10 Books to Add to Your 2024 Fitness Reading List

January 29, 2024 by
Photo Credit: Zaini Izzuddin
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It’s that time of year when spring is still a distant two months away, the Open isn’t quite here yet, and the nights are dark and long. That means it’s the perfect season to curl up with a good read. 

We’ve compiled an abbreviated list of 10 recommended books (plus a bonus) for you to add to your 2024 reading list. While some of these were released within the last year, we also threw some classics in the mix in case you missed them. 

In no particular order, here are our 10 recommendations:

HWPO: Hard Work Pays Off by Mat Fraser – Written by five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser, HWPO: Hard Work Pays Off is a combination autobiography, training manual, and cookbook. Published in a very digestible format, this is one you’ll be able to get through quickly and won’t be able to put down. 

Fraser discusses his background in the sport, his training partner Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, and how he had to take stock of and train his weaknesses (his deadlift, high-rep toes-to-bar, and sprinting) to achieve greatness. 

  • “Pain is dangerous. Discomfort is where you get better. That’s not all it takes, but you can’t keep improving in this sport without it. So, sorry, CrossFit never becomes easier,” Mat Fraser, HWPO.

Check out the Morning Chalk Up’s original review to read more about the book and glean further takeaways. 

Built to Move by Kelly and Juliet Starrett – This is the latest book written by the Starretts, which takes a holistic approach to “rewilding” the body by keeping it in motion. They promote daily habits and routines that can aid in the body’s mobility and encourage simple routines to make frequent movement accessible to everyone of any age and circumstance. 

We reviewed the book when it was released last spring, so refresh yourself if it has flown under your radar. It’s a great read for anyone looking to add extra movement into their days and helps the reader take actionable steps regularly. 

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – Written by the owner of Jocko Fuel, Jocko Willink, this book explores the theme of leadership and the role of an effective leader. Willink falls back on his life and the lessons he learned as a U.S. Navy SEAL, sharing his personal insight on what it means to fail and how we must be willing to seek guidance and ask for help in order to succeed. He discusses self-discipline and how we can practice that daily, as well as holding ourselves accountable for our actions. 

Breath by James Nestor – There is so much data available on the potential benefits of breathing correctly for performance, how to control your breath to control heart rate, nasal breathing, and more. It’s knowledge that is valuable to us as athletes and for those of us trying to bio-hack our way toward a more functional and healthy life. 

Nestor explores breathing techniques for performance, longevity, and optimal living. He outlines breathing methods and the history behind them. While breathing is something so many of us take for granted, we often fall short when prioritizing proper techniques. Nestor encourages us to hone our focus and breathe better. 

Resilient: The Untold Story of CrossFit’s Greatest Comeback by Brooke Wells – One of the most well-known CrossFit athletes of recent years, Brooke Wells tells the story of her comeback from a devastating elbow injury that she suffered during a max snatch at the 2021 CrossFit Games. 

Just released last month and reviewed by our team, Resilient is a book that any Wells fan is going to want on their shelf. 

Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment by Greg Everett – Anyone who follows Greg Everett on social media or has read any of his other books knows that he is a master wordsmith. This book is a slight departure from Everett’s other work regarding weightlifting, as it explores the broad theme of toughness and what that means for us, not only as athletes but as human beings. 

  • “The capacity element of true toughness is more than the ability to merely survive an experience- it’s the ability and intent to thrive through and after it,” Greg Everett, Tough.

The book is absolutely packed with lessons, quotable passages, and methodical prose. Check out our review from last year to read more. This one is a book that you’ll want to revisit over and over again. 

The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter The Comfort Crisis is a slow boil that will stay with you long after you read the last page. Easter explores the daily comforts of modern life and how they shape us and, in a way, negatively impact us. He encourages readers to find comfort in discomfort and become grittier and more resilient. 

Easter is a proponent of rucking and its mental and physical health benefits. He has backed GORUCK for quite some time, and the popularity of this book could be partially credited to the rising success of the CrossFit Games’ recently announced sponsor. 

Dottir by Katrín Davíðsdóttir – Katrín Davíðsdóttir shares insight into her champion’s mind and shows true vulnerability, expressing the pain, struggles, and setbacks that she has faced along her journey. Her voice is one that so many of us have looked to for inspiration over the years, and this book all the more solidifies her as one of the CrossFit greats. 

Check out our review, written in 2019, about this book that you may have missed. 

Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron – Written by one of the foremost coaches in our sport, Chasing Excellence emphasizes mindfulness in training and competing. He writes how mental strength and fortitude can make a champion, and at times be the separating factor between athletes. Bergeron discusses how athletes must learn from mistakes and control only what they can, using breathwork and meditation to help with focus.

Learning to Breathe Fire by J.C. Herz – Every true CrossFitter should acquaint themselves with this classic, as Learning to Breathe Fire is the definitive account of the origin of CrossFit. From one gym in Santa Cruz to its published workouts used by military and first responders throughout the world, the book explores the sport as a whole, as well as the culture of fitness. 

Bonus: The Heart is the Strongest Muscle by Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr – As a bonus addition to our list, we’d like to add this not-yet-released book, as it will be a must-read for any CrossFitter or competitor. 

Six-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr discusses her journey in the sport of fitness, how it all began, how she built her support net, and advice for any and all athletes competing in the sport.

Our full review is coming soon, which we’re excited to share with you. Pre-order the book now, which is scheduled to hit shelves on February 13.

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