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


Book Review: How Fat Works


“I’m interested in how the body reacts to excess fat and how fat metabolism and the genetics of fat metabolism play a role in insulin resistance and fatty liver disease.”

Author Philip A. Wood, Ph.D (not related) has written a great book, How Fat Works (Harvard University Press, 2006). This is a well written book by a Professor at the Burnham Medical Research Institute on the inner workings of fat. One of the most interesting chapters in the book, in my opinion, was chapter 14, Exercise to Burn Fat. Dr. Wood explains process of both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism with great clarification as well as other aspects of basic metabolism in general. A section, in chapter 16, titled Increase Insulin Sensitivity was also very interesting. He talks about how some of us may have food sensitivities towards macronutrients like fat and carbohydrates. This book is well worth the read, no matter if you’re just a fitness enthusiast or a professional in the industry. For a deeper dive into the book check out this article published by Susan Fried in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.