May Learning Never Cease: Best Exercise Physiology Books

When it comes to working out and building up your body, you never want to neglect your brain.

Learning more about working out and how to use your body and muscles more effectively can take a lifetime to understand but a good start is checking out some high-quality books.

It may seem like a contradiction in terms to just spend time reading instead of hitting the gym but as you read and learn, you’ll be able to better apply the correct form and most efficient method of lifting and moving to your next workout.

Instead of going in blind, you’ll have plenty of information to ensure you do things correctly each time.

Why Read the Books?

Building and toning your body isn’t just a reflex, it takes a huge amount of effort and concentration to dig deep into the science and methodology behind great physiology.

While many who are dedicated to building and honing their bodies often seek out a degree, you can get lots of the same information from quality books.

There’s tons of great information that you can get from digging into a physiology book including detailed scientific information about how your body works and reacts to exercise.

Most of these books will also give you practical ways to apply big ideas to your everyday life. You’ll be better apple to exercise effectively and not end up going through your routine without understanding how it’s working in your body.

In addition to the information you’ll get from the books themselves, reading is great for building your mind!

Your brain needs to be exercised as much as your body does. Don’t neglect your brain when you’re building up your body. Digging into these books benefits both your body and your mind.

Exercise physiology books give you a lifetime’s worth of education in just a few pages.

You’ll be able to exercise and workout more efficiently when you understand how your body works and experiences the exercises you’re asking it to perform.

You can jump into a program at the certification or Bachelor’s education level in this field as well. Book learning will only take you so far if this is a field in which you’d like to pursue a career.

Rather than jumping headfirst into a career path, cracking open a well-written book from one of the authors on our list will give you valuable insight into the field before you submit to an expensive program.

You won’t be able to learn everything about the field through these books alone; the genre far outpaces our list as the field of health and fitness continues to grow.

But you can sneak a peek into the way the health and fitness world operates and how you might fit into it as an individual or as someone studying the field to help others.

Good books in this genre should give you practical as well as theoretical knowledge for your body and routine.

The information should be accessible and easy to apply. Not all books will include a structured workout plan but many give the outlines of a plan that will help you on to your next fitness goals.

These books include both strength and conditioning as well as cardio forms and plans.

Before diving into a new topic and new information, it’s worthwhile to understand what it is that you’ll be studying!

What is Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, or Kinesiology?

The study of the body and how it moves is enough through strength and conditioning workouts to fill classrooms and hundreds if not thousands of books on the market.

There are three distinct sections of study that comprise this area of study and interest: exercise science, exercise physiology, and kinesiology.

Exercise Science

This is the nuts and bolts side of the study.

Exercise science is based on theory and led by research that seeks to understand and advance each person’s well-being. The people behind this discipline applies solutions to health problems caused by physical inactivity.

The main focus of this study is the response our bodies have to exercise and the mechanical inner workings that affect that exercise. Exercise science is all about how the exercise routine affects your body.

Majoring or focusing on this section of study gives you the basic tools to work as a personal trainer where you can see the results of the individual program that’s been applied.

Exercise Physiology

Exercise science deals with the individual results for specific programming while exercise physiology focuses on the overarching principles and analysis that fuel health and fitness.

These are all of the big theories that then are applied to daily routines.


By understanding the mechanics and anatomy of the human body and studying the way your body moves, you can better apply the principles of exercise to your routine.

This deals with all of the bigger ideas of movement and how that then affects your health.

The Books

There’s no need to dig into a degree to get the benefits of greater knowledge and understanding!

Checking out some quality books and absorbing the information can give you great benefits and beef up your next workout routine.

Choosing a book to begin reading can be difficult so we’ve given you a rundown of some of the best ones on the market so you can jump in with the perfect strength and conditioning workout, start reading and start learning!

The Sports Gene

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

The New York Times bestseller – with a new afterword added to the paperback – from the author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

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02/19/2024 12:24 am GMT

What better way to get a broad view understanding of sports medicine and sport science than by examining the greatest athletes and the way they move!

This book is written by David Epstein who is an expert in the industry.

The main premise of the book is asking whether hugely successful athletes are set apart by their genetic code or hard work and wild amounts of training.

