Best fitness books 2018: a healthier you starts with one of these top exercise guides

A decent diet and a good exercise regime are the keys to a healthy lifestyle, so gain a better understanding of how it all works with our selection of the best fitness books

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The media is full of things we should and shouldn’t be eating, and the recommended amount of exercise we should be doing per week is always changing, too. But in actual fact, it’s not a simple case of cutting out this, that and the other or going for a run three times a week in between hitting the gym for several hours, it’s about finding a regime that works for you. 

While one approach to diet and exercise may work for one person, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for another, which is why it’s good to get some decent insight into a diet or health regime before you commit yourself to several months of something that won’t give you the results that you desire.

And while buying a shed-load of gym equipment for the back room or investing in a gym membership is a good move, you’re not going to realise its true potential unless you delve into the best ways to exercise, or the kinds of foods you should be eating to see the best results. 

That’s where fitness books come into their own. There’s a wonderous world of fitness books out there, full of guidance, stats and reasons why you may be feeling this way or that way and how best to remedy it, and we’ve scoured the likes of Amazon and Waterstones to find them. 

Our list features a range of fitness books; ones that are good all-rounders, such as Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich, which is an autobiography slash fitness manual all in one. Ones that are written solely to clue people into the kind of things they should be cooking for themselves - whether it’s high protein meals for building muscle mass or high energy meals for those that find themselves falling asleep by mid afternoon. Finally, there’s the exercise ones, that promise almost miracle-level fat loss; guess it’s up to you to find out whether it’s just a fad. 

Best fitness books 2018

Best fitness books

1. The One Minute Workout by Martin Gibala

Cluing you in to the most efficient way of exercising

Specifications
Best for: HIIT Workouts
Pages: 272
Published: 2017
Publisher: Vermillon
Reasons to buy
+Features HIIT training exercises+Great for those with busy schedules
Reasons to avoid
-Most exercises require more than a minute of your time 

Not everyone has the time in the day to head to the gym for hours on end, so it’s good to know that you don’t have to commit to that length of time to feel the benefits of exercise. In fact, this book goes into the details of why HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a much more efficient way of exercising than others, and it helpfully explains the scientific ins and outs of the workouts so you know how and why it will make a difference to your body. With the aim to squeeze the NHS’s guideline of 150 minutes of exercise into 3 minutes, this is certainly one to go for if time is of the essence.

Best fitness books

2. Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich

An autobiography and training guide all in one

Specifications
Best for: Getting fit and inspired
Pages: 248
Published: 2013
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Reasons to buy
+Comical, yet informative+Advice from a professional trainer
Reasons to avoid
-Gossip, rather than scientific guides 

When the author of the book has coached some of the world’s most A-list celebrities, you don’t need scientific data to prove that his methods work. This book aims to help you to get fit, through inspiration, humour and dishing the dirt on the fitness industry, which is probably far more interesting than following an AI instructor on an app. One of the other major factors of this book is the no sugar, no grain concept of eating, which combined with his workouts, should help you to get in great shape. 

Best fitness books

3. Lean in 15 - The Shift Plan by Joe Wicks

This isn’t a diet book - just lean meals mixed with HIIT workouts

Specifications
Best for: Body transformation
Pages: 224
Published: 2015
Publisher: Bluebird
Reasons to buy
+Meals are quick and easy to cook+Ingredients aren’t expensive
Reasons to avoid
-Not for crash dieters 

If you like the sound of HIIT workouts to fit around your hectic schedule but want more guidance on the kinds of things you should be eating to achieve maximum results, this book by, no pun intended, tasty-looking chef Joe Wicks, will help you on your way. The recipes that he includes aren’t diet recipes; they are healthy and nutritious, and designed to help you become leaner. He then details a variety of HIIT workouts for you to do at home, combining all the ‘ingredients’ you need to trim fat off your body.  

Best fitness books

4. The Fitness Book by DK

Struggling to find the best type of exercise for you? This book will help you to find it

Specifications
Best for: Variety of workouts
Pages: 336
Published: 2012
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Reasons to buy
+Full range of exercise methods+Find one that fits with your lifestyle
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t include recipes 

With over 500 exercises including running, swimming, stretching and pilates, there’s plenty of options to get through if you’re struggling to find a workout that works for you. To give you an insight into the types of exercise you should be looking into, the book features tests and questionnaires to get you on the right track and there’s also some nutritional information in there to help you eat the right food alongside your fitness journey. This non-specific book is great if you’re open minded to exercise and once you’ve found the right workout, there’s nothing to say you can’t find a book that offers you a more detailed insight later on. 

Best fitness books

5. The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

If you’ve ever wished you could become ‘superhuman,’ apparently this book can get you there

Specifications
Best for: Rapid fat loss
Pages: 592
Published: 2011
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Reasons to buy
+Lose fat+Improve your sex life
Reasons to avoid
-Could be a bit blokey 

When one of the taglines is ‘give your partner a 15 minute female orgasm’, it’s pretty much guaranteed to catch the eye of any bloke walking passed the bookshop, because who wouldn’t want to lose weight and become a God in the eye of their better half? It’s a win, win, win, win situation. When it comes to the actual content of the book, you can pick and choose from simple and extreme regimes, depending on how dramatic you want the changes in your body to be, although some readers still find it hard to implement the regime into their daily life.  

Best fitness books

6. Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews

The ultimate guide to bodybuilding and gaining muscle-mass

Specifications
Best for: Building muscle
Pages: 356
Published: 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Reasons to buy
+Guidance based on research+Includes meal plan information
Reasons to avoid
-Not based on the author’s own research

Whether you’re just starting out on your muscle-gaining journey or you’ve come to a stand still in putting on the pounds, this book should give you a helpful guide on the best way to effectively train, through technique, diet and supplements. Readers say it’s straight to the point, so it’s for those super serious about building their body up however, many say there are more specific books out there that go into the finer details of training and eating, rather than being an all-rounder.  

Best fitness books

7. The Accumulator by Paul Mumford

Build up an intense workout over time

Specifications
Best for: Steadily build fitness
Pages: 192
Published: 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Reasons to buy
+Designed to get you fit in a month+Learn how to use your bodyweight to get fit
Reasons to avoid
-Limited dietary information 

If you’re just starting your weightloss journey, the thought of suddenly having to carry out 30 minutes of high intensity exercises may put you off before you’ve even began. This book gives you a gentle introduction to high intensity interval workouts, so you can build up your fitness and capabilities steadily over a month. It details in on bodyweight movements, so you can improve your mobility in everyday life as well as when you’re working out. It also offers you daily suggestions to improve your diet, giving you a steadier introduction to your new regime.  

Best fitness books

8. Running: How to Get Started by Elizabeth Hufton

Make sure you know and own everything you need to hit the road, running

Specifications
Best for: Beginner runners
Pages: 128
Published: 2011
Publisher: Southwater
Reasons to buy
+Explains the health benefits+Programmes to get you started
Reasons to avoid
-Only focuses on running 

Running is easily accessible for anyone, and not only benefits your fitness. In fact, many people use it to destress after a hard day, which leads to a whole load of other health benefits, too. Don’t be surprised when you struggle to make it a couple of metres down the road without huffing, it takes a while to build up your strength and stamina, and this book clues you into the best way to do it. It also informs you about the importance of the right gear and warming up and down, so you can get the most out of your miles.