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5 Best Books for Personal Trainers in 2024

So, you’ve been working out for some time and are happy with the results. You feel like you could offer a lot as a personal trainer, but need some direction? Reading personal training books is a great start!

This article will cover the five best books for personal trainers to read in 2024. They include books on starting as a personal trainer, business strategy in the online world, proper exercise and diet, how to get certified, and more.

Top 5 Best Books for Personal Trainers Reviewed

  1. Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career (Revised, Updated, and Expanded) – Best for Beginners in the Personal Training World
  2. The Complete Book of Personal Training – Runner-Up
  3. Change Maker: Turn Your Passion for Health and Fitness into a Powerful Purpose and a Wildly Successful Career – Best Go-To Guide
  4. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training – Best Personal Trainer Certification Book
  5. The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition – Best Book About Nutrition
Easy to
Material &
Value for
Ignite the Fire4810910910
The Complete Book
of Personal Training
Change Maker46.51099.599
NASM Essentials of Personal
Fitness Training
The Muscle and
Strength Pyramid: Nutrition

1. Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career (Revised, Updated, and Expanded)

Ignite the Fire
  • Author: Jonathan Goodman
  • Available Format: Paperback, audiobook, Kindle
  • Pages/minutes: 276 pages or 7h7m
  • Originally published: 2012
  • Latest edition: 2015
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • For whom: Beginner to intermediate

“Ignite the Fire” is full of practical advice on how to start and develop a personal trainer career. It covers topics like obtaining certifications, marketing your services, managing client relationships, finding your niche, and more. It’s like a strategy book for building up a coaching business.

It addresses common challenges faced by up-and-coming personal trainers, such as where to start, how to deal with competition, how to secure clients, etc. The section about managing your schedule and not forgetting yourself is a great highlight, as it’s easy to lose track of your life when your business revolves around helping others.

Although the book is geared towards novices, it’s still a valuable read even if you’ve been a successful trainer for some time now. It can open up new perspectives and approaches and modernize your business strategy. Even if you feel like you gained little new information, the book is short enough not to waste your time and acts as a good refresher.


“Ignite the Fire” is a succinct and valuable guide for personal trainers, offering practical advice on certifications, marketing, client management, and business strategy, catering to both novices and experienced professionals.

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  • Highly motivational and inspirational
  • A good start for beginner coaches
  • Written from first-hand experience
  • Casual and conversational tone, easy and fun to read
  • Short and sweet

Could be better:

  • The book is about career-building, not the actual training (nutrition, exercises, etc.
  • The author’s biases sometimes slip through

2. The Complete Book of Personal Training

The Complete Book of Personal Training
  • Author: Douglass Brooks
  • Available Format: Paperback
  • Pages/minutes: 608 pages
  • Originally published: 2003
  • Latest edition: First edition
  • For whom: Beginner to intermediate

So, you’re highly passionate about fitness in your personal life and you’re thinking of expanding that into a career as a trainer? Then "The Complete Book of Personal Training" by Douglas S. Brooks is an excellent choice. This book is an all-in-one guide on building up a personal trainer career written by an industry expert.

The book is published by Human Kinetics, so it’s a highly reliable and credible reference. Douglas Brooks is a recognized expert in the field who put over 20 years of personal experience into this book. As a gold-certified personal trainer, vice president of the International Sports Trainers Association, and member of IDEA and the American College of Sports Medicine, Brooks is a seasoned authority.

The book covers every aspect of the personal training business. Part one is all about breaking into the business and setting yourself up for success. It also covers valuable aspects of business management, such as legal and financial responsibilities. Parts two and three cover building the correct exercise and dietary plan for every unique client. Part four has important insight into common health issues your clients may have and how to work around them.

The book is comprehensive and tries to cover everything, which is both its blessing and its curse. Realistically, it could have been two or three volumes, something like “What Makes a Personal Trainer,” “How to Build Your Personal Training Career,” and one more book on exercise and nutrition. Then again, it was written in 2003, before we had pocket devices with infinite knowledge and when having everything in one source used to be valuable.


"The Complete Book of Personal Training" is a concise and expert guide for fitness enthusiasts seeking a successful career, covering business setup and exercise planning.

