The Women’s Book Vol 1


The Women’s Book Volume 1 is the first book to comprehensively examine women’s unique physiology as it pertains to diet, nutrition and fat loss.  It examine the baseline physiological differences between women and men (for whom most advice has traditionally been geared) along with all aspects of basic nutrition, sports nutrition, fat loss and muscle gain.  This will allow women to truly optimize all aspects of their nutrition for optimal health and results .  The impact of the menstrual cycle, hormonal birth control, PCOS, menstrual cycle dysfunction and the changes that occur at menopause are all addressed.

Ten percent from every sale will be donated to The Women’s Sports Foundation, a 501c3 charity founded by Billie Jean King dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports.

(14 customer reviews)
SKU: V4081805487 Category:


Download The Preface to The Women’s Book Vol 1

About The Women’s Book Vol 1: A Guide to Nutrition, Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

Since the beginning of medical history, women’s unique physiology and needs have gone almost ignored as women were treated as “little men”. It’s only recently that research has begun to examine the differences. The first in the realm of sports nutrition wasn’t done until the 1970’s and even today women are studied perhaps 20% as frequently as men. Even under these circumstances, in almost any physiological system that has been examined, a difference is usually found.

A woman’s nutritional requirements, how her body utilizes nutrients after a meal or during exercise, how and where she stores fat, her response to stress, how her body adapts to dieting and weight loss and even how she metabolizes caffeine all differ from a man’s. Sometimes it is a subtle differences but, in many cases, the difference can be extreme. So why are they still so often ignored?

In the realm of dieting, fat loss and muscle gain, approaches developed by male coaches for male athletes are often either ineffective or, in some cases, outright damaging. Certainly there are commonalities that always apply but a woman’s unique physiology must be taken into account for optimal results. Women also face issues such as menstrual cycle and hormonal dysfunction or bone loss that men simply never face. There is also the vast amount of misinformation about how women should eat or exercise. Nutritionally deficient diets are often coupled with ineffective exercise programs and endless numbers of women don’t get the results that they should or could with a better approach.

Arguably the primary consideration for women is the menstrual cycle, the roughly 28 day cycle where her hormones vary drastically from week to week, altering her physiology along with it. To that there is the frequent presence of what I call hormonal modifiers, situations that alter a woman’s physiology in some way. Examples include hormonal birth control, Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome, sub-clinical hyperandrogenism (elevated testosterone levels) and menstrual cycle dysfunction including amenorrhea. The age-related hormonal changes that occur during peri-menopause and menopause add a further layer of complexity.

The Women’s Book Vol 1: A Guide to Nutrition, Fat Loss and Muscle Gain sets out to address the above issues and more. In it, I look at the specifics of a woman’s physiology, not only how it differs significantly from a man’s, but how it’s unique characteristics affect how an optimal nutrition, fat loss diet or muscle gain approach should be set up. At over 400 pages virtually no topic goes undiscussed and the book represents a complete resource for women’s unique needs.

While much of the information is related to exercise or training, this is not just a book for the lean female athlete or dieter. I have striven to make it not only as comprehensive as possible by discussing not only the hormonal modifiers listed above but attempting to include a variety of distinct training goals such as general health and fitness (including bone health), the serious trainee, and physique competition along with strength/power, endurance and other performance sports.

Hence the title: The Women’s Book.

Disclaimer: The book does not discuss nutritional needs for pregnancy or breast feeding, Eating Disorder recovery or medical conditions as these should be addressed with a medical professional.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to Women’s Physiology
Chapter 2: The Normal Menstrual Cycle
Chapter 3: Hormonal Modifiers
Chapter 4: Types of Exercise and Goals
Chapter 5: What is Body Composition?
Chapter 6: Measuring and Tracking Body Composition
Chapter 7: Altering Body Composition
Chapter 8: Energy Balance
Chapter 9: Metabolic Adaptation
Chapter 10: Women, Fat Gain and Fat Loss: Part 1
Chapter 11: Women, Fat Gain and Fat Loss: Part 2
Chapter 12: Menstrual Cycle Dysfunction
Chapter 13: Stress
Chapter 14: Fixing the Problems
Chapter 15: Introduction to Dieting
Chapter 16: Determining Maintenance Calories
Chapter 17: Adjusting Daily Calories
Chapter 18: Goal Setting
Chapter 19: Calculating Nutrient Requirements
Chapter 20: Nutrient Sources, Electrolytes, Fluids and Diet Products
Chapter 21: Flexible Eating Strategies
Chapter 22: Around Workout Nutrition
Chapter 23: Meal Frequency and Patterning
Chapter 24: Supplements
Chapter 25: Estimating Dieting Times
Chapter 26: Identifying and Breaking Plateaus
Chapter 27: Adjusting for Metabolic Adaptation
Chapter 28: Training Guidelines
Chapter 29: Sample Training Programs
Chapter 30: Hormonal Category Templates
Chapter 31: The Category 2/3 Dieter
Chapter 32: The Category 1 Dieter and Amennorrhea
Chapter 33: Ending the Category 1 Diet
Chapter 34: Studies of Dieting in Elite Athletes
Appendix 1: The Stubborn Fat Protocols

