9 Fascinating Non-fiction Books About Sports and Fitness

Whether you're a fan cheering from the sidelines or an athlete using your favorite sport to stay in shape, reading about fitness can be fascinating and insightful. From memoirs about important figures to instructional guides that teach readers how to stay fit, the wonderful works of non-fiction listed here will help you get your head in the game. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Fascinating Non-fiction Books About Sports and Fitness

Title Author(s) Sport
1. What Made Maddy Run Kate Fagan Track
2. Football for a Buck Jeff Pearlman Football
3. Ballerina Body Misty Copeland Dance
4. Eat and Run Scott Jurek & Steve Friedman Running
5. The Streak John Eisenberg Baseball
6. Boys Among Men Jonathan Abrams Basketball
7. Kings of the Road Cameron Stracher Running
8. Up, Up, and Away Jonah Keri Baseball
9. It’s How You Play the Game Brian Kilmeade Various

Equipment Every Fitness Enthusiast Should Have

  • Headphones so you can listen to music or podcasts during your workout
  • With a workout journal you can write down your goals and track your progress
  • A headband to keep sweat out of your eyes
  • Keep yourself and your equipment nice & dry with a workout towel
  • If you're into technology, a fitness tracker can help you train by keeping you aware of your personal stats
  • A good bag to carry all of your things to the gym & back in

The Psychology of Champion Athletes

In Depth

As any true champion will tell you, there's more to the art of fitness than calorie intake. When it comes to learning more about what drives incredible athletes to push themselves to the limit, there's no better way to do it than to cozy up with a great book that provides insight into the world of pro sports and Olympic achievements. If you're hungry for your next great sports read, here, in no particular order, are some fantastic books about reaching goals, going for the gold, and the power of motivation.

First up, at #1, we have "What Made Maddy Run" by Kate Fagan. Teenage track star Maddy had a picture-perfect life. She had friends, academic success, and a promising athletic career in store. So why did she take her own life as a college Freshman? ESPN reporter Fagan paints an in-depth portrait of a tortured young woman dealing with the pressures of competitive sports in a world where a teen's every move is documented and criticized on social media.

In the #2 slot is Jeff Pearlman's "Football for a Buck." You know about the NFL, but do you know about the USFL? Not so long ago, this lone challenger to the National Football League had team owners quaking in their boots. From 1983 to 1985, the startup league was king. Until its volatile, capricious owner, a young entrepreneur named Donald Trump, found a way to drive it into the ground. This well-researched history of the little-known entity takes a clear-eyed look at just what went wrong.

You know about the NFL, but do you know about the USFL?

At #3 is "Ballerina Body" by Misty Copeland. Ballet legend Copeland didn't get where she is today by slacking on self-discipline. But no matter how hard she works, she still knows how to have fun. In this guide to reclaiming your body through a combination of fitness, health, and self-care, the famous dancer shows readers how to get in shape with a lifestyle plan that works for them.

For #4 we find "Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman. Few of us have ever undergone an ultramarathon, spanning a grueling 26 miles, and lived to tell the tale. Runner extraordinaire Jurek certainly has, and he's using his life on the run to clue readers into a better way of eating, exercising, and living. Packed with tips for fueling aspiring athletes and staying motivated, this instructive read could be the key to a better way for track star hopefuls to practice the sport they love.

Coming in at #5 is John Eisenberg's "The Streak." In the world of professional baseball, a few players remain untouchable in terms of sheer accomplishment. Between the incredible stamina of Lou Gehrig, the man who played an astonishing 2,130 games in a row, and the prowess of Cal Ripken, Jr., who beat that record during his time with the Orioles, it's hard to say whose achievement was more outstanding. But that's precisely what Eisenberg attempts to find out in this detailed work.

Between the incredible stamina of Lou Gehrig, the man who played an astonishing 2,130 games in a row, and the prowess of Cal Ripken, Jr., who beat that record during his time with the Orioles, it's hard to say whose achievement was more outstanding.

At #6 is "Boys Among Men" by Jonathan Abrams. In 1995, the world of professional basketball changed forever. Rather than work up the ranks by going to college, prodigy Kevin Garnett made an unexpected choice: to go straight to the big time. How did this shift happen, and what made it so impactful? In this book, readers get to dive into the careers of the generation of basketball stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James who followed Garnett's example to learn the inside details of the game.

For #7 we get "Kings of the Road" by Cameron Stracher. Before the 1970s, running wasn't a sport that millions of Americans hungrily tuned in to. One Olympic Gold medal in 1972 changed all that. Suddenly, the world was watching. Running became the American sport of choice, and a new culture of long distance high achievers was born, on the track and at home. Learn about the history of the sport's Golden Age through Stracher's eyes, as he deftly weaves three tales of track champions into one.

At #8 is Jonah Keri's "Up, Up, and Away." Baseball might be the ultimate American sport, but believe it or not, there was a time when Canada gave the USA a run for its money. When the Montreal Expos went on strike in 1994, it marked the end of an era. Grantland reporter Keri turns his focus on the tragic team to tell the gutting story of how they came together, and how they ultimately fell apart.

When the Montreal Expos went on strike in 1994, it marked the end of an era.

At last, at #9, is Brian Kilmeade's "It's How You Play the Game." Self-improvement comes in many forms. For folks who want to gain wisdom from the stories of pivotal players, team owners, and the fans who follow them, this book is just what the doctor ordered. Drawing on the personal experience of sports lovers and pro athletes alike, this book provides a blueprint for learning, growing, and adapting to the curveballs life throws at us.