Those outside the industry might envision a group of muscle heads when they think of the fitness industry, but those inside the industry know the knowledge and skill it takes to run a successful health club. To expand your knowledge in the industry and about business, many of you read newspapers, magazines and books to keep up to date. Educational reading is a necessity, but making time for personal reading can get your mind off the worries of the day. However, as a club owner or manager, your day is busy. What you read has to be important, informative or entertaining to pull you away from your other responsibilities. So what books, magazines, newspapers and newsletters are worth your time?

We asked some club owners, managers and directors to find out what they spend their time reading and why. The responses fell into two categories: those who read almost exclusively for business and those who read some for business but also for pleasure. Here's what each group had to say:

THE STRICTLY BUSINESS CROWD

Ken Kachtik, general manager, Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans, LA, reads Athletic Business, Athletic Management, Club Business International, and Club Industry to get information about fitness and clubs.

Currently, he is reading for business Maximum Energy for Life: A 21-Day Strategic Plan to Feel Great, Reverse the Aging Process, and Optimize Your Health by MacKie Shilstone. For business and personal health, he is reading Dispatches From the Frontlines of Medicine: Your Husband's Health: Simplify Your Worry List by Dr. Kathleen Wilson.

Kachtik reads mostly for business because he has little time to read for pleasure, he says.

Michael Meehan, regional manager at Sport & Health Company, also reads mostly for business, including the majority of industry trade books: Club Industry, Club Business International and Fitness Management. He also reads Norm Cates' newsletter, Club Insider News. The last book he read was by Suze Orman, the financial advisor, author and host of her own CNBC TV show.

MIXING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE

Mick Nelson, co-owner and managing partner of Poolside Health & Wellness in Danville, IL, reads trade magazines such as Advance, Aqua Magazine, Club Industry, Pool & Spa News and the publications printed by the American Swimming Coaches Association. He also reads Bottom Line, Eli Research, MFA Newsletter, First Impression, and Fast Company to keep up with general business issues. For general news and pleasure, he reads Time and People. His reading habits are split depending on the form his reading material takes. “Business books are usually written to make money, not to guide business principles,” he says. For pleasure, he prefers to read all fiction.

“Lori Lowell, owner of Gold's Gym at Lake Ridge in Virginia, has a diverse list of reading material. She prefers American Medical Journal, Club Business International, Club Insider News, Departures Magazine, Fitness Management, Washington Post and organic food, yoga and spa magazines.

“I read these for information to help drive my own business and support my lifestyle,” says Lowell.

“I like to read books for the business that give a quick spark or idea,” Lowell says.