As fitness coaches, our business is our bodies. We put forth the hours in the gym, studying nutrition, and keeping our clients on the path toward success. But sometimes we forget about the mental side of coaching. Just like reps in the gym, great coaches take mental reps all the time.
We all can benefit from a little movement in our mindset and some inspiration for our intellect. So kickstart that cranium we’ve found 5 coaching inspiring books that will keep your head in the game.
If You Love a “From Rock Bottom to Rocking-Bod” Story – Dottir by Katrin Davidsdottir
If you’re looking for a motivating fitness career story, you just found it. Dottir tells the inspiring and poignant story of Katrin Davidsdottir—the badass, two-time consecutive CrossFit Games Champion. It seems that this lady doesn’t do great things just once. Davidsdottir also won the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth”…twice.
In her book, she walks through story after story of situations she encountered that would have made most of us give up on our dreams. Her rise to the top certainly hasn’t been a smooth one. While Davidsdottir took home the gold during the Games in 2015, the year before she didn’t qualify.
Rather than letting these failures end her career, Davidsdottir used these losses to motivate her further. She trained harder and smarter, pushing herself to her limits. And her hard work paid off with two subsequent victories.
In Dottir, Davidsdottir offers an insider’s view into her journey, thought process, and motivations. She shares her strategies on training, goal setting, nutrition, and mental game. But more than offering tips and techniques, this book will help you believe that you can reach your goals–even the massive ones.
If You’re Doubting Your Abilities – Do The Work by Steven Pressfield
If you haven’t already, go back and read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This book is a preface, in a sense, to Do The Work, and explains how to overcome forces that keep us from getting things done. Both of these books are so good, they each will need a special display case on your bookshelf.
Why do we love this page-turner? It provides answers to all our self-doubting questions. We each deal with resistance every time we want to start something creative—whether that’s starting our own business, running a marathon, or launching a program.
These doubting thoughts that bubble up can stop our dreams and goals in their tracks if we don’t know how to deal with the resistance.
According to Pressfield, these resistant feelings and thoughts are actually a helpful guide in knowing where to move next. Like a needle that points true north, resistance always points to the project or goal that will have the biggest effect on our lives for the better.
He explains it this way: The more important a project is to us, the more resistance we feel to it. If something isn’t important to us, we don’t feel any resistance at all. But when something is really life-changing, when it comes to our big dreams and our risky goals, we’ll feel the most fear, doubt ourselves hardest, and make the most excuses as to why it’s not the right time.
Throughout his book, Pressfield offers motivating charges to hesitant professionals. He challenges his readers to chase after and accomplish their biggest goals. But his book also offers great guidance on how to navigate hard decisions and situations as well.
Trust us, you will devour this book. It’s a short read, but it’s packed with motivational ideas.
If You Need to Brush Up on the Basics – Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
Today, there’s a lot of at-home workouts trending. If you’re coaching your clients from afar, you most likely have clients with minimal home gym equipment like a bench, rack, and barbell. Not a lot to work with when helping your clients get in a good workout.
That’s where this book comes in handy. Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe offers an excellent and thorough guide, keeping his workouts focused on five simple movements: squat, military press, deadlift, bench press, and power clean. While his regimen is very simple, it’s effective and doesn’t require a gym full of equipment.
Rippetoe’s teaching is exceptionally clear, working through the mechanics of each movement. You’ll gain all the answers your clients could ask about proper form, hand and feet positioning, lifting gear, even the best way to hold the bar to maximize your grip strength.
While simple, Rippetoe’s identification of these basic exercises can also be applied to your more experienced heavy lifting clients. He walks through all the factors that will give you a leg up when weight-lifting.
This book has always been a favorite among weight-lifters, but it’s especially applicable in 2020. Without knowing it, Rippetoe was writing a book that would fit in perfectly with minimalism and quarantine.
If You’re Not Getting Enough Clients – Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
We love Seth Godin. His marketing techniques are centered around serving others, not creating sales-schemes that trick people into buying his products. We’re not his only fans. Business Week has named Godin “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age.”
Those of us in the health and fitness industry need to be good marketers too. As a personal trainer or health coach, your business will hugely benefit by adopting Godin’s marketing methods.
In order to make money and run a successful business, you need to spread the word about your business, draw in new clients, and sell your services. But old-school advertising oftentimes comes across as intrusive and annoying.
In Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, Godin shows how to influence people without making them feel manipulated. He explains that people no longer respond well to the old-school sales method and offers his solution: Permission Marketing.
This book will train you how to reach out to those people who are interested in your services or products, build trust, and develop customer relationships as well as brand awareness.
After a quick read, you’ll have a much firmer grasp on how to shape your message so that customers will willingly accept it.
If You Keep Hitting Snooze – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
According to the admired Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do…excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” That is what The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg delves into. In his book. Duhigg talks about how to build new healthy habits and how to break bad ones. He lays out a simple three-step formula.
Cue → Routine → Reward
Let’s break these down further:
The Cue is something that we hear, see, or sense that triggers a response–for example, hearing a notification ding on your phone. The Routine is our response, and most responses we perform on autopilot. After our phone dings, we automatically pick it up and check our notification. Finally, the Reward is the benefit or feel-good result of our action. We feel good when we see that someone liked one of our photos.
In his book, Duhigg explains how to establish an entirely new habit and make it stick. He teaches you how to create effective cues and set up rewards that will help you start performing new routines on autopilot. He also explains how to redirect bad habits and turn them into great ones.
A final point that Duhigg brings to the table is what he calls Keystone Habits. These habits can go on to influence a wider set of habits. They have the power to create a domino effect in other areas of our lives. Keystone Habits give us more motivation and energy to continue making good decisions throughout the day or week.
For example, for some of us, going for a run in the morning will make us more likely to make a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast will give us more energy throughout the workday and result in better overall productivity.
We’ve just scratched the surface of all the great habit-hacking tips Duhigg reveals in his book. Whether you’re reading this for yourself or want some great tips for clients forming new healthy habits, it’s a must-read.
Need a little more than inspiration?
Being a great trainer or coach is about much more than knowing how to workout. Improving your business, marketing, and mindset will help you tremendously. Whether you’re flipping through pages in the early morning or turning up an audiobook during your commute, these 5 books will benefit your brain and business alike.
While inspiration can push us towards our goals, at some point, taking action is the necessary next step. Building and scaling a health and fitness business takes a lot of effort—we’ve been there too.
But we’ve taken a lot of the pain and confusion out of the mix for you (and hundreds of other coaches and trainers) by helping you launch your own app.
Check it out, and start selling your killer training services today.