The 5 Best Non-Diet Books for Your Fitness

I’ve read a lot of diet books in my time. I worked at a bookstore in college so I had access to every one of them. I started my own fitness journey with two great books – Body for Life by Bill Phillips and Weight Training for Dummies. Body for Life taught me how to manage portions and eat a more balanced diet. (I was the vegetarian who didn’t eat vegetables and certainly lacked in protein as well.) Weight Training for Dummies taught me how to get off the treadmill and use those mysterious dumbbells.


You don’t have to work at a bookstore to know that there are thousands of diet and fitness books published annually. While each one claims to have THE ANSWER and their way is THE WAY to fitness, they actually all say pretty much the same thing:

  • Eat less (doing this by either cutting out entire food groups or with a specific meal plan/food combinations/nutrient timing).
  • Eat better (give up sugar, wheat, animal products, dairy, processed foods or some combination of these).
  • Exercise (although not always).

I do believe you can learn just about anything from a book, but I have a better use for your book budget and precious reading time when it comes to fitness. The top five books I recommend to my clients are not about nutrition or exercise but they will help you live a fitter life.

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

Change is hard, no question about it. The Heath brothers break down behavior change in an easy to understand model that will not only help you change health habits but influence others in any aspect of your life.

switch book

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney

Willpower is a muscle. Like a muscle, you can strengthen it. You can find a way to use it more efficiently. I love his explanation of the glucose/PMS connection. (There is a scientific reason you crave chocolate!)

wherever you go there you are

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Meditation has been a huge help with my stress level. Stress can be a big barrier to fat loss and overall health. Learn how to not only reduce stress but also enjoy life more by being present.

7 habits highly effective people

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

My favorite lesson from this book – when you pick up one end of the stick you pick up the other. All actions have consequences and we hold the power to determine which path we take.

power of purpose

The Power of Purpose by Richard J Leider

Having a reason to get of bed in the morning (your plan de vida, a purpose) makes you healthier, happier and increases your chances of living a long life. Who doesn’t want that?

Is there a book that had a profound effect on your fitness journey?

Also Read:

10 Foodie Reads for Kids (with Recipe Pairings)

5 Things That Make or Break Weight Loss Success

5 Ways to Avoid Workout Burnout

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