Friday, January 15, 2010

Lifting for Women

If you missed my post last night about my current lifting routine, you can find it here.

Good morning and most importantly, Happy Friday!

I know I have mentioned the "New Rules of Lifting for Women" several times this week so I wanted to tell you guys a bit more about it. The guy who wrote the book, Lou Schuler, first wrote New Rules of Lifting in 2006 and decided to write this book after he received a lot of complaints from women about being ignored in the previous book. Lou believes that guys and girls should be lifting in similar ways, hence the phrase, “lift like a man, look like a goddess” found on the front cover.

He addresses many of the issues with women and strength training, including:

*Women often talk about wanting to “tone or sculpt” their muscles rather than build them, he says it’s really not possible to “tone” your muscles- you have to build them, and that must be done by adding weight.

*Women often try to begin a strength training routine while also cutting calories. Lou is completely against this plan. It’s bad for metabolism and for building muscle, not to mention a bunch of other arguments about the effect it has on your length of life, yikes. He supports eating frequent meals to keep metabolism going, and lots of protein.

*Using the machines at the gym that only target isolated muscles and often move muscles in ways that are not typical of actual daily movement of your muscles. He believes more on focusing on larger muscles, exercises that work several muscles at once and move muscles in a way that is similar to how you would move them if you were say, picking up a child from the floor, or some other authentic movement.

The nutrition section of this book is written with the help of Cassandra Forsythe M.S. It is focused on increasing your metabolism, not necessarily on losing weight, though that may happen. They give equations and charts for figuring out your resting metabolic rate, how many calories you will probably burn on a day you don’t work out versus a day you do etc. But in the end they admit that these numbers do not take into consideration your own genetics, so you really have to figure out for yourself how many calories you can realistically eat to maintain and/or lose weight. They recommend that when you start the program you just use your maintenance level of calories and see how things go for about four weeks- did you gain weight? How do your clothes fit? How much energy do you have etc.

The exercises in the book are designed by, trainer, Alwyn Cosgrove. They are focused on big muscles and authentic movements. They divided the workouts into six stages and give two workouts for each stage that you alternate between. At each work out, they focus on using more weight than before or on doing a more difficult version of the exercise in a case like push ups where body weight is being used. If you do these work outs 3 days per week (the recommended time, 2 is okay, 1 is too few, more than 3 is too much) it will take you six months to get through the whole program. It appears that many of the exercises need to be done at a gym, but with some modifications or equipment a lot of them could be done at home. There is a chapter dedicated to how to do each exercise, including pictures, and a great explanation of why you are doing each exercise.

I cannot fully start the program now because I am already two weeks into my weight lifting class, but if I wanted to start my program tomorrow, my first work out would be…
2 Sets, 15 Reps of...

1. Squats
2. Push Ups (alternating sets with seated row)
3. Seated Row (alternating sets with push ups)
4. Step Ups (alternating sets with prone jackknife)
5. Prone Jackknife (alternating sets with step ups)

That’s it! A lot shorter than my 1 hour lifting class I’ll tell you that. There is a good possibility I am going to start this after my lifting class is over.

My favorite part about this book was how honest and to the point Lou was in writing it. He admitted times he has been wrong in his previous books, he told us not everyone will get the same results because not everyone is the same and it’s a book not a personal training session etc. I also loved the stress on what you eat, when you eat rather than trying to cut calories. Finally, he was very realistic that we do not all have a million hours a day to focus on our body even if we might like to. The nutrition and the work outs are designed with real people in mind.

I found a couple of aspects of the book controversial, including the fact that Lou really downplays cardio a lot. He advocates short, fast intervals, which are really more like strength training in the end. He is not a big supporter of endurance training. I find his argument interesting, but I am not ready to abandon my spinning and elliptical work just yet. It is nice to hear I can be strong without running though- forget that in the blog world sometimes ☺
He also recommends a LOT more protein than most others do, and while he may be right, I am only willing to do the best I can as far as protein goes. I don’t know if I’ll be reaching his recommendations.

Have you read the book? What were your favorite parts? Even if you have not read the book, what do you think about some of the points I mentioned? I highly recommend this book especially if, like me, you struggle with the strength training aspect of exercise.

On a totally different note, I am considering starting a teaching blog. I wouldn’t update as often, but I’m thinking it might motivate me on the kindergarten front…Does anyone have any creative name ideas for my a teaching blog? I want to design it this weekend so please send creative name ideas my way :)


  1. Yay! I am so happy you are starting a teaching blog! I find it very motivating to write about teaching and my students.

    I think it would be cute to think of a name that matches the name of this blog: She + something about teaching Kinder. She teaches ABC's and 123's....or what about because it goes along with She Wears a Red Sox Cap. Even She teaches Kindergarten....

