Thursday, May 31, 2012

68 Fitness Books That Are on My Bookshelf and Should Be on Yours

I think the most common question I am asked is what books have I read or am I currently reading? So I decided that I'd spend the time that I have recuperating from pec tear surgery to go over EXACTLY what is on my bookshelf and EXACTLY which blogs I read on a daily basis. To make things more interesting and easy-to-follow, I have taken a photo of my top 2 shelves of my bookcase (my wife occupies the other two shelves) and I have gone in order to name the book title and give my brief thoughts of each. Here is are my books as laid out on my office bookshelf:

Top Shelf (Left to Right): 

1.) Introduction to Personal Fitness Training, by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). This is the textbook that NASM began to use  to pre-qualify students into their CPT program. I contributed to 3 chapters in this book. 

2.) Advanced in Functional Training, by Mike Boyle. This was a gift from Laree Draper and one that I love. Although Coach Boyle tends to change his stances alot on training, I always look to him for affirmation into my own training principles and programming.

3.) Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, by Arnold Schwarzenegger - I found this at a flea market and had to purchase it a few years ago. I have not read this front to back, but I love looking at the photos of those old sweaty, vintage gym days.

4.) APEX Certification Manual, by the APEX Group - Years ago, I followed the APEX nutritional plan that was big into supplements. The APEX Group was affiliated with NASM years ago, but I am not sure any longer of their status in the fitness industry. 

5.) The Nutrition Almanac, by Gayla & John Kirschmann - Years ago, I was certified as a nutritional counselor and this was the textbook that was used for the course.

6.) Starting Strength, 2nd Ed., by Mark Rippettoe - This is a favorite of mine and one that I refer to several times. A great book to learn many correct barbell maneuvers. 

7.) Fit & Well, by Thomas Fahey - This is an old college textbook. I kept the book that I knew were going to be very helpful in my future. Rather than sell this one after the semester, it made it to my bookshelf.

8.) High Performance Sports Conditioning, by Bill Foran - This book is actually written by a few authors and was my first exposure to Gray Cook's early versions of the Functional Movement Screens. I purchased this book to broaden my skills into training athletes. 

9.) The Sports Medicine Bible, by Lyle Micheli - Possibly one of my favorite of all time. I borrowed this from my hometown library back in 1996 and loved it. I never returned it!! Shhhhh!!! Although many remedies and treatments may be outdated, this book exposed me to many orthopedic injuries.

10.) Low Back Disorders, by Dr. Stuart McGill - This was a book that everyone was talking about regarding spine health and I had to check it out for myself. I was blown away by the research!

11.) Personal Trainer Manual, by American Council on Exercise (ACE) - This textbook was my first step to becoming a personal trainer in 1999. This manual exposed me to everything to get my feet wet into the field. 

12.) YMCA Personal Training Instructor Manual, by YMCA of USA - This one goes back to my YMCA days in which I had to learn the "Y Way" of doing things. This is a very rudimentary book and find the ACE manual much more helpful.

13.) Introduction to Nutrition, Exercise, and Health, by Katch & McArdle - Another college textbook that I kept because I believe is very valuable. 

14.) Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, by the National Strength & Conditional Association (NSCA) - I am not certified by the NSCA, but I had to check out the textbook. I have referred to it many times for baselines and protocols.

15.) Complete Guide to Medicine Ball Training, by Vern Gambetta - This is a skinny book that is easy to miss on my shelf; but it was my first exposure to med ball training. 

16.) Stretch to Win, by Ann Frederick - This was the first book I purchased dedicated solely to flexibility. Truthfully, I did not find it helpful.

17.) Muscle and Medicine, by Rob DeStefano - This is a great read! I love when authors combine tissue quality with pain and energy levels. I read this one in little under a week.

18.) Fitness Management, by James Peterson - Not a Thomas Plummer book, but just as good when it comes to management. 

19.) New Rules of Lifting for Abs, by Lou Shuler & Alwyn Cosgrove - A good book but nothing I can't already find on the internet for free.

20.) New Rules of Lifting, by Lou Shuler & Alwyn Cosgrove - I like the original because at the time, it was "original". 

21.) New Rules of Lifting for Women, By Lou Shuler & Cassandra Forsythe - I bought this book for my wife and she loved it.

22.) Stretching and Flexibility, by Kit Laughlin - Another college textbook.

23.) 2-Day Personal Trainer Certification Manual, By NASM - This is the original textbook NASM used for its certification workshops. Back then there was no online studying--just read the textbook and attend a workshop. 

24.) Athletic Body in Balance, by Gray Cook - It was only a matter of time before Gray Cook would write his own book and this one delivers!

25.) Explosive Lifting for Sports, by Harvey Newton - This was my attempt to learning Olympic Lifts. I gave up because I knew learning these explosive movements from a book was not the best method. 

26.) Jumping Into Plyometrics, by Donald Chu - This is a bare essential book. This was my first introduction to plyometric training.

27.) The Poliquin Principles, by Charles Poliquin - The guy has been around for years and this was my first taste of Charles Poliquin. I read this book back when I was heavily into bodybuilding. 

28.) Treat Your own Neck, by Robin McKenzie - I read this recently to help me with some neck pain and it helped!

