The holidays are over and it's time to take those bookstore gift cards you received and cash them in. With so many titles out there, it's hard to know exactly what to buy. Well, why not stock your shelf with some tomes that will help you? No, I'm not suggesting that you curl up with Dr. Phil's latest pop psych pabulum. I'm talking about helping yourself professionally — either as a fitness professional or business person. To make things a little easier, I've culled through the stacks and have come up with a new book suggestion for every month of the new year. So, find a comfortable chair, kick off your cross trainers and start reading.

  1. january

    Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise and Nutrition for Everyone

    Author: David Musnick, M.D., Mark Pierce

    Publisher: The Mountaineers Books

    Released in November, this second edition of the best-selling fitness book is just what every outdoor enthusiast and every trainer of an outdoor enthusiast needs on their bookshelf. It includes new information and exercises for improving athletic performance, balance tips for seniors, and the latest about strengthening the lower back and preventing back injuries. It also has a pullout aerobic exercise calendar and chart for use at the gym.

  2. february

    Fitness over Fifty: An Exercise Guide from the National Institute on Aging

    Publisher: Hatherleigh Press

    The Baby Boomers have crossed the threshold and are well into their 50s, making this a timely tome for fitness club owners. With a special forward by Sen. John Glenn (who made history by going into space as a senior citizen), the book features practical advice on maintaining energy, strength, balance and flexibility for men and women 50 and over. Professional fitness trainers can also glean advice about nutrition and exercise for their over-50 clients.

  3. march

    The Business of Fitness: Understanding the Financial Side Of Owning a Fitness Business

    Author: Thomas Plummer

    Publisher: Coaches Choice

    With 26 years of experience in the fitness business (including stints as vice president of operations at ATA Fitness Centers in San Francisco and executive director of the National Health Club Association), consultant and personal training expert Thomas Plummer knows about the business side of owning a health club. In this 16-chapter book, Plummer covers topics relevant to the beginner and the seasoned club owner. The book covers five core topics, and Plummer lays out what you need to know about member retention, price structure, problem solving, business plans and strategic planning.

  4. april

    Health Fitness Instructor's Handbook

    Author: Edward T. Howley and B. Don Franks

    Publisher: Human Kinetics

    The fourth edition of the Health Fitness Instructor's Handbook not only now includes full-color illustrations and photos, but it also offers a greater focus on assessment, testing and calibrating testing equipment. Taking their cue from the growing focus on special populations, the authors have expanded their coverage in that area, including offering exercise prescriptions for those with special needs and health conditions. Of course, this edition still emphasizes the clinical side of exercise science and offers readers the latest information about the fundamentals of fitness, exercise, physiology and biomechanics. That's exactly what one would expect from the book that has been used in the ACSM Health and Fitness Instructor Workshops since 1986.

  5. may

    Stretching: 20th Anniversary Revised Edition

    Author: Bob Anderson, llyod Kahn Jr. (editor), and Jean Anderson (Illustrator)

    Publisher: Shelter Publications Inc.

    Called the “bible of the stretching gospel” by The Washington Post, “Stretching” was first published in 1980 and is now in paperback. For years fitness instructors and trainers have preached the importance of stretching. The book teaches the right way to stretch with more than 1,000 clear drawings and more than 25 new stretching routines, including routines for specific sports and activities. The book also has stretches for travelers, children and people in wheelchairs.

  6. june

    Entrepreneurial Way of Life: Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal How to Succeed on a Personal and Professional Level as an Entrepreneur, Inside the Minds Series

    Author: Aspatore Books Staff

    Publisher: Aspatore Books

    The name is enough to put anyone off, but inside are real-world experiences from industry movers. Written in essay form by the leading minds of different Fortune 500 industries, the book offers insights that provide tips, secrets and glimpses into the future of each profession or topic. The perspectives reveal methods for analyzing markets, motivating teams, establishing goals, strategic planning, building brands, learning time management and balancing professional and personal lives.

  7. july

    Athletic Strength for Women

    Author: David Oliver and Dana Healy

    Publisher: Human Kinetics

    With more than 120 targeted exercises and drills designed specifically for women, this training manual addresses the specific physiological, biomechanical, and anatomical needs of female athletes. There are drills to improve everything from overall power and speed, to throwing, striking and swinging. The book also includes in- and off-season workouts plus preseason programs for the most popular sports. The book has general fitness and sport-specific performance tests accompanied by normative tables that allow athletes to gauge their strengths and weaknesses against their peers.

  8. august

    Get It, Set It, Move It, Prove It: 60 Ways to Get Real Results in Your Organization

    Author: Mark Graham Brown

    Publisher: Productivity Press Inc.

    Looking for measurable results at your club? Then you'll want to read Brown's methods to help those in any business get real, tangible results. Using a sometimes humorous approach and leaving out business jargon, Brown has broken the book into four segments as listed in the title. The first section focuses on the vision and values of leaders. The second section not only offers ways to set goals and strategies, but also ways to ethically implement them. In the next section, you can read about creating better relationships with important customers, managing employees better and creating key work processes. The last section helps you prove that your systems work and produce high-performance results.

  9. september

    Seeing What's Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change

    Author: Clayton M. Christensen, Scott D. Anthony, Eric A. Roth

    Publisher: Harvard Business School

    If you want to talk pedigree, it doesn't get much better than Harvard Business School and the internationally renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen. How anticipated was this book? Well, Inc. Magazine says, “Just as kids await the latest Harry Potter installment, so do business leaders look for Clay Christensen's next offering.” Using the proven theories outlined in his landmark books, “The Innovator's Dilemma” and “The Innovator's Solution,” this book offers business leaders a practical model for identifying signals of change in an industry, predicting the outcome of competitive battles and gauging whether certain actions will help or hinder success. Case studies from a number of industries help illustrate innovation theory in action.

  10. october

    Pioneers and Plodders: The American Entrepreneurial Spirit

    Author: Robert C. Baron

    Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing

    One of the ways to learn about running and operating a small business is to read about the great small business leaders. Since the middle of the 19th century, the United States has been led by visionary entrepreneurs who have made the country the most dominant industrial power in the world. Businessman and historian Robert Baron examines the history of American entrepreneurship in the steel, automobile, electronics and computer industries and the changes these industries have made on American life. Each industry is explored individually.

  11. november

    How to Run a Thriving Business: Strategies for Success and Satisfaction

    Author: Ralph Warner

    Publisher: Nolo

    Who doesn't want to know how to run a thriving business that brings in money, provides satisfaction and grows without running yourself ragged? The answer may lie inside “How to Run a Thriving Business.” The book will give you a business philosophy and the nuts-and-bolts of keeping a small business humming along. The book outlines 17 ideas, among them: don't work long hours; target your customers; market your business creatively, and innovate now and forever. The book is aimed at people starting a business and established leaders needing practical advice to get re-energized and refocused.

  12. december

    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America the Book: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

    Author: Jon Stewart and the Daily Show writers

    Publisher: Warner Books

    All right, so this one has nothing to do with fitness or business or running a health club. Who cares? A good laugh is a good laugh, and there are plenty of them between the covers of this book. Even if you're not a “Daily Show” fan, this book is funny, witty and poignant. It pokes fun at American history and the absurdities of our political system. Yet, like the fake news show it is spawned from, “America The Book” informs the reader about how our government works — and sometimes doesn't. Readers will learn about obscure characters from America's early days. Like the textbooks it's designed to look like, each chapter ends with discussion questions and classroom activities.