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34 Must-Read Books for Fitness Entrepreneurs | Essential Collection

A big part of being a successful fitness entrepreneur is continually working on your education and self-improvement. And one of the best ways to do that is quite old-fashioned — reading. However, you will find tons of recommended books but might be looking for only the specific books for fitness entrepreneurs.

If you’re a fitness entrepreneur, here are 34 books you must read if you’re serious about growing your fitness business and improving your management and leadership capabilities:

Fitness Business Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Nutrition Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Exercise Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Leadership Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Personal Growth Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

General Business Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

As far as books go, this is the ultimate list for any fitness professional, no matter your stage of growth or type of fitness studio you are running. Read on to understand why each of these books is a must-read for anyone in the fitness industry. 

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Fitness Business Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

If you’re looking for something that’s been written by fitness professionals for fitness professionals, this list will satisfy your needs. You can count on the experience of the authors to guide you in the right direction.

Gym Launch by Alex Hormozi

When Alex Hormozi launched his business at the age of 23, he was confident it would be a success. However, he soon discovered that success in the fitness industry was harder to come by than he initially thought. While his gym was always full, he didn’t make any profit. 

He discovered that he had three major problems, all of which were based on the lack of consistency when it comes to clients. He spent the next few years finding out as much as possible about owning a gym, and he turned his knowledge into a book. What he learned helped him open six more locations. 

His route to success helped more than 150 businesses thrive either by his personal involvement or through his online community. This book will show you all of the details related to launching a gym and running it properly so that you can turn a profit. Hormozi’s tips are easily applicable whether you run a yoga studio or a high-intensity training gym. 

The Soul of a Trainer: You Were Born to Change the World

Thomas Plummer is one of the legends in the fitness world, and he’s been in the industry for more than 40 years. Who wouldn’t want some tips from him? Well, if you’re one of the many who seek his guidance, you’re in luck; he wrote a terrific book on personal training.

In 1990, he launched the Thomas Plummer Company, which later became the National Fitness Business Alliance. It’s a community of numerous suppliers and vendors in the industry who work on educating people in the fitness business all across the globe. 

This book is actually a collection of Facebook posts and blog posts Mr. Plummer wrote in 2017 and 2018. If you prefer a more structured book, that’s fine – Thomas has ten more books about working in the fitness industry – but this book is full of bite-sized, modern pieces of advice about surviving and thriving in the business. 

Much of the book is indeed about excelling as a personal trainer, but I think that perspective is an important one for a fitness business owner to have. Trainers are experts at conveying the benefits of a healthy, exercise-rich lifestyle to their clients, and if you run a fitness business, you must be able to do the same. 

Two-Brain Business: Grow Your Gym

The author of this book, Chris Cooper, recognized the biggest problem that gym owners have: they are better at the gym part than they are in the business part. So, he decided to help those business owners by writing Two Brain Business: Grown Your Gym. 

Succeeding solely based on your experience in fitness is not possible. What you need is an equal focus on both elements. The theories in this book are not just empty words. They are tried and tested strategies that can help you grow your own business and work more efficiently as a fitness professional.

The best aspect of this book is that it’s comprehensive. It covers everything you need to know, from the nitty-gritty of owning a gym/studio to marketing, sales, financing, hiring, and so on. 

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga

This one’s for the yoga studio owners out there – or the gym owners who are considering expanding into the yoga field. 

If you want to start making money teaching yoga, you need to read this. The authors don’t just write about the routines, but they also include information on branding, client retention, marketing, and so on. 

It’s a beautiful piece of work dedicated to people who are just starting and are not sure what to do. This book is full of actionable, useful tips that will help you set your business up and run it smoothly. 

The Business of Fitness

It’s no wonder that this list has more than one book by Thomas Plummer — he has a lot to say, and his tips are super practical. This book, however, gets into the dreaded topic of finance. Dealing with accounting may seem nightmarish to creative fitness professionals, but this book breaks it down so that it’s easy to understand and follow. 

