Essential reading for personal trainers

Do you have a specific skill you want to develop in 2020? Maybe you're looking to gain the edge over other trainers in your gym? Or maybe you're just looking for a productive way to spend your evenings. Either way we've put together this list of recommended reads to liven up your bookshelf this year.

We've loosely divided the list into the following categories:

  • Training
  • Business & Money
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Personal Development
  • Food & Diet

Training

Building Muscle and Performance

Nick Tumminello

Building Muscle and Performance

This feels a lot like 3-4 books combined into one. Nick has developed a high-octane, high-efficiency system for building muscle and boosting performance, employing the best exercises for increasing speed, explosiveness, athleticism and endurance. It includes sensible advice and training plans which are great to try out with both beginner and experienced clients.

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How to Support a Champion

Steve Ingham

How to Support a Champion

This is an excellent book for anyone who currently works in (or aspires to work in) performance sport. It not only covers a wide range of sports science research and theory, but most importantly it discusses how this knowledge can be applied to real world training.

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New Functional Training for Sports

Michael Boyle

New Functional Training for Sports

Easy to understand methods, concepts and exercises to help athletes maximise their movements. Michael is one of the world's leading sport performance coaches having trained some of the highest-performing athletes in the world.

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Strength Training Anatomy

Frederic Delavier

Strength Training Anatomy

Not a new book by any means but still a shelf staple. Strength Training Anatomy is a defining text on correct form, technique and posture. Great to refer to with clients or as a quick reference for yourself.

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The Strength and Conditioning Bible

Nick Grantham

The Strength and Conditioning Bible

An experienced trainer, Nick puts an emphasis on recovery and injury prevention providing strong scientific evidence for an athletic approach to training, making sure you get the most from your sessions.

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The Triathlete's Training Bible

Joe Friel

The Triathlete's Training Bible

Currently on its 4th edition, and written by a trainer who's been in the business for nearly 40 years, this book has evolved over time. If training athletes is your thing, and you want to improve the way you tailor training plans to individuals, then there is a lot of value to be found within these pages.

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The Back Mechanic

Dr. Stuart McGill

The Back Mechanic

If you or any of your clients suffer from back pain then buy this book from the world leading expert. The advice in this book is clear and easy to follow, providing guides to good movement that can relieve pain naturally without the intervention of surgery or physio.

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Business & Money

Ignite the Fire

Jon Goodman

Ignite the Fire

Being a great personal trainer requires expertise in a variety of different disciplines. This book brings together things you'll have learned in your training, fuzing them with practical real world techniques to develop both yourself and your business including:

  • Getting the job you want
  • Finding your ideal clients
  • Creating workouts for all levels
  • Dealing with people (and difficult clients)
  • Creating multiple income streams

A must have for new PT's but also handy for any trainer looking to drive their business forward.

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Personal Trainer Pocketbook

Jon Goodman

Personal Trainer Pocketbook

This is mostly a reworked and more accessible version of 'Ignite the Fire' above. Ideal to use as quick reference. Probably best to buy just one or the other.

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The Trusted Trainer

David Osgathorp

The Trusted Trainer

If you are just starting out, this might be for you. Written by a trainer reflecting on over 20 years of career experience, this book will help you to attract the right sort of clients, dealing with competition, and forging your own path in a busy sector.

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Sales & Marketing

Start With Why

Simon Sinek

Start With Why

A book that isn't about what you do, or even how, but why. Exploring ways to approach marketing from the viewpoint of your clients and what motivates people to buy from you. A thought provoking look at communication that can actually help both your work and personal life.

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The Clarity Project

Liam Thompson

The Clarity Project

Does your website not convert traffic into meaningful client leads, or are you running ineffective social media campaigns. In this book Liam explains step by step how to put those things right, explaining why the changes will work using real life stories and examples.

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Personal Development

Captivate

Vanessa Van Edwards

Captivate

How to interact, behave and communicate in all sorts of situations, including at work, networking events, in business, and in relationships with our friends and partners. Vanessa shares shortcuts, systems and behaviour hacks derived from her research that can help you to be more successful when meeting new people (clients) and in the day-to-day gym environment.

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Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence

A classic that's aged well! Learn to understand your own character and empathise with others, appreciating how people's backgrounds may have shaped their personalities over the years. This book will help you to understand how conflicts can arise, spotting the signs so you can disarm situations before they escalate. A handy tool to have in the locker as a personal trainer.

