The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want

The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want

by Rachel Cosgrove


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The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want by Rachel Cosgrove

The ultimate guide to strength training for sustainable fat-loss, increased energy, and healthy body image for women who want to be in great shape, look amazing, and feel sexy and empowered

The key to losing fat and getting a strong, sexy body can't be found in the pages of some fancy diet book. It can't be found in a magic pill. According to strength coach, Rachel Cosgrove, the key to shedding fat and keeping it off can only be found on the strength-training floor. After trying-and failing-diet after diet, hundreds of women have turned to Cosgrove and her revolutionary Fit Female strength training program to finally get the fit, strong, and healthy bodies they've always wanted. Her clients have lost up to 70 pounds, dropped up to six dress sizes, and drastically changed their body shapes and muscle-to-fat ratios.

Now any woman can get the same results with The Female Body Breakthrough. A program for every female who is tired of starving herself, exercising for hours with no results, and feeling bad about it all, this revolutionary plan uses a combination of innovative strength training and sensible nutrition. The 16-week program includes:

- A 2-week Bodyweight-Only Jumpstart Phase that will help women adjust to strength training while seeing results in just days
- Over 100 fully illustrated warm-up moves and innovative strength-training exercises using everything from dumbbells and barbells to bands and straps
- A comprehensive nutrition plan including nutrient-timing strategies that work with workouts, satisfying foods that promote optimum health and energy, and even an indulgent snack every day
- A Do-It-Yourself guide to program design so women can craft a program that works toward her personal goals and with her schedule

Written in an accessible, girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone, The Female Body Breakthrough delivers doses of motivational advice, testimonials from real Fit Females, and all the know-how any woman needs to get a strong, healthy body.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605296937
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 11/10/2009
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 643,528
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

RACHEL COSGROVE is co-founder and co-owner of Results Fitness in Southern California. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Coach, and a U.S Triathlon Coach. She has written for Women's Health, Shape, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and many other fitness publications.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Fit Female Credo

Breakthrough Secrets to Becoming Fit and Fabulous for Life

What secrets does a fit female know that you don't? How do you become the BITCH? Become Inspiring, Totally Confident, and Hot. The following is the Fit Female Credo, which includes the "goods" when it comes to knowing what to do and how to behave to turn yourself into a fit female for life. These are the real cues, visualizations, and tools I share with my clients on a daily basis to help them stay focused on their goal. I am going to let you in on every strategy, trick, and secret that you need to know to become fit and fabulous. There are 168 hours in a week, and I am with my clients on average only two to three of those hours; the rest of the week they are on their own (like you, the readers of this book). I have to arm them with the ammo to survive whatever life might throw at them and whatever difficult situation they may encounter. No matter what progress we make during the two to three hours I'm with them, if I don't equip them with tools for the rest of the week, they can do a lot of damage in the 166 hours they're on their own. This credo contains your rules to live by every single day to turn yourself into a fit, confident woman.

In this chapter, I'll discuss how to live the lifestyle of a fit female, get your head in the right place, surround yourself with supportive people, make time for fitness, and once and for all stop making excuses! Everyone has an excuse. There will always be one. I don't want to hear it! Stop blaming someone else or something else for not being where you want to be. Instead, take on the challenge and take ownership of every choice you make. One of these secrets may be the breakthrough you need to finally change your mind, your body, and your life. Listen up!


Secret #1: Act as if you are a fit female.

Don't wait until 10 £ds from now--start being one today. You must start to live like a fit female now in order to become one. You must act like one, eat like one, talk like one, dress like one. When you see what happens when you start acting as if you are a fit female, you will become one before you know it. This may sound silly, but I've seen it work for so many of my clients. The mind-body connection is more powerful than you think. I have seen women lose weight and change their bodies, only to gain the weight back again. On the other hand, I've seen other women lose weight, change their bodies, and become fit and empowered for life. What was the difference? The difference was that the ones who succeeded changed their mindsets and saw themselves as fit females. They acted fit and confident, they dressed in tighter clothes to show off their new bodies, and they felt empowered. The ones who did not succeed and gained the weight back never really thought of themselves as being fit and fabulous and having the body they always wanted. They couldn't picture it, and even when they had it, they couldn't see it, but still saw themselves as fat and frumpy. They still wore baggy clothes, covered themselves up, and did not feel confident, even though their bodies had completely transformed. They ended up gaining the weight back because they had always seen themselves as having the extra weight. It is just as important to transform your mind as it is to transform your body. Use the visualization tool I talk about in Chapter 4, Deciding What You Want and Why. It works. Be a fit female starting today. Remember, make your "someday" today!

In the real life story that follows, my client, Haley, wore a baggy T-shirt and long sweats to work out on day one. I made her roll up her shirt so we could see what she looked like, but she was in her frumpy mindset, wearing baggy clothes, trying to hide what was underneath. By the end, for her after picture, she walked into the gym wearing this--a sports bra and short shorts. Besides just seeing the 20 £ds of fat gone, Haley had a whole new self-confidence, and it showed in the way she dressed and the way she felt about her body.

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living."

