The whole reason for this free website and my free YouTube videos is to show people how they can get in great shape by gaining muscle and losing fat without spending a dime so I am very cautious about recommending that people buy anything. It’s rare that a book provides unique, earth-shattering new information so if you have the time to search the internet and your public library you could find the same information for free, but many people don’t have the time.
Almost all this information in these recommended books is available for free here on my website. The difference is that my coverage of these subjects is very terse and somewhat limited because I work 60hrs/week and can only update my website evenings and weekends. The authors of these books have had the luxury of spending many person-years to properly and completely cover their topics. For example I cover weight loss in about 3 pages, Tom Venuto has the luxury of 400 pages . I started this website in 2006 and have been adding content monthly. Eventually I plan on covering every topic exhaustively and completely. The happiest day of my life will be when I can remove this book review section entirely and say “Don’t buy ANYTHING, its all available here for free!”. These books are listed with what I consider to the be the most important first:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Lets start off my book recommendations with a book available to checkout for free at virtually every school library and public library in America. This $8 book changed my life many years ago, its called the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Covey and it is a book about life goals and time management. Have you ever said:
- I don’t have time to workout today.
- I don’t have time to eat healthy.
- I don’t have time to do daily cardio.
- I don’t have time to get 8 hours sleep.
Building a muscular, ripped, healthy physique is ALL about time management! Those who have poked around my website know I constantly harp on how important it is to know your fitness goals – this book is the reason I am so goal focused. Being goal focused is the way to accomplish in life what you want to! If you dont know what you are trying to achieve, you wont achieve it. If you know what you want to achieve but dont have a realistic, step-by-step plan, then you wont achieve your goal either. So you want to get muscular, ripped and become a fitness model? You can do it and this book will help you map out a plan. Please, if you only read one book this year then read this one because it will change your life forever.
OK, its a tough act to follow the “7 Habits” book listed above given how highly I praised it but this book can hold its own. The biggest reason that most people dont have the success they want in gaining muscle and losing fat is not exercise but nutrition and Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel is brilliant! We all know the importance of nutrition in bodybuilding but not everyone has time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking nutricious meals. This great book gives you lots of easy recipies for bodybuilders and it was the inspiration for my Scooby-Poo protein bars. With protein bars at the store costing from $1-$4, you could justify the cost of this cookbook just from your savings on all the protein bar recipies alone. If you want to make really good tasting food that is bodybuilder friendly, this is a great book. Exceptionally creative and excellent recipes that are high in protein, high in fiber, high in EFAs, low in fat, and easy to make. Read my complete review of Anabolic Cooking here. This is an eBook delivered in PDF format, please read about eBooks. If you buy that book and like it, Dave Ruel also has a full cookbook called Metabolic Cooking – Fat Loss Cookbook which is far more expansive in its recipe offerings. I would recommend starting with the Anabolic Cookbook and then getting the Fat Loss Cookbook afterward.
I highly recommend Bodybuilding Revealed by Will Brink! To gain muscle, you need proper nutrition and this book tells you how to do it and maximize your bodybuilding progress. If you only could buy one bodybuilding book, this is the one I would recommend. If this book were available in 1983 when I started bodybuilding, it would have changed my life and saved me from years of sub-optimal progress. It took me three decades of floundering and self-experimentation for me to learn what’s in this book. Not only that, even with my three decades experience, I still learned from it. You can buy college nutrition textbooks (see below) and although they are excellent, the college texts dont have the bodybuilder slant we are really interested in and college textbooks dont talk about supplements. Speaking of supplements, this book has the most comphrehensive, unbiased rundown on supplements that I have ever seen. Read this one rather lengthy chapter and you will know more about supplements than 99.99% of bodybuilders. This one chapter on supplements justifies the cost of this book 20X over because it will keep you from wasting your money on hyped, useless supplements and help you chose the ones that work and are worth the money. Read my complete review of Bodybuilding Revealed. By the way, this is not just a bodybuilding nutrition book, its a complete book on bodybuilding – exercises, nutrition, supplements, everything. Its just that I get so excited about the nutrition chapters that I sometimes forget that BBR covers everything else in an excellent fashion as well. This is an eBook delivered in PDF format, please read about eBooks.
For many people in the gym, Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe is their lifting-bible. Mark Rippetoe is the acknowledged premiere strength training coach and this is his lifting manual. This book is a comphrensive description of how to squat, bench press, and deadlift. If you are going to be doing bench, deadlift, or squats then you need to make this book part of your library. If you want to maximize your strength doing these three important exercises then you definitely need to read and understand this book. Even if you have a personal trainer or coach, you still need to know what Mark Rippetoe says about form because a lot of “personal trainers” dont know what they are doing. So now that I have talked up this book, its time for a warning. Mark Rippetoe has the rather arrogant opinion that his workout strategy is best for *everyone*, its not. If he had his way, my 95 year old grandmother would be squatting. Depending on your age, physical history, and goals the exercises, form, and techniques he presents in his book may or many not be appropriate. Please read, what are your fitness goals for some assistance in determining what types of workout plans might be the most appropriate for your goals.
