New Rules of Lifting for Women

One thing I have yet to talk about is what I do to keep active. I have mentioned that I signed up for the New York Marathon and my running journey but I have yet to mention my weekly workouts.

Currently, I am actually working on a weight lifting routine from the book, The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I am 2 workouts away from completing the first stage of this program, I will be posting my progress &  review of the program at the end of every stage.


A lot of women are afraid of weight lifting, especially heavy weights because they don’t want to look bulky. The introduction of this book talks a lot about why that won’t occur and the importance of building muscle.



The book also talks a lot about nutrition. The authors are big proponents of the concept of eat more to lose weight. Essentially, many people (particularly women) cut calories to lose weight, sometimes as low as 1200 or less. The authors describe  how when you cut calories too low you lose muscle mass, which slows down your metabolic rate.  If you eat enough calories and build muscle, your metabolic rate will increase which will help in losing weight. I definitely agree with the book in this regard.

So how much calories do you need?

The book uses a calculation of Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) multiplied by an activity factor. RMR is a measure of the calories you burn at rest. There are many equations available that calculate this value, the book uses the Owen equation.

RMR= 795+ (7.18 x weight in kg)

*Note this equation is for women only

Based on your age and BMI you multiply your RMR by an activity factor, both for workout and non-workout days. Based on the book’s recommendations, my activity factor for non workout day is 1.6 and workout days is 1.8. Based on these equations I should eat 1900 calories on non-workout days and 2135 calories on workout days.

Calculations like this are always just a guideline. Every person is different but they give you a place to start. For myself, I know that 1900 calories on a non-workout day is too high. I tend to eat closer to 1500. At that level, I consistently maintain my weight. On exercise days I eat closer to 2000 a day.

Not every person needs to count calories and be specific about these number but it’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of what you should consume. Particularly, if you have been under consuming.

The book also comes with a meal plan but I basically skipped over those pages. I am not interested in following any particular meal plan, I like to eat what I want when I want. Although it does have some great high protein recipes.


Then comes the workouts. The book is set out into 7 different stages, each one comprising of two workouts, A & B (except #7). When first reading through the book the workouts seem very confusing between alternating workouts, adding in interval training, number of times to complete the workout,etc. So I created  a spreadsheet to sort it all out for me.

Basically, for Stage 1, you alternate between workout A & B. You subsequently increase your sets and decrease your reps. The idea in each stage is that as you decrease the number of reps you will be able to increase the weight that you are lifting.

The book is very specific on the number of times a week to weight lift. They state “Three is best. Two will work. One is too few, and any more than three is too much”. So I try to aim for three weight lifting days a week, however there are some weeks where timelines don’t work out and I only get to two workouts. They recommend a rest day between weight lifting days. Now for me, I don’t actually take a full rest day on each of those days and only work out 3 times a week. Instead, I complete other exercises, usually running or yoga. So in a typical week I work out between 4-6 days a week. Why the difference? Because, I’m human and sometimes I don’t feel like working out.


Completing all 6 stages, if you do 3 workouts a week should take about 6 months. In the New Year when I start running more and training for runs, I will decrease my weight days to 2 days a week, therefore the program will take me longer.

I’ll be posting my stage 1 results and thoughts next week after I finish the last two workouts.

Have you ever seen this book or tried the program? Do you lift weights or have you been conventially afraid of “bulking” up?


3 thoughts on “New Rules of Lifting for Women

  1. Pingback: Am I CRAZY ? | Thick Chick Fitness Blog

  2. I’ve done the program or pieces of it a few times in my “off season” from recreational sports, and always enjoy the results – I am definitely stronger. I’m on 5A of Stage 1 right now and for the first time am a week into trying to follow the caloric and 40-30-30 macro guidelines recommended in the book. It’s scary to be eating so many calories! I’m glad to read a RD’s perspective on it, thanks for posting this. I’m going to wait 30 days as recommended and see if I’ve maintained or not and adjust from there…gulp

    • Good luck with the program! That’s great that you are trying out their recommendations. It can be a huge change to eat more calories, but stick with it and you’ll find the calorie level that works best for you.

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