This book will introduce you to the concepts of pricing structure, financial planning, accounting, the maturity of a business, and other useful elements. Thomas may be one of the best authors for this type of book, as he knows how to speak to fitness professionals in a way that appeals to them, and he can turn a complex topic into something easily digestible. 

Ignite the Fire

This book is an excellent guide on building your fitness career, starting from the very beginning. It covers topics like finding your ideal audience and marketing to them, finding a perfect career for yourself, working with clients, funding, building great workout sessions, creating different streams of income, etc. 

It’s a full guide on everything and anything that you may need to start your fitness business successfully.

Start Your Own Personal Training Business

This book is another excellent resource for everyone who wants to build a successful business in personal training. It’s written specifically for those who haven’t started their fitness business yet. It’s still an excellent read for those who already have a business but are looking to expand or optimize. 

Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer

Eddie Lester, the author of this book, has spent his career helping more than 4,000 personal trainers reach their business goals. The book starts with essentials like getting a certification, and then it moves on to sales, marketing, and other aspects of running a fitness business. 

Note:  I know I’m listing quite a few books on achieving success as a personal trainer. Why not just list one book about personal training and move on?

Well, as I mentioned before, the skills required to be a successful personal trainer apply to all types of fitness businesses. And as it’s such an important topic, I think it’s necessary to take in a variety of professional opinions so that you can learn from a group of experts (as opposed to just one).

The Personal Trainer's Blueprint to Achieving Ultimate Success

Kevin Mullins is one of the best instructors and coaches in the world, which makes him the perfect person to show you how to find success in the fitness industry. This book is organized in days, as the name says, and each new day reveals a new tip or insight into how to become better at what you do. 

Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In

Bartholomew has trained so many people — athletes from different sports, specifically — and he offers his best techniques in this book. From building communication and relationships with clients to creating a better environment for success, this book will teach you a lot of essential information. 

This is a short e-book that will teach you many things about being a confident seller of your services. You’ll be especially interested in reading this if you are more interested in a lighter approach to selling instead of going for the hard-sell. It discusses every step involved in building a profitable clientele and earning a good income. 

The Business of Personal Training

Covering everything from structuring and organizing your business to building trust with your clients, this book is an excellent intro to different aspects of owning a business. Andrea Oh writes in an interesting, readable way, and there are several books in this series — all worth a read for any fitness business owner. 

Books On Nutrition For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Since nutrition is such an integral part of being fit and healthy, it’s a good idea to have a few nutrition books on hand. Your clients will probably ask you about diet recommendations, and these books can help you give the right advice — or at least point your students to the best resources. Add value to your service by studying these books. 

Good Calories, Bad Calories

This is an eye-opening read that busts all the myths about nutrition and sets them straight. It’s going to change the way you make recommendations regarding diet. It also shows how it’s important to think about the variety of energy sources rather than simply focusing on the number of calories. You’ll also find some great insight into the long debate on fats and carbs, and it’s all supported by evidence from real studies. 

The Protein Power Lifeplan

If some of your clients are on a Paleo diet, this plan will help them follow their diet better. It’s supported by facts and scientific research, which means you can trust the claims that Mr. Eades makes. Unfortunately, there are no recipes, but there are still plenty of useful tips and advice on how to live your best life using this diet. 

Wired to Eat

Robb Wolf used to be a research biochemist and a powerlifting champion — so, who better to get advice from on nutrition? 

This book combines science and research with real-life experiences and delivers a perfect weight-loss solution that is specifically based on your genetics. It could help you create nutritional plans for your clients based on their own needs, which would add a lot of value to your fitness business.

Exercise Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

You probably know a lot about exercising, no matter what your chosen field of fitness is. However, learning should always be continuous, and these books can help you expand your knowledge beyond what you already know. They can also help you advise your customers better. 

Complete Guide to Stretching

This colorful book includes more than 70 exercises with images, and an expert in the field writes it. It could be your go-to material for when you need to recommend something to clients or an excellent helper when dealing with rehabilitation. 

