The 7 Best Fitness Books to Buy in 2018

Read up on the science of getting in the your best shape yet

For many people, one of the most difficult goals to achieve is fitness. More than losing weight with a quick diet scheme or trying to build muscle through a new fad workout, fitness typically means something deeper. It is a holistic combination of a better diet, a disciplined mindset, more exercise, and improved physical performance.

Working to become fit or improve your fitness routine requires a lot of work for everyone. However, it can be difficult to understand where to start: How do I eat better? How do I optimize my workout? What makes my specific body fitter? To learn exactly how you can take your routine to the next level, check out these popular books about every aspect of fitness.

Best Overall: Brian Keane’s The Fitness Mindset

A significant part of starting or maintaining a fitness regimen is the mental component. You need to ensure a level of discipline and ambition that is sustainable and corresponds to your mental health. Brian Keane’s The Fitness Mindset helps readers change the way they think about food, exercise, stress, and themselves.

The Fitness Mindset covers many of the areas common in fitness books, including diet and interval training, but its innovation is the emphasis on psychological side of things. Keane writes about how to avoid fear and anxiety about undoing the fitness achievements you’ve made and how to manage stress more fruitfully. Amazon reviews of The Fitness Mindset praise Keane’s book for its readability and inspirational quality, giving the book a 5-star review average.

Runner Up: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide

Published repeatedly since 1996, the newest edition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide continues to deliver the goods. Designed for people of all ages, backgrounds and bodies, this reference book is a helpful and nuanced look at how to eat more nutritiously. The book claims to “effectively balance a practical focus with the latest scientific information” and includes sections on farm to table dining, best eating practices at every age and eating with specific health issues.

This nutrition bible is not a simple diet book. It prepares readers to really understand nutrition in food and how to eat better. Reviewers give the book an average rating of five stars and many note their happiness that the book has no agenda or particular diet that it’s selling.

Best Budget: Bigger Leaner Stronger

Michael Matthews is a fitness guru and the author of several best sellers on Amazon. He has two books—Bigger Leaner Stronger for men and Thinner Leaner Stronger for women—that are hugely popular and inexpensive in paperback or Kindle editions. The two versions are geared toward the unique physiologies of each gender and deliver a holistic routine aimed at strength and weight loss. The book covers diet, exercise, and mental routines to help gain muscle and lose fat. The Amazon ratings are high and reviews are filled with testimonials about the program's success, many including photos.

Best Motivational: No Sweat

While The Fitness Mindset provides a holistic view of fitness motivation, No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness takes a different approach. Author Michelle Segar, a motivation scientist, takes readers through a tour of the most important scientific studies about motivational psychology and which motivation techniques are most effective. Segar turns these scientific conclusions into an easy-to-follow four-point plan.

The book is filled with inspirational tales, and has universal acclaim on Amazon, where it boasts a 4.5-star average rating. Reviewers explained that the book helped them understand why humans enjoy exercise and how they can make working out a more sustainable part of their routines.

Best Nutrition: Fitness Nutrition: The Ultimate Fitness Guide

Another great book about nutrition and fitness is aptly titled Fitness Nutrition: The Ultimate Fitness Guide. Written by Nicholas Bjorn, Fitness Nutrition covers how our bodies process food, which foods can help people achieve certain goals, recipes for muscle growth and the importance of meal timing. Bjorn doesn’t just write about food however; he also covers exercise including walking and resistance training. Reviewers have positive comments about the book, saying how well-written, concise and comprehensive it is. Most people say it was educational and helpful for weight-loss, giving it either a four- or five-star review.

Best for Women: Roar

The hugely popular women’s fitness book, Roar, has the tagline “Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one.” This book, written by exercise scientist Stacy Sims and fitness writer Selene Yeager, has the express goal of teaching women how to exercise and eat in a way specifically tailored to female physiology. The Amazon best seller features a 4.5-star rating online. Reviewers note that although there are few recipes or photos in this book, it’s full of useful information and is a surprising page turner.

Roar is a comprehensive book that teaches readers about basic nutrition and hydration as well as how to strengthen bones, create an effective meal plan, and improve endurance. The book can help athletes of any sport and is aimed at greater fitness for every reader.

Best for Men: The Men’s Fitness Exercise Bible

It shouldn’t be surprising that Men’s Fitness magazine is behind one of the best and most popular fitness books for men: The Men’s Fitness Exercise Bible. Past its title, Men’s Fitness gives many men the information and advice necessary to keep up to date with the newest trends in fitness. This book compiles much of that advice and delivers 101 workouts.

The Exercise Bible covers weightlifting routines, cardio regimens and everything in between. Beginners will enjoy the sections that explain great workouts for popular gym machines while more advanced readers will like the 8-minute workouts that push the cardio limits. This book has more than 100 reviews on Amazon and an overall 4.5-star rating. Readers wrote that they enjoyed the simplicity and versatility of the book that works for any man and any occasion.

Best Cookbook: Run Fast, Eat Slow

Many fitness books feature recipes for better eating or focus on nutrition as part of a larger fitness regimen, however few are devoted to great recipes. New York Times bestseller Run Fast, Eat Slow is an exception. It has more than 100 recipes that are made of whole foods and taste great. Written by an Olympian and a chef, this book is the combination of fit-focused food and meals that are delicious.

With a five-star rating and about 400 reviews on Amazon, it’s not a surprise that readers love these recipes. Some of the most popular recipes include the bison meatball pasta and sweet potato breakfast cookies — good food with good ingredients.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best healthy cookbooks

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