Friday, November 16, 2007

Two Great Fitness Resources for Women!

Although I'm sort of a journeyman in this industry, I like to think, as Robert De Niro says in THIS BOY'S LIFE, that I know 'a thing or two about a thing or two.' But there's one thing I'm not and never can be without a lot of surgery, hormones, and therapy, and that's a woman. I like to think that fitness is fitness is fitness, and what's good for the goose is good for the gander and all that, but the fact is that women do respond in subtly different ways, and have often have different needs and goals, than men.

So if you happen to be a woman interested in fitness, you should definitely check out the following resources:

1) Rachel Cosgrove's Blog. Like me, Rachel is a triathlete. Unlike me, she's an Ironman finisher. She has also coached numerous figure competitors to high finishes and, from her writing, appears to be in the know about all things fitness-related. I just discovered her blog today, and it's a breath of fresh air. It's also nice to have someone out there writing about training for endurance events who is equally well versed in the world of strength training and diet. Meaning she knows how to train for extreme events without getting injured. I've never met Rachel, but I'm told she coaches locally and I hope to saddle up on my bike with her group sometime in the near future. I fully expect her, and probably most of her charges, to leave me choking on their dust.

2) The New Rules of Lifting for Women, by Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Cassandra E. Forsythe. If it's anything like its predecessor, this book will hardly need my endorsement. Back in 2005, Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove (husband of Rachel, above) put out an unassuming-looking fitness book called The New Rules of Lifting, which has become, in my estimation, pretty much the gold standard for practical, up-to-date, and clearly-written advice on the fastest and most effective ways to lose fat, gain muscle, and increase strength. Chat rooms sprung up for people using its programs. Among fitness geeks, a mini-revolution was born, in which long-time lifters started accepting its very new, and rather controversial ideas, as the new gospel of How To Weight Train the Right Way. And frankly, I think it's deserved. Alongside Chad Waterbury's Muscle Revolution and Mike Boyle's Functional Training for Sports, it belongs in the library of absolutely anyone who's the slightest bit interested in fitness.

So I'm doing something I really should never do, and that's giving this book a blind endorsement, because I fully expect this book to be every bit as innovative, thorough and readable as its predecessor. I know both Cosgrove and Schuler the tiniest bit (the latter only via email, but that counts these days, right?), and they're absolutely the top of their field. If it's decreed by Schuler and Cosgrove, you can rest assured it Will Build Muscle and Burn Fat. I know less about their collaborator, Ms. Forsythe, but from all accounts, she, too, is the genuine article.

A word of warning here, the book isn't even OUT yet, and WON'T be before the holidays, meaning that you can't even purchase it as a gift for a friend. Then again, giving a "get in shape" book to a woman you love for Christmas is dicey territory, so maybe it would work better as a New Year's present to yourself to go along with your resolution to hit the gym hard this year.

Have a great weekend.

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