This guide will also lead you through the world of flexibility, healthy functions of muscles and joints, and tell you all about stretching without injury. 

The Complete Guide to Postural Training

Kesh Patel’s book is a perfect reference for when you need to brush up on posture or when you need to point your clients to helpful resources. It can help you assess the posture and suggest corrective exercises. 

It makes interesting claims — for example, that with the better posture you could add half an inch to your height and an entire inch to the width of your shoulders. You could reduce the size of your waistline too. So, posture improvement could be a great idea for many of your clients, and this book will tell you exactly how to get them there. 

Strength Training Anatomy

Understanding what goes on underneath the skin will make you a better fitness professional. And while most anatomy books are boring, this specific book teaches you a lot while still being entertaining. 

People who have used this book in their gyms and studios before said it feels like having an x-ray view of every exercise. The result of this is an easy improvement in terms of technique, and it will make your clients’ journey so much better and healthier. 

Becoming a Supple Leopard

Becoming a Supple Leopard represents a continuation of your learning about movement and how it works. By reading this book, you’ll be better positioned to help your clients let go of their bad movement habits and learn to do exercises properly. It covers everything from muscle-ups to squatting, and it also discusses a bunch of movements and the potential issues they can cause. 

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning

This book is specifically written to help those who are taking their Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam. However, it can be a useful reference for years to come on all aspects of strength training. 

2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses

With an astonishing number of asanas, this book is a perfect read for every yoga instructor or business owner who wants to create a unique choreography for their classes. It’s beautiful, simple, and comprehensive, rounded up with clear and colorful photos. 

It’s well-organized too — it covers eight major asana types and sorts them into separate categories so that everything is easy to find. 

Leadership Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Owning a business is all about knowing how to lead. Some people are born leaders, but some are not, and they have to learn. No matter which category you fall into, these books will show you how to lead efficiently and inspire people to follow you. 

Start With Why

A great starter book on your journey to better leadership, this work by Simon Sinek asks an important question — why?

Why are you doing what you are doing right now? Why did you venture into the fitness industry? 

This book contains many real-life examples and experiences from real people. It shows why some businesses and people become more successful by examining leaders of the world like Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King, congress members, etc. It identifies the similarities that connect all the greatest leaders in the world. 

If you want to make your business — and yourself — stand out from the crowd, this book is a must-read.

The Effective Executive

At the beginning of this book, the author asks you whether you consider yourself an effective leader. Do you? 

If you’re not sure, Peter F. Drucker is ready to tell you how to be in this classic work from 1967. If you want to thrive, you need to get work done. And if you have trouble getting work done, It teaches you some basic principles like time-management, people management, productivity, and the importance of delegating tasks. 

Effectiveness can be learned, and Drucker does his best to offer simple, digestible insight into how to become effective and make the right decisions. 

Crush It!

Gary Vaynerchuk is a legend who truly has a lot to say about making your dreams come true and being an excellent leader. In this specific book, he wants to help you turn your hobby into a profitable business. He wants to show you that your passion can be monetized and make your life better. 

Specifically, he tells a story of how to use the internet to make your business thrive. One of the most important lessons from this book is that every business, no matter how small, needs a brand. It will show you how to create a company that people want to buy from and how to become a leader that takes their business into glory. 

Virtual Freedom

New business owners often think that they have to do everything themselves. From being the boss to hiring people and marketing the services — they think that they have to do it all. You’ve probably been in the same situation too. 

But, it’s one of the biggest reasons people quit their business — it’s just too hard. No one can do everything and be everything at the same time. And this is what Chris Ducker wants to tell you. Moreover, he wants to show you how to be a good leader without overworking yourself.

He understands that small businesses often don’t have the budget to hire more people immediately. In this book, he shows you how to hire virtual employees to run and grow your business. 

One of the main aspects of the book is the segment where he helps you understand what sort of things you shouldn’t be doing. He tells you to delegate everything you don’t like doing, everything you are not good at, and everything you shouldn’t be doing. What’s left is your actual purpose as a leader, and you’ll become much more efficient. 

