Book Review: The New Rules of Lifting for Women

17 Jul

If you live under a rock and/or don’t blog, you probably already heard of The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

It’s all the rage.

The book description on the back appears as:

“In The New Rules of Lifting for Women, authors Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove present a comprehensive strength, conditioning, and nutrition plan destined to revolutionize the way women work out. All the latest studies prove that strength training, not aerobics, provides the key to losing fat and building a fit, strong body.

This book refutes the misconception that women will “bulk up” if they lift heavy weights. Nonsense! It’s tough enough for men to pack on muscle, and they have much more of the hormone necessary to build muscle: natural testosterone. Muscles need to be strengthened to achieve a lean, healthy look. Properly conditioned muscles increase metabolism and promote weight loss—it’s that simple.

The program demands that women put down the “Barbie” weights, step away from the treadmill, and begin a strength and conditioning regime for the natural athlete in every woman.”

My thoughts: I’ll be very general right now, I did really enjoy the book. It was simple and didn’t use huge scientific words to explain muscles and what not. I found the information to be interesting. I did learn a lot. Also, the author has a very witty writing style, which makes the book slightly better.

In the first section of the book, the author discusses the similarities between men and women. Our bodies are not so different after all so women should not be afraid of training like a man. Women will not bulk up if they use a weight that’s heavier than a 10 pounder. I know at my gym, I see women only lifting like 8-pound dumbbells. Some go up to 12.5 lbs or they just use the machines.

Also, if you are the type of person who just uses the machines at the gym, switch to actual weights!

This topic is also discussed in the book.

The next section of the book is about nutrition/eating/calories type stuff.

I like this section the most. It talks about the dangers of not enough calories and how ridiculous the amount of calories women eat. 1,500 calories a day is basically a starvation amount of calories; especially for women who work out (even if they are just reading a magazine while on the bike). Not enough calories causes irritability then screws with the metabolism. That freaked me out. In addition, the author mentions the menstrual cycle, which also freaked me out. Even if I don’t want children in the future, I do want to be a strong runner with very few injuries. Not getting a period increases the chance of stress fractures.

That brings me to the con of the book: cardio. The book doesn’t necessarily say you should not do cardio, but it pressures you into just doing in intervals. I disliked the fact that it made cardio seem like an awful way to spend your time at the gym. I understood the author’s reasoning for not doing a lot of cardio because some people just become the skinny fat type of deal, but some people love the rush that cardio offers. I love running and I am not giving it up just because it actually just offers endurance and that’s about it. Uh, no.

 Running = happy Christy

The last section of the book talks about the workouts that women should do and presents several different workouts as well as pictures of how to do certain exercises. I liked this section a lot because not only did it show you how to do an exercise such as a dead lift, but it told you what the benefit was.

Another con I forgot to mention is the book focused a lot on lifting weights like a man for the advantage of weight loss. Not every woman who likes to work out (running, biking, lifting, etc) cares about the aspect of burning calories. That’s just like the added bonus, you know? Also, the book gave a few recipe and meal plans. Those were okay. The author emphasized that you should have a protein shake after every workout and have a pre-workout meal. However, I had a few questions about that. What if I eat lunch immediately after I workout? Do I still have that protein shake? Furthermore, what if I eat breakfast before I workout? Do I still need to include a pre-workout snack? I just think a few more issues could have been addressed with the way to eat when lifting. I actually don’t like when books offer meal plans. I’m not trying to lose weight so having to count every calorie is silly to me despite my past.

Overall, I would recommend this book. I have to give it just “an okay” though. It wasn’t the greatest and in some parts it was vague, but it certainly made good points. It is a book, I would say, for newbies. I wanted some tougher exercises or ways to make the moves tougher, but whatever. Now I just have to try the workouts, which I will after my half marathon. 

FYI, these are my thoughts and opinions since I did buy this book with my own money like a big girl that I am.


Have you read The New Rules of Lifting for Women? If so, what did you think?



17 Responses to “Book Review: The New Rules of Lifting for Women”

  1. Isabelle@cheesymiteapples July 17, 2011 at 2:05 PM #

    I’m getting this book today 🙂 Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Amanda @ Running with Spoons July 17, 2011 at 2:21 PM #

    I have this book and quite enjoy it. It was easy to read and informative, and I definitely enjoyed the nutrition section. I’ve been following the workout plan for a few weeks now, and while a bit basic, I’ve actually been seeing some great results. The moves can be made a lot more challenging with some modifications, or you can do it easy if you’re having an off day. Overall, I really enjoyed NROLFW.

