The Great Rachel Cosgrove Fitness Experiment II [Yep, she's back with a brand new rap! And I Don't Quite Know What to Think]

by Charlotte on April 25, 2013 · 57 comments

kettlebells

My girl Rachel Cosgrove – author of The Female Body Breakthrough which was one of my top 3 favorite Great Fitness Experiments ever – is back with her hotly anticipated follow-up book. And because she was kind enough to send me a review copy the Gym Buddies and I have been testing it out. We’ve been lifting. We’ve been sweating. We’ve been foam rolling. (Lie: I still don’t feel anything when I foam roll. I try it half-heartedly about every third workout.) And it’s been…

Okay, this is awkward.

I don’t know how else to say this other than I’m kind of disappointed. I didn’t want to be. I kinda feel like a traitor. I love Rachel, you guys. I adored her first book. It was life-changing for me. Between the FBB and The New Rules of Lifting For Women (her weight-lifting collaboration with her husband), I learned to love lifting heavy and embrace building muscle as a training goal as opposed to losing weight. She bucked the conventional wisdom and created new, challenging and creative workouts. Her new book? Well, I think this anecdote sums it up:

Every day for the past month I’ve been carrying her book to the gym with me, toting it around the weight floor and reading it while I stretch out. But I’ve been carrying it face down. I’m kind of embarrassed to be seen with it, frankly.

droptwosizes

The title of her new book is Drop Two Sizes. (Subtitle: A Proven Plan to Ditch the Scale, Get the Body You Want & Wear the Clothes You Love!) I spent so much time trying to teach myself to stop caring about the number on the tag of my jeans that doing a 3-month workout designed for just that feels like a step backward. To be honest, we all know that I do still care about my stupid jeans. Probably more than I should. But that’s why I needed Rachel in my corner again, telling me I’m strong and strong is beautiful! Her first book helped me “build a butt” to fill out my jeans – and I love my butt now! I want more butt! (Metaphorically speaking.)Plus she was the one who explained to me the problems with “chronic cardio” and that was a major revelation for this cardio queen!

Now, I’m not against losing weight or clothing sizes or looking hot as a motivator to workout. Heaven knows that’s definitely part of why I do what I do. I just kind of wish it wasn’t the main point of the book. And I really wish it wasn’t printed in two-inch letters on the front. In pink. If the men on the weight floor already didn’t take me seriously, they certainly won’t now. Also? It’s not Rachel on the cover. I loved having Rachel on the cover of the last book because she’s not the typical “fitness model” but she’s strong and gorgeous and real – and living proof that her method works. And they replaced real Rachel with a non-attainable, stock photo fitness model who, as Gym Buddy Krista pointed out, likely looked that way before she ever met Rachel. Plus, she’s doing that whole coy-cute jumping model move. She’s not even lifting or anything.

fbb

 

For comparison, here’s her first book. Show off those guns, girl!

But once you get past the cover things get better. She reminds you again that weight is not a good indicator of health or fitness. She gives you some great tips for handling the mental side of training and weight loss. There are a ton of before-and-after pictures with success stories from her clients. There’s also some diet advice and a meal plan that she outsourced to her food guy, registered dietitian Chris MohrI’m not doing the diet aspect of the book (I stopped doing food Experiments a couple of years ago after they brought on the crazy voices too much) but the recipes and plans are pretty much standard magazine fare. Very low calorie, low-fat and aligning well with conventional wisdom eat-a-handful-of-almonds-for-a-snack generic. I was a little surprised to see “1 c cooked oatmeal (1/2 c dry), 1/2 c berries” for one of the breakfast options. Where’s the protein? Where’s the fat? And how is 160 calories – or 250 if you cook it with a cup of milk – supposed to get you through to lunch much less through one of her workouts? I also added up the calories from one day of meals and it just topped 1000 calories which seems like way too little food to me, especially if you want to build muscle. But I’m not a dietitian so take that as just my personal opinion.

Drop Two Sizes is also nicely organized in that she lists everything by day. It’s a 12-week program divided into three phases. You workout 4-6 times per week, alternating between two weight workouts and two metabolic circuits made up of body weight exercises. Each day is listed as its own page in the book with the day’s menu, the workout and a motivational activity so you’ve got it all in one place. She has lots of handy calendars and charts with which to track your progress.