10% of every purchase will be donated to The Women’s Sports Foundation, a 501c3 charity founded by Billie Jean King dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports.

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Softcover, Softcover + Ebook (Kindle/PDF), Ebook (Kindle/PDF)

14 reviews for The Women’s Book Vol 1

  1. Anastasia Antipova

    This book is truly one of a kind. The amount of information is almost too hard to digest, but take your time reading and understanding it – it will be totally worth it! I’ve already conquered one of my biggest issues – monthly pre-menstrual bloat and water retention. I am a lean athletic female but for about a week out of any given month I wasn’t able to look at myself in the mirror – I looked 5 months pregnant, not less! Scale weight would sky rocket up as well. Not anymore! With a few tweaks to my macros from this book I literally have ZERO bloat now, I don’t even know how it’s possible, but I’ll sure take it!
    Now I just need to accumulate some patience till vol. 2 comes out 🙂

  2. Nicole

    There is nothing like this on the market, Lyle’s attention to detail regarding women’s physiology and the amount of time spent on the menstrual cycle, and birth control methods makes this book a must read for any woman looking to make more informed decisions for themselves.
    If you’re a male coach I suggest you pick this book up in order to benefit your female clientele.

    Lyle’s suggestions regarding macros during different fazes of the menstrual cycle has helped me immensely . I would normally retain between 6-8lbs of extra water during the end of my cycle causing incredible discomfort and losing the ability to even train in the gym. I’ve also started programing my training around ovulation, and have notice a significant difference in my ability to hit PR’s or perform my best in the gym depending on where I’m at in my cycle.

    This book also breaks down hormonal B.C and hormonal replacement therapy for menopausal women, in great detail allowing women to make a real informed decision in regards to this topic , which family doctors fail to do; they just hand you a prescription and send you one your way…

  3. Katy Cousins

    I have been recommending this book to all my female friends and boring the tail off people at social events with all the amazing things I’ve learned from it. As a small, ‘category 1’ ‘serious trainee’, I am so relieved to have so many of the things I intuitively knew or had learned over time, backed up by the evidence and analysis here. Things like, no I can’t just go keto and not count calories and still lose weight the way a large, overweight man might be able to. And like, it’s ok to be hungry on a diet, that’s one of the ways you know it’s working!

    Honestly, Lyle, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time and incredible effort to write this book. It’s been genuinely life changing. Every woman should read it.

  4. Danielle

    There is nothing on the market, in a bookstore, or online that considers and combines diet, nutrition, hormone levels, performance, health, even psychological/mental stressors of dieting. Not only does Lyle present all the information, he guides you on how to make it work for you. I played soccer in college, became a serious runner in my late 20’s and now am getting into body building. I am also simply a female who cares about her health and appearance. Yes, I want to “look good” but I don’t want to do it at the sacrifice of my menstural cycle, my hormones, my daily life, and my gym performance. Yes, I want to perform well in the gym/at sports, but I don’t want to gain excessive weight or restrict what I eat to compulsion. Yes, I care about my bone density and keeping my hormones in check as much as I care about losing fat. There in an abundance of information on the internet these days on how to achieve optimal performance, lose the most weight, etc and most of it conflicts with each other. There’s also too many “coaches” who don’t really don’t understand what they are promoting and how individuals (and females) are all different. This book is great and I highly recommend it to any female trying to improve performance and lose fat. I’ve caught several errors and editing mistakes in the book, but don’t let that detract from excellent information presented. This is a must read.

  5. Maggie

    So much great information in this book. After reading, I modified my training schedule and tweaked my nutrition based on Lyle’s recommendations. I’ve made significant progress over the last 14 weeks and am incredibly pleased with my most recent DEXA #s. Looking forward to Volume 2.