  3. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) July 17, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    I want to read it not doubt but you say that it doesn’t approve of cardio and as a runner and swimmer that is hard to hear. Hmm. I’ll look into it though since I’m basically reading everything you are ha.

  4. kristi (sweetcheeks) July 17, 2011 at 2:50 PM #

    Thanks for the review! I want to read it mainly for the workout part of it. I could use some new ideas.

  5. Kristy July 17, 2011 at 3:22 PM #

    Like a lot of other bloggers, I bought this book too. I’m a dedicated runner, but I’ve always dabbled in weight lifting. Before reading this book, though, I would stick to machines and barbie dumbbells. This book definitely offered me a sense of direction, though, which I love! Instead of running most days, I’ve given up two running days a week to weight lift instead. I’m half way through stage 1, and I love the program so far. I’m definitely sore after every workout, but at least I know I’m working my muscles. The only thing I don’t like about it, is that it is harder to run the day after a hard strength training session. I’m trying to get the balance right and figure out a schedule where I can rest of cross train days after lifting, but given my hectic work schedule and dedication to running, it’s hard. I’ll figure it out, though : )

    As for the pre workout snack and post workout shake, I don’t really think it depends on the timing. If you eat breakfast and then workout, eat your pre-workout snack just as a snack later in the day. And if you work out before lunch, then have a smaller lunch with the protein shake or just a protein and carb packed lunch. I think the author’s main point is that you need to reach a certain amount of calories and need to be eating throughout the day. I’m no expert, though.

    I love your blog by the way : )

  6. trailroadcrosscountrytrackrunner July 17, 2011 at 3:51 PM #

    As awesome as weight lifting is, I don’t like how it conflicts with running. Oh well. I don’t want to be a powerlifter, just a strong runner! 🙂

    I will look into getting this book, though, because it will help me for next summer in between my senior season of track and my first college season of xc.

    I agree, though that 1500 calories isn’t a good amount…that’s what I ate during my sophomore year of high school when I was lifting weights AND working out.

    • lifttorun July 18, 2011 at 7:32 AM #

      Weight lifting can make you stronger in running though despite this book. Kara Goucher lifts.

  7. runningperspective July 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM #

    yay greatttttttt review i totally want to get this book now! thank yaaaa 🙂

  8. Megan July 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM #

    I really want this book you are so right it is “all the rage”, but I can see why.
    I like the fact that it seems simple once those books start using huge scientific words I start skipping pages..
    I don’t like how they hate on the cardio though.

  9. Jess July 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM #

    Must admit..LOVED this book!! I thought his sense of humor was totally my style of reading 😀

    I don’t do endurance cardio (as in, long distance running) so it “fit me” well..but I understand how it could be offensive/hard to hear from such a fab runner like you 😉

  10. Tara July 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM #

    I loved this book and totally agree with everything you said. I hate the cardio part, I actually scribbled all over it and refuted all the statements with vulgarities. I also wish it had a portion on stressing and foamrolling because that’s still pretty important to eliminate soreness that comes with lifting. It didn’t even mention stretching.

  11. katshealthcorner July 17, 2011 at 9:11 PM #

    I’ve been wanting to check out that book!!! Thank you for your such thorough review! This really means a lot to me that you took the time to post about this. 🙂

  12. Allie July 18, 2011 at 3:22 AM #

    I read the book too and I pretty much feel the same way.. I liked the change of mindset about food from other health books.

  13. Tessa @ Amazing Asset July 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM #

    I really must read this book. I think it will help shed some light on more of my disordered eating patters and overexercising and how they are simply unsafe! Thank you for the review

  14. Sarah July 18, 2011 at 6:36 PM #

    Great review first off! I definitly think I am going to purchase this book because it does sounds informative and kind of inspiring/motivational. Always nice to have a reminder right there in fron of you! This is a bit personal but on the menstal cycle deal I hear ya, I don’t get mine regulary due to over exercise and it is kinda freaky because it depletes your body of nutrients which it needs to grow. 🙂

  15. Jessica Rose July 19, 2011 at 6:04 AM #

    I’m in the midst of reading this book now – and I understand his view on cardio & his points make sense, but he didn’t write this book for endurance athletes – he wrote it for women looking to shape up their bodies. Running alone won’t do that – and that’s his point. But if you want to run marathons or races at the collegiate level, I think it’s fairly obvious that you need to keep cardio in your life!
    Anyways – I enjoyed your review – I’ll be posting mine soon (hopefully!)

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