  2. Really interesting book. I'm training for my second marathon so I've been trying to do a lot more weight lifting as well. He makes some good points. I may have to read that book! Thanks for sharing! :D

  3. i have read the book and had high hopes for it. i think if you are a beginner in the weight room it would be an EXCELLENT book but I have been lifting weights for too long to only do 5 exercises. I found a site that had the program all listed out on their website, here is the link

  4. I keep hearing about this book. I should check it out.... maybe it'll motivate me to stick to a strength routine! Glad to hear it's working well for you so far.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. I haven't read that book, but sounds interesting. Even if you don't agree with everything he says, still a good read!

    How I wish I could tone my arms without making my biceps any bigger. Sigh... :)

  6. I've read the book and I enjoyed it. I would like to start the strength training routine but right now I am focused on other goals. I do like how he admitted he was wrong in the past. I have to admit though, it causes me to take everything with a grain of salt.

  7. Sounds like a good book. I have a tough time integrating strength training into my workout. For some reason I just don't see it as important as cardio...but I know it really is! It just seems to fall by the wayside!

  8. I really want to begin strength training once I have full access to a gym at school .. this book sounds like a wonderful resource. Thanks for the 411 my dear <3

  9. I definitely disagreed with how much he downplayed cardio and especially endurance training but obviously I would feel that way as a runner!

    Overall I REALLY liked the book and for me the workouts are great. Anyone reading this comment: I know the first workout doesn't LOOK like much BUT if you use heavy enough weight like he recommends you will be SORE! I did that workout MONDAY and I'm STILL sore today!

    I do like that he tells women to use heavier weights, I think it's ridiculous when I see women bicep curling little 3 or 5 pound weights!!

    GREAT review, Kelly! I will be doing mine next week :)

  10. Thanks for the review. I should really read this...maybe it woul dhelp me commit to strength traning. Cardio is easy for me, but strength training bores me to tears!

    Good luck creating your teaching blog. I think that's a great idea!

  11. I haven't read the book but it would be interesting. I used to "lift like a guy"...I'm talking squatting and deadlifting 275 lbs...and I will admit I put on muscle very easily but most women will not get big by lifting free weights. From the people I know, I have seen much better results from those who use the old school methods than those who stick to machines. I'm gonna have to check this book out!

  12. I've never read that book, but I have heard good things about it. Thanks for the review! I put on lots of muscle REALLY easily, so I usually just stick to low weights or exercises utilizing my body weight, which has worked for me. But it sounds like good advice :)

  13. So interesting. I have been reading a lot about this idea of decreasing calories and building muscle at the same time. To be honest, I'd never really thought about it before and I'm learning a lot!

    I have also thought about starting a new blog, with FAQs. I hope you go through with your plan, I'd like to see how it works for you, it would be a neat idea.

    As for the soy chips, order them online at Revival Soy. They have many other products too!

  14. oh how fun about the teaching blog - I think you should ask your students for ideas; I have a feeling they can be pretty cute :)

  15. kellys krazy Kindergarten Adventures!

  16. I like the book, but I think that he definitely plays up protein and downplays cardio. The exercises are good though.

  17. It sounds really interesting from what you've said. I would also struggle w/ the protein part. I read what you ate that one dad & couldn't believe that you still didn't meet the protein requirement!!

  18. Sounds like a good workout. If it gets more women to start lifting, I'm all for it!

    I already tweeted you with blog names, but in case you forgot: Chalkdust or Edumacation Station.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  19. yess! definitely start a teaching blog! I just recently switched my major over to education and would love to read about your kindergarten tales!


  20. I think I would like that book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    When I started my first blog a few years back (not Dare-to-Tri), I thought I would use it to both keep track of my workouts/training, but also journaling teaching experiences (since I just started teaching). However, I decided to write less and less about work, especially since I got into special education and I was afraid of saying too much and "getting in trouble" per say. I would love to get back into journaling my teaching experiences, but I don't want to worry about legal issues. Am I being too worried?!

  21. I must be one of the few women who prefers strength training over cardio. Hmm. My cardio workout of choice is walking, and I unfortunately only do it when it's nice outside. :( But this book definitely sounds interesting. I mostly do overall body workouts everyday to keep everything in shape. It's been working, but I have been wanting to do more. This book sounds like it could help. As for your protein problem, have you ever tried/considered protein powder? I buy some from and it has really helped me meet my protein requirements. I used to struggle with that, but now it's no problem. And I think the teaching blog is a great idea, although I am not creative enough to help come up with a name. I think you should ask your kids, too. :) Good luck!