Author: Karen Sessions
Beginner – Advanced
Format: E-Book (Electronic Delivery)
Bonuses: Iron Dolls Training System, 10 Bonus Reports, Nick Nilsson’s Hybrid Training
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This is a bodybuilding program for women. Before you decide you know what that means, the author, Karen Sessions, has a few points she’d like to make.
In fact, she spends considerable time early in her “Iron Dolls” program dispelling the myths invariably associated with female bodybuilding and making readers understand what it is and isn’t.
It isn’t necessarily the pursuit of masculine muscularity (though it can be, typically with the help of ‘roids) and it isn’t necessarily about competition.
It is simply about pursuing physique change through diet and weight training, through increasing muscle and decreasing body fat.
There are many desired outcomes to training and all, from the overly muscular to the fitness model physique and even the bathing suit model physique can fit under the definition of “bodybuilding”.
In Iron Dolls, Sessions is also adamant that the pursuit of health be fit into any definition.
It is undoubtedly frustrating for a trainer like Sessions to have to deal with all the misconceptions and myths that are so strongly ingrained in the minds of so many women (and men) when it comes to all things associated with women and weight training.
A few years ago, Sessions emailed me and suggested I review this program. I was fairly lukewarm to the idea. While I knew I had a significant female readership that were too skinny and interested in putting on quality weight, I also knew from interacting with them that they were deathly afraid of words like “muscle” and “bodybuilding”. I didn’t think there would be much interest in “Iron Dolls”.
Maybe I was right.
But I hope I was wrong. Because when I finally did get around to reading and reviewing this program, I found a real gem.
“Iron Dolls” is more than a simple program, it is a very comprehensive look at bodybuilding from the female perspective. Sessions assumes that her reader comes to the ebook with very little bodybuilding knowledge. She adeptly educates them on the basics, covering everything from macronutrients to muscle fiber types. She even manages to work in some advanced stuff as well.
Bodybuilding training, at its base, isn’t that different between the sexes.
This is a fact that Sessions notes; that the primary difference is in the results due to the fact that men produce a great deal more testosterone. So, women can definitely learn from the existing information that is out there even though it is almost directed at men.
However, there is certainly great value for a female to learn from a female.
This is perhaps best evidenced by Sessions training guidelines for all the major muscle groups. While the advice is applicable to both sexes, Sessions works through the female-specific concerns, both real and imagined.
It’s easy for a guy to tell a woman that training her chest won’t make her breasts smaller (it can actually improve their appearance) but it carries a little more weight coming from an experienced female trainer. Or, a male trainer may not realize that heavy trap training may be leading a female to a look they don’t want. Sessions does and expertly guides her readers through the ins and outs of women’s weight training.
Sessions also does a good job of emphasizing the benefits of training with intensity. Women seem to have an even bigger problem grasping this concept than men, preferring a relaxing workout to a more strenuous one. Throughout the ebook, Sessions makes sure you understand that you must truly challenge your body if you expect change.
“Iron Dolls” presents beginner, intermediate and advanced training routines. They all look sound in design. Sessions advocates more training for beginners and then reducing your training time as you become more experienced. So, she has beginners training 5-days-a-week and then reducing that to 3-days-a-week (plus abs) as an advanced trainer.
Sessions also does a thorough job explaining dieting. She gets into the details and even presents a simple carb cycling approach. She goes through nutrient timing and taking advantage of your anabolic windows.
As much as I enjoyed the program, I do have a complaint. The ebook is dated. It was written in ’03 and in some places this was obvious (supplement section and a couple other places). I’m guessing that Sessions would change a thing or two if she took the time to fully update it. I’d love for her to do that and make a great offering even better.
This is a solid program. Very thorough. Sessions is passionate about bodybuilding and it shows in Iron Dolls.
Her experience as a trainer also shows as she is very in tune with what women need and what they want, what they understand easily and what takes a little more emphasis.
Any female with an interest in bodybuilding, whether an absolute beginner or a more advanced trainer, is going to find a great resource. I can’t imagine any such woman not finding great value here.