The workouts however are Rachel’s forte and where she really shines in both books. The Gym Buddies and I have been sore after almost every workout and have enjoyed returning to her singular dynamic warm-up. We love the short-but-hard weight lifting workouts. You’ll recognize a lot of the moves from her first book and also from her column in Women’s Health (in the May issue she even gives you one of the two phase I workouts straight from the book to try out). Do note however that unlike her first book, this book’s weight routines require a bit more equipment: you’ll need access to a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, cable machine and a TRX (or creative substitutions). For me these workouts are the main draw of the book. If you loved the workouts from her first book (or from NROLFW or her kick-butt Spartacus series) then this will provide some serialized moves to add to your repertoire. And of course she’s got great illustrations of how to do each move.

My one small quibble with this book’s weight workouts is that she seems to have lost her zeal for getting women to lift heavy. I realize that “heavy” is relative depending on your fitness level but I’m not sure anyone is served by being advised to “pick a kettlebell about as much as your purse weighs.” Unless you’re hauling a 30-pound backpack around. And then mad props to you. For the record my purse weighs 3 pounds, 7 ounces. Yes I weighed it. On my food scale. Because I’m awesome and I love tiny purses. I do not, however, love tiny kettlebells. Reader/blog-friend Rachael, who has also read it, summed it up pretty well in an e-mail, saying, “I know *I* will not be selecting a kettlebell based on the weight of my purse. Can’t she compare it to a gallon of milk or something? A rotisserie chicken? A HAMMER? ” Girl, I love you so hard. Henceforth I’m totally selecting all my weights based on their comparison to cooked animals or blunt objects.

Conclusion

If this book had come from anyone else I would have read it and thought it was fine. Not earth shattering, the dietary advice a little iffy, but I got some good workout moves out of it and the pictures are great. But because it came from Rachel, I think I felt a bit betrayed. And so perhaps this review isn’t quite fair. Maybe no sequel could have lived up to my expectations. Maybe I idealized her first book too much. Maybe I’ve had too many pretend conversations with her in my head and now I think we’re friends or something. (I’m weird. But you should hear my convos with Shawn T! We should do stand-up comedy together, we’re that good.) And it must be pointed out that the Gym Buddies and I have only done the workouts from phases I and II so perhaps my opinion will change once we’ve completed the whole 12 weeks. But I felt like I had to write something now because I was such a champion of her first book and so I’ve had a TON of readers/friends/random people ask me about this book. So here it is.

I’m not trying to be an ingrate but I can’t be anything but totally honest with you guys: I don’t love it. The Gym Buddies definitely don’t love it. And this makes me sad.

Have any of you got a chance to check out Drop Two Sizes yet? What do you think – am I being too hard on her? Am I the only one who is kind of bugged by that cover? How do you choose your kettlebells?? Have you ever read a book that you had to carry face down or cover it with a brown bag or something?

P.S. The links to the amazon page for this book are NOT affiliate. I can’t really recommend it at this point and I don’t want you guys to think I’m trying to sell you on something I don’t love.

 

 

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

varsha tiwary April 25, 2013 at 12:38 am

oooh thats too bad : i love her FBB too much .She is the mistress of metabolic training .I guess the commercial compulsion of broadening the base of readers/clients may have something to do with the purse KBs .
But low fat foods ? That seems like a big mistake .
Thanks for being honest. And nicely not rudely honest .

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Sarah April 25, 2013 at 1:45 am

Charlotte, thank you so much for this honest review. It really felt genuine, and it sounds to me like even though it wouldn’t be my thing, it could be good baby step for some women into the weight room. The dietary section makes me sad though. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought books like that an not followed the dietary guidelines because they are so low calorie, and then when I didn’t look like one of the “success stories” I blamed myself for eating too much! Which is silly, I know, considering that I eat very healthy, but I do suspect I’m not alone in that!

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Sigi April 25, 2013 at 3:41 am

Wow. Having owned and appreciated the first book, like you Charlotte, I’m pretty disappointed. You’re being FAR from too hard on her, you dear, kind-hearted thing.

I just want to say – hate, hate, HATE that cover! WTH? If I saw that on a bookstore shelf I wouldn’t dream of picking it up. I can’t take it seriously, it sends completely the wrong message to those who I would think are her readership. And perhaps that’s the problem – her marketing team is trying to expand the readership well beyond those who know Rachel’s reputation. Trouble is, she risks alienating her core following as a consequence.