29.) Functional Training for Sports, by Mike Boyle  - This is the book that put Coach Boyle on the map. It was a great read and great eye-opener into his training programs.

30.) First Aid/CPR Manual - Why not?

Sitting on top of Top Shelf Books: 
31.) Warrior Cardio, by Martin Rooney - Martin Rooney's new book is killer and I am happy I discovered his work this year!

32.) Facilitated Stretching, by Robert McAtee - This is a textbook that was given to me as a gift and truthfully have not read it yet. 

Now for the second shelf.

Second Shelf (Left to Right): 

33- 40) Various JC Santana Workshop Books - These 7 black spiral bonded workbooks are authored by Juan Carlos Santana and have been staples in my referencing. They cover everything from "Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism" to "Stability Ball Training."

41.) Body for Life, by Bill Phillips - This is the original book from Bill Phillips--not a re-issue. I loved this book when it came out and believe it set  the pace for many imitators that followed. 

42.) 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson - This is a book that I looked over during my management days. In one position, I managed 25 fitness professionals and I wanted to make sure everyone was happy.

43.) Family Medical & Health Guide, by Consumer Reports - This was a book I purchased at a tag sale and love it. It describes many diseases and disorders that have made me more aware. 

44.) Power Training, by Robert Remedios - A great book by Coach Dos that really changed the way I programmed when it first cam out. 

45.) Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, by Mel Siff - A great book in how it is written and arranged. Mel Siff was an uncanny expert and one that would have made a greater impact if he didn't leave us so early.

46.) Sports Supplement Review, 3rd Ed., by EAS - Back in teh day thsi was teh bible.

47.) Sports Supplement Review, 4th Ed, by EAS - See above. 

48.) Trainer Supplement Desk Reference, by APEX Group - Another textbook from my days working with APEX nutrition and supplementation. (Circa 2001)

49.) Core Performance, by Mark Verstagen - When this book was released, it changed everything. This is a  staple in my collection.

50.) Maximum Strength, by Eric Cressey - Another gem. I like Eric's writing technique and he proves he is a guy that is in the trenches. 

51.) Power Posture, by Lee Parone - This is a great book on how posture affects our energy levels. 

52.) Raising the Bar, by Dave Tate - A great book on life outside the gym. I like Dave's writing. He writes like he is in the room with you.

53.) Health At Home, by Various Authors - This book was given to me by an old employer and helps with finding simple remedies to simple problems. 

54.) Take Care of Yourself, by Dr. Donald Vickery - Another book that was given to me by an employer during my corporate fitness days. 

55.) The Mental Athlete, by Kay Porter - This is a great book if you coach young athletes. It is complete with mental drills and triggers. 

56.) Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins - My first book about self-empowerment before the internet spawned many imitators. 

57.) Dr. Divot Guide to Golf Injuries, by Larry Foster - I purchased this book when I began working with golfers because I wanted to understand the mechanisms of the injuries they deal with. 

58.) TNT Diet, by Jeff Volek - A great diet book at the time. It was my first eye-opening book into a specific diet plan.

59.) Guidelines for Exercise Prescription, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) - This is the 4th edition and I have glanced over it maybe 4 times. 

60.) Brother Iron, Sister Steel, by Dave Draper - This one was read a long time ago--back in my bodybuilding phase. A great account of Dave's bodybuilding days and personal ideology. 

61.) Serious Training for Endurance Athletes, by Rob Sleamaker - This  was a textbook for a certification I had acquired for training endurance athletes. 

62.) BodyOpus, by Dan Duchaine - Holy smokes...when this book came out (long ago) I was experimenting with different nutrition and supplement schemes. 

63.) Golf Injury Handbook, by Allan Levy - Another book I had purchased for my golfers.

64.) Sports Nutrition guidebook, by Nancy Clark - This was a textbook for a brief nutrition counseling certification I held. It doesn't contain anything different than what you can find in any other book.

65.) Natural Healing Remedies, by Various Authors - This book was purchased during a holistic phase I was going through.

66.) Golf for Dummies, by Gary McCord - This book was purchased by me to understand the game of golf better. Because personally, I find it extremely boring. 

67.) Optimal Muscle Training, by Ken Kinakin - This is a great book on muscle imbalances and the exercises need to help. Comes with a great DVD.

68.) Sports Injuries Guidebook, by Robert Gotlin - This is a college textbook that I decided to hold on to for injury reference. 


  1. Thanks for the kind words, John! Hope you're well.

  2. You're welcome Eric. Thanks for reading!

  3. Love this list, John. Thanks for sharing. Before I became a fitness professional I did Body For Life. Like you, Core Performance, Maximum Strength and Power Training were incredibly influential in changing the way I programmed. I had Dr. Tom Fahey as a professor and discus throws coach at CSU Chico. Still have many of his books.

  4. Awesome, you have quiet a collection here John. I spotted some great books on your list. Got to go to the nearest bookshop and have a look at them and see how these books can help me.

    Thanks for sharing John. Looking forward to read more of your blogs.

    Rick Kaselj
    Exercises For Injuries

  5. I must say that you really have a great collection of fitness books. Thanks for providing the list! Learning by means of reading is one of the simplest way to stay healthy and even if you want to loss weight.


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