15 Must Read Health, Exercise, Nutrition & Coaching Books from Fitness Expert Michael Wood

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” – Henry David Thoreau

We all understand the value of reading good books especially when they come from the industry that we work in. For me that world is the health and fitness industry. Over the past thirty years I have read and have had the good fortune of reviewing hundreds of books.

Before we get to my book recommendations, I first wanted to share two articles that I read this week, the first is an article that talks about the reading habits of a few big name entrepreneurs. The second article also appeared this week on Business Insider regarding the one book college professors from some of our elite schools would recommend to others.

The following list includes some of the best health/fitness/nutrition/coaching books I have read. For a review and more information on any of the books, simply click the title of the book and to find out more about the author click on their respective name. Finally, if you’re interested, you can find my complete suggested reading list here.


The One-Minute Exercise, Martin Gibala, PhD, Avery, 2017

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Michael Otto, PhD,  Jasper Smits, PhD, Oxford Press, 2011


Deep NutritionCate Shanahan, MD, Flatiron, 2017

Always Hungry?, David Ludwig, MD, Life & Style, 2016

The Diet Fix, Yoni Freedhoff, MD, Harmony, 2014

Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, Ph.D, Bantom Books, 2006


The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman, PhD, Pantheon, 2013

How Fat Works, Philip Wood, PhD, Harvard University Press, 2006


Supple Leopard, Kelly Starrett, DPT, Victory Belt Publishing, 2013

Conscious Coaching, Brett Bartholomew, MS, CSCS, Create Space, 2017

Functional Training for Sport, Michael Boyle, MS, ATC, Human Kinetics, 2003

Athletic Development, Vern Gambetta, MA, Human Kinetics, 2006

Core Performance, Mark Verstegen, Rodale Books, 2005

Can You Go?, Dan John, MS, On Target, 2015


Challenging Beliefs, (and the Lore of Running), Tim Noakes, MD, Zebra Press, 2012


For the Love of Books: From Health to Hemingway

“What are you reading?”

There is one bookstore that I have not yet been to that is high on my bucket list that can be found in beautiful Oregon called Powell’s Bookstore. It is considered one of the best bookstores in the country by many publications. I was reading an article one day featured on my Flipboard app that talked about the best bookstores found in each state and of course when I looked at the list under Oregon….you guessed it. That list included one book recommendation from an employee from each of the bookstores mentioned. The name of the book recommended by Powell’s was Books for Living by New York Author Will Schwalbe.  After checking it out online I knew it was a book that I had to get my hands on and read. Mr. Schwalbe mentions the importance of keeping track of what you’re reading by making reading lists and becoming in a sense your own book curator which I have done on several occasions.

Photo Credit: Will Schwalbe

As someone who has been working in the fitness industry for thirty years, I have made a number of recommendations over the years regarding numerous health/fitness/nutrition books. So much so, that as of late it developed into a “suggested reading” list here on this blog. I have also developed a personal reading list (a work in progress) of one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, that can be found on my SunAlsoRises blog. Hemingway himself was also a master at developing such reading lists. I have a list on my blog of the books that he personally liked to recommend to others. There is also a full list on the blog of all the books that Hemingway actually read from 1910-1940. His books were kept in his libraries in Key West, the Finca Vigia in Cuba and possibly his home in Ketchum, Idaho and they can all be found in this document, that lists nearly 8,000 volumes.

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” – Ernest Hemingway

Here are a few additional book lists that I have found over the years that you may find interesting:

Getting back to Will Schwalbe’s book, Books for Living, is his own list of 26 books that have made a powerful impact over the course of his life. He talks about each of the books by way of a short essay that turns into a fun, educational ride along the way. His book will have that same impact on your life…after it makes your reading “list.”