The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler

I would love to do a feminist deconstruction of this book. A “women’s” fitness book written by a man with workouts designed by another man? A book that claims to be about lifting but instead emphasizes weight loss, “looking like a goddess” and being stronger but not looking strong? A book that constantly refers to and assumes how women think versus how men think? But let’s let the English major in me shut down for a second, and let’s let the gym rat in me take over and review this book for what it is–a fitness book.

A large portion of this book was fairly irrelevant–I’m already a gym-goer who loves her squats, so I didn’t need the information explaining why I should work out/encouraging me to lift. The meal plan section was equally irrelevant–too much whey protein/reliance on supplements, lots of fish, eggs and dairy–for a vegan reader.

However even the parts that repeated what I already agree with were interesting to read, as Schuler has a casual and easygoing writing style with just enough (but not too much) cheesy/good-natured humor. I expected a fitness book to be rather dry, but Schuler makes you want to keep reading it all–even the technical/fact-heavy stuff. While the meal plan is irrelevant, I do like his insistence that you can’t cut calories AND work out–you have to choose one or the other. Are you going to just lose fat and muscle–and therefore “weight”–or are you going to improve your overall body shape/health and gain strength in the process?

The workouts themselves seem well-structured and balanced, and Schuler has convinced me to give his program a try. It can’t hurt to shake up my usual workouts, and the exercises and schedule found in this book are reasonable and doable (although slightly confusing at first read). While the shorter/fewer workouts may not be my cup of tea–I love going to the gym and having my “me” time–it makes this program more accessible to those who don’t get excited about spending an hour at the Y 🙂

I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t more emphasis on “bulking up”–I love seeing muscle!–but I think the overall structure is a good one that I will see benefits from. I’m already sore from day one–and I was worried it would be too basic/beginner. Great utilization of basic moves to create a simple and effective workout. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and round two–especially since I have a better grasp of what weights I can use/how to better push myself after the day one “trial.”