Book & Program Review: The New Rules of Lifting for Women


Summary from

“In The New Rules of Lifting for Women, authors Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe and Alwyn Cosgrove present a comprehensive strength, conditioning and nutrition plan destined to revolutionize the way women work out. All the latest studies prove that strength training, not aerobics, provides the key to losing fat and building a fit, strong body. This book refutes the misconception that women will “bulk up” if they lift heavy weights. Nonsense! It’s tough enough for men to pack on muscle, and they have much more of the hormone necessary to build muscle: natural testosterone. Muscles need to be strengthened to achieve a lean, healthy look. Properly conditioned muscles increase metabolism and promote weight loss — it’s that simple. The program demands that women put down the “Barbie” weights, step away from the treadmill and begin a strength and conditioning regime for the natural athlete in every woman. The New Rules of Lifting for Women will change the way women see fitness, nutrition and their own bodies”

Book Review:

If you are a woman who has either never set foot into the big-boys part of the gym aka the weight room, or even if you are a semi-experienced lifter who has been searching for a way to get out of a rut or even try and learn something new then this program is definitely for you! I began the program after working out on weight machines, free weights, cable towers, etc for months with no real progress – I’d heard of the book and the program but never took the initiative to try and do more “homework” I guess if you will into it.  Finally, earlier this year I picked-up the book and jumped right in, reading the book cover-to-cover.  It’s very well written and easy to follow and understand, Lou doesn’t talk down to the reader, nor does he outline the program in such a way that someone who does not have a basic fitness vocabulary can’t follow.  Allwyn then has designed an amazing workout program that gradually increases in difficulty while forcing you outside of your comfort zone. Cassandra also outlines how to calculate macros and get the right nutrition to match-up with the program.

A very well rounded book, 5 out of 5 stars for the book

Program Review:

I am one, yes ONE workout away from being done with this 7-phase program and I’ve had my share of frustrations with it:

  1.  The Obsession with PLANKS! If you are like me and have some sort of back-injury then you physically cannot do planks without putting your back out of commission for days on end- AND there’s no substitute for them outlined, just either A) Don’t do it and miss that aspect of the program or B) do this or that variation…um yeah.  I gave it my all, 120% to try and do the planks, when it came to a workout requiring 3-Sets of 2-Min planks (yes you read that right, 6 Full Mins of Planking), I tried, I did them, and then subsequently couldn’t walk for four days following without my back crying out…ugh…needless to say I didn’t do anymore after that, I subbed in Prone Jack-Knifes instead
  2. Push-ups – the number of push-ups we are asked to do is WOW! There’s use for it, I get that, and there’s a not of ways they can help, But geez!
  3. The lack of arm-specific work, there’s a TON (I mean literally the whole program is nothing but) of full-body work, but nothing that works biceps/triceps specifically – I guess those planks and push-ups are meant to hit those areas.

BUT on the flip-side I did see some advantages, I got stronger, leaner, and more physically defined as time went on.  I became more self-aware and more aware of what I was eating.  I found lifting became my main source of calm, if I felt my anxieties rising a trip to the gym and one of these workouts would bring me back down level again.  I say lifting is a blessing for my soul!

I am in the process of reading the most recent book released by these authors, Strong, and am finding more planks and/or variations on them and I am wondering if I’ve wasted $30 on a program I won’t be able to do…ugh

So all in all 3 out of 5 stars for the program, I’ve loved it, but the authors really need to find a way to do more than just Push-ups and Planks for arm/back/core work because HELLO not everyone can do these things!

Get your Copy of NROLFW

Barnes & Nobles


Connect with the Authors

Lou Schuler

Lou S


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Lou Schuler is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and author or coauthor of many popular books about diet and strength training. In addition to the New Rules of Lifting books with Alwyn, Lou wrote The Book of Muscle (with Ian King), The Home Workout Bible (with Mike Mejia and many other contributors), and The Testosterone Advantage Plan (with Jeff Volek, Mike Mejia, and Adam Campbell).

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Lou graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1979, and worked for a variety of newspapers and magazines before entering the graduate writing program at the University of Southern California. While there, he started working part-time as a copyeditor at Muscle & Fitness magazine, which soon grew into a full-time job at Men’s Fitness.

After six years at Men’s Fitness, the last three as fitness editor, he moved across the country to Men’s Health magazine, where he worked as fitness director until 2004. Since then he has written for a long list of magazines, including Men’s Journal, Fit Pregnancy, and Better Homes & Gardens. He also worked for a year as editorial director at

Lou lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife and three children.

Cassandra Forsythe

Cassandra F



Cassandra Forsythe PhD, RD, is the author of two popular nationally publicized books for women, “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”, and “Women’s Health Perfect Body Diet”.

She has also been featured in major magazines such as Oxygen, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Delta Sky Magazine.

Her passion lies in encouraging women and men of all shapes, sizes and life stages to exercise seriously and with purpose. Most recently, she has become an advocate for super fit pregnancies following her own ultra-fit gestation.

She holds her doctorate (PhD) in Exercise Science and Nutrition from the University of Connecticut and is a Registered Dietitian (RD). She’s also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). She’s well-known for her expertise in low-carbohydrate diets, nutrition for fat loss, and all aspects of female health.

She also runs her own group fitness facility in Connecticut, which has transformed the bodies of hundreds of women and men across the state.

Alwyn Cosgrove



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Born in Scotland and initially exposed to fitness training through an intense competitive sport martial arts background, Alwyn Cosgrove began reading and studying any training related material he could get his hands on. This led Alwyn to formal academic studies in Sports Performance at West Lothian College and then progressed on to receiving an honors degree in Sports Science from Chester College, the University of Liverpool.

During his career as a fitness coach, Alwyn began with assisting in martial arts lessons in 1986 and teaching fitness classes in 1989, and has studied under all of the top fitness professionals and coaches in the world and has worked with a wide variety of clientele, from general population clientele to several top level athletes, World Champions, and professionals in a multitude of sports.

A sought after expert for several of the country’s leading publications including a regular contributor to Men’s Health Magazine, Alwyn has co-authored five books in the “New Rules of Lifting” series and currently spends his time consulting on fitness training, training clients, training his staff at Results Fitness, speaking on the fitness lecture circuit, and coaching fitness trainers worldwide in their businesses. For the past 13 years, with his wife Rachel, Alwyn runs Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California – which has been twice named One of America’s Top Gyms by Men’s Health Magazine, a gym which specializes in programs for real-world, busy people and prides itself on “changing the way fitness is done – period!”


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