Every couple of years I get a second Christmas when the latest in the series of New Rules of Lifting books arrives. This year is even a bit more special because Lou & Alwyn’s latest book, The New Rules of Lifting for Life, addresses a population that makes up the bulk of my clientele. As Lou puts it NROL4L is for “Men and Women who want to ace their midlife exams.”
Frequently I’m asked to recommend books or programs for people who for one reason or another don’t have access to a good trainer, and a lot of times it is a struggle when the person has some movement limitations, needs to work on posture, or isn’t at a place where they can even start doing pull-ups and barbell front squats. That description probably fits a majority of the public, so it’s great to have NROL4L come along and fill that gap.
The first few chapters of the book are something I’d like to photocopy and hand out to everyone I meet that wants to lose weight/get back in shape, but don’t have a good grasp of what to do, and more importantly the reasons why strength training is an important component of that process. If everyone understood Lou’s New Rules of Fitness he lays out in this book I truly believe there would be some impact on obesity stats.
Common sense statements such as “the older you are the more important it is to train” is something many doctors may tell their patients but here you get it from someone who has been practicing what they preach for probably more years than he cares to remember. Better yet Lou and Alwyn are not afraid to change, and each book reflects the fact that both authors are constantly learning and refining their craft – so here you get the accompanying science to go with Alwyn’s excellent programs that can take someone from day 1 in the gym all the way through some pretty advanced stages.
As with the other NROL books each exercise is described together with photos, but this time Alwyn came up with a sort of build your own workout structure based on where someone is in their fitness journey, and includes ways to self-assess so you can start with the appropriate exercise choices. Pretty damn smart! And honestly these programs are the closest thing I’ve seen to what I do with my clients who are acing their mid (and later life) exams.
More attention is also paid this time around to the importance of mobility, flexibility, and tissue quality, which in a world where we spend more hours hunched over a computer than anything else is a big, big deal. Kudos to these guys for putting together an intelligent warm-up structure that will addresses the major points most people need to work on.
Of course no good fitness book would be complete without some nutrition information, and Lou really did his homework on this on. Personally I got the most out of this section, and have already incorporated some knowledge nuggets into my work with clients. In particular the strategies Lou lays out for losing weight while exercising, and the different skill set needed for maintaining weight while exercising are crucial, and a big stumbling block for many people. He follows it up with solid nutrition information that simplifies what to eat, and when. There is even a section of recipes provided by Galya Denzel that look pretty damn good. Having been forunate enough to taste her cooking I can vouch for her talent.
If you know someone that wants to get in shape but is overwhelmed by all the conflicting information we see on TV, or if this person is you, then NROL4L is in my opinion the best book out there for you. If you are a trainer then you would be wise to keep up on the latest information – it will be required reading for trainers at my gym!