--Gail Sheehy

FIT FEMALE Real Life Story

Haley before

Haley as a fit female Haley lost 20 £ds of fat and 4 jean sizes.

Even as a high school athlete, I never lifted weights. I thought practice was enough to get me in shape and that the occasional suicide I ran for punishment would give me those desired runner's legs. But that definitely wasn't the case, and I don't need to tell you that, because my body reflected it.

I was new to lifting and had never done any sort of weight training. But it quickly became a part of my lifestyle, and I have never been able to shake it. My athleticism skyrocketed, and because of it, I received a full-ride volleyball scholarship. Along with my coaches and even my athletic director, I credited my changes as an athlete to the strength programs I was doing. I have been a standout player since I was a freshman, and because of the hard work I put in, I've been able accomplish some pretty far-fetched goals.

But in the process of working toward athletic success, I achieved something that I never thought I would find: confidence. Like most young adults, I had always been very insecure in my own skin. But I eventually started seeing small changes in my body every time I looked in the mirror. But that was only when I was lifting and I hadn't yet incorporated any nutrition. When I started meeting with Rachel about nutrition, I realized how naive I'd been to think that the two (working out and eating right) didn't go hand in hand. We put together some menus that correlated with my workouts, and before my eyes, the fat started melting away. It was a long and hard process; but, with the right tools, it became much easier. The same way that lifting weights had become a lifestyle, so had eating right.

I lost 20 £ds and gained about eight £ds of pure muscle. I was a better athlete, but more important, I was confident. I left to go to college as a young woman who felt confident and sexy. And here I am five years later with the same confidence. But the most empowering thing of all was that I gave this gift of feeling confident to myself, using weight training and nutrition to fuel my body.

Secret #2: Get out of your comfort zone!

To get your body to change, you have to do what your body is not used to. This may mean taking yourself outside of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is where things are easy--they don't feel like work or like an effort. Guess what--if it seems easy and comfortable, you probably aren't going to transform your body. To prompt your body to change, you have to make it do what it's not used to. This means the foods you eat will take some effort to plan and prepare (and if your schedule is busy, that may not come easily), the training you do will feel challenging, and you'll be pushing yourself beyond what you're used to. If you don't feel like you have to go against your usual routine, then you probably are not going to change your body. You have to do something different from what you're currently doing to push your body to change. Get used to going outside of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to do it on a daily basis. I didn't say this would be really hard or unbearable, just outside of your usual comfort zone. Learn to enjoy that feeling of challenging yourself to shake things up.

So change your routine. If your usual routine is to come home from work and lounge on the couch with your favorite food, mindlessly noshing, checking out from your day by watching TV, get out and do something or go to the gym instead. Go for a walk, call up a supportive friend, or write in your journal. Your habits can easily be changed, starting now. Think about what habits you have that are keeping you from becoming that confident fit girl you want to be. Act like a fit female and you will become a fit female. Change your habits as of today!

People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.

--Dave Kekich

Secret #3: Fuel your body to be fabulous!

Eat more often, not less. Becoming fit and fabulous is not about starving yourself and feeling deprived. The key is to get your metabolism revving, fuel your body throughout the day with healthy foods, and learn how to enjoy a guilt-free splurge that fits into your healthy lifestyle. To obtain a fit, fabulous body free of cellulite and belly fat, you must fuel your body with unprocessed whole foods every couple of hours to rev your metabolism. Instead of starving your body and letting your metabolism stall out, creating an ideal situation to gain the weight back, the goal is to fuel your body and boost your metabolism to the point where your body burns through the food you eat and you have to continue fueling it to keep your metabolism revving. You work very hard in the gym to change your body; you have to fuel it to keep it, or you'll become catabolic.


A scientific term for the state your body goes into when you don't fuel it every couple of hours and it starts to break down hard-earned muscle tissue. Being catabolic is detrimental to your physique. You want to avoid being catabolic at all costs. Used in a sentence: "I need to eat before I become catabolic!" Never let your body become catabolic.

Secret #4: Train hard or go home!

A fit female is not afraid of lifting challenging weights and pushing herself in the gym. She sweats, she grunts, and she puts demands on her body that are outside of her comfort zone, keeping her muscles challenged, defined, and strong and giving her a sizzling metabolism. She looks the way she does because she has muscle, the very thing you may be afraid of building. The secret to getting your metabolism revving high enough to melt away fat to become a fit female is the type of workouts you do. A recent study compared weight lifting to aerobics. Both groups lost 26 £ds on the scale, but the group who did strength training lost only fat, while the aerobics group lost 8 percent of their weight from muscle. Losing muscle slows down your metabolism. The priority workout for a fit female is one that boosts her metabolism, burns calories, builds muscle, and creates an afterburn effect. The best workout to accomplish this is strength training, and the key is to challenge yourself in the gym, pushing your intensity. Less is more when it comes to exercise. Don't be afraid to lift heavier weights to eke out your last rep, challenging yourself to train hard. Fit, confident females don't bother with 3-£d dumbbells, aerobics, endless cardio, or machines in the gym.

Secret #5: Get hooked on feeling fit, not the number on the scale!

