Books are one of the many ways that exist to learn and better yourself.

There are thousands out there and many that are specifically on concepts you can apply to Personal Training. There are also many out there, on topics outside of exercise and nutrition, that are on things that don’t sound like they will apply but do.

Personally, I think it’s good to read things outside of our personal training focused bubble.

The challenges you’re facing just now in terms of things like time management, business, marketing, decision making or career advancement are problems that many, many other people will have faced. Books are one of the ways you can discover their experiences on these topics and what they did to come out the other end.

Therefore, in this blog, I’m going to suggest 7 books that aren’t on exercise or nutrition but that are useful for the kind of things PTs need to understand. (I say suggest as I don’t believe in must-read books becasue everyone is at a different stage and therefore, what could be a must-read for one person may be useless for another)

1. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

What leads to an enjoyable career? Should you “follow your passion” like all of the business gurus tell you? What skills should you develop to become sought after in your industry? Those are the kinds of questions that Cal sets out to answer in this fantastic book.

2. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

As the title suggests, this book is all about making sure that the foundation of your business is that it is making a profit. Most importantly, ensuring you run your business based on what you can afford today, not what you hope to afford someday. Plenty of strategies, systems and tips for ensuring your business is profitable.

3. Secret Service by John R DiJulius

Thanks to Mark Fisher from Mark Fisher Fitness and Business for Unicorns for the recommendation on this one.

Are you interested in learning about excellent customer service? This is a book worth reading.

The companies who have phenomenal service don’t just wing it, they create systems and a culture that prioritizes it at every turn. Some of the changes we’ve made to our onboarding systems for new members at LTB have come from ideas taken from this book.

4. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Learn how to build good habits, break bad ones and loads more in this book from habit and success blogger James Clear.

This book includes many crossovers to the work personal trainers do with clients.

If you want to hear more about the book and habits in general, check out this Sigma Nutrition Podcast with the author.

5. Off The Clock by Laura Vanderkam

Due to the rise in social media and demands on our time, time management is a topic that has gained a lot of press. In this book, the author aims to breakdown how you can understand where your time is going, how to better spend it and improve your expectations around its use. It’ll make you think about your time in a way that makes you want to use it in the right ways.

You can tune in to Laura’s LTB Podcast appearance discussing Off The Clock and time management here.

6. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

If you read a blog post, a book, attend a seminar or watch an online lecture and then go out and create something off of the back of this, is it called stealing?

That’s the question that author Austin Kleon looks to demystify in this book by showing you that all artists gain inspiration from what they consume.

If you enjoy creating content, or you’re a bit stuck about how to go about creating better content, this is a fantastic book.

7. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Above all, your customer should be the hero of your businesses story.  Not your brand.

How often do you find a business online and think “I don’t know what they do, how they do it or how I go about working with them”? This book aims to help you sift through the noise and focus on what’s important so that you can connect with your customers and grow your business through the arc of the story.


In conclusion, here are seven books on topics that aren’t directly related to nutrition or training. Nonetheless, the lessons and information discussed in each can help trainers create better content, run a more effective business, decide on their career direction and much more. It would be silly to go out and buy all seven of these in one go, so I’d recommend reading through the list, having a look at blurbs and reviews, and then considering what sounds most interesting or useful to you. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be in a better place to decide if it’s worth buying. If you’re the kind of person who buys 10s of books and online courses but never actions them, I’d recommend bookmarking this blog and coming back to it when you’ve got what you need out of those other resources.

Learn More About LTB

If you want to develop your skills further then check out the courses available as a member of LTB. As well as all of our courses, you get access to downloads on opening a facility, managing overwhelm and calculating macros and webinars from industry experts like Alwyn Cosgrove, Dr Mike Israetel, Molly Galbraith and Greg Nuckols (all available on the free trial).

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