  6. amy

    Hands down, this is THE BEST book out there covering female hormones, macros, diet strategies, WOE, training recommendations….just too much to name. Being 49 (two children ages 9 and 6 born awesomely healthy) and having my OBGYN start discussing hormones, age, body changes, loss of muscle, loss of sex drive really propelled me to research and learn as much as possible before considering HRT and alike. Finally, Lyle’s book put it all together and made it too simple for me to understand the female body, what I am going through, my choices, how to finally get my body to propel forward (I’m lean, always trained, but fell into a brief ED after PTSD, and set my body composition back) to once again reach my goals. I originally bought the PDF/kindle, but this book is too good not to own the hardcopy. So I just ordered that as well! Serious, do yourself a favor and buy this book, or ask your significant other buy it for you!! Thank you Lyle for all of your awesome books, time and dedication to the fitness industry and science! And I cannot wait until Vol 2 is released.

  7. Marni

    I am not sure how I feel about this book. It is a book that you have to read slowly to understand all the information. I ordered the pdf, and for 50.00 there are a lot of grammatical errors…I don’t think it was proofread.

    • lylemcd

      I proofread the manuscript multiple times but it is a very long book and many still slipped through.

  8. Lisa W

    Recognizing Lyle’s broad knowledge base as well as his depth of evidence based responses for pretty much every question asked, I knew I would not be disappointed reading The Women’s Book. Having been a fitness trainer for over 25 years, CrossFit owner and co-authoring my own women’s issues book, I “felt” pretty confident about my knowledge in the area of hormones, training and eating. However, I had NO IDEA how much didn’t know (and how much more I was interested in) until I read this book. The Women’s Book is quite lengthy and engaging for sure. I particularly appreciated how the author was able to summarize hundreds of scientific journal articles in a clear and concise way. Lyle seems to be a selfless human and passionate for improving women’s health and overall wellness.

  9. Vanessa

    An insane wealth of knowledge. I feel like I have spent my whole life muddling through nutrition, diet and exercise. Lyle McDonald has changed my life truly. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  10. Summer Williams

    I highly recommend The Women’s Book!! I have learned so much from it. I have had to read some parts more than once to process the information, because I don’t understand everything written. Maybe I’m slow lol, but I love learning. Thank you, Lyle, for taking the time to produce this book!

  11. Steph

    I’m still making my way through this behemoth but I’ve learned so much right from the 1st page. The odd grammar or spelling error are a little annoying but not enough to stop me from pursuing my reading
    I especially love that 10% of every purchase will be donated to The Women’s Sports Foundation. This is a must have for any woman or coach of females to better understand the unique needs of the dieting female.

  12. Scott Habermehl

    The ultimate source for female’s. I regularly consult the information found in this book when working with female clients of all ages. In my opinion, it’s a must have.


  13. Cecilia

    This book is the Bible for Women’s nutrition and training. Goes through everything and you do not really need any previous knowledge on physiology, nutrition or training to read this book. Everything is explained in such detail that I am amazed. If you are a woman interested to lose a few kilos or you are an athlete that competes in bodybuilding or you are a coach that would like to know more on how would be the best way to train and give nutritional advice to women, this is the book for you! After reading it I have actually realised how women are so much more complex than man.