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  • All-in-one source for beginners
  • Author and publisher with the highest credibility
  • Comprehensive career plan for beginning to retirement
  • Illustrative: hundreds of photos
  • Cheap and easy to find discounted

Could be better:

  • Quite long: probably should have been separate volumes
  • Written in 2003 with no updates, some info is noticeably outdated

3. Change Maker: Turn Your Passion for Health and Fitness into a Powerful Purpose and a Wildly Successful Career

Change Maker Book
  • Author: Dr. John Berardi
  • Available Format: Hardcover, audiobook, Kindle, audio CD
  • Pages/minutes: 384 pages or 7h51m
  • Originally published: 2019
  • Latest edition: 2019
  • For whom: Beginners

“Change Maker” is the go-to guide of personal training books. It’s written by Dr. John Berardi, a renowned figure in the field of fitness and nutrition. Dr. Berardi is a co-founder of Precision Nutrition, a company providing education, coaching, and certification in the areas of nutrition and exercise.

The book covers a range of topics, including the science of nutrition, behavior change, coaching methodologies, and business strategies in a fairly easy-to-digest manner. Dr. Berardi does his best to combine proven scientific principles with real-life practical examples. The knowledge inside is heavily evidence-based and authoritative.

Given Dr. Berardi’s affiliation with Precision Nutrition, the book incorporates many of their key principles and practices. Beyond traditional coaching advice, the book also goes heavily into client-coach relationships and the psychological challenges clients face that coaches have to deal with.

A big secret revealed in the book's methodology is guiding clients through their fitness journey by listening to them and adapting their concerns into the training strategy, as opposed to just telling them to do this exercise or eat that vegetable. Nonetheless, it covers plenty of topics on exercise and nutrition, which is Dr. Berardi’s specialty, after all.


"Change Maker" by Dr. John Berardi is the ultimate guide for personal training, seamlessly blending science with practical insights, emphasizing client-coach relationships and addressing psychological challenges.

Author’s Expertise:0
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  • Most recent release, up-to-date information
  • The author has a doctorate in the field of nutrition
  • Available in various formats
  • Much of the book applies generally useful coaching knowledge
  • Available in various formats

Could be better:

  • Some of the book requires knowledge from Dr. Berardi’s other work
  • Sometimes, it can feel like a recruitment book for Precision Nutrition

4. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training
  • Available Format: Hardcover
  • Author: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • Pages/minutes: 720
  • Originally published: 2017
  • Latest edition: 7th
  • For whom: Beginner to intermediate

“NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training” is the leader of personal trainer certification books. It’s written and published by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which is accredited by the U.S. Institute for Credentialing Excellence (I.C.E.) for providing coaching training and certifications.

The book is written as a comprehensive resource to prepare personal trainers for the official NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam. As such, all information is relevant, up-to-date, and backed by science.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to get certified by NASM or live on the opposite side of the world, this is an essential read for aspiring personal trainers.

This is the sort of book you pick up if you want to learn. It’s not a fun read, so much as there’s no charismatic and passionate author using anecdotes and personal experience to drive your reading engagement. It is a large study tomb.

Thankfully, despite being long at over 700 pages, a large chunk of it is full-color HD images, so a big portion of it is focused on visual learning.


"NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training" is the definitive study guide for the NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam, providing concise and science-backed content with a focus on visual learning.

Author’s Expertise:0
Training Transfer:0
Easy To Read:0
Material & Binding:0
Value for Money:0


  • Evidence-based mix Published by a personal trainer certification body (NASM)high doses of key ingredients
  • Continually updated (7th edition)
  • Everything about preparing for certification
  • Chapters are summarized with key points, easy to navigate
  • Lots of visual learning through full-color images

Could be better:

  • The paperback version quality is questionable
  • Dry read, very much a study book

5. The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition

The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition
  • Author: Eric Russell Helms, Andy Morgan, Andrea Marie Valdez
  • Available Format: Paperback
  • Pages/minutes: 272 pages
  • Originally published: 2019
  • Latest edition: Second edition
  • For whom: Beginner, intermediate, advanced

Want to learn about nutrition? Then start with "The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition." The co-authored book is part of the "Muscle and Strength Pyramid" series together with a separate volume on training.

This is one of the few books on nutrition that’s easy to digest (no pun intended). It covers a wide range of topics related to nutrition, which you can start implementing immediately, including discussions on macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), micronutrients, meal timing, proper hydration, and more.

The book is heavily based on science, consistently citing relevant studies and literature, but it’s also not a dull read. It provides actionable advice and strategies that can be implemented in nutrition.

Instead of a one-dimensional approach, the book addresses all kinds of fitness goals, including bulking, cutting, weightlifting, strength training, endurance training, etc.


