Fitness Fiction: 7 Novels That Are Almost as Good as Cardio

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If you’ve ever sweated it out at the gym, pounded the pavement for miles on end, shouted out self-affirmations while willing your knees to pump higher and higher – or even just thought of doing anything like this – then you’ll likely find joy, laughter, and maybe some inspiration in one of these fabulous novels with fitness at its center.

  • The cover of the book Fitness Junkie

    Fitness Junkie

    A Novel

    The business of fitness in this day and age has taken a turn toward excess. From aerial acrobatics to underwater spinning and beyond, there’s certainly a class for every personality – even the personality at the center of Lucy Sykes’s and Jo Piazza’s hilarious new novel. When Janey Sweet sets out to lose thirty pounds, she takes the proverbial bull by its spandex-clad horns. Set against this bizarrely realistic landscape of gurus and boot camps, Janey’s gumption, self-confidence, and sense of humor are all tested.

  • The cover of the book Swimming


    Fitness meets self-preservation in this touching novel from Nicola Keegan, who introduces us to Philomena, a competitive swimmer from the Midwest who turns to the water for solace and focus as she comes to grips with a far-from-perfect family and less-than-ideal social and school circumstances. Swimmers and non-swimmers alike will relate to Pip as she springboards from the middle of the country to the Olympics.

  • The cover of the book Big Girl Panties

    Big Girl Panties

    Holly Brennan knows from heartbreak. Widowed at the age of thirty-two, Holly’s depression envelopes her completely and before long she’s in a dark place – and completely out of shape to boot. But then she meets personal trainer Logan Montgomery whose guidance and encouragement picks her up out of the ashes and sets her onto a path of healing.

  • The cover of the book The Running Dream

    The Running Dream

    When sixteen-year-old Jessica loses a leg in a car accident, she’s devastated most of all because of her love of running – and the promise she showed with a future in the sport. An unexpected friend steps into her life as a result of Jessica’s circumstances, though, and changes her in ways she never knew possible. And as it turns out, as Wendelin Van Draanen tells in this wonderful young adult novel, Jessica may not have to give up running after all.

  • The cover of the book The Memory of Running

    The Memory of Running

    Smithy Ide hasn’t had an easy time of it, as his overweight, solitary, booze- and nicotine-infused Northeasterly midlife existence is a bit of a downer. Things get even grimmer when his parents and long-lost sister all perish in the same week. So Smithy gets on his bicycle and begins pedaling. Fitness isn’t the focus of the ride he sets out on – recovering his sister’s body is – but it’s certainly a perk as Smithy encounters people, experiences, and revelations that will change his life.

  • The cover of the book Tiny Pretty Things

    Tiny Pretty Things

    It’s no secret that the art of ballet pushes its practitioners to unbelievable physical limits. In their novel, Tiny Pretty Things, Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Claytondive full force into the emotional limits it forces as well. In this pirouette-filled page turner, we meet three young dancers competing for center stage at an elite Manhattan ballet school – a trio of women whose ambitions will drive them to jaw-dropping lengths.

  • The cover of the book On the Road to Find Out

    On the Road to Find Out

    Sometimes fitness is just the thing. Just ask Alice Davis in Rachel Toor’s young adult novel On the Road to Find Out. When perfectionist Alice is facing the biggest disappointment of her young life – not getting into the college of her dreams – there’s only so much moping she’ll do before picking herself up by her bootstraps, or, rather, running shoelaces and throwing herself into a brand-new challenge.