And by the way, my everyday “purse” (ack, I don’t like that word) weighs less than one kilo (2.2 lb). You can’t even get kettlebells that size. Seriously. What a ridiculous suggestion.

I’m afraid Ms Cosgrove won’t be selling me a book this time around…

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Sigi April 25, 2013 at 3:44 am

Oh, and don’t get me started on the dietary suggestions. 1000 a day for a woman in training? Not on.

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Cheap Bunk Beds October 16, 2013 at 7:26 am

I really like Rachel Cosgrove but both books kind of screamed “sell-out” to me. The tone of the first book was incredibly obnoxious (sort of patronizing) and the second book is ridiculous for obvious reasons.

NROLFW is still my favorite fitness book for women. It has great workouts, a sensible diet plan, and more of an emphasis on being strong than being super skinny.

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Caitlin April 25, 2013 at 5:04 am

I had some really mixed feelings about TFBB – hated the diet section*, hated the tone and the way everything was framed, yet I loooved the workouts so much – but I have to say, I have zero desire to pick this up. Like you I would be embarrassed to carry around this book, and that’s without even opening it up and seeing what’s inside.

*I have never been prone to disordered eating but following the diet plan really made me see how easy it could be to slip into that way of thinking and how it can control your entire life in some really negative ways.

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tracy April 25, 2013 at 5:38 am

Wow – I’ve been flirting with trying her first book for awhile now, but haven’t had the courage (now I will be getting it based on your comments and those above pushing me over the edge LOL). But, no, no no would I ever pick up the new book from the store nor would I carry it anywhere in public. My husband and son would be mortified to even have it in the house!! Such a shame – such an opportunity to really lift us up past the Hollywood Hills. Perhaps she was pressured by her publishing company and was forced into a corner? If so – speak up Miss Rachel!! Would so love it if she would respond to your review. Thank you for your very kind but honest review. Showing class and grace as usual!

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Cyndie April 25, 2013 at 5:42 am

Thanks for your honest review of the book! I wonder why so many fitness books/programs are still pushing the low fat, low cal agenda for active women? I would love to see a post on your thoughts about that. I feel like low-fat, low-cal has been pretty much killed by science but it won’t go away. Why?

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Janet April 25, 2013 at 6:01 am

Wow, I’m the opposite of Caitlin. I followed the FBB’s diet but did NROLW’s workouts because my knee hurt from the first FBB workout. Also way too embarrassed by the cover of the book to buy it, and afraid that the fitness model on the cover would make me feel inferior because I would never look like that.

On a hammer workout: I have a new fitness experiment idea for you. Shovelglove, by the same guy who created the No-S diet (“No Snacks, No Seconds, No Sweets, Except sometimes on Days that Start with S”.) http://www.shovelglove.com/

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Caitlin April 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

Ha, isn’t it funny how two people can have diametrically opposed reactions to the same thing? I’m actually getting ready to pick up NROLW as my next lifting plan, so I’m glad to hear yet another positive review for that book.

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Best Adjustable Dumbbells August 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Hey Charlotte, Good review on these books :) Will have to read them now

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Naomi/Dragonmamma April 25, 2013 at 6:33 am

I had the same reaction when I saw the cover: “That’s a Rachel Cosgrove book?!” The girl wussed out. She really needed to come here to ask our opinion before sending that thing to press. Have I ever mentioned that I constantly walk around with a copy of Cosgrove’s article “The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin” to hand out to people at the gym who ask me for advice? The girl knows her stuff; too bad she felt it necessary to offer a watered down/wussified version of The Truth.

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Happier Heather April 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for the article recommendation. I just popped over to read it and it’s just what I wanted to hear! I need all the backup I can when it comes to explaining why I’m not doing any more half marathons!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig April 25, 2013 at 7:03 am

Thanks for being so honest and genuine, Charlotte! I didn’t know Rachel had come out with another book, and I’m very disappointed – her last book sent such a positive message to women, but this one sounds like it’s promoting all the wrong messages (undereating, lifting barbie weights, focusing purely on aesthetics). Even without having read the book, I agree with all the points you made. I will not be reading this book or recommending it to clients.

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Kim April 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

I didn’t read her first book and now I won’t read this one. Even with it not being your favorite – your review is in no way offensive. We can’t like everything!!
Thanks for sharing!!
(and I’m pretty sure my purse weighs closer to 7 pounds – not sure!!)