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How to be an Awesome Personal Trainer

Ben Coomber

How to be an Awesome Personal Trainer

Personal training qualifications teach you about training and nutrition, but most do not teach you anything about the real world and how to be commercially successful. Having all of the information does not make you a good coach. From your professional style and customer service, to time management, marketing, money and maintaining a work-life balance, this book can be your practical guide to 'everything else'.

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Influence

Robert Cialdini

Influence

This book is all about the power of persuasion and what leads a person to say 'yes'. It's not a new book but the the ideas are still sound and can help give you the edge in the ongoing effort to get commitment from new clients.

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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Seth Godin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Where's the use in being a loyal and hard-working personal trainer if you're easily replaceable. This book outlines how you can up your game, make the job more enjoyable and become indispensable to your clients. Whilst the book is not directed specifically at personal trainers, it's easy to see how many aspects are relevant and can be adapted to fit.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Do you sometimes find yourself concentrating too much on life's negatives, or take everyday events too personally? Can it affect your mood for the worse? If so (and if you're not afraid of a swear word of two), then this book helps you to cut through the noise of daily life and focus your energy on the things that are important to you and will make you a happier person.

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Food & Diet

Genius Foods

Max Lugavere

Genius Foods

Max is on a mission to educate us about the increasingly-concerning issue of dementia and cognitive decline, and this book highlights the critical link between your brain and the food we eat. Our mental state has the single biggest impact on our physical training, so change the way your brain ages and learn how to achieve peak mental performance through diet.

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Good Calories, Bad Calories

Gary Taubes

Good Calories, Bad Calories

Is the key to good health the kind of calories we take in, not just the number? In a world with ever increasing obesity and diabetes, this book asks why we've been taught that fat is bad, carbohydrates are better, and the key to health is eating less and exercising more. An unbiased book that might just redefine what you consider to be a healthy diet!

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The Diet Myth

Prof. Tim Spector

The Diet Myth

Only by understanding what makes our own personal microbes tick can we overcome the confusion of modern nutrition. 'The Diet Myth' is a thought-provoking book about the correlation between a healthy gut and body, exploring the answers to why most diets fail, and why one person eats a meal and gains weight, while another loses weight. Tim draws on the latest science and his own pioneering research to demystify the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients.

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Wired to Eat

Robb Wolf

Wired to Eat

Written by a former powerlifting champion and research biochemist, this book will help you write individualised nutrition plans for your clients that work!

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Did we miss one?

There are quite a few books in the world, so if you've uncovered a gem you'd like us to add to this list, then we'd love to hear about it! Drop us an email to [email protected] or message us using the bubble below.

Not got the time to read?

As a personal trainer, the knowledge and skills you employ when training your clients are your biggest asset. But if you are not continually developing that skillset you might be falling behind the competition. You need to maintain an edge, and this can only happen if you make the time to do it.

The easiest way to ensure something happens is to allocate time for it in your weekly schedule. So allocate at least 2 hours per week to personal development. This should be time when you will not be distracted by other things (so no gyms, phones or Facebook allowed!).

Increase the time you have available by ensuring your daily work is optimised. Every minute you spend on a repetitive task that could be automated or made more efficient is a minute you could be spending getting an edge on your competition. This is one of the reasons busy trainers use InGym to improve their daily efficiency and release time for personal development, taking on more clients, or spending quality time with friends and family.

How does InGym give you more time?

  • Completely remove paper from your life

    No need to carry a diary or folder any more. Switch to managing your PAR-Q's, training agreements and diary electronically, saving you time (and trees).

  • Save yourself from long email sessions

    The information you regularly send clients about their training and payments can be sent with a single click instead of writing time consuming emails.

  • You're always up to date with your business

    InGym automatically tracks your work activity, updating your key client, training, and financial information in real time so you always know where you stand.

  • Spend less time organising your diary

    Add and remove events from your schedule with ease, repeating sessions into future weeks quickly with your availability checked instantly.

  • Simplify your client onboarding

    Send consultation details to potential clients automatically, add notes for your reference and sign them up on screen when they're ready to train.

  • Reminders for your forgetful clients

    Send email and SMS reminders to clients about their upcoming appointments to reduce no-shows!