Fitness and Exercise Books – Inspiration for Home Workouts for Busy People 

You’ll find some great book recommendations on the Bodyweight and Kettlebell pages which are related to those specific topics but we thought it’d be good to share some of our favorite general fitness books.

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Never Let Go – Dan John

All of us have read this collection of essays from Dan John. It’s really more of a memoir than a training guide but there are a trove of good workout ideas in here. There is some repetition between some of the essays but John writes with such wit and insight that you don’t mind. A lot of what John says comes from his approximately 50 years of training and coaching, he shares some of the mistakes he has made and the most impactful lessons he’s learnt. He never takes himself too seriously and a sense of humor shines through. It’s widely recognized that John has a talent for simplifying where others seek to complicate which is why his workouts are so powerful but accessible. A great read. 

Complete Guide to Dumbbell Training – Fred Hatfield and Josh Bryant

This is a great book to demonstrate that dumbbells should not just be considered a tool for accessory exercises. As we advocate throughout our Minimal and Modest workouts, this book shows that dumbbells can be used to accomplish a wide variety of guidelines, up to and including building maximal strength. It’s worth noting the pedigrees of the authors, Hatfield was the one of the first people to squat 1,000lbs and developed the concept of compensatory acceleration while Bryant has coached an array of top powerlifters. The book offers a vast dictionary of exercises including some lesser known ones and finishes with a number of multi-week programs. These exercises can provide the basis of many home workouts for busy people.

The Lean Muscle Diet – Lou Schuler and Alan Aragon

Individually, we have all read diet books that are particular favorites based on our preferred way to eat but one book we all agree is rock solid in its methodology and flexible enough for any preferred way of eating is The Lean Muscle Guide. Essentially, Alan Aragon gets you to identify your ideal body composition (it pays to be realistic) and then, depending on whether your preference is fat-dominant or carb-dominant, he gives you a sustainable way to get there and, more importantly stay there. Lou Schuler is a great writer and he brings a lot of warmth and humor to the text. In the context of this book the word ‘diet’ has the original long-term connotation rather than the short term superficial thing it has come to mean. Included with the diet portion of the book is a very solid workout.  

The One Minute Workout – Martin Gibala

Normally, when you see a book with a title beginning ‘The One Minute…’ it could be followed by almost any word and you would still run a mile but this book is definitely the exception. The ‘One Minute’ piece of the title is a bit of a hook to get the reader in but, written  by the professor of kinesiology for McMaster University in Canada, the book is based on his and others’ research on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and how it can be used to dramatically improve cardiovascular health with the minimum time commitment. Martin shares the massive volume of research but in an easy-to-read and accessible way then gives many workouts to pick from. The type of time management featured provide the perfect basis to build home workouts for busy people.  

Maximus Body – Bobby Maximus

If you’re someone who wants to take workouts to the next level of intensity then this is one for you. Written by former UFC fighter and head trainer for the iconic Gym Jones, Bobby Maximus, it contains 100 workouts which will challenge even the fittest among us. Many of the workouts require just bodyweight and the weights based ones can be adapted from barbell to dumbbell, and thus are doable with the one of the equipment setups we advocate here and here. Beyond the workouts, though, Bobby does a great job of describing what they think is required for a winning mindset and firing up the reader to get training.  

Shoulder Pain? The Solution & Prevention – John M. Kirsch M.D.

Whether due to incorrect training or bad day-to-day posture or a combination of both, many of us develop shoulder pain due to impingement and related conditions. This pain can range from low-level background distraction to full blown traffic light red. Many people are driven to daily pain killers, cortisone injections and even operations. One of us had impingement on both sides which had grown steadily worse over a couple of years to the stage where he couldn’t work out when he stumbled across this book. The first time performing the daily 5 minute routine delivered immediate relief and a few week’s of it removed the pain altogether. Now, this is not for every shoulder issue, the author takes pain to say if your shoulder dislocates or your arm cannot be raised to horizontal without pain then you likely have other issues. What we would recommend though is if you have experienced impingement pain then make a small investment in this book as it could get you out of chronic pain.   



The Hardgainer Solution – Scott Abel

This book has 80 workouts that can be done in sequence and all of which can be adjusted minimally to be done with the equipment setup we advocate here. Scott takes great pains at the start of the book to explain the mind-muscle connection and the huge difference it can make to a workout. He also explains that chasing heavier weights in regards to your lifts is not the way to better body composition. The diet information in the book is very much classic bodybuilder and not for everyone but combined with any feasible nutrition strategy, the workouts will be extremely powerful.