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Miz April 25, 2013 at 7:47 am

I SO SO DONT DONT THINK YOURE BEING TOO HARD ON HER AT ALL.
and that first ecard?
I want that as wallpaper.
for my girl’s room.

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Jennifer April 25, 2013 at 7:51 am

Thank you so much for posting this!
I’m part of an online Facebook group for her hubby’s book, New Rules of Lifting for Women and this release brought up a nice conversation on our board.. like what the heck happened..
We are fortunate(?) to have Alwyn chime into the group once in awhile and he said basically the title was all marketing but it’s the content that we should focus on. He defended, her, as he should as her husband, but it’s just amusing to see him pushing for ladies to lift heavy and more about empowerment, rather than belittling women. I guess women will buy it though because that’s what they are brainwashed to believe that they are supposed to be doing.
All of us in the group LOVE lifting heavy, and LOVE that the NROLFW book was empowering and uplifting and teaching women to pick up something heavy. This seems like a huge back pedal for lifting ladies.

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Tamara April 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

That’s really neat that Alwyn posts in your group sometimes, Jennifer. They seem like good folks. I really don’t get the super-low-cal eating plan, though, for someone exercising 4-6x a week.

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Bethany April 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

I really like Rachel Cosgrove but both books kind of screamed “sell-out” to me. The tone of the first book was incredibly obnoxious (sort of patronizing) and the second book is ridiculous for obvious reasons.

NROLFW is still my favorite fitness book for women. It has great workouts, a sensible diet plan, and more of an emphasis on being strong than being super skinny.

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Jenny C. April 25, 2013 at 8:53 am

Well, I haven’t read either book, nor do I lift heavy weights often, but I can sort of see how this book might be a good stepping stone for people who are not ready for normal or heavy lifting… especially since my purse usually weighs 10-15 pounds (I carry a lot of books around).

Also, the only books I’ve ever felt the need to hide while reading were the Twilight books. I took off the book jackets and always faced the spines away from people because I was embarrassed to be reading them… with good cause.

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Kim April 25, 2013 at 9:01 am

This book seems like it’s marketed to the magazine audience more than me IMO. I bought FBB after your glowing review and LOVED the workouts. Seems like this is for people that maybe are intimidated by that book? I think that there is a market for those women and I’m not hating on Rachel for going after that market. I don’t think it’s ridiculous and if this makes someone get up and do something who wasn’t working out, then I think it’s a great book.

I think sometimes there is an attitude that you have to lift heavy, do HIIT, pay attention to macros, carry around a ratty old fitness journal at the gym to be doing it right. For some people, that is overwhelming and they aren’t ready for all that. I feel like you learn along the way and if someone does this 12 week program just starting out maybe then they will move to FBB or NROLW after they get some confidence and are ready to learn more. Sure compared to those it might be watered down, but for someone who doesn’t know anything – it sounds like a book that isn’t intimidating and would get them to maybe start the path of learning some of these fitness concepts that quite frankly are not yet mainstream.

It sounds like the workouts are good and the book isn’t bad, it’s just not like her other books. And I guess I’m confused why that’s such a bad thing if it gets people up, moving, getting healthy and learning about fitness.

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Abby April 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

1000 calories??? Seriously? Gross. That would be a reason right there for me to not buy this book. I would feel bad for eating so much more. And that’s basically a starvation diet if you’re doing any sort of workout more strenuous than sitting on the couch. I can’t imagine it helps you lose weight to completely kill your metabolism. I think this dietitian is insane.

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Kara April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

Yep. Done with starvation diets. I would rather see 2 extra pounds on the scale then be a bitch all day long because I am working out like a badass then eating only 1000 calories. Over it.

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Dayna April 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

I couldn’t get through the first book, I guess she didn’t speak to me. But I do have a solution for that awful cover. Get a brown paper grocery bag (or some extra gift wrap or whatever you like) and make a cover for the book so you don’t have to look at it. It might have an effect on how you think about the book. Shawn T! I can understand why you have conversations with him, he rocks! Just started Insanity workout, this week, can’t wait to get home tonight and today’s workout.

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Katie April 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

Thanks for the review Charlotte! Honestly, I don’t think you’re being too hard on her at all. I think it seems like a step back from her other two books (both of which I own and LOVE) and more targeted to the Women’s Health (a magazine I subscribe to, in the interest of full disclosure) crowd. It’s too bad this one didn’t come out first, and then the others. I wonder if you would have liked it more? Too much build up to take a step back.

The cover sucks big time.