Burn the Fat
Want to lose fat? If so, I highly recommend Burn the Fat by Tom Venuto! This very well written, gimmick-free book will give you the motivation and the knowledge to permanently take that excess bodyfat off. This is not one of those fad diet-of-the-month type books, its about solid nutrition and making healthy changes to take weight off and keep it off forever. This book is one of the best selling, and oldest, eBooks around and there is a reason – because its well written, motivational, and it works. I put this book in the same category as “Body For Life”, but with more meat. Body For Life is heavy on the inspiration but light on the implementation details. “Burn the Fat” provides the same level of motivation but is a comphrensive plan. If I had 6 months full time to work on a weight loss book, and I was good at writing, this is the book I would have written. Read my complete review of Burn the Fat. This is an eBook delivered in PDF format, please read about eBooks.
Fitness Professionals’ Guide to Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Human Movement
To be a bodybuilder you dont need to major in biology nor do you need to go to medical school. Granted, those academic degrees would help you a lot as a bodybuilder but there are much easier and cheaper ways to get this working knowledge. A great example is human anatomy. To be a successful bodybuilder, you dont need to memorize the names of all the bones and muscles nor do you need to memorize all the insertion points (where the muscles connect to the bones). You dont even need to memorize what the terms abduction and adduction mean BUT you do need to have a book where you can look up this information. Why? One of the most common question beginners have is “what muscle does XXX exercise work?” A Fitness Professionals’ Guide to Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Human Movement will help you figure it out. More importantly, if there is a particular muscle you have thats lagging you can look it up and see where it connects so you can figure out a motion that will train it properly. Yes, you can find websites that say ” for this weakness, do this exercise” but its much more effective if you understand WHY you are doing the exercise than blindly doing what some website said to do.
Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism
Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism
is a college textbook so its written to a much higher academic standard than many other fitness and bodybuilding books. Unfortunately because of the low volumes of academic textbooks they are really expensive, this book is a whopping $200 so before buying this book, check your local library! If you want to understand whats behind the nutritional recommendations for bodybuilders, this book can help you sort it out. Please note that this book is not targeted specifically toward bodybuilders. This is the one book on this page that I have not yet read, its on the way to my house now…
Little Big Men
Don’t buy this book, check it out from your local library because its one thats really entertaining and informative but its not a book you will not need to reference again. Little Big Men is a real life glimpse into the world of competitive bodybuilding, not the PR fluff you get from the bodybuilding mags but the gritty stuff. If you have any illusions that you might become the next Jay Cutler, please read this book first. This book was written based on the authors experience with the pros back in the 80′s so its dated but still relevant. You can argue if its the same today and you can even argue if the authors view of pro bodybuilding is 100% representative or accurate. The truth is though that the author is giving us a glimpse into a sub-culture that very few of us would ever see or experience – I know it was an eye opener when I read it. Entertaining and informative. Definitely worth a read.
The Adonis Complex
Don’t buy this book but rather check it out from your local library because its one thats entertaining, insightful, and informative but its not a book you will not need to reference again. The Adonis Complex: How to Identify, Treat and Prevent Body Obsession in Men and Boys
is about the very important subject of body image, bodybuilding, body image disorders, and unachieveable expecations. This book is one of the reasons I make such a big deal about bodybuilding expectations because many people have a completely warped view of what is possible naturally. Ever see those guys in baggy sweats at the gym but even thru the sweats you can tell they have massive and amazing physiques? The ones who never change or shower in the locker room, wear shorts, or tank tops? I used to think it was just modesty but this book made me realize that some of them are embarassed about how ‘puny’ they are! Hard to believe but when some 260 pound massive bodybuilders look in the mirror they see a skinny kid. Learn about body dysmorphic disorder, body image problems, and self-esteem issues from stories about real bodybuilders. This isnt a medical book or a self-help book so dont expect treatment options, its a look at a common problem in our society. For someone with DBB, realizing you have it is the first step.
Don’t be turned off by the slightly sleazy purchase procedure of these books – they are legit. The books I have reviewed here are of infinitely higher quality than the sleazy sales methods would indicate. Personally, I find the 3 mile long web pages full of bold flashing text and never ending testimonials pretty offensive and even more annoying are the popups “Are you sure you want to navigate away?” when you try to leave the page without purchasing. Just grin and bear it, its worth it. I have purchased all the books I have reviewed and no mysterious charges have ever appeared on my credit cards, nor have I experienced any other problems. The money back guarantee is real. You can return these eBooks for any valid reason within 60 days. They do send weekly motivational and informational emails which I didn’t want but they have not sold/given my email address away to anyone – no mysterious influx of spam emails. If you buy one of these books and are not satisfied with it, please email me at the below address and let me know why! To the best of my ability, my reviews are fair and accurate so your should be getting exactly what you expect based upon my reviews, and if not, I need to change my reviews. In four years of selling these books I have never had a single reader complaint, but if you are the first and need help getting your money back, email me at “books @ scoobysworkshop . com” – remove the spaces!
All eBooks that I have recommended here:
- I have read/reviewed myself and found to be extremely valuable
- Have a 60 day, money back guarantee
- Are clear and well written
- Are free of ridiculous claims like “Gain 41lbs muscle in 6 months”
- Are a good value
Important disclaimer: I make a percentage from every book sold here. I provide this website and my videos completely free of charge, these sales will help support my continued fitness work. If you have purchased any of these books, please email me if you disagree with my review. I want to make sure that only the best books get listed here.