New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 2 Update

I bet you thought I dropped the program huh? It’s been almost 8 weeks since my NROLFW stage 1 update when I told you I’d be back in 4 weeks with an update on stage 2. Oops.

I did have a few setbacks during this stage though, namely a pesky back injury, flooded basement episode 1 and flooded basement episode 2. Oh, and a week long vacation I hadn’t really taken into account. But, I finally finished stage 2 yesterday even though it took twice as long as it should’ve. Better late than never, right?


What I’ve liked about this stage:

  • Length: Unlike stage 1, this stage was only 4 weeks which seemed much less intimidating from the beginning. It also kept me from getting too bored or burnt out on the exercises.

What I haven’t liked about this stage:

  • Length: It’s a pro and a con. The short length of the stage made it hard to increase in weight. With only 4 workouts in A & B each, I barely felt “ready” to increase the weight I was using.
  • Extended rest between sets: The rest period went from 60 seconds in stage 1 to 75 seconds in this stage. I know it’s only 15 seconds, but it felt unnecessary and made the workout longer. Sometimes I cheated and started the next set after 60 seconds.

Other notes:

Because I started stage 2 right after my back injury cleared up, I significantly reduced the weights I was using to reduce the risk of re-injury. The chiropractor wasn’t a huge fan of lifting heavy right after the back injury so this was my compromise. When it comes down to it, I’d rather be doing something than be sidelined again. Because of this though, I didn’t really expect to see any improvements in my measurements. My goal was just to sustain what I built up in stage 1 and stay healthy.


5/31/2011 7/17/2011 9/14/2011 Change
Chest 36.0 36.25 37.0 +0.75
Waist 26.5 26.5 26.5 0
Hip 36.75 35.25 35.5 +.25
Left Bicep 10.5 10.5 10.5 0
Right Bicep 10.75 10.75 10.75 0
Left Thigh 21.75 22.25 22.0 -0.25
Right Thigh 21.0 21.5 21.5 0
Weight 131.5 130.0 131.0 +1.0


*I’m taking certain measurements with a grain of salt considering what time of the month these were taken (if you know what I mean). TMI? Sorry.

Side by sides:


first front


second front


IMG_2172 (565x377)


first back


second back


IMG_2166 (565x377)


first front arms down


second front arms down


IMG_2168 (565x377)


first back arms down


second back arms down


IMG_2167 (565x377)

And one random outtake of me cracking up because, taking these pictures of yourself while flexing is just awkward no matter how you slice it.

IMG_2170 (565x377)

The bad news? I don’t see any improvement at all.

The good news? I don’t see much regression either.

Two things I totally expected given the length of time it took me to complete the stage and the lower weights I used. I still feel like I got a bit stronger though. I can do more pushups now than I could at the end of stage 1 and I can hold a plank for a minute longer.

I’m ready for stage 3 and a blank slate. I’m committed to doing it (it’s even in the half marathon training plan!) twice a week and will hopefully be able to slowly increase my weights while still keeping my back in check. The half marathon is my priority right now but, I’m committed to incorporating strength training. Bring on stage 3!

How do you deal with setbacks during training?

Any advice on how to make self portraits less awkward? All you fellow bloggers know you do it all the time, tell me your secrets! 


  1. 2


    I have taken progress photos but they will not make it on my blog — one thing that helps is wearing the same thing every time and we even made a mark on the floor where Jason would stand with the camera and I would stand against the wall — that way the pictures were all the same size.

    Honestly I do see improvement in your arms big time — more definition for sure!

  2. 3


    Haha – I have no idea how to make self portraits less awkward, but it’s funny because I always feel really awkward too. I think there’s just no getting around it. Sadly, I feel even MORE crazy when I have Kevin take my picture flexing, eating, doing stupid things… there’s just no escape.

  3. 4


    I notice the most significant difference in your posture as well. Well, other than your tan, ha ha.

    One suggestion? I would pick the same shirt each time you take the picture. It makes it easier to focus on the muscles when you can compare how each shirt fits on you.

    I have the book but haven’t started yet. Hope to at some point soon!

  4. 6


    I’m very intrigued by this. I’m adding it to my list of things to research. I love doing weights, but since I’ve started running, I’ve let the weights kind of fall by the wayside and it makes me sad.

  5. 9


    I totally see progress, more lean toned muscles. what are you talking about, girl?? You look great – but better than that, if you feel stronger then that’s progress!! Love the focus on strength – it’s so important and so many women shy away from it rather than embracing it!

  6. 12

    Ulysses says

    I’m proud of you, it’s not easy to commit and follow through…but the results speak for themselves…big difference…

  7. 14


    Well you look great! Arms definitely look more toned and your a little leaner if i’m not mistaken! :) As for the awkward self portraits… I have no clue how to make them less so and this is from someone who made a career out of getting her picture taken. Just grin and bare it and remember that were all in the same boat?! ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>