Coincidentally, I just wrote and posted a book review today too – on Fat Chance by Robert Lustig. I’d love to hear what you think if you have a chance to read it . He argues that exercise is all well and good, but food is where the real change needs to happen (in terms of weight management, that is). It kind of makes me look at these kinds of books in a different light. Like, does it really matter if I’m lifting 30 pounds versus 20?

Food for thought. (Pun intended and lame, I know.)

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Rebecca April 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

Sounds like a publisher and marketing push to me.

But seriously, that is hella disappointing.

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Laura is Undeterrable April 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

Truthfully, I’m not going to check out the book based on the cover alone. I am so sick and tired of the stupid marketing ploys. Even if the information was great, it is so insulting that its assumed I’ll only check it out if I’m told I can drop 2 dress sizes.

I’m dealing with a similar situation right now with my CrossFit Box – every month there is a new weight loss challenge. Yes, weight loss challenges have a place in fitness, and there are definitely people who will join based on that, but NOT ALL OF US WANT OR NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT. Give us a freaking performance challenge as well! I joined CrossFit because I wanted to be a better athlete, not because I want a bikini body (whatever the eff that means – I have a pelvis and a chest upon which to place a bikini). So… I’m moving on to greener pastures.

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Alyssa (azusmom) April 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Oh, I’m SO happy you posted this! (I’m doing a happy-wiggle-butt dance in my chair. No, really!)
I, too, have been doing these workouts. I really enjoy them, but I have So MANY issues with the way they’re presented! First of all, did you know she created the “Spartacus” workout, which has been THE most popular workout ever published in “Men’s Health” magazine? But when it came time to film the DVDs, they got a male trainer to lead the workouts. Because, apparently, the belief is that men won’t buy workouts led by women. They DO let her lead the DVD version of this new workout, but, as you say, it’s geared toward women, and we’re only concerned about how we look in our bikinis, right?
What’s REALLY ironic is that on both DVD programs, the women kick serious patootie. One of the women in “D2S” lifts 30+ pound weights, while on “Spartacus” it’s a woman doing the advanced versions of the exercises.
Rachel Cosgrove was voted America’s Top Trainer last year. Why do marketing execs think she has to change her style? I REALLY don’t get it.
I do the workouts for a number of reasons: I want to be strong. I’m in my 40′s and I need to think about things like bone density. I’d like to be able to go to yoga and do 40 Chaturangas without having to rest.
I NEED to be able to wrangle my autistic kids, who are getting big and can no longer simply be lifted up if they stop walking in the middle of a crosswalk.
It’s not just about looking good in my jeans. It’s about living my life.

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Mandy April 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I like FBB but had an issue with all the emphasis on being a “hot female” and how you should wear skimpy clothes to the gym. Too much emphasis on appearance. Which I’m sure was due to marketing pressures, but it felt patronizing as mentioned above and it also is the kind of thing I am trying to stay away from. Doing my best to focus on health and wellbeing instead of being “hot.” So it sounds like the new book is definitely not for me. Oh, and I don’t do starvation either.

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Jill April 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I’m also a bit confused about the diet part. I just went to Rachel’s website and read an excerpt from the book where she really puts down starvation, low-calorie diets. So I’m assuming not every day is around 1000 calories, but I haven’t read the book. I probably won’t after this review. I found New Rules of Lifting for Abs after reading your review of FBB. I couldn’t find a copy at the library (I’m cheap) so I checked out NROLA which I saw was by Rachel’s husband. It changed the way I exercise and was a great introduction. Then I forked over the money to buy FBB and also loved it. Now I’m to the point where I kind of mix the programs up but keep the same basic idea. I tell people all the time that if they really want to change their body they should lift heavy weights, not do so much cardio. They probably don’t believe me because I am a runner. I love running and do not do it to lose weight, but sometimes that is so hard for people to get. So I wasn’t willing to follow the FBB’s programs all the way (I wasn’t willing to cut out my running) but instead incorporated the lifting and it still made a huge difference.

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Robin April 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I’ve been thinking about the unrelenting push for weight loss a lot lately as in my quest to find “healthy living” blogs/websites it is REALLY hard to find some that aren’t focused on, or feature heavily, dropping pounds. And for those of us who want to step out of that cycle, the message is frustrating.

Thanks for speaking your mind about the book and this issue, Charlotte.

