Any athlete worth their salt knows the importance of diet, and every type of athlete knows that said diet should be tailored to a specific form of exertion. Powerlifters don’t deadlift north of 1,000 pounds eating ordinary, ho-hum food, and similar could be said for marathon runners, bodybuilders and cyclists. Curated with an eye for authors with absolute expertise, this list caters to every type of athlete — no matter their experience level.
The Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook
Anita Bean is a bodybuilder-turned-nutritionist, and the thesis of her second cookbook is simple: it’s really not difficult to gain and retain muscle with a vegetarian diet. The book features more than 100 recipes — covering breakfast, lunch and dinner — for the prospective or seasoned athlete.
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
A New York Times best-seller, Scott Jurek’s not-so-humbly-titled book is one-part cookbook, one-part long form motivational speech. Jurek, one of, if not the, most dominant ultramarathoner the world has ever seen spells out what made him great in a narrative that winds between storytelling and classic recipe format. Anyone serious about running long distance owes this book to themselves.
The Athlete’s Fix
Pip Taylor is a nutritionist by trade and a triathlete by hobby. This book is for someone at the very start of their fitness journey, simplifying food science (within reason) to a three-step practice to determine the foods that your body reacts well and not so well to. The Athlete’s Fix touches on (and promptly does away with) many of-the-moment diets with rather refreshing earnesty and dives deep into fighting off stomach inflammation, the war on gluten, the benefits of vegetarianism and much more.
Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes
This cookbook answers one of the most difficult questions pertaining to fitness-friendly diets — what do you eat in-between meals? Written by a chef and a doctor, Skratch Labs’ Feed Zone Portables packs more than 100 simple and snackable recipes in its pages, including dozens of vegetarian and vegan options.
Run Fast. Eat Slow.
Four-time Olympian marathoner Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky worked together on a book with more than 100 recipes tailormade for the flavor-conscious eater. That is to say people who believe food can be both fuel and enjoyable to eat. Among a mountain of bite-sized nutritional information, the book explores the role of fat in the endurance sport athlete’s diet, a macro too useful to be avoided.
Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 5th Edition
This is a cookbook for skeptics and paranoiacs. If you’re fearful of agendas, bro-science, half-science and the world of online foodwriting at large, turn to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Since its first publishing in 1966, there has been no cookbook as definitive on the nature of nutrition or one written with more rigorous, up-to-date science. Its main takeaway? The best diet is the one you’ll actually keep up with.
The Feed Zone: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes
Skratch Labs’ flagship cookbook zeroes in on meals that can be made quickly and pack up neatly. This extremely well-reviewed cookbook conjures up more than 150 recipes designed by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim of Skratch Labs, and it provides breakdowns for how and why each will benefit you.
The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding
Is the fifth edition of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s monumental weighlifting bible a cookbook, strictly speaking? No. Does it, within its 800 pages, contain plenty of nutritional information, tips and recipes. It does. From the hand of the most-lauded bodybuilder of all time comes a book on building and sculpting muscle, sports psychology, lifting form and plenty of protein shakes.
The Grand Tour Cookbook
Within its 350 pages, The Grand Tour Cookbook gives pragmatic, grounded advice on tailoring a diet to a training regimen, no matter the exercise. The best part? Hannah Grant’s food-loving tome goes way beyond pasta, rice, chicken and brocolli. (Check out Eat Race Win for another Grant-penned, athletics-focused cookbook.)
Vélochef: Food for Training and Competition
Henrik Orre’s very pretty, very digestible guide to the food you eat before, during and after cycling is as reliable as they come. Orre’s job is fueling the medal-clad bodies of Team Sky, the Yankees of the cycling world. If the cookbook is sold out on the U.S. site, try the Australian listing (it will be pricier).