  14. Sara

    Did I read the same book? I made it though my entire Kindle purchase and did not get any nutritional advice or anything more than vague advice to lift a little while dieting. Unless you count ‘get enough protein’. I read Lyle’s ketogenic diet book and cannot say enough great things. Pure information. Raw data. Physiological and hormonal chain and step reactions. This book in contrast was old dusty intel, so flipping repetitive I wanted to punch Lyle. Repeatedly(see what I did there? Til for tat, for the torture I endured) . It was like the last seasons of game of thrones where you don’t skip any, because you’re afraid if there IS a good part you’ll miss it; but it never gets to a good part.
    This book discussed 1. A woman’s cycle in phase hormonal detail. 2. How women are not like men – over and over and over with math examples to support it. DUDE – we KNOW. We knew that well before you did. JESUS, YOU THINK ITS NEWS TO US WE CANT EAT AS MUCH AS boys? Hit that protein minimum but also fat and xxxii grams of fiber minimum and some carbs esp if you work out, cause that’s the mix boys use, but hey girls, actually, guess what? that won’t work for you because you don’t have that many calories to play with. We know, that’s why we picked up this book, searching for answers. Nothing on what to do differently. Just calculate that calorie deficit, and then you’re on your own for macros and so on. 3. How pissed off and put out Lyle is at how much time it took him to research this because women are complicated. So many times. So. Many. Times. holy shit. Haha welcome to planet earth, Lyle. Meet women. 4. pcos 5. Pcos again. Pretty much each chapter was 1/3 Pcos. 6. How he won’t discuss pregnancy. 7. Get on hormone replacement therapy. In conclusion, 1. one size does not fit all, you won’t train the same or crave the same foods PMS as menstrual as pre-ovulation or the same as other women because hormones DUUUUHHH thanks for writing a book on what we learned when we were 12 and what the whole planet knows, we needed you to mansplain it for 50 bucks. And give approval that what we have always known, exists. Lawd. 2. Weight loss via Low to Moderate calorie deficit or it’s not sustainable long term (srsly if there were a drinking game for everytime Lyle said amenorrhea, I’d have been dead ch. 1). There are some other basics about NEAT AND TDEE and other fun trivia that you’ve probably already googled or read on FB or blogs or heard James Smith or that douche Thomas DeLauer say (for free) . No new information, no new answers, no revelations, and a lot of pussyfooting about when he seemed to get close to making a suggestion – like he was afraid the Vegos would come after him if he promoted animal protein, so he danced around it after, leaving the reader wondering at the recommended path… But on almost everything.
    The book needed an editor and proofreader, and the old Asshole Lyle that would say what he thought, and should have been titled “my unorganized paranoid repetitive journey-notes of trying to understand the cyclical hormone component of female physiology that no woman will need to read because it is little more than tedious google research to prove to one man what all women already intrinsically know”
    It is NO guide. It does have some info and trivia in it, the info isnt wrong, yet from a guy whose life and career and in particular the last several years have been spent trying to decode women’s nutrition fat loss and muscle gain, I expected more than ‘women are different so everything we thought we knew doesn’t apply, and boy what a pain in the ass it has been trying to explain why. Amenorrhea. “

    • lylemcd

      The book was meant to cover nutrition primarily. Training is Volume 2 so I wasn’t able to get into detail with it. Otherwise the book would have been 600+ pages.

      Based on comments from women, clearly they do NOT all understand women’s physiology or the hormonal changes which occur during their menstrual cycle. I’m glad you’re so much better informed but most clearly are not.

      Nothing but trivia? I examined every aspect of women’s physiology that exists. I laid out how to optimize every aspect of nutrition, diet and supplements for every goal under the sun. I covered birth control, PCOS and menopause in terms of the changes that occur.

      If all you got from this is ‘weight train on a diet’, I don’t think you read the right book. Or you skimmed every other word. Or didn’t get past Chapter 3. Genuinely.

      You write:
      “my unorganized paranoid repetitive journey-notes of trying to understand the cyclical hormone component of female physiology that no woman will need to read because it is little more than tedious google research to prove to one man what all women already intrinsically know”

      Hahahaha. All women clearly do not intrinsically know this and I can’t count the number who told me that they learned things that they were never taught about their own physiology. I’m glad you do. You represent a paragon of humanity. And I wasn’t aware that 600+ references counted as ‘Google research’

      Paranoid? WTF are you talking about? How does writing a comprehensive tome about a topic mean I’m paranoid?

      And your last sentence. Umm, where in the book do I say anything about ‘what a pain it is to explain amenorrhea’ Seriously. Your beef is clearly with me (which is fine) and has nothing to do with the book because anybody who actually read it knows that you’re spouting gibberish the entire way through your ‘review’.

      Since I’m intellectually honest I’ll still approve this review. But I think most will think you’re just someone with a personal beef with me even if I don’t know who you are. The fact that you used the phrase Asshole Lyle tells me you’re probably someone online I took to task. I could be wrong. That your email address or name doesn’t pull up a book order for The Women’s Book is even more unusual.

      In fact, based on your asinine comments, I wonder if you perhaps purchased some of the segmented sections I had on Amazon. I didn’t get them all up before deciding to pull them and down and it ‘feels’ like you only got part of the information. Because if you read the entire big book, you sure seem to have ignored about 50% of what was is in.

      No matter, I printed your review, you’ll likely never see these comments. And anybody who has or does read it will most likely realize that you’re out of your mind.

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