If you want to get into shape and start building muscle then you will probably be doing what most people in your position do – trawling the web and your local library for every bit of information you can find on building muscle and losing weight. This can take some time as there are just so many books out there dealing with these subjects. There's a definite demand for fitness books and this is a demand that has been met with gusto by publishers.
The difficulty is separating the wheat from the chaff, and making sure you don't waste your money on books that you don't need, that don't offer anything new, and that are factually inaccurate. Here then we'll look at some of the best books on bodybuilding to help inspire you and give you all the information you need to get into shape.
The Art of Expressing the Human Body (Bruce Lee)
The Art of Expressing the Human Body isn't really a book by Bruce Lee, but rather a collection of his notes and writings as well as a look at his beliefs and his practices when it came to bodybuilding. Bruce Lee is well known for his martial arts prowess, but actually he should be equally known for his incredibly physique which boasted one of the lowest body fat percentages out there and was capable of some incredible feats of strength. What sets this book apart from other bodybuilding books and what makes it such a fascinating and inspiring read, was Bruce Lee's absolute thirst for knowledge and his willingness to try all kinds of new and unusual methods to get into shape. I guarantee that you'll find something new to try from this book, and that it will inspire you to be more creative in your own workouts too.
The Bodybuilder's Nutrition Book (Franco Columbu)
Franco Columbu was Arnie's partner in crime during the Golden Years of bodybuilding. The duo travelled to LA together from Austria, and both would become champions of the sport. Columbu also happens to have a doctorate though and is an incredibly smart guy, which is what makes this such a great text on bodybuilding nutrition. Some of the information is a little outdated now, but this will give you a fantastic overview of the science behind bodybuilding nutrition – which is what's missing from most bodybuilders' game plans these days.
Sly Moves (Sylvester Stallone)
Another celebrity who may not be a bodybuilder but certainly has the guns of one. Sly Stallone was none other than the body of the 80s and this biography-come-training book is a great light read that will give you a glimpse into one very healthy lifestyle. While his training programs may seem a little simplistic, there are a lot of moves in here that are really effective and his words are inspiring as always.
The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
This HUGE book from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger is practically thick enough to replace your dumbbells. As you can imagine then it's also absolutely packed with pretty much everything you need to know about bodybuilding as a hobby and as a sport. It has a detailed history of bodybuilding, followed by plenty of information on the various muscle groups, the stars of the sport, how to pose properly what to eat and a huge glossary of exercise moves for every part of your body. If you only get one bodybuilding book then it should really be this one.
Joe Weider's Ultimate Bodybuilding (Joe Weider)
Joe Weider is another hero of bodybuilding being the guy that helped promote Arnie and the other big bodybuilders during that legendary golden age. This book is similar to Arnie's book and between them they'll really cover everything you've ever needed to know.
Do You Need Books?
I must take this opportunity to point out that you don't really need bodybuilding books in order to succeed in the gym. All of the information you need these days is available completely freely online, and more to the point you probably actually already know everything you need to know to train.
Bodybuilding books are great as a way to inspire yourself while you're lying by the pool on holiday, and they're handy to have lying around to give you a quick boost of motivation without having to load up your computer – but the long and the short of it is that no, you don't really need books and if you're not already working out then that's the best way to learn.