Be your own inspiration. Being fit is motivating, and the feeling is addicting. If you can tap into the sensation of being confident, fit, empowered, and sexy and really tune in to how that feels, you'll do anything to get that. Forget the scale and experience this feeling instead.

I constantly see this transformation in the gym, from women wearing baggy T- shirts, standing with slumped shoulders, and feeling really self-conscious to wearing tight-fitting clothes, buying new outfits all the time, and feeling confident and sexy. One of my clients, after losing 40 £ds of fat, said, "I love to go shopping for clothes again. I never used to wear tank tops, and now that's all I wear." When I talked to one of my clients about her transformation, she described it as a "high." And she said the feeling is addicting! This is when it clicked for me that you have to get hooked on this feeling to be successful. She talked about how she used to go home from work and put on her baggiest sweats and T-shirt to do things around the house. Now she struts her stuff in her boy shorts and tank top feeling so confident about herself and addicted to that feeling. Her husband isn't complaining, either.

If you have ever had your ideal body in the past, think back to how great you felt. Visualize this feeling right when you start your challenge. Picture yourself there and recall how you felt. As your body changes--and as you're shopping for new clothes--you will feel so amazing you'll never want that feeling to go away. No sugary food or salty treat tastes as good as lean and sexy feels. It is like a high, and it is addicting. Find the motivation within and feed off it every single day. A fit female does not focus on the scale but instead focuses on how she looks in her clothes and how she feels. This is what inspires and motivates her to keep going and stay on track!

Secret #6: Be an early riser.

Get up early and start your day with a workout. This will set up your day for success. I am a big believer in morning workouts. Doing some form of exercise first thing in the morning will psychologically set you up to succeed for the day while getting your metabolism cranking so you can continue to burn fat throughout the day. This will also eliminate the chance of anything else getting in the way of your workout, and you'll give it 100 percent energy instead of just giving it whatever energy is left over at the end of the day. Remember, you'll never regret working out, but you'll always regret it if you don't. Doing your workout first thing in the morning will ensure that you don't have any regrets! Be sure to eat some breakfast beforehand and finish with a postworkout shake.

"Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!"

--Benjamin Franklin

Secret #7: Make R, R, & R a priority!

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Part 1 What's the Fit Female Challenge About?

Chapter 1 The Fit Female Credo 3

Chapter 2 From Frumpy and Frowny to Fit and Fabulous 25

Chapter 3 Change Your Paradigms, Change Your Body 36

Part 2 Reinventing Yourself

Chapter 4 Deciding What You Want and Why 55

Chapter 5 Overcoming a Self-Destructive Relationship with Food 61

Chapter 6 Hormones, Shmormones 68

Chapter 7 At the Starting Line 76

Part 3 Fueling Your Fit Female Body

Chapter 8 Fuel to Be Fabulous 85

Chapter 9 16-Week Fit Female Nutrition Action Plan 99

Chapter 10 Fit Female Workout Manifesto 116

Part 4 Building Your Fit Female Body

Chapter 11 The 16-Week Fit Female Workout Plan 135

Chapter 12 Fit Female Recovery and Regeneration Rituals 217

Part 5 Wrapping It Up

Chapter 13 Maintaining Your New Body 229

Chapter 14 The Fit Female Journey Continues 234

Acknowledgments 236

References 238

Index 242

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Female Body Breakthrough 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
junesy More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best ever book that I have read for female strength training. I love love love this book. Very easy to read, informative and a serious workout!!! This book transformed my life in so many ways.
Erica Jenson More than 1 year ago
I have been following the routines in this book for several months now. I have had several women, some of the gyms biggest meatheads, and even a few of the personal trainers comment on my workouts and the results they are seeing in my body. The routines in this book are easy to follow, provide real results that keep you motivated, and fit into the busiest schedules.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provides the step by step instructions to get in shape. It leaves loose guidelines for the diet, so you can select food you like. It does provide sample menus to allow you to figure out what a meal plan should look like. The workouts are fun. They are based on full body strength training workouts. The instructions are good on how to complete them. I have been doing some of them already and the instructions helped me fine tune what I was doing. Love this book.
Katherine33 More than 1 year ago
This book reviews the reasons to prefer strength training to cardio, with research to back up the assertions. Includes nutrition rules and a 16 week exercise program that can be longer by using increasingly heavier weights. I found it to be a good, basic program for strength training.
smithlpoole More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book.  I've done workout similar to what's in this book and THEY DO WORK. I'm getting ready to start Rachel's program because I need something that will really work my body. I also love how she beat the point of nutrition in this book.  I find it's actually more important for losing weight than the working out.  I would definitely recommend this book to ANYONE!
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I've been a long-time follower of the Cosgroves, so when I picked up a copy of Female Body Breakthrough, I dug in with high hopes of getting the best of Rachel. Right away I was sorely disappointed. Her writing felt like it talked down to the reader and that the reader was in competition with all women. We were supposedly doing this workout to be the woman other women are jealous of. And she used an acronym that I'd rather not repeat here. The tone of the book threw me off from the get go. The nutrition section was a little tedious, but the workouts were challenging. Was bored and they offered good exercises. I will keep searching for that perfect female workout book as this did not do it for me.