It is impossible to hate a unicorn bicycle. I dare you to try.
Health blogging rule #1: The fastest way to tick people off is to stomp on their favorite diet or workout. I have learned this the hard way (I’m still getting irate e-mails over what I wrote about the Every Other Day Diet 3 years ago) so I am going to tread lightly here. I wanted this to be one of my favorite workouts too – it’s heavy lifting! It’s hardcore! Women are strong!! – but the truth is I didn’t love it. I only had one problem with this workout but unfortunately it was a big one.
But first, the good things! There is a lot to love about New Rules of Lifting for Women.
But wait – two stages left! And these were supposed to be the killer ones! These had to be good, right? I hate to be the one to disillusion you but stage 6 is the same moves from stages 2 and 4 but with a few left out. Stage 7 does have different workouts – supposedly it has six that you go through twice – but in reality it’s the same moves just mixed up in different orders each time. So yes, I paid full price for a book that gave me exactly 3 unique workouts with a total of 30-ish different weightlifting moves. And with things like push-ups and lunges, they’re not particularly novel moves either. I could have paid $4.95 for an issue of Men’s Health and got twice that.
You’re supposed to do each workout 4 times (with the reps varying each time) so that you would do a total of 8 workouts in each stage. We did 3 workouts per week (the book recommends doing 2-3 lifting workouts per week on non-consecutive days which is what we did). Because I only wanted to spend 2 months on this Experiment, we only did each workout twice. I know this is getting confusing but my point is that we only repeated each workout half as often as we were supposed to and we were bored out of our minds. I can’t imagine how anyone does it for the full recommended number because that would mean you’re doing 4 – 6 months of the exact same moves over and over again.
I’ve done other workouts before with very little variety but I guess this time feels different. I feel a little ripped off because Alwyn Cosgrove – the man who wrote the workout section – is legendary. He’s a brilliant trainer. And I’m supposed to believe that he could only come up with three workouts to last 4-6 months? Seeing as I’ll likely never get to train with him, I was excited about the prospect of at least getting to train like people who train with him. But I don’t think I did.
All of which is not to say that you shouldn’t or wouldn’t enjoy this program. There are advantages to variety (less risk of repetitive use injuries, muscle confusion, less plateauing) but the are also pluses to consistency. Some people thrive on routine and especially if you are new to lifting, some predictability is nice. I know that not everyone likes trying out new moves every week. So while this lack of variety was a negative in my book it might be a positive in yours!
True, I didn’t love this. But I also didn’t hate it. Because for as repetitive and boring as it was, it was effective. The workouts were tough and all of us felt like we got stronger. Gym Buddies Krista and Allison were doing one-arm snatches with 55-lb dumbbells. (I only got to 45 pounds, alas.) All of us deadlifted more than we ever have. We surprised ourselves with how much stronger our chest press is. Krista says, “I enjoyed the gradual increase in weight and decrease in reps. I felt like we were able to really push ourselves knowing that it was only 4 reps. I did not, however, like the monotony of the same moves over and over, week after week. ”
As far as body composition goes I don’t think much changed. I took my measurements to start the T-Tapp workout and everything was the same as three months ago with the exception that my thighs are about 1/4 inch bigger. User error or NRoLFW? Either way, meh. In other news, T-Tapp is going hilariously well! It is both funnier and more challenging than I had an anticipated!
So what kind of lifter are you – do you enjoy focusing on perfecting a few choice lifts and thrive on the routine or are you like me and crave variety? Have you ever hated a diet or workout that everyone else has loved?
* Note: Other than condensing the time frame we did not change any aspect of this program and followed his instructions to the letter.