Epstein spends the majority of the book exploring the nature vs. nurture question through questioning and exploring professional athletes and explorers all over the world.

Tackling these questions forces the reader and the author to think about what it is that makes us exceptional and how sports medicine can continue caring for individuals and major athletes alike.

You can purchase this book in either Kindle or paperback versions and a collectible set has also been launched.

It’s been listed on the New York Times bestseller list and has been a favorite for many people who want to learn more about exercise physiology through the study of great names that have become household staples like Usain Bolt and Serena Williams.


  • Bestseller on the New York Times by David Epstein
  • Available on both Kindle and paperback versions
  • Widely recognized author


  • No hardcover option available
  • Ideas within the book can be complex

User Reviews:

Bigger, Leaner, Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body

If you want to get bigger, leaner, and stronger without steroids, good genetics, extreme dieting, or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym . . . you want to read this book.

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02/18/2024 04:02 pm GMT

Getting bigger, leaner, and stronger without the use of steroids, extreme diets, or days’ worth of workouts at the gym seems like an impossible dream. But the theories behind Bigger, Leaner, Stronger will help you build lean muscle and burn fat without making things complicated.

There’s no need to spend all of your money on supplements, change up your workout routine all the time or spend hours and hours at the gym every day to get the look you want.

Through this book, they bust myths that hold us back from gaining lean muscle, introduce laws of muscle growth and fat loss for practical application, and help create flexible meal plans that teach your body better habits.

The biggest benefit of this book is that it gives you extremely practical applications for the theories and ideas that are introduced. Instead of slogging through the entire book and ending with only a few ideas that spin around in your head, you get a comprehensive plan that benefits your life.

The program that’s introduced takes a total of 12 weeks from start to finish and you’ll see changes in your body in that short few months.

The book itself comes in an audiobook and Kindle version. The entire nearly 500 pages are packed with easy-to-understand definitions and ideas so no matter where you are in your fitness journey you can connect and make things happen.


  • Works directly on muscle growth
  • Simple, practical applications for building lean muscle and busting stubborn fat
  • Offers a scientific approach to building muscle mass


  • Part of a series rather than a standalone book
  • Not available in hardback or paperback versions

User Reviews:

The Fitness Mindset

The Fitness Mindset: Eat for energy, Train for tension, Manage your mindset, Reap the results The Fitness Mindset: Eat for energy, Train for tension, Manage your mindset, Reap the results

The Fitness Mindset gives you everything you need to get the body you've always dreamed of, ramp your energy levels through the roof and develop the mindset to keep it forever. 

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02/19/2024 08:44 am GMT

Being fit doesn’t stop when you leave the gym. Having the right mindset can change the entire way you perceive the world and the way you workout.

Through this book, you’ll completely change the way you think and see the world so you can reach your health and wellness goals in no time.

Instead of focusing solely on how you move your body to reach your goals, this book guides you through how to change your mindset.

Boost your energy levels and reach your goals then keep your new strategies and make them part of your lifestyle with the plans and procedures laid out in this book.

Through the use of new mindset techniques, you’ll not only be able to reach your own fitness goals, but you’ll also help reduce stress and increase your energy exponentially.

Your workouts will be a combination of tension-style and High-Intensity Interval Training which helps build lean muscle and drop stubborn fat fast.

The mind is an intimate part of the body and influences your health and wellness greatly.

By focusing on how to change your mind and reduce stress, The Fitness Mindset puts you in a good physical and mental space. Author Brian Keane is well known in the fitness industry in the UK and Ireland and keeps the focus of his book on something that others miss: the mind.


  • Digital and physical options available for purchase
  • Focuses on adjusting the mindset 
  • In-depth information about physical education and how it works on the body


  • Short book
  • For those who like a more lengthy read, may feel like it only skims the surface

User Reviews:

Faster, Higher, Stronger

Faster, Higher, Stronger: The New Science of Creating Superathletes, and How You Can Train Like Them Faster, Higher, Stronger: The New Science of Creating Superathletes, and How You Can Train Like Them

Veteran journalist Mark McClusky explains how today’s top athletes are turning to advanced technology and savvy science to improve their performance.