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TITLE Boxing Club Prairie Village April 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I like the honesty in this blog. I agree with your point that you don’t agree with how the main point is book. I don’t like focusing on measurements and numbers. The focus should be how you feel.

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Jody - Fit at 55 April 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Thx for the very honest review Charlotte – I appreciate that! We need to have more of that & not just I like it because I got it free or whatever the case may be…

On a side note, kinda disappointed in Bob Harper for this lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks book.. yes, it is healthy food BUT 800 calories ad ay & he promotes it as a brides getting ready for the wedding ting BUT they could have started earlier.. just kinda disappointed…

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Alyssa (azusmom) April 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Wow, really?! I have to admit I’m very surprised he would advocate something so unhealthy, even for the short term. Wasn’t he one of the folks who spoke out against crash diets/too-rapid weight loss a few years ago?

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Jody - Fit at 55 April 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Alysaa, yes. He said on Dr. Oz when questioned that he did not want brides to do crazy things to get their dresses. Granted, the food is all healthy & he has exercise too but 20 pounds in 3 weeks or he say up to 20 pounds in 3 weeks… just not liking it!

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Alyssa (azusmom) April 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Wow. Sad.

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Sabrina April 25, 2013 at 11:49 pm

So I AM a dietitian and I agree with you 100% that sounds like no where near enough calories even for someone sedentary. Unless maybe they were 4’5?

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Bek @ Crave April 26, 2013 at 6:50 am

Her first book sounds awesome- I want to read it! It seems like she’s caved into her editors or publishers and gone with a book that will sell rather than something that’s truly her :S

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Emma April 26, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’m not sure if I’m more disappointed in the book cover or the news that it includes conventional low fat diet advice. Not that I paid much attention to the diet section in her last book admittedly, it felt a bit tacked on. I’ve been following her FBB workout on and off for a couple years now and would love some new moves to add to the repertoire but not so sure now.

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Tamara April 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

I flipped through it at the bookstore and thought the workouts themselves looked good, but I don’t have the equipment so I passed. I agree with a lot of your quibbles about it, to be honest, Charlotte.

Also: I would totally pay to see you and Shaun T’s standup routine. I’m laughing right now just from the way you described it! xoxo

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shibumicreative.com April 28, 2013 at 8:40 am

Loved it. My thanks for doing such a good job. I’ll definitely return back to find out more and tell my neighbors about your website.

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Alison Grant April 29, 2013 at 1:34 am

Hi Charlotte, nice to see a fitness experiment/review again, though it’s sad this one wasn’t all you hoped. The kettlebell-as-heavy-as-your-purse thing is very uncool in my opinion! Having been lifting 8kg kettlebells, minimum, that would be… actually useless.

Just wanted to point something out though – The New Rules of Lifting for Women isn’t Rachel Cosgrove’s book!! It’s Cassandra Forsythe, Lou Schuler, and Alwyn Cosgrove. I’m sitting looking at it, and I can’t see any connection with Rachel Cosgrove, other than Alwyn! Credit where credit’s due, and all that.

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EmmaS April 29, 2013 at 1:51 am

Thanks! I have been considering it for the summer, but I was also put off by the diet! I do not want to do diets anymore. I am off diets.
And I completely agree about the title: it is so STUPID!

Further, I am also a little bit put off by the fact that she wants to own me. I prefer a more flexible approach, where I am encouraged to do my yoga, my pilates, even my spinning, the days I am off the program. She is too totalitarian, for my taste.

And I also want to lift heavy!

Now, I am instead considering:

Female Body Breakthrough (since I only did one month last time)
Strong Curves by Bret Contreras (have you tried it?)
or
New Rules of Lifting for Life (since I am approaching 50)

Any suggestion? I feel like three months of heavy lifting, but not strict dieting.

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JusSa May 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Yes to Strong curves! The book is excellent, you will definitely not regret it. In my opinion is a must have for every woman (or man) interested in lifting and looking good as a bonus. Bret Contreras is a go to guy who always delivers solid high quality content.

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Gaye April 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Great review. Thanks. I couldn’t buy that book because the photo is a real turn off to me. It looks so 1970′s, or maybe like a teen magazine cover. Not my thing. And 1,000 calories a day? If that’s all I was getting to eat I would lose 2 sizes because I’d be on the run as my friends and family chased me out of town because I’d turned in to such a B. Hunger makes me way cranky.
Gaye

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Satu May 7, 2013 at 2:48 am

Me and my body loves FBB ! :-) I bought the new book when it was published and have been leafing through it (on my Kindle). I think of the new book as a prequel to FBB, meant for women who are too weak to do the stuff in FBB (I had to tweak the FBB exercises A LOT simply because I was unable to do many of the exercises when started doing the program… (and still am).

