Are you ready for my next review? This time I want to share my thoughts about a book instead of a DVD. While I have not generally used exercise DVDs in the past, I love to read and I love to read about health and fitness in particular. As I have said many time before, when I started my journey I had 2 books to guide me – Weight Training For Dummiesand Body for Life. Since then I have continued reading the health and fitness genre, always taking away bits and pieces that make sense and trying to ignore the trends that don’t.
For this book review I chose The Female Body Breakthroughby Rachel Cosgrove. I chose it because I genuinely wanted to read it after hearing some fantastic things from others and reading the first couple of pages over tea at Borders. (Note to the FCC, I bought this copy on my own at Amazon.)
Before I get too far into what I thought, let me start with a bit of a spoiler alert. If you have read the The New Rules of Lifting for Women(as I did and really enjoyed) you will find this book very similar. Which makes sense due to the fact that Rachel Cosgrove is the wife of Alwyn Cosgrove who co-wrote New Rules of Lifting for Women. Much of the nutrition advice is the same and the workouts are very similar. So not that you won’t enjoy it, but if you are looking for something different you might come away a little disappointed.
Now on to the good stuff. The book discusses the 90/10 rule when it comes to your nutrition. (If you eat clean 90 percent of the time you can splurge 10 percent). I think that split also applies to how I feel about this book. 90 percent of it I love and agree with totally, 10 percent I differ a bit.
One of the biggest things I agree with and love about this book is the fact that is written for women. Whether we like it or not we are different. Not that we can’t train as hard, lift as much or go as fast as a man when we want to, but we do have certain differences (like hormones) that affect how we should train. This is the first fitness book that I have ever read that specifically addresses hormone cycles and how they affect your diet and training schedule. It’s about time! The author lays out very specifically a plan to work with the changes in your body and use them to your advantage during your workouts. I think most readers will find this very useful and allow them to get better in tune with their bodies instead of fighting them.
I also like the secrets of the Fit Female Credo. I think by dealing with some of the physiological and behavioral issues first (like #1 Act as if You are a Fit Female and #8 Obstacles will Arise – Anticipate Them) it gives you a greater chance at success in making long term changes. Really that’s what any program should be about, changing your life not changing until you can hide under your winter clothes again.
The workouts and nutrition program are broken out into phases that cover 16 weeks. For most people you should be able to see some great results in 16 weeks, especially those new to exercise and clean eating. The first nutrition phase is where you cut out all the junk and try to start listening to your body, no calorie counting required. That’s a big plus for many and I’ve seen many clients lose weight just by cutting soda and extra sugar out of their diets. Add in her workout program and a beginner should see a big payoff in the first month.
As I mentioned there are a couple of things that I don’t really agree with. For example, as we move along in the nutrition plan there comes a point when calorie counting does come into play. As we all know the closer we get to the goal the harder it can get, so you have to get a little more precise. She recommends a calorie formula that for me would only equal about 1066 calories per day. That number is less than my BMR and I would never recommend anyone, let alone an active female, eat below their BMR. Also there comes a point in the book that I as a vegetarian I would have a very difficult time following the nutrition plan due to the elimination of dairy and the requirement of eating fish. While I don’t like to make excuses, I also don’t eat it if it had a face. That’s my lifestyle choice and I’m sticking to it.
As I a personal trainer, I am a little biased in the fact that I think hiring a trainer is one of the best things you can do when starting your journey to health and fitness. I also know for many of you, as it was for me, the cost of working with a trainer on a regular basis won’t fit into your budget. This is a book I would recommend in that situation. It’s a great read with, for the most part, good advice and instruction. On a scale of 1-10 I would give it a 9 (in honor of my 90/10 split).
If you’ve also read this book, let me know your thoughts about and experiences with the program. I love to hear success stories, even if they aren’t from my clients!