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02/18/2024 02:20 am GMT

Grit and determination through every facet of their lives including strength and conditioning are often the marks of super athletes and we devour stories of their courage in the face of adversity.

But more and more, these athletes at the top of their profession are turning to sports science and technology to boost their performance.

Author Mark McClusky takes his readers into the minds and science behind great athletes in Faster, Higher, Stronger.

While this science and technology may seem inaccessible to anyone who just wants to build a little more muscle or shed some stubborn fat, there are ways to incorporate these principles into your fitness routine.

These principles are distilled down from the wide-ranging ideas that populate major sports industries into applicable pieces for your daily life.

The training, physical education, and sport science that goes into making someone a super athlete is fascinating and provides insight into how our training regimens can be changed.

McClusky sticks to the facts owing to his journalistic background and presents the information in a very palatable manner that anyone can enjoy and learn from.

The books are available only as a paperback version but it’s a handy book to have when you want to upgrade your routine!


  • Goes into detail about super athletes and their training regimens
  • 288 pages of content
  • Sports science publications rate it as a great resource


  • Only available in paperback versions

The Skeptics Guide to Sports Science

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02/19/2024 03:49 pm GMT

There are trillions of dollars spent each year on the health and fitness industry around the world between gym memberships and supplements and every fad diet that passes across the TV screen.

These dollars are spent in good faith but often fail to produce the results we so desperately want to see. The claims that these companies and products make are often considered to be snake oil and in his book The Skeptics Guide to Sports Science, Nicholas B. Tiller takes on their claims.

Each of these products, no matter how finely they’re dressed and made to look fancy, offers a one quick fix ideal that so many find appealing. Tiller checks out this claim and fights through the arguments that advertising makes when it comes to health and fitness products and supplements.

These popular sports products are often a staple at every gym and workout center but the claims aren’t as above board as we’ve been led to believe.

In this book, Tiller does an in-depth exploration of these popular products and analyzes the way the industry presents health and fitness to its consumers.

While it comes across as a whistle-blower book on the health and fitness industry, Tiller gives readers the tools to judge products that are presented in the market as worthwhile or worthless.

Spotting a shoddy product is one thing but being able to address the issue it was meant to resolve effectively is another. Tiller spends time teaching his readers how to solve these problems in a much more sustainable and easy to understand manner through physiology and science.


  • Digital, hardcover, and paperback options available
  • A new and unique approach to exercise and nutrition
  • An author is a research fellow in the field


  • Book doesn’t focus much on the topic at hand
  • It May does not hold as much value for some readers

User Reviews:

No Sweat

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02/18/2024 07:35 pm GMT

Getting into a solid exercise routine can be a struggle. Whether you work out in the mornings or after work or even during your lunch hour, it can be hard to get motivated to do something so grueling.

No Sweat sets out to teach you a different way of thinking and get you motivated to boost your health and wellness to new heights!

The focus of this book is teaching you to enjoy exercise and physical activity so those long hours at the gym can be a thing of the past. As you progress through the program, you’ll find yourself moving from dreading those workouts to craving the movement and physical activity.

The book is filled with practical and applicable information and steps that will move you from couch potato to fitness guru in just a few short weeks.

You’ll work your way through the simple program outlined in this book but the ideas and principles translate into larger and more concrete visions of long-term fitness for both exercise and sport once the program ends.

Rather than be bored through hundreds of pages of details relating to exercise physiology, you’ll be able to find your way through the physical training program and create motivation for your fitness goals.


  • Focuses on motivation before introducing the reader to the topic
  • Creates a long-term fitness goal rather than a simple short-term one
  • Digital or physical copies available


  • Focus on motivation may be overwhelming for some people

User Reviews:

Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age

Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age

A lively, deeply reported tour of the science and strategies helping athletes like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Carli Lloyd, and LeBron James redefine the notion of “peak age.”

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02/19/2024 09:19 am GMT

The question is often in the minds of many who enjoy professional sports or high-performing athletes: how much of their talent is innate and how much is the immense amounts of training they’ve accomplished.

