Now that the kids are older and in school, I'm able to once again hit the gym. And while I can put together a good workout, it has been awhile and I wanted to read up on the subject. So I bought the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess by Lou Schuler.
Generally, I wouldn't buy a workout book which promised to make me look like a goddess. Usually that denotes a lightweight approach to working out. But the reviews on Amazon convinced me the book took weight lifting seriously. So I went ahead and bought a copy. I was disappointed.
This book is like most fitness books for women -- promises of weight loss, lots of peppy hand-holding, and endless repetitions of the main points. I suppose if one is completely new to working out with weights, this would be a decent book. Though if a woman is serious about starting a weight lifting program, I'd advise getting a more serious book also geared to the beginner, but not one geared to the woman customer looking to get thinner.
The author went on and on about women not having to worry about bulking up. I think he is wrong here. Some women will develop largish muscles if they lift heavy weights. Some women do not want rippling biceps in a cute summer dress, even if these biceps are only relatively a bit bigger. These women should choose another activity.
At least the author emphasizes lifting heavy weights with fewer reps. He encourages women to work out hard and to put aside the 2 lb dumbbells. He includes the big moves like squats, dead lifts, bench presses, push-ups, and pull-ups. But I don't like how the author completely dismisses weight machines and other common exercises used by body builders. He cannot definitively say what will or will not work when it comes to lifting weights. No one can. That's why we all have to figure it out for ourselves through experience and education. Every weightlifter endeavors to find what works best for him or her.
The nutrition section is the same kind of thing you can find in almost any fitness book these days -- a moderate diet within a fascist framework of meal plans, scheduled snacks, and forbidden foods. If you refuse to eat at least five meals (approved meals, of course) a day, expect to get fat. If you skip breakfast, might as well stop working out now because you have no chance at becoming fit. Too much is made of the details of eating. There is no one right way to eat.
Bodybuilding is so much more than losing weight and finding the one perfect workout and nutritional regime. It's about endless ways to push oneself. It's about finding what works through trial and error. It's about getting stronger and seeing the physical proof of that.
I'm now ordering The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger.