Lou Schuler

Author, Journalist, Presenter

Posted 01/14/2010

Best Fitness Books of 2009, Anti-Facebook Rants, and More

Happy New Year … just 14 days after the fact.

Some quick updates:

* I went back to my old site, Male Pattern Fitness, with a guest article. In it, I review my favorite new workout books of the past 12 months, including Adam Campbell’s outstanding Big Book of Exercises.

* I did a really, really fun podcast with Mike Robertson. The goal was to talk about how fitness professionals can improve their writing to move their careers forward, but the most memorable stretch comes when I go off on a spontaneous rant about how annoyed I am by Facebook. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, so I guess it was going to come out sooner or later. Still, it caught both of us by surprise. I just hope it’s as entertaining to you as it was to me when I was getting it off my chest.

* One more trip back in time: I did an interview with actor Sean Faris for Men’s Health magazine, talking about his workouts and diet. Sean is a smart young guy, and comes off as truly passionate about sports and exercise.

* Finally, going all the way back to October, I did this interview with Sean Barker for his Dad Fitness blog. In it, I make a point that I think is important for all parents today:

Our kids should see that fitness is a lifelong pursuit. If they see us make time for it, and invest energy in it, they’ll understand that it’s an important part of life.

If they understand that Dad goes to the gym three times a week because he enjoys it and considers it important, it sends the message that structured exercise isn’t just something you do in gym class because the school says you have to.

In our parents’ generation, there wasn’t much of an organized structure for fitness activities. You played outside as a kid, then maybe you played on sports teams through high school or even college, if you were one of the lucky ones. Many of our dads also did physical training in the military, where it was used as a punishment as much as a tool for activity-specific performance. Once you were out of the military, and presumably finished with sports, there wasn’t really any structure in place to encourage lifelong fitness.

Now we apply that to sports and fitness. At a certain point, I think kids start to ask themselves if they’re playing sports because they enjoy it, or because their parents expect them to play. If Dad is still playing something in middle age — golf, bowling, slow-pitch softball, or anything else that involves competition and some degree of coordination and focus — it reinforces the idea that sports are something you do for yourself.

But with our kids, everything is structured. There’s almost no such thing as backyard sports, or neighborhood games. If you play something, you play it on a team. If you do pure exercise, it happens in gym class. So it’s important for them to see their parents using those same structures to pursue lifelong fitness, and doing it voluntarily.

We all know as parents how important it is to read to our kids, and to have lots of books around the house. But it’s also important for kids to see their parents reading books for pleasure. That helps them understand that they aren’t just reading because adults say they have to. They’re reading because it’s such an important part of a fulfilling life.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

  • Quinton Jv Rensburg

    Hi mr Schular…

    First i just wanna congratulate u on a great book…first time i read something about exercise that really makes sense. Got your “new rules of lifting”as a present from my mom and insisted that she must buy me the “new rules of lifting for woman” aswell. Shes going to be surprized if i tell her theres alot more!!
    Im a gym junky and try to get to gym atleast 4 times a week…but after a shoulder operation in NOV (slap tear) i feel like a beginner all over again. Funny how your muscles can get “not used to execise” in two weeks time (not to mention 2 months) even though youve been going to gym for the last 5years. So its a slow progress for me to get back into gym and be at my full lifting potential.
    But the reason im mailing you is that when ive made my full comeback at the gym i really want to try your HYPERTROPHY program…but theres something i dont uderstand with the sets and reps. Dont know if i could maybe send you a email somewhere cause i know im asking something way different than what you wrote on your blog.


    Quinton (South Africa)

  • Thanks for the book reviews! A male friend stopped me in Barnes and Noble today and asked me a bunch of exercise questions, and after a time of miming with my house blend and talking a bit too loudly, I offered to simply write him a list and bring it to church. These will go on it (along with NROL).

  • Jennifer


    Hey, I just finished reading New rules for women and I too have many questions regarding the workouts. I have been working out for many years so I’m looking forward to finnally getting it right, only the way the workout is set has left me with some questions. Regarding stage 1 am I doing the different variations of squats or regular squats 8 different sets, also at one point in the book it said that we will do 2 sets of 15 rep and 2 sets of 12 reps and so on but on the workout you have some sets 3 time for example 3 sets of 10 and 3 sets of 8. Am I totally reading this wrong I know it late, but I can’t be that tired. looking forward to starting this workout..


  • Jennifer, please check out the forum for NROL for Women at JP Fitness:


    You’ll find the answer to every possible question.


  • The book is really good, congratulations!
    I also listened to your podcast and laughed a lot. Thanks for the share.
    I would also recommend the Assess and Correct series of DVDs, a must-have and a must-see.

  • Really good interview with Sean Faris, thanks for that!

  • Sam

    I completely agree with the point about parents setting an example by going to the gym 3x/week. It wasn’t important to my family when I was growing up so it’s something I struggle with later in life. It has really inspired me to make a point of setting an example for my kids when they are old enough to notice.

  • Lee

    I don’t lift weights to show my kids anything. My gym is in my home, dumbbell set, cable machine, swiss ball, step bench, chin bar and a couple mats. I hope one day the may have some interest though since this works well as a exercise regimen.

    I’ve been following the NROL program for a little over a year and have been through the whole book. I think its pretty much an ideal program. I very much like the idea of timed rest between sets and shared super-sets like a push exercise followed by a pull exercise and exercises that engage a large number of muscles (dead lift). If you do this regimen there is no reason for any “aerobic” exercise, which personally I think is an over hyped waste of time and source of injury (may Kenneth Cooper MD MPH burn in hell.) I’ve shared this program with maybe half a dozen people who have been destroyed by “aerobic” exercises and all of them are successfully engaged and injury free on either NROL or NROLFW

    I’m not hyping it as the be all end all program, but I am saying this program is well thought out and very do-able and you can quite readily do it with a home gym. I use the dumbbells (up to 130lbs in each hand) and cable machine since its much safer for home use than barbell based lifting in my opinion. (unless you are going with the various safety cages for which I don’t have the room nor the budget)

    Facebook shmacebook what a huge charade

    That’s what I’m doing

  • Ramsey Doran

    I’ve been a gym rat for 19 years (just turned 59) and hope that I’ve inspired my four kids. My son (age 26) and I trade training info and two of my three daughters (ages 31 and 28) stay very active, both in the gym and on the soccer field. I have found real inspiration in your New Rules of Lifting for Women (I’m still going for goddess look) and have recommended it to many friends and fitness instructors. A month-long bicycle ride this past August interrupted my weight training, but proved the value of that book. My knees and quads, which bothered me tremendously two years prior on a cross country ride, gave me only occasional twinges on the August ride. I can attribute that to the training I’d done with you. And, yes, I believe my kids are inspired by mom in the gym and mom on the bicycle. thanks

  • Lou,

    I just listened to your podcast with Mike Robertson and I want to say that I absolutely loved it!

    I randomly stumbled on your site and see that you were in on “The Book of Muscle” … Hands down my favorite fitness book I’ve ever laid my hands on. First because every perspective falls right in line with mine, but more because I truly enjoy your voice as it came across through each page. Cheers to you Lou for you and your success!

    Patrick Hitches

  • I also just stumbled across your interview with Mike Robertson and it was fanatastic. Thanks for the advice for aspiring fitness writers – probably some of the best and most candid information out there. Thanks again.

  • Thanks Patrick and Amanda!