Have you heard of Bret Contreras’ Strong Curves?

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Nicky May 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Excellent review there

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nell June 9, 2013 at 2:55 am

Thanks for this review. It does sound like marketing, and 1000 calories is horrific.

If it can be done at home with dumbbells, how heavy are the ‘heavy’ workouts? What rep ranges is she suggesting? Because for people who do strength training, this sounds suspiciously like just a lot of cardio..

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karen P June 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Hi everyone,
Interested in reading your comments, I have just finished week 3 of Drop two sizes, if you join the facebook group you can see my photos of the changes coming along nicely.
I am not a total beginner to lifting weights, however my diet has been all over the place. Drop 2 sizes gives you an eating plan for 12 weeks, You can tweak the menu if you have allergies etc. I lift heavy she tells you to left to what you can so if you have never lifted and dont know what weights to lift the idea of weighing your shopping bag is a good starting point as many of us ladies are actually stronger than we think.
Rachel gives you a work out 3 times a week with weights and then at the weekend you have a short cardio of between 15 and 20 mins max. As you get stronger you do two metabolic workouts a week and a hilt of 20mins leaving a total rest day of one day.
I have recommended this book to all my friends and people who want to lose fat and tone up. The pictures are brilliant and the facebook group are very supportive plus Rachel and Alwyn come on board and speak on different issues which really makes you feel they are there with you.
Diet you eat every 3 hours, 5 meals aday and drink 3 litres a day of water and I have never felt hunger and dont crave food either.
As for the front cover doesnt bother me I go to the gym for a work out and so far I have had other ladies take a look at it and order their own. If its that offensive then cover it!!

Ladies this plan works it does as the front cover says, what more do you want?

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Catherine August 26, 2013 at 10:47 am

I’m slightly more in Karen P’s camp, as well. I don’t have previous experience with Rachel Cosgrove, but I picked up the book (via iBooks, so I can reference on my phone– no embarassing cover!) to help get fit for my wedding. Rachel’s contribution workouts in WH attracted me to the approach. (My main concern is toned arms, not lower weight… though that wouldn’t be an unwelcome side effect.)

I find the exercises easy to follow — I’m not new to lifting weights but it’s been awhile. Sometimes I do it in the gym, other times at home. I don’t have TRX at home, but I’ve swaped other exercises to work out the same muscle groups if I’m away from the equipment.

I really wanted to comment on the diet critiques. I’ve been *mostly* following it, and though I’m no stranger to the kitchen and the capability to make my own meal plans, I’ve really been needing this structure to help guide me away from bad habits. Sometimes I bump up some of the portions, but I don’t find it to be particularly low fat. The “snacks” are fairly calorie dense in particular. Many of the meals feature half an avocado, nuts throughout, 2% fat dairy products. I put everything into a calorie tracker (not so much for calories’ sake but for my own accountability), and I usually end up around 1300 – 1400 calories and 55 – 60 grams of fat per day. The book also “allows” for 3 “splurges” per week– or the general guideline to follow it 90% of the time. Considering that the workouts are fairly brief, I haven’t found myself feeling like I’m in “training” mode needing more calories (and I’m normally a big eater!). And, now I pretty much tote a small cooler wherever I go with good eating options. I know you could get that from any meal plan, but I don’t think the plan is as restrictive or low cal as this post made it seem.

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Felicia Washington October 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I love something that doesn’t focus so much on weight as it does in being healthy. I used to eat nothing and lost 7-10 lbs after a week or so and I always felt like crud afterwards. I got a back injury last December and my physical therapist started me lifting weights and Yoga in May of this year and it changed my life. I have gained 8 lbs, but ended up losing 2 dress sizes. Don’t let weight fool you.

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David Nguyen January 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

I was very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this great read. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

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Jennifer Tara January 19, 2014 at 2:32 am

Hi Charlotte, I was reading the beginning and I think many will find understanding here. Excellent review on these books Now I will have to read them now

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Martin P. May 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I’ve read a few of Rachel Cosgrove’s earlier releases. She and Alwyn do really good work. But I’ve noticed over time, for good and bad, they’ve become more commercial.

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