From podcasts to Youtube videos and even Instagram Stories, there is so much content out there to inspire and educate you when it comes to running a fitness business. However, there’s still a lot to be said for diving into a book to educate yourself on a specific topic. A great book is chocked full of useful information that you can turn to again and again. And as an added bonus, it gives your eyes a rest from staring at a screen or trawling through endless Google search results to find the information you want.
A book is usually written by a person with authority in a topic as the reality is they don’t throw book deals out to anyone, especially on the often complex topics of marketing and business management. For the fitness professional, there is a range of excellent books out there that can help evolve both you and your business. In this article, we will go through 5 non-fitness books and 5 fitness-focused books that will take your fitness business to the next level.
5 Non-Fitness Books Every Fitness Professional Should Read
Don’t think that you have to read exclusively fitness-related books. Running a fitness studio is like any other small business, and you need to be a business person first. In this list, we look at 5 non-fitness books that focus on topics such as decision making, content writing and keeping your ego in check
As a business owner, you are going to be making hundreds of decisions, both big and small every day. Some of us are naturals at this, with the ability to weigh up the pros and cons of each option in a matter of minutes and make the correct decision 80 to 90% of the time. Others take more time to come to a final decision or at times, struggle in having complete confidence in making the right decision.
If you are in the latter category, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath could be the book for you. Listed as one of the “Books Every Leader Should Read” by the Washington Post, Decisive explores how humans make decisions. According to the latest psychology research, our decision-making process can be disrupted by different biases and irrationalities. Chip and Dan draw from the most recent decision making research to create a comprehensive four-step process to help you make the right decision at the right time. A must-read for the fitness business owner.
2. Everybody Writes
A robust digital marketing strategy is now driven primarily by content. Blogs, social media posts, digital ads, and website landing pages are only successful if they are written well. In this content-driven world, our words are our currency and can be the difference between a potential customer engaging with your business or passing over it without a thought. For a lot of us, however, writing can be skill a lot of us struggle with. As well as that, putting the time in practicing your writing can fall well down the list of priorities when it comes to owning a fitness business.
But think about this. In the start-up stage, you will be writing a lot. Emails, flyers, social media post, blogs, fitness tutorials, and all your marketing materials, in general, will be written by you. Until you are in a position to hire a wordsmith, Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is the perfect book to help you. Packed full of easy to digest lessons and rules to help you write all manner of content, Everybody Writes will give you the edge over your competitors still writing boring an unengaging content.
3. The War of Art
In fitness, we teach our clients that the only way to get the results they desire is through sheer discipline. Discipline in what they eat, what they drink, and what they put into each and every workout they do. Sometimes though when it comes to running a business, especially the mundane and trivial tasks, we tend to lose our focus, and we face creativity blocks. The result of this is procrastination, which can kill productivity and slow down your progress.
In War of Art by author and screenwriter Steven Pressfield details his years of homelessness and poverty before he wrote his first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance. In the book, he talks about how he overcame procrastination or the” resistance” as he calls it. He talks about the ways he has had overcome this “resistance” to reach his full potential, including the fantastic concept of “turning pro.” If you feel stuck in a rut(something that happens to all of us), The War of Art is perfect for helping you out of it.
4. The Power of Less
Do you check your inbox over 50 times a day? Or do you find yourself easily distracted when focusing on a task? With all the distractions that are around, it’s a miracle we can accomplish anything. When running a fitness business, a million things are going on that will pull you in different directions, distracting you from the essential things you need to achieve.
In The Power of Less, author Leo Babauta gives you the solution on how you can deal with the noise and clutter of every day. He writes about how you can sharpen your focus and how to break down each of your goals into small manageable tasks. This book is ideal for the fitness business owners who find themselves distracted by unimportant tasks and yearn to streamline their working life.
5. How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck
According to research by Hubspot, 54% of consumers want to see more video from a brand or video they support. Video is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant forms of communication, and everyone now carries around a good quality camera in their pocket. Video is very useful as it’s a piece of pillar content from which you can make other pieces of smaller video, audio, written, and visual content out of. Pillar content saves you time and money – two precious resources as a fitness business owner. Detailed expertly in Gary Vaynerchuk’s Content Model, it’s the best way to utilize video content.
