A couple months ago, I wrote a post about good resources for strength training programs. I listed out different books, websites, and blogs that provide good exercises, programs, and workouts. I also put out a call asking you all what some of your favorite resources were. Based on your comments, I learned that Rachel Cosgrove’s book, Female Body Breakthrough, seemed to be a popular resource. After researching her and her book a bit – and learning that she’s one of my favorite trainer’s wife – I purchased and read her book.
First thing’s first. To even get to the meat of the book, you have to get past Rachel’s girl-power, rah-rah-rah, I am woman- hear me roar, female means seksi tone. When I first opened the book, and read that the entire thing is surrounded upon the principle of being a BITCH (Be Inspiring Totally Confident and Hot!) I instantly assumed I had just wasted $20 of a BS book. Remember how I said there were two types of trainers? But I kept reading, and found that Rachel really does know what she’s talking about.
She breaks the book down into several parts. First, she tells her secrets.
These are basically her tips and advice to get the body you want, based on anecdotal and scientific evidence. I was surprised to find myself nodding and agreeing with most of them. Despite her flirty female demeanor, she has a no-nonsense approach to coaching her clients to get the body they want. She’s realistic with the fact that her clients (and readers) will have to work. Hard. They’ll be on a diet (not a lifestyle change! – ugh, more on that in another post.) And I agreed with almost all of it. She favors morning workouts, post-workout nutrition, 5-6 small meals a day, lower carb eating (for weight loss,) resistance training over cardio, and plenty of rest – everything I find works in training my clients, as well!
She then tells an anecdotal story of how all of her secrets worked for her – going into how when she was an endurance athlete to a figure competitor (her disordered eating phase,) back to when her program is primarily resistance training. Furthermore, she goes into scientific evidence that proves her secrets in the first chapter. I like me some studies and scientific evidence
Now that she’s told the reader all of her tips, and reasoning backing them up, she goes into what I call the before the first workout. She basically goes into the conversation of goals. When I talk with my clients, I do this before we start, really making my clients think about why they’re visiting me right now (and I’ve seen plenty of tears and real feelings come out in these sessions.) She does this, too, as much as she can, in her book.
One part of the book that surprised me, was her chapter on hormones.
In addition to discussing why weighing yourself can be difficult for a woman, she also formats her programs so that the reader will begin when it’s most appropriate with her cycle. I don’t go to this extent, but I do write my programs for females in 4-week increments, making sure we weigh and measure on the same week every month. How aggravating would it be to weigh in when you’re feeling bloated and gross, weighing heavier than you should have, when you’ve really lost more pounds in fat than the scale is saying?
Next, she goes into the diet, which she calls Fuel to Be Fabulous (ad nausea.)
Never less the eye roll-worthy title, her meal and diet tips are great. She discusses coffee, meal timing, meal frequency, meal content, metabolism, blood sugar, and macronutrients. Then, she talks about her meal plans, which she provides three levels of strict-ness.
Finally, we get to the good stuff – FITNESS!
Her programs are split into four 1-month phases which include full body resistance training workouts, HIIT workouts, foam rolling, and mobility. I’m not following her program, only because I’m following my own 3 day split lifting program right now. However, maybe in the future when I’m not sure what to do next, I’d give it a try! I’ve also used a couple of her exercises that were new-to-me in some of my clients workouts.
Have you read any fitness or health books that you enjoyed lately?