"The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition" is a concise, science-based guide providing actionable advice for various fitness goals, making it an accessible resource for those eager to learn about nutrition.

Author’s Expertise:0
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  • Co-authors all bring valuable perspectives
  • Easy to follow
  • Acknowledges various methods of exercises
  • Part of an ongoing series
  • Best weight management book

Could be better:

  • Require some prior knowledge to fully understand
  • Surprisingly expensive for a short book


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Benefits of Reading Personal Training Books

Reading books can be a fun and engaging experience. Below are some benefits of reading personal trainers' books.

✅ Authoritative Sources

Personal training books are written by industry leaders and experts on the subject. It makes the books’ content credible, and the authors can apply real-world experience to make the book more engaging.

✅ Improved Vocabulary

Research has shown that reading improves vocabulary. Personal trainer study books use terminology and language that is specialized to the fitness world. It will help you express yourself better to your future clients and the broader fitness community.

✅ Brain Health

Reading as an activity is helpful for a plethora of cognitive functions. It can improve our memory and concentration and regulate stress levels. Moreover, studies show that active readers lower the risk of cognitive decline, even in old age.

Personal Trainer Helps Athlete

How to Choose a Personal Trainer Book?

Not all personal trainers’ books are for everyone. If you get a book unfit for your current knowledge level, you may feel like you’ve wasted money or get overwhelmed by topics and info you aren’t knowledgeable enough about. Consider these factors before purchasing:

1. Personal Preferences

Different books work for different people. Reading a book that doesn’t match your learning style and isn’t engaging is as good as not reading one at all. If you’re unsure about a book, consider getting a sample chapter to feel it out.

2. Personal Fitness Goals

The personal trainer study books you read should also reflect your own fitness goals and training aspirations so that you can replicate the knowledge. In simple terms, there’s no reason to read a book about coaching swimmers if you work with weightlifters, etc.

3. Personal Knowledge Level

Not all personal training books are made for the same level. While it’s not a bad idea to go back to basics and refresh your knowledge as an experienced trainer, tackling a book that’s too advanced is an uphill battle.

Tips From the Champ

Select personal training books that match your learning style and preferences, ensuring engagement with the content. Align the chosen book with your specific fitness goals and current knowledge level to maximize its relevance and effectiveness.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

4. Reviews

Reviews can help us judge whether a book can provide value to us. Luckily, the internet provides us with easy access to real-world feedback from other readers and coaches. If you’re on the fence about a book, see what people similar to you have to say about it.

5. Author's Credibility

In a world where fake coaches are trying to sell you “get fit quick” solutions for a quick buck, credible sources and authors have become more valuable than ever.

Kettlebells Workout with Personal Trainer


What Should I Read to Become a Personal Trainer?

To become a personal trainer, start by reading simple books on nutrition and exercise. Next, explore books about becoming a personal trainer and running it as a business. Take it step by step on your journey to becoming a successful personal trainer.

How Do Personal Trainers Learn?

Personal training is not something you learn once and you’re set for life. The industry is constantly changing and keeping up is important to have a successful career. Personal trainers learn through various sources, including books, workshops, courses, and first-hand experience, among other things.


Those are the best books for personal trainers to pick up in 2024. Reading personal training books is a great way to acquire the necessary knowledge, vocabulary, and insight into the industry to get you started. Besides, reading first-hand experiences and success stories is highly motivational and inspiring.

Out of all the personal trainer study books, “Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career” by Jonathan Goodman stood out as especially well-rounded and modern. It covers various aspects of personal coaching necessary to succeed in the internet era. 

Now we’d like to hear from you. Which type of training are you most interested in? Also, which coaching level are you on currently? Leave a comment with your answer and remember to follow us on social media for more valuable fitness content.

Also read:


  1. Dawna Duff, J. Bruce Tomblin, Hugh Catts, “The Influence of Reading on Vocabulary Growth: A Case for a Matthew Effect,” Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research vol. 58, no. 3 (2015): 853-864.
  2. “Reading Improves Memory, Concentration, and Stress,” National University (accessed December 1, 2023)
  3. Yu-Hung Chang, I-Chien Wu, Chao A. Hsiung, “Reading Activity Prevents Long-Term Decline in Cognitive Function in Older People: Evidence from a 14-year Longitudinal Study,” International Psychogeriatrics vol. 33, no. 1 (2021): 63-74.

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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