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Book Recommendations

I’m currently an intermediate level lifter with decent to good nutritional habits. I’m looking to take my fitness and nutrition to the next level. Are there any books you recommend?

Many have recommended me Arnold’s excyclopedia of modern body building but if there are others that you think are more nutritionally in depth and more physically/aesthetically informative please let me know.

Thank you all for your time!!

Renaissance Periodization books. I think their diet one is called the RP Diet. A lot of the info can be found in the form of vids/lectures

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Deepwater - Jon Andersen


Everyone, regardless of training goals, owes it to themselves to read Paul Kelso’s “Powerlifting Basics Texas Style”. I still read it at least once a year. Just a fantastic, enjoyable read on all things training, with little bits of nutrition and competition advice worked in as well. A solid reminder of why we do like we do.

As @kleinhound mentioned, the Deep Water e-book is a fantastic read. “5/3/1 Forever” is also a very solid tome of info, but make sure you have an understanding of 5/3/1 before you start.


Arnold’s Encyclopedia is pretty in-depth as far as exercise instruction goes. Bill Pearl’s Keys to the Inner Universe is supposed to be similarly comprehensive, but I haven’t seen it myself. Vince Gironda’s Unleashing the Wild Physique is another one. It’s a relatively smaller book, but Gironda’s info stood the test of time really well.

For nutrition, not sure what you’re really looking for. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules covers health-based principles, but there’s definitely carryover to muscle and fat loss. Ruhlman’s Twenty by Michael Ruhlman is great for improving (or beginning) your cooking skills.

Some good general choices here:

This topic has also come up a ton over the years. A quick search on the forum should bring up plenty of more options. This is one of the recent ones:

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I’m not an expert but these are some books that have given me good information (in no particular order):

-Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding by Musclemag
-Natural Bodybuilding by John Hansen
-Guide to personal power, bodybuilding, and fitness by lou ferrigno
-Pro Style Bodybuilding by Tom Platz
-Black book of training secrets by Christian Thibaudeau
-5/3/1 forever by jim wendler
-Extreme Muscle Enhancement by Carlon Colker
-Training for mass by gordon lavelle
-championship bodybuilding by chris aceto

Don’t let the steroid-y sounding titles scare you off, those all have much more reasonable training and diet advice than the old school “20 sets a bodypart 3x a week” routines of the Arnold era which, let’s be honest, no bodybuilder since 1980 has actually used

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Isn’t that era typically referred to as the Golden Era and there is now a classic division that is dedicated to achieving those exact physiques?

I think you’re right but my understanding is that they don’t actually train like the golden era guys did. Usually they hit each muscle once per week with much lower volume than someone like Arnold or Serge Nubret did

For certain, but the Golden Era dudes DID train like the Golden Era dudes, and it seemed to work then.

There’s definitely been new ways to train to come around since that time, but it’s worth appreciating that things did work then, and can still work now. I use a LOT of old methods in my training and find that they still work.

Yeah I can’t argue with that. What type of old school stuff do you like to do?

ROM progression has been the biggest thing for me. Great for building my deadlift and squat. Also got a lot out of Super Squats, employing breathing squats.

Thanks, I’ll have to try that stuff. Are there any other training books you like along with Powerlifting Basics, Deepwater, and 5/3/1? And if you don’t mind me asking, what type of routines have you gotten the best gains from?