The 5 Levels of Leadership

John Maxwell is one of the best people to tell you about leadership, and even though this book is not his most popular work, it’s still definitely worth a read. Especially so if you want to understand how to influence people to follow you. 

Reading it, you’ll recognize how to gain more influence among people and how to develop from there. This book will also tell you what can make you more compelling and what makes you less compelling so that you can immediately start applying the functional aspects of the book. 

Personal Growth Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

If you want to be a successful fitness entrepreneur, you have to invest in your own personal growth. And one of the best ways to do so is to read inspiring work by successful people. Here are some excellent works that you should read. 

Know: A spiritual wake-up call

Royce Morales is an excellent book that shows you how to transform your life. No matter what kind of fitness business you run, you basically sell one thing: life transformation.

It’s hard to sell a promise of life transformation to others if you haven’t experienced it yourself. This book will help you achieve that by teaching you about the power of intent and how to train yourself to become a better leader. It will also help you support your clients on their life-changing journey. 

The 4-Hour Work Week

Running a business in the fitness industry can be extremely time-consuming. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is something you’ll need to learn – and Tim Ferris can help you figure that out. 

While you probably won’t be able to work the magical 4 hours per week that Tim promotes, reading this book will help you cut down on time spent performing tasks that you don’t need to perform.

This book is highly popular and recommended by most CEOs and entrepreneurs as a unique guide to being an efficient business owner. It’s your personal mentor that will lead you to a life of high income and luxury with minimal risk of burnout.

The Power of Habit

If you ever wondered how some people are so successful, this book is here to answer that question. It tells a unique story of what makes certain people always look for more and how some products and services sell more quickly than others. 

The power of habit examines the habits of individuals and companies to deliver an answer that can help you transform your own life. It also teaches you how to work on your own habits to change them and make them work for you. 

The Magic of Thinking Big

David Schwartz defines what it means to be successful and how to get there. He shares some nifty secrets that you can use to become a better leader and business owner. This book has been out for more than three decades, and yet it still manages to be useful in this modern world. 

It shows you how to raise the bar and make your life what you want it to be. It’s a great guide to maximizing every aspect of your life and making all of your dreams come true. So, whether you already run your own fitness business or you’re just thinking about it, this book is here to help and push you in the right direction.

Business Books For Fitness Entrepreneurs

Even though books written for fitness business owners specifically are more applicable, there are certain general business books that you should read. They cover some of the interesting aspects of selling to an audience and staying on top of things as a business owner. 

Little Red Book of Selling

This book is probably one of the shortest on this list, and yet it packs plenty of knowledge and useful tips. It’s focused on selling and offers to share the most interesting aspects of it to you. For example, one of the best things about it is that it includes the excuses buyers use. This allows you to practice how to answer and how to get the sale. 

Good to Great

Jim Collins, a business consultant, studied over 1500 companies to find how some companies go from good to great. His book is a fantastic answer to that question — full of valuable insight into how businesses work and what makes them great. 

The best part is that the advice given in this book has nothing to do with huge investments and expenses. It’s all about building a culture and creating an environment of dedicated individuals. 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

This is another book that tackles selling to people — specifically, what makes them say yes. It’s a classic book that you need to understand how to leverage psychology to get people to buy your services. 

Robert Cialdini lists six principles related to persuasion and how you can use them in order to get more customers. It teaches you how to influence the behavior of your customers. At the same time, it also teaches you how to avoid being persuaded yourself. 

You can get other books by the same author to learn more about preparing your audience so that they say yes more willingly the moment you send a proposition. 

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Any book by Al Ries is instantly recommendable, but this one teaches you how to market your services specifically. It was published in 1994, but this book is still widely used by marketers and small business owners through the creative world of marketings. The lessons it shares are timeless and instantly applicable to any business. 


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About the author


Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness and wellness industry.

Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set-up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently resides in London, U.K.