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But what if you have limited video-making experience? Well, this is where How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck comes in. Written by Stephen Stockmanm, a veteran TV director who has made hundreds of TV episodes, commercials, and music videos, he uses 74 insightful chapters to lay out best practice for shooting great video. This book is useful for a person at any level, from beginner to expert and gives you all the grounding you need to create high-quality video.
5 Fitness Books Every Fitness Professional Should Read
When it comes to the fitness industry and specifically the business of fitness, there are lots of great books out there to help you at all stages of running a studio or gym. From sales and marketing best practice to scientifically-backed exercise research, these five fitness-focused books should give you everything you need to succeed as a fitness business owner.
1. Gym Launch
Alex Hermozi wasn’t a success from day one. In fact, when he opened his dream gym at age 23, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare as he found that while his gym was full, he wasn’t making a profit. The three problems that were destroying his business were that he couldn’t get clients consistently, he was unable to make a profit while they were there, and he couldn’t figure out how to retain them in the long run.
Over the next couple of years, he traveled across the country talking to different gym owners and soaked up every bit of information he could. He slowly but surely fixed all the problems with his own fitness business and went from a single location to six. He then took his framework for success on the road and has now helped more than 150 gyms across 4 continents through his books and online Gym Lords community. In this book, Alex details what he has learned from his experiences and gives you a step by step guide to succeeding in every aspect of a fitness business.
2. The Soul of a Trainer: You Were Born to Change the World
A bona fide legend of the fitness business world, Thomas Plummer has been working in the fitness industry for over 40 years. He founded the Thomas Plummer Company in 1990, which eventually became the National Fitness Business Alliance(NFBA), which is a coalition of industry vendors and suppliers committed to educating fitness business owners across the world. Thomas conducts numerous speaking engagements and workshops around the globe, making and is considered a top fitness business expert.
He has authored 10 books on the business of fitness and Soul of a Trainer is his latest. It is a collection of his various thoughts and expert advice on running a fitness business and how to live your life. It is an excellent introduction to his world if you are unfamiliar with his previous work.
3. Two Brain Business: Grow Your Gym
One of the main issues a lot of gym and studio owners face is that they have more experience in the fitness side of things over the business side of things. They think they can succeed with their fitness expertise alone, but soon find out that things come crashing down sooner rather than later. If you feel like this is the position you currently find yourself in then Two Brain Business: Grow Your Gym is the book for you.
Author Chris Cooper is the owner of two gyms and a few different companies in Ontario, Canada. He is also the author of Two Brain Business 2.0 and Help First. While his expertise is in Crossfit, the lessons he teaches in this book can be applied across several different types of gyms and studios. Every coaching or business strategy that Chris talks about has been thoroughly tested and examined before being imparted to you, the reader. A fantastic book that covers sales, marketing, management, hiring, and lots more.
4. The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga: The Yoga Professionals Guide
While the other books on this list will give you useful insights into how to run a fitness business, this book takes a dive into how you make it as a yoga professional. Authors Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith fill in the gaps that a lot of yoga training courses leave out – namely how to create a brand, acquire and retain clients, market effectively and build a sustainable business model.
This book caters to those who are just starting out on their yoga careers and also to seasoned professionals. The text is full of practical tips to help you on the road to either setting up your own yoga business or evolving in your professional career. As we mentioned in our look at Two Brain Business fitness professionals can have all the talent and passion in the world for their craft, but if they don’t have the business acumen to back it up, they will struggle to be successful long term.
5. The Business of Fitness: Understanding the Financial Side of Owning a Fitness Business
Another book on the list by the legendary Thomas Plummer who this time goes into the financial side of running a fitness business. Accounting and finance, like writing, can cause some fitness professionals to break out into a cold sweat so this book attempts to break down this often complex concept into several easy to follow chapters.
Plummer tackles topics such as levels of maturity for a business, pricing structures, business, and financial planning and working with accountants. Again, like Soul of A Trainer, Plummer writes in a direct, straightforward manner with the authority of someone who has been there, done that and truly bought the t-shirt.