Journalist Jeff Bercovici interviewed professional and Olympic athletes as well as their doctors and trainers to attempt to find the answer.

Through these first-hand accounts, Bercovici shares stories and insights into the science and technology as well as the hard work and determination that makes up these superstar athletes.

His main focus throughout the book is on older elite athletes who may have “aged out” of their program but still defy the odds.

These insights form the basis of his book and bright to light the idea that becoming older doesn’t mean you have to slow down. With the hints and tips in the book, older fitness fanatics can still reach peak performance even as the youngsters around them say it’s impossible!

Throughout the book, Bercovici offers practical advice on how to apply these principles to your everyday life as an older person seeking health and fitness goals.

Don’t discount the book just because you’re young! The same principles apply across genders and ages to provide a basis for great health no matter your age!


  • Focus on older adults makes it ideal for upper generations
  • Uses exercise physiology to help anyone of any age perform better
  • Hardcover or digital version available


  • Can be hard to relate to if you’re of the younger generation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you dig into a complex topic and discipline like this one, it’s best to make sure you’ve got all of the information you need.

It’s great to focus on your fitness but the in-depth knowledge that makes up exercise science, sports medicine, and sports science be more than you need.

Get your questions answered before you start dropping money on hardcover books or Kindle versions of the books on our list!

Is Exercise Physiology Hard?

There are always two views of every story. For many who are just looking to build muscle, there are lots of books on exercise physiology that offer simple explanations reducing the need to understand the industry jargon.

Even basic information can help improve the results of your training program and help you optimize your current training program.

This basic knowledge leveraged to help increase the effectiveness of your workout routine is a simple thing but as a subject, it can be much harder. There are aspects of the topic which put pen to paper for real workout plans as well as biology, anatomy, and physiology studies as well.

This makes it much harder to learn and master than just the basic knowledge expressed in books like the ones on our list.

How Do I Go About Studying Exercise Physiology?

There are many different reasons to study this particular topic ranging from wanting to improve your body composition to those who want a different career choice. You can choose to study the topic in any number of ways as well.

There are a large number of books that can give you plenty of information when it comes to simple changes to your workouts and body composition. While this is an efficient way to gain some knowledge and information, it doesn’t come with a certificate which can make it difficult to get jobs in the area.

You can also enroll in a course or class either online or in-person to achieve certification. With the current pandemic, online classes have become much more popular and are just as effective when it comes to studying the topic.

The online classes also give you more flexibility when it comes to getting your classwork done as you can do it on your own time plus save on a commute!

What is Exercise Physiology?

This is a subject that falls under the category of kinesiology and is considered a specialty field.

The entire field is used by professionals to better understand the body, how muscles work together, and what exactly happens when the body is active.

The entire field also includes understanding the adaptations the body undergoes when training and physical exercise happens.

Why is Exercise Physiology Important?

Whether you realize it or not, exercise physiology is working in your life all the time. Studying the phenomenon helps medical and health professionals understand and use it as a guideline for creating better individual plans.

As an individual, you can use the principles within the realm to improve your training routine and regimen. By using these ideas and principles, you’ll find yourself shedding weight and building lean muscle mass more effectively through your ordinary routines.

Researchers use exercise physiology to understand how the body works when under the distress of regular physical activity. The study subjects within this realm of study have helped professionals better understand effective training techniques and allowed them to make discoveries.

Can Exercise Physiology Books help with Weight Loss?

Regardless of your targets and goals, a better understanding and use of exercise physiology can help you reach those goals and targets more efficiently.

Exercise physiology isn’t a training program but rather a way of understanding the body and how it interacts with physical exercise.

You still need a training program once you understand exercise physiology but the new knowledge you will have gained through reading these books will help you develop a better plan of action.

How do I apply the Principles of Exercise Physiology to my Training Program?

Begin by understanding that every person is different and will require a different type of training program. This also relates to your health goals and fitness routines that are already in place.

Understanding your exercise physiology helps you create this individual training program and take into account all of your details including how your body handles exercise.

These details then influence how you utilize the principles of overload and progression.

To achieve your goals, you’ll have to overload your body in certain ways. With the unique imprint that your body can handle when it comes to exercise, you can accurately decide what must be done to progress through your program in the best way possible.

