this book because anything that gets the word out about this powerful approach is a brilliant thing.’

Kendall Lou Schmidt: ‘The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook’, 2017.

Amazon rating: 5.0 stars

Twitter: @miss_kendall

Got bodybuilding clients that want to bulk up, but they’re tired of the same old protein packed diets?

Kendall Lou Schmidt’s ‘The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook’ is everything that it promises to be. It certainly brings something new to the table for those looking for a change in their nutrition!

With meal plans as well as recipes, this book is perfect for your clients who want to build strength and muscle mass. It even has nutrition tables that allow them to alter their portion sizes depending on their desired results, making it one of the best nutrition books for personal trainers. 

Pack in the protein with new and exciting recipes, rather than traditional ones. Your clients will thank you for giving them something that their competitors haven’t heard of yet! 

Q. Why did you write ‘The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook’?

‘I was actually recruited to write The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook due to the enormous demand for a cookbook that meets unique needs of the fitness conscious audience.

Prior to writing my cookbook, I had published several articles and recipes on These articles, in combination with my education, experience, and success in the fitness industry attracted my publishers.

One thing led to another and The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook was born.’

Q. What makes it stand out from other books of this topic?

‘The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook is a truly unique addition to any kitchen. Every recipe is a crave-worthy, flavour-packed remix of all your favourites. 160 recipes that have all the amazing taste you could hope for, but none of the unhealthy ingredients to regret later.

For people counting macros or tracking calories, every recipe has a complete breakdown of calories per serving and grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

For those with special dietary limitations, each recipe is designated as low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, or vegan (and because I myself have celiac disease, you can expect every recipe to have gluten-free options when needed).

My goal in making this book was to create healthy recipes the entire family could eat together. There is no need to suffer through chicken breast and broccoli all by yourself just because you have goals! With The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook you can get competition ready while feasting with your friends and family.’

Before you go!

We're sure you've found exactly what you were looking for on our exclusive list, but we want to hear from you!

Are there any books for personal trainers out there that you think we've overlooked? Have you read any books from the list yourself? If so, give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook to let us know! 

Stay in the personal training books loop and go follow our awards winners! Most of them have published multiple books, so you may even find something else that floats your boat. 

Keen to kick-start your own fitness career, or further the qualifications that you already have? If so, go download our FREE prospectus, or check out our range of Personal Training qualifications for more info on what you could be learning!


Become a Level 4 Qualified Specialist Trainer

Enquire to become a Level 4 Specialist Trainer

Were you featured as a winner of our Best Books for Personal Trainers Award?

If so, be sure to place our OriGym Awards badge on your site to celebrate your work!

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

Recommended Posts