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You Need Really Expensive Equipment for this One.
on May 11, 2012
First, let me say that I'm a fanatic fan of Alwyn Cosgrove, the trainer whose routines are in this series of books. I was also a professional Pilates teacher for seven years and I trained my clients with weights, in addition to Pilates on the machines, when that did not give the results we were looking for. Personally, I've been doing, "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess" for a few months and it's giving me better results in less time than I ever thought possible. This review compares, "New Rules of Lifting for Life" to "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess," because I am familiar with, and love, that book.
Most of Cosgrove's workouts are based on the perfect exercise: weight training with intervals; it raises your metabolism in the short term with the aerobic intervals; it raises your metabolism in the long-term by adding muscle mass; and it makes you smaller--muscle is much, much smaller than fat for the same amount of weight.
That said, this book is great in theory. If you have the other books in this series, you won't be disappointed in this one: the diet advice--eat less if you're getting bigger--shows that Lou Schuler has understood metabolism and weight gain. Also, the safety recommendations are extremely useful if you have any injuries. And, there are (even more) exercise variations than there are in the other books, which is great for adding variety.
However, this book is frustrating. It uses equipment that I, as a fairly strong, but 5'4" woman, can't get access to outside of a gym or having a $400 piece of equipment put together for me. There are very few sections that don't rely on some gym-specific pieces of equipment, specifically a power cage with a pull-up bar and a suspension system. You're supposed to be able to do all of the sections, but you won't be able to without the power cage or a gym.
That's not to say his other books aren't equipment intensive, or that I think you shouldn't have exercise equipment: this particular book, like "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess", also requires a barbell, at least fifty pounds of weight plates, dumbells, step boxes of at least one-and-a half feet, an aerobic step, a Swiss Ball, an incline weight bench, and a piece of aerobic equipment, unless you're planning on running. For me personally, that meant buying a barbell, weight plates and a bench, because I already had a thrift-store-bought $7.00 step bench, a useable-but-missing-a-replaceable-foot $11.00 NordicTrac Pro, two Pilates boxes, an old set of plate barbells, yoga mats and a leaky Swiss ball.
The difference between this and the other book, is that for about $250 to fill in the missing equipment, you can do his other workouts. The equipment used is of the sort that you might, mostly, be able to find in a secondhand store, or barring that, it's the kind of thing you could put together yourself. (Like the incline bench--they usually weigh about 50 to 60 lbs, and you can get a decent one on amazon, new, for about $150.) That's not true with a power cage. It's a $400 piece of equipment that's pretty hard to put together if you're not a guy over 5'10", because it's big and really heavy. (And for those of you thinking you could use a suspension system on a door--that's true, if you live in a house where the doors open out, and mine don't.)
It's really aggravating when you buy a book like this and realize that you either need a gym membership or someone who can help you put together a really large, expensive piece of equipment in order to do any of the routines. Also, unlike some of his other books, there is no in-home substitution offered. One of the things that I love about "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess", is that there are at-home substitutions for everything except one exercise in an optional set of workouts.
So, if you're a fan of the other books and you want to learn more, or you have a gym membership, or you happen to have a full gym at home, this is a great book. Just don't expect to be able to do all of the exercises if you don't have a power cage.