The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler (Book Review)

Every week, BTBS will review a fitness or weight loss related book. 

This week the book is The New Rules of Lifting for Women (referred to by the fitness community as NROLFW) by Lou Schuler, alongside Cassandra Forsythe (who designs the food plans) and Alwyn Cosgrove (who puts together the intense workout program).

This isn't your usual 'diet' book. Oh no, this book takes all of the traditional diet rules and flings them out of the window with full force. I'll start by explaining what caused me to pick up this book.

As my regular readers will know, I'm battling my last 8lbs. As those of you who have lost a lot of weight already know, the last 10 pounds are the hardest to shift and whatever helped to shift the previous 50 something pounds begins to lose it's effectiveness. Last month, my scale had stalled yet the calories will still low (netting around 1220 a day!) and the workouts still tough. So I had to think of a new radical (yet 100% safe and gimmick free) tactic to shock my body into losing the last few. Here's were NROLFW bailed me out... and messed with my head all at the same time.

Schuler (a man, writing for women, if you're wondering) advocates the idea of eating more than your usual calorie deficit equations would suggest, so instead of cutting your calories by 500 a week, reduce this to a cut of say, 250 calories. Alongside this, you need to increase your protein intake whilst embarking on a strength training program.  The principal behind all this is that you will continue to lose fat, but maintain and gain muscle mass in the process. The first thing many women respond with at this point is "..but I don't want to gain muscle, I don't want to get bulky". I promise you won't, our bodies don't work that way, they get stronger, toned and damn right sexy! Google 'strong is the new skinny' if you don't believe me. Oh, and muscle burns more calories than fat, so do you need any more reasons to replace fat with muscle? No, I thought not. 

Anyway, back to my little story, I decided to increase my calories and net around 1460 calories a day along side my strength training gym classes, as a result the scale has started moving again and more or less the same pace, and I'm loving eating that little bit more. I think this technique is perfect for the stage of weight loss I'm at right now, as it's preparing me for increasing my calories up to a maintenance level when I get to my happy weight. This way, I'm certain I'll be able to maintain my weight loss. Not to mention I'm seeing great results in the weights room! The weights are increasing all thanks to this book for coaching me into challenging myself to lift heavier when I'm afraid to. 

As I mentioned briefly at the beginning, this book also contains workout plans and meal suggestions. Key word being 'suggestions', as you can eat what you like providing you keep a check on the calories at the three macro-nutrients (a fancy term for carbohydrates, fat and protein), which you can do this using a food logging app and site like My Fitness Pal

I rather like Schuler's witty and to-the-point style, however I lent the book to someone else who said they found him to be 'arrogant and accusing', in that he points out some of the common mistakes he sees in the weights room. Personally, I think he raises some excellent points. Like the woman who will work her butt off on the cross-trainer, sprint miles and push herself in a spinning class but then lifts tiny 'pastel coloured Barbie weights' in the weights room. Schuler does have a point here if you think about it. Surely if you're willing to give it your all in cardio workouts, why not take this awesome approach into your strength training workout? 

Well, if it's simply down to a lack of basic know-how (which was my reason), then I recommend this book to help you on the way to 'lifting  like a man' whilst 'looking like a Goddess!' as the book cover states. What a great mantra. 

For more great fitness and weight loss books, be sure to check out BTBS's previous book reviews, which you'll find here: Weekly Book Reviews

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