What Type of Jobs Can I get With an Exercise Physiology Degree?

The different careers and jobs available with exercise physiology or exercise science degree are wide-ranging!

This degree track is often the first step in a graduate-level degree as a doctor, registered dietician, occupational therapist, or physical therapist.

Without moving on to the next level of education you can get a job or find a career in exercise physiology or science like an athletic director, community program director, massage therapist, sports coach, or sports facility manager.

The knowledge you’ll gain through a program like this can greatly influence your ability to perform your job in this realm and make you even more effective.

You can also pursue a career as a personal trainer. This is the most popular choice and allows a lot of flexibility on your part and with your clients.

You’ll be able to work within a gym or run your own business and cater to your client’s needs and timelines without the need to hit the office for 8 hours a day.

You also don’t need a bachelor’s degree to complete this program!

There are certification programs available for personal trainers that help you understand the principles of exercise science and physiology without needing to go to class or be caught up on homework.

Creating the Optimal Training Program

With the principles of exercise physiology behind you and the unique way your body interacts with the exercise, you can create the perfect training program to reach your goals.

While each one will be different, there are a few guiding principles that help you make the most of your routine and regimen.

Overload Principle

To force your body to adapt and change, you need to overload it. This goes for every type of training program whether you want to bulk up or lose some stubborn fat. The unique part of your training program will be the amount of weight or stress you’ll put on your body.

To increase your endurance whether, in cardio or weight-lifting workouts, you need to introduce a higher intensity workout. This might mean running faster or longer or lifting more weights over more sets and reps. Don’t start at the top, start slow and work your way up to more intense workout loads.

Progression Principle

You have to progress over a certain time frame for improvement to happen. If the overload occurs slowly over a long period, the chances of you reaching your goals is slim. Push yourself too hard at the beginning and you’re likely to get injured or cause serious damage.

In addition to keeping the pressure up regularly, you need to incorporate the appropriate amount of rest and recovery. Without this recovery time, you’ll end up overtraining and possibly causing some severe injury.

Adaptation Principle

Your body will adjust and adapt to the new levels of exercise whether it’s been increased, decreased, or changed speed. This adjustment takes time and means your body is likely to be sore after you start a whole new routine. Doing this same exercise week after week means you won’t experience soreness in the same way because your body has adapted in a new way.

The downside of this adaptation is that after a certain amount of time, you may feel like you’ve plateaued. Athletes who have been doing the same sport or exercise for years and years will be extremely efficient and not need to use much energy for these movements.

If you want to see continual improvement all around your body, you’ll need to vary your routine so your muscles will be challenged in different ways.

Specificity Principle

Practice makes perfect or that’s what the adage says! And it tends to be true!

When you’re training for a marathon, you want to train by running rather than lifting. If you want to be a world-class weightlifter, you’d better hit the gym.

The repeated use of these muscles makes you very effective and gives you an excellent base for future conditioning. If you want to lose weight and gain lean muscle across your body, you’ll want to combine several different muscle group workouts to efficiently burn stubborn fat.

Put it all Together

Combining all of these principles can be difficult when it comes to creating a training program for your specific needs. Reading through exercise physiology books will give you continued insight into the way your body runs and will burn energy.

The specific information can then help you develop the most effective training program depending on your goals.

While the large majority of those who want to study and better understand exercise physiology turn their expertise to help train professional athletes, it can easily influence your training program. The more specific program you can create, the better off you’ll be!


If you’re serious about your health, understanding how your body reacts to exercise and the stress a training regimen puts on you is crucial.

You may not have the time, money, or energy to take a full Bachelor’s course in exercise science or exercise physiology but by picking up a book or two you’ll be better equipped to reach your goals.

Whether you just want to build up lean muscle or you’re ready to shed some pounds, having a better understanding through science books like these is essential. Unique knowledge about your body and how it interacts will give you the ability to create and craft a training program that is specific to you.

The books on our list run from in-depth information to accounts of how professional athletes accomplish the great feats set before them.

Reading each of them will show you a different sliver and facet of the exercise physiology world!

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Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost

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