January 18, 2010
Review: The Female Body Breakthrough
If New Rules of Lifting for Women made you a little wary with all its talk of muscles, if The Fat Loss Troubleshoot was too geeky, and/or if Red Carpet Ready didn’t include enough heavy weights, then I suggest you pick up Rachel Cosgrove’s The Female Body Breakthrough.
The book explores what it means to be a “fit female” and starts by renewing your mindset toward yourself and toward fitness & nutrition. There are chapters on why cardio won’t get you what you really want and on nutrition. There’s no calorie-counting here, but plenty of good clean eats. Rachel focuses more on how you look than on what the scale says about you, but also talks about how fat loss isn’t linear and how your body is trying to adapt. There’s information on R, R, & R: rest, relaxation, and regeneration. Rachel intersperses stories throughout the book of women she has trained, as well as her own story.
FBB combines the heavy lifting of NROLFW (and the leg matrix! It’s back! And it has a friend!!), the evilly insidious bodyweight postural exercises of RCR, and the nitty-gritty nutrition advice of FLTS. A good third of the book is devoted to the exercises, from warmup through main sets to finishers and metabolic groups. There are 4 four-week phases to both the nutrition and the workouts, and they’re even designed to work around your menstrual cycle. (There’s even a chapter all about that, too.)
There’s a lot of information in this book, and even more sidebars to make sure that everything gets included. I think this book would be great for any woman who still thinks the treadmill will get her the look she really wants but who would freak out with constant references to “building muscle.” (There’s plenty of that, too, but also a generous number of “how to lose fat” messages, which is what NROLFW seemed to lack. Losing fat seemed to be an afterthought in NROLFW, while in FBB, it’s front-and-center.) Everyone needs to hear the message in a slightly different way. FBB takes some of the best parts of NROLFW, RCR, and FLTS and combines them in one book.
(If I had to nitpick about something, I’d say that the paperbook format makes it hard to keep open while following the exercises [and I can't bring myself to crack spines on purpose]. Also, there are lots of tables & charts for each nutrition and workout stage — which is very helpful — but they aren’t integrated anywhere; an appendix with these tables combined would have been useful. Finally, I’m not a fan of the B.I.T.C.H. philosophy, and the constant use of the word/phrase irritated me, but perhaps it works well for other women.)
- Krista’s review. (Also, Krista has up a new interview with NROLFW with Cassandra Forsythe about women and lifting, and they bring up FBB.)
- Skwigg’s review.