The 11 Best Fitness Books of 2017

Written by Rena Goldman

best fitness book

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. It helps control your weight and reduces your risk for a variety of different chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Regular aerobic activity also helps improve mood and can have positive effects on depression and anxiety.

But for many of us, maintaining a fitness routine can be tricky. Life and — though we’d rather not admit it — a lack of motivation can get in the way. Sometimes you need a little inspiration to get moving. Even if you never miss a workout, you can get bored doing the same routine every week. Learning tips and tricks to change it up can help you get better results.

This selection offers a little something for everyone. From hardcore workouts to how to get motivated, these fitness books will help you get focused on your goals and learn new techniques.

Fitness Confidential

best fitness books

Celebrity trainer Vinnie Tortorich works with writer and producer Dean Lorey to tell the story of his life as Hollywood’s go-to fitness guy. In addition to answering fitness questions, with answers derived from his over 20 years of experience, “Fitness Confidential” also features a dose of celebrity details! It’s part fitness guide and part memoir. Tortorich exposes some of the popular fitness myths and how they’re used to spread false information.

The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter

best fitness books

Early in his research career, Martin Gibala, PhD, found himself in an ironic position. He was a researcher in the field of exercise physiology who didn’t have much time to exercise. He began to develop a passion for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) because it allowed him to get the health benefits of exercise without investing a lot of time. “The One-Minute Workout” outlines Gibala’s research on HIIT and explains how you can get results from short, high-intensity exercise. There are also interval workouts included.

The Workout: Core Secrets from Hollywood's #1 Trainer

best fitness books

There’s a reason Hollywood A-listers look so good: they hire trainers to help. Gunnar Peterson, a trainer to celebrities and professional athletes, provides a training guide you can apply at home. “The Workout” is written to help you become your own personal trainer, with advice, tips, and encouragement based on Peterson’s 20 plus years of being a trainer.

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

best fitness books

The 4 Hour Body” was written by Timothy Ferriss, the author responsible for “The 4 Hour Work Week,” another best-selling title. Covering over 50 fitness-related topics, Ferriss explains the ways in which making small physical changes can produce big results. Each approach takes 30 minutes or less to learn. Fitness tips include improving running time and endurance, and streamlining your weightlifting routine.

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

best fitness books

Sometimes it’s not the exercising that’s the hard part. It’s keeping yourself motivated to stay on track that ends up being the real challenge. Despite knowing the health benefits of working out, behavior expert Michelle Segar, PhD, says humans are wired to seek instant gratification. If it doesn’t feel good in the moment, we’re probably not going to keep doing it. “No Sweat” focuses on the mental part of exercise, teaching you how to find pleasure in a fitness routine and change the way you think about exercise.

Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body

best fitness books

Bigger Leaner Stronger” is written for men looking to build muscle mass without spending hours at the gym. Michael Matthews offers tips for muscle growth, diet, and how to save money on supplements. He also explains workout myths and the reasons why men don’t see gains. Matthews’ strength workouts focus on building muscles all over the body with no more than three to six hours in the gym per week.

100 No-Equipment Workouts Vol. 1: Fitness Routines You Can Do Anywhere, Any Time

best fitness books

You don’t need weights or fancy gym equipment to stay fit. “100 No-Equipment Workouts” teaches you a variety of exercises using your own body weight. The exercises have three different difficulty levels and can be combined into lots of different routines. Each exercise and its levels are carefully explained. Many don’t even require you to wear workout clothes, so you can take the book to the office for a quick fitness boost between meetings!

The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier You!

best fitness books

When it comes to fitness, women and men have different needs. “The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises” focuses on what works for women. It includes 100 exercises put into 20 unique workouts that were exclusively designed for the female body. There are lots of photos to help you understand the movements, too!

The Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness, Third Edition: Updated for Today's Warrior Elite

best fitness books

If you’re looking to take fitness to a new level, “The Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness” will get you there. The book is an instructional guide, teaching you how to train the way actual Navy Seals do. It’s written by a Seal instructor, Stewart Smith, and can be used by recruits looking to pass the fitness exam. The new edition has been updated to include more workouts for beginners and information about weight loss from a nutritionist.

Ultimate Plank Fitness: For a Strong Core, Killer Abs — and a Killer Body

best fitness books

Planking is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your core. “Ultimate Plank Fitness” includes 100 different plank variations and ways you can make the exercises harder by using stability balls and other tools. Each exercise has step-by-step photos and instructions on how to tell if your form is incorrect. There are also 10 five-minute workouts using several of the planks detailed in the book.

Thrive Fitness: The Program for Peak Mental and Physical Strength — Fueled by Clean, Plant-Based, Whole Food Recipes

best fitness books

Brendan Brazier is a nutrition consultant who’s provided guidance for many professional teams, including NHL, MLB, NFL, and Olympic athletes. He’s also a former professional triathlete. “Thrive Fitness” outlines Brazier’s methods for keeping athletes strong, lean, and healthy. His tips include photos and step-by-step guides. Brazier also focuses on a plant-based diet that’s designed to cut sugar cravings and maintain overall health.


We pick these items based on the quality of the products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline may receive a portion of the revenues when you buy something using the links above.

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