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The First 4 Fitness Books You Need To Read

The highest ROI dollars I’ve spent on fitness have been spent on 4 books. 

These will answer the questions you have, and the ones you should be asking. 

Spend the time to dig into them, apply their teachings, and save yourself years of trial-and-error, or worse. 

1. Renaissance Diet 2.0

Dr. Mike Israel | Dr. Melissa Davis | Dr. Jen Case | Dr. James Hoffmann

This is a relatively scientific deep dive on using nutrition to alter your body composition. 

You might be “reading up” just a bit here, but it’s easy enough to understand, so you’ll be able grow into it as you learn more. 

This book also highlights the importance of various nutrition principles, so you can learn about what matters most and focus your attention there. 

Spoiler alert, you don’t need to be worry about fluid and sodium intake if you have no idea how much food your body needs.

That’s what I loved about reading this book. 

Even as a coach, I still use it!

I keep it as a reference, and when I come across something I’m not sure about with my own nutrition, or for my clients, I’m able to go back and double check. 

What might be interesting, new, and applicable to you today might be old knowledge to you in a year. 

Grab a copy here.

2. Muscle And Strength Pyramid: Training

Dr. Eric Helms | Andy Morgan | Andrea Valdez

If I had to give only one book on training to someone and ensure that they would have everything they needed to get started, it would be this. 

Enormous bonus points for it’s accessibility, diagrams, and easy-to-understand layout. 

Strength and hypertrophy goals are both covered, so most guys reading this will have their desires quenched. 

You shouldn’t be guessing about what needs to happen in the gym to make progress – and this book is your ticket away from that. 

Scientific training, simplified. 

It does a great job of bridging the gap between theory and practice.

The concepts in this book are enough to take you as far as you’d want to go in the weight room. 

Don’t miss out on the sample programs included for all different type of training goals and schedules. 

Very cool. 

You can find it here.

3. Strength Training Anatomy

Frédéric Delavier

Hardcore youtube video lovers might scoff at me for this one. 

This book has detailed diagrams and descriptions of many common exercises so you can understand what they look like. 

I found the illustrations in this book invaluable

I remember seeing how the muscles in my chest were structured for the first time, and it changed how I thought about training my pecs forever

Certainly, you won’t learn EVERYTHING you need to know about exercise technique and execution from this book – that can only come through application / practice.

But, you can take the ideas and visualizations from this book and run with them:

    • Try the exercises out for yourself in the weight room
    • Search for YouTube videos giving technique tips on them
    • Modify how you do things along the way to find what works for you. 

Another big spoiler coming your way: that’s the best way to get better results with any of this fitness stuff. 

Learn. Try.

Learn more. Adapt. Try more

Start reading here.

4. The Art of Lifting

Greg Nuckols | Omar Isuf

This book has saved me so much time and energy when it comes to both my diet and my training. 

It’s a powerful distillation of what really matters, what doesn’t, and what you should probably do about it. 

All with a big focus on the great stuff you actually want to learn about – getting stronger, bigger, leaner, and avoiding getting hurt. 

In fact, this book was the first ever fitness book I read that pointed to stress management and relaxation as a way to get more out of your efforts in the gym. 

All the lifestyle, mindset, and quality of life nuggets in this book are invaluable. 

You know what it feels like? 


It feels like someone read all the books outlined above, then went and trained for 10 years, and gave you some fantastic advice. 


Final Thoughts

If I could go back in time and hand myself these books 10 years ago, I would be miles ahead of where I am now by skipping several of my nonsense training and phases.

Start working smarter today. 

You’ll have more fun, and get tremendous results along the way. 

Hey! I'm Matteo Marra

Owner/Head Coach at Marra Strength. 

I believe “getting in shape” is really just a set of skills that can be learned and utilized to upgrade your life. 

Using this concept, i’ve helped hundreds of busy guys look and feel amazing shirtless by teaching them how to master the skills of dieting for fat loss and training for muscle growth.

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