Book Review: The New Rules of Lifting for Life

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The New Rules of Lifting for LifeThe New Rules of Lifting for Life

Author: Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
Publisher: Penguin Group
Book Publication: 2012

The importance of strength training – especially as we age – is clearly indicated with studies revealing that strong muscles move oxygen and other nutrients from the blood more efficiently, help to keep blood sugar levels in check, enhance weight control, and combined with other wise lifestyle choices can reduce cellular aging and add years to an individual’s life expectancy. With outcomes like these, it would seem smart indeed to adopt a regular “lifting” routine.

The latest in the “New Rules for Lifting” series from the team of Lou Schuler, award-winning journalist and author of many fitness books, and Alwyn Cosgrove, veteran trainer and strength coach, The New Rules of Lifting for Life offers a program that just might help us avoid getting “fat and broken down” as we age.

Schuler explains that The New Rules of Lifting for Life is “a training program for men and women who want something they don’t yet have – less fat, bigger muscles, more strength, more energy, more confidence – and are willing to work hard to achieve it.”

The book’s main message is evident with Rule #1 – “The older you are, the more important it is to train.” Here, training refers to a workout system that forces your body to make changes that will produce better performance, not just now, but in the future. Schuler is emphatic, “all the good stuff comes from… forcing your body to do more today than it could last week.” The goal is to start this program with weights and exercises that challenge you, and then increase them as often as you can.

Referring to many recent studies, Schuler and Cosgrove discuss what aging is and what can be done about it. They debunk common myths surrounding popular exercise approaches and diets, and explain why strength training and weight management, so much more difficult as we age, are uniquely individual experiences. This is why they included more exercise choices, information, and advice in The New Rules of Lifting for Life than the previous installments. The reader is given access to an amazingly large and varied number of exercises and progressions to achieve training goals, which helps address one of the biggest obstacles for people trying to improve fitness levels – boredom and lack of progress.

Cosgrove’s customizable “Chinese Menu workout system” (you pick something from every column) includes range of motion and movement preparation, core, power, strength (includes the following categories: squat, hinge, lunge, single-leg stance, push, pull, and combinations involving two movement patterns), and metabolic training, as well as a recovery regimen. There are three phases: Transform, Develop, and Maximize and each phase has two total-body workouts. The idea is to alternate between these workouts until you finish the phase (two to three workouts a week for four to six weeks).

It should be noted that these workouts require either a gym membership, or being well set up at home. Chapter five provides a detailed description of all the equipment you will need.

As expected of a fitness book, The New Rules of Lifting for Life is very informative, but it is also unexpectedly entertaining. Schuler is a talented writer – smart, witty, and forthright. His description of struggles with aging, injuries, and ego makes him totally relatable, and chapter titles like ‘Flabby Road’ and ‘Middle Rage’ will surely make you laugh and want to continue reading to see what’s in store.

The New Rules of Lifting for Life is a well thought-out, comprehensive program, but be forewarned it requires you to think, plan, and work hard to achieve results (becoming in essence your own personal trainer). Schuler and Cosgrove have provided a brilliant plan that will help you do just that.

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