So Whats Actually In The Book

If you've followed my career, you know I've written a bunch of books on exercise and diet. If you haven't followed my career .. . well, I've written a bunch of books on exercise and diet. (Thanks for letting me clear that up.) Starting with The Testosterone Advantage Plan and continuing with The Men's Health Home Workout Bible and The Book of Muscle, I've had two goals: Show guys how to build muscle and lose fat safely and effectively, and find new ways to make it more fun and interesting.

The book I haven't written—the book that I don't think anyone has written—is the one that takes everything we know about building a stronger, leaner, more muscular, more powerful, and longer-lasting body . . . and boils it down to its simplest, easiest-to-remember, and easiest-to-apply elements.

To accomplish that, Alwyn and I had to strip away everything about strength training that's useless, redundant, and even dangerous. As you read New Rules, you'll be surprised at how much of that stuff is out there. We'll show you, for example, a back-strengthening machine that actually causes spinal injuries. We'll explain why some accepted wisdom in the iron culture is false ("slow lifts are safe, fast lifts are dangerous"—we beat the snot out of that one) and why most of what people do in gyms fails to get them to their goals.

I think that what Alwyn and I present here is a new paradigm in exercise. Or, more accurately, the revival of an old paradigm. We want you to think of weight lifting in terms of how it changes your body's abilities, as opposed to how it changes your body's appearance. Trust me, form will follow function. Coordinated, useful muscles will still turn heads at the beach. But they'll also help you live longer and better.

Look at it this way: When my coauthors and I published Testosterone Advantage, many readers had no idea that low-fat diets were a bad idea for the guy who wants a leaner, more muscular physique. We showed the benefits of healthy fats—and of increased protein intake and controlled carbohydrate consumption. Since then, the nutrition universe has tilted 90 degrees, and the junk-food industry now touts its "low-carb" choices, whereas just a few years ago "low fat" was the most important selling point. (Junk food is still junk food, whether it's low fat or low carb, but that's a chapter for a different book.)

We also advocated strength training as the ideal fitness tool, whether you're trying to bulk up, slim down, or just look better at the same size. That, too, was surprising to many readers, who'd been told for years that if they wanted to lose weight, they had to lace up those running shoes. (To their credit, everyone was clear about the need to lift weights to gain muscular weight.)

Now, I think, it's time to redefine weight lifting itself. It's time to take out the exercises—most of them, actually—that do nothing to improve your ability to move better. It's time to add in the exercises that give you the most benefit in the least time. Here's how I'll lay it out:

Part 1 of New Rules looks at strength training as a series of elemental movements, with real-life applications. Then I'll show how those movements become muscle-building exercises that, once mastered, become parts of routines that will evolve and adapt to your changing interests and abilities.

Part 2 shows you how training programs are constructed, and explains the other elements that go into a solid workout program. We'll show you how to warm up before lifting, how to increase or maintain your flexibility, and how to incorporate sports or endurance-building exercise.

Part 3 shows you the exercises derived from the six basic movement patterns— squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull, twist.

Part 4 is the nitty-gritty—the programs created by Alwyn. These workouts are modular, meaning that you can mix or match them for different goals—bigger muscles, fat loss, improved strength, or a bit of each. (I know it sounds like we've just complicated things, but trust us: The modular system is very simple and intuitive to use.)

Part 5 looks at how food affects your body, for better and for worse, and presents a commonsense approach to eating for every goal.

Part 6 wraps it all up by celebrating the joys of lifelong lifting.

But first, I'll make this promise on behalf of Alwyn and myself: We will not claim to have invented anything that delivers magical results in minimal time. Resistance training itself has some magical properties—there'll be days when you feel like Superman just because you showed up and got a good workout in when you were tempted to blow it off. But we will not promise you anything that's outside the bounds of human physiology. Furthermore, we will not claim that we've invented workouts or techniques that do things other workouts and techniques can't do.

Sure, we'll take credit for explaining them in new ways, and Alwyn is one of the best trainers in the world when it comes to innovative program design. But there's a difference between explaining, popularizing, and synthesizing ideas—what we do— and creating new ideas out of the ether. We'll take great pains to give credit where it's due, but we'll also take credit for putting things together in a unique, interesting, and blessedly simple way.

Our goal here is to manipulate what is known about strength training so that it's as easy as possible for you to learn, as effective as it can be in the time you allot for it, and as enjoyable as anything else you would do with that time and energy.

That's right—this can and should be fun. It's fun to learn, it's fun to see the results, and it's fun to pursue for a lifetime. I was born in 1957, and I've been lifting since 1970. Granted, I didn't know what I was doing until I hit my midthirties. But it was always fun for me, even when I was clueless about what I was doing and why I was doing it. The more I learned, the more fun it became. I've probably enjoyed the past few years of lifting more than the decades that came before them. I've lifted heavier weights than ever before, with no injuries. How many people can say they're stronger and more muscular in middle age than they were in their youth, even when they spent that youth fit and healthy? I can, and by the time you're finished with this book, I think it'll be pretty clear that you can, too.

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