Before, any strength training I did was just aimlessly using the Nautilus machines at the gym. I didn't really know what to do or have money for a personal trainer, and those seemed pretty idiot-proof. Then, I was reading a friend's blog following his family's progress in training for a marathon and in response to one of my comments, he suggested I check out The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I trust his advice, so I ordered the book, and I'm so glad I did. I'm one of those people who does better with a plan--somebody else's plan that I can just follow. For me, this book is that plan.
The full title is The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess. That sounds pretty good to me. It basically has three parts:
- Dispelling the myth that if you lift heavy weights you'll end up looking like a musclebound man and building a case for lifting heavier free weights.
- Rationale behind fueling for muscle building (hint: you'll probably eat more)
- Detailed strength training plan
- "Diet" plan (I put "diet" in quotation marks because it isn't a diet as we typically think of the word)
The one part I don't love is the chapter on the diet plan. It has charts to help you figure out how many calories you should be eating (for a lot of women, probably more than you think), information on the amount of protein you should be eating (for me, WAY more than I typically eat...this has been a real challenge), and some sample recipes. Remember how I said I need specifics? This isn't specific enough for me. Now, that's mostly my failing rather than the book's. For someone who doesn't need their information spoon-fed to them, it would probably be sufficient.
Like I said, I've been consistently following the strength plan for a few weeks. I haven't yet seen much difference on my body, but I'm definitely seeing an improvement in the amount of weight that I can lift. For example, I started out doing squats with just the 45 pound bar, and now I'm up to 105 pounds (on purpose...I did do two sets of 115 pounds because of a math error, but that was pretty uncomfortable. By the end of the week, though, I should be back to 115 for real). It's quite a process...there are a total of 7 stages--18 total workouts in the first stage, and then between 8-10 workouts in the subsequent stages. (If you buy the book, do a google search of the title and you'll find several websites where people have made up training logs. You'll have to have some info from the book in order to access the logs, but they're pretty handy.)
I've started following the eating part a little bit, and I'm planning to really look at what I'm eating a little better so that I'm full-on "on the plan". Then, when I'm finished with all of the stages, I'll show you my progress. I have some