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Fit and Healthy Gal- "fitandhealthygal.blogspot.com" (Los Angeles, CA United States)
141 of 156 people found the following review helpful
Buy this book!
, November 20, 2008
This book is written mainly by Lou Schuler, a journalist and strength and conditioning coach. Alwyn Cosgrove designs the workouts in the book and Cassandra Forsythe designs the meal plans and recipes. These are experts that I keep up with and respect very much so we're off to a good start.
WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR
This book says it's for anyone from beginners to experienced exercisers. I disagree that it's for all beginners. I think there is a lot to digest in this book and beginners might get frustrated and confused and end up putting the book down. However if you have the motivation I definitely think it's doable.
I'm not going to mention that they remind women they will not bulk up from lifting. I am so sick of this excuse from women and that we have to keep repeating it. Why are we still talking about this?? Is it not public knowledge now, even if you only read occasional fitness articles, that women will not bulk up like men if they lift like men? It is physically not possible and an excuse that women use so they don't have to lift. Enough said, end of story. Lift weights, you know it's good for you.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT LIFTING
The purpose of lifting ENOUGH weight is to build muscle. The key word is enough.
'If the weights are unchallenging, your muscles won't grow. If your muscles don't grow, they won't look any better than they do now, even if you could somehow strip off whatever fat sits on top of them.'
They are basically going against almost everything you've learned in the past. There are exercises done daily by me and everyone else at the gym that they say NOT to do. Their 'motto' summarized in one sentence is as follows, 'If it's what your body was designed to do, it's probably not bad form. And if the exercise requires you to do something unnatural, you should think twice before doing it.' In real life when do your arms move as they do in a bicep curl? There are other exercises you can do that work the biceps along with other muscles that normally work with your biceps.
STEP AWAY FROM THE TREADMILL
Chapter 3 is dedicated to doing less cardio. This is a fairly new idea that I think is finally starting to catch on. But it's been drilled into our heads for so long that I think it will take a while to break the habit of doing sooooo much cardio.
It is all about the afterburn. The higher the intensity of the workout the more calories your body will burn afterwards. Also, 'serious strength training also signals your body to burn a higher percentage of fat calories for many hours after you leave the gym'. Bonus!!
One sentence stuck out to me because I have really adapted to the cardio I'm doing lately. 'Your body will adapt to the increased efficiency by selectively shrinking your type I muscle fibers.'
They are all for interval training and go into detail about the best and most efficient intervals.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT CALORIE INTAKE
Overall they are against cutting calories for two reasons -
1. You lose muscle mass.
2. You're going to slow down your metabolism.
New Rules #13 - Traditional weight-loss advice is fatally flawed. This part was important to me because it really does go against everything we hear. They are talking about 'eat less and exercise more' saying. Jillian Michaels preaches this and I've definitely wrote about it before. I think it's an easy way for beginners to understand weight-loss. If you really think about it in terms of building muscle it doesn't make much sense. 'The combination, however, can be expressed this way: Slow down your metabolism while speeding it up'. This is all in Chapter 4. Buy the book, read this chapter. It's important, especially for women.
It takes 2,800 calories to build a pound of muscle. I've never heard this fact quoted in a book before. I guess because people usually say it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. But since we want to build muscle on this program it makes more sense to talk about what it takes to build muscle.
To figure out your calorie intake -
* Convert your lbs to kg
* Use an equation with that figure to come up with your Resting Metabolic Rate
* Figure out your body mass index (BMI)
* Multiple your BMI by daily activity - this is the step where it's usually a little different depending on what book or formula you're following. They have 3 categories - No workout - Active workout - Strenuous work and workout day. They further categorize the numbers by your BMI. It's on page 65.
They recommend NOT cutting your calories even if you want to lose fat. Try sticking with your maintenance for 4 weeks and then answer a series of questions (mainly did you gain weight and how did you feel) and then reassess. If you feel you NEED to cut calories he says not to cut more than 300 per day and no matter what eat more on workout days.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MEALS
There are 4 easy rules:
* Eat breakfast
* Eat 5 meals and snacks
* Have a post workout shake on days you lift
* Eat more calories on days you workout than on days you don't
There are a lot of easy, yummy sounding recipes in the book. They are all very managable and easy to change around or add more if you need more calories. Or as they suggest, if you're cooking for more than one person.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT CARBS, PROTEIN, AND FAT
Eat a balance of each. Did you know it takes 454 g of protein to build a pound of muscle? I didn't know this. They have found the magic number for protein is 30%. Obviously eating refined carbs is definitely frowned upon. They recommend eating OVER 30% of your calories from protein.
THE LIFTING PROGRAM
This is where the book gets a little confusing....at first. I haven't started the program yet but I did grab a calendar and make my schedule, starting next week. This helped.
There are 7 phases - 2 work outs to alternate in each phase. Until you get to stage 7 when there are 5 workouts in that phase. They say this will take about 6 months to get through the entire thing if you workout 3 times per week.
They go into how much weight to use and how to increase the weight as you go through the workouts.
MY OVERALL FEELINGS
I can't wait to get started! I am someone who in the past has done tons of cardio and worked out many hours a week in the gym, not doing the right exercises. Before I read this book I realized I wasn't doing everything completely right and I hope this program will get me on course to building muscle.
I highly recommend buying the book even if you aren't sure you're ready for 6 months of sticking with one program. They also have suggestions about what you can do on off days and how to mix in other forms of exericise. There is also just a lot of good information in the book that I really think most people don't know. They aren't just repeating the same information we hear all the time. I read a lot of these kinds of books and I took away a lot more new information than I normally do.