New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

It’s been just over 6 weeks and I’m officially done with stage 1 of nrolfw. Unfortunately, stage 1 went out with a bang and I seriously tweaked my back last night on the 3rd deadlift. I was able to complete the rest of the workout (minus the deadlifts) but I’m in a severe amount of pain right now and hoping to get to the chiropractor later today. I herniated 2 discs in my back when I was 15 (from sneezing!) and have had on and off again back problems since then occasionally throwing it out here and there but I have to say, this is one of the worst reoccurrences since! Good thing the plan calls for a week rest before starting stage 2 because I can’t even stand up straight right now.

NROLFW

What I’ve liked:

  • Limited time commitment: During the first half of stage 1 the workouts only called for 2 sets and the workout would be over in 20 minutes. Even when moving to 3 sets half way through, it wasn’t much more than 30 minutes each time which was key to keeping me on committed.
  • Design of the plan: The way the plan moves from higher reps with lower weights to lower reps with higher weights makes you feel like you’re getting stronger. This was crucial to keeping me engaged. I need to feel/see improvement and the plan is designed to highlight that.
  • Visible change: Half way through stage 1 I documented my progress and was psyched to already see visible changes, particularly in my arm definition. Having now completed the entire stage, I think I see even more change. I notice definition that I don’t think was there before but interestingly enough, the measurements have barely changed as you’ll see below.

What I haven’t liked:

  • Repetition: I know that stage 1 is the longest stage so I doubt this will be as much of an issue down the road but, after 8 workouts of A & B each, I started to get bored. Particularly with step-ups and deadlifts. They were my least favorite moves and the ones I dreaded before the workout even began. Interestingly enough, they were also the two moves that I didn’t feel really did anything. I kept referencing the book to make sure I was doing it right because I didn’t feel a huge burn like I would with the other exercises like pushups & shoulder presses.
  • Out-growing my gym: While I still plan to continue this workout at home and it is possible, I feel like I’m going to soon outgrow my home gym. My dumbbell set only goes up to 20 lbs. I started many of the workouts at 15 lbs. so there wasn’t much room to increase weight without needing to purchase more equipment. The heavier the dumbbells get, the pricier they get too!
  • Difficulty in balancing running with strength training: It has sometimes been very difficult to get a good run in after some of these workouts, especially after increasing weights. They leave my legs sore and I’ve definitely seen a decrease in my average weekly mileage because of it. I think my plan moving forward is to actually run on the same day as nrolfw and do it beforehand this way when I’m the most sore, the day after a workout, I can cross train and not worry about having a “bad” run.

Measurements:

5/31/20117/17/2011Change
Chest36.036.250.25
Waist26.526.50
Hip36.7535.25-1.5
Left Bicep10.510.50
Right Bicep10.7510.750
Left Thigh21.7522.250.5
Right Thigh21.021.50.5
Weight131.5130.0-1.5

 

I have to admit, seeing those measurements is kind of deflating. I did use a legit measuring tape this time instead of marking baker’s string and then laying it against a tape measure but I doubt that made a big difference. It’s weird because I think I see a lot more changes than the measuring tape is showing. I was shocked to not measure out any difference in my biceps and I’m not sure what’s up with my hips! Not quite sure I totally believe that one but I did measure it 3 times.

Here are the side by side pictures, tell me what you think.

5/31:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

7/17:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

5/31:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

7/17:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

5/31:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

7/17:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

5/31:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

7/17:

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1 Update

I do notice two things:

1. I have a better tan.

2. I have a much better camera.

Even though the measurements are not as great as I expected, I’m still excited to begin the 4 weeks of stage 2 and see my progress after that. It may not show in the numbers yet, but I know I’m stronger than when I started. That’s one of the great things about documenting each and every workout; your progress is visible right there on paper. It’s not chance that I can now do 15 full legit pushups when I could barely do 10 “girly” ones before.

Here’s to hoping my back can fully recover in a week and I can start stage 2 ready to go!

What’s your favorite strength training move for arms & legs? Arms: shoulder press Legs: barbell squats

Do you think measurements tell the whole story?

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25 Comments

  1. barbara

    be carefull about going back to lifting too early> give your back enough time or you’ll ruin the rest of the summer> gentle stretching and resting for now. :) say Hi to Lorraine.

    Reply
  2. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    I see a diff, but your arms didn’t seem to get bigger. I just think you look really toned, especially in your torso region. Did you do pull ups, lat pulls, or more rows? Lookin good! You’ve made me want to give this a shot.

    Reply
  3. Cait's Plate

    Ahahaha – I notice more than those two things :) I definitely see a difference, but maybe that’s just me!

    You look awesome either way :)

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      absolutely! I have never done a legitimate strength training program before and this is the perfect balance of “just intense enough” but not too easy. Highly recommend it! I actually checked the book out of the library to read it first before committing to it. try that in case you don’t like it so you don’t waste your $.

      Reply
  4. Alexis @ Lex & Learn

    I can absolutely see a difference in your pictures, and have found so many times that the measuring tape and scale tell a different story than pictures and my jeans. You look fab! I am leaning towards buying this book to enhance what I am getting out of yoga sculpt (avg. once per week) and spin classes (avg. twice per week).

    Reply
  5. The Teenage Taste

    Wow! I can totally see a difference in the pictures! It sounds like NROLFW is working wonderfully for you! Yay! :-)

    PS – No, I don’t think that the measurements tell the entire story. Why? Because you could be getting rid of some fat or replacing it with muscle which would make your measurements stay the same.

    Reply
  6. Hayley @ Oat Couture

    I think when your talking lots of weight loss like a couple of sizes or something then yeah inches count but not when it comes to toning and sculpting. Can def see results in your back and shoulders btw but you look super toned in both pictures! Can’t wait to see the results when your finished! :)

    Reply
  7. thehealthyapron

    Well, it depends on your goals…are you looking to build bulk? For me, I go by my waist/hip/thigh measurements to make sure I haven’t gained (and my pants size of course) but when it comes to training, it takes a while to get results, especially when you’re already so thin. I started a weight training program earlier this year and right around 3 months I noticed I lost 1/2 ” from both thighs and a solid inch from my waist. I was pleased with that! However, even without the measurement results I notcied every week how much stronger I was getting and THAT was how I measure. I was like…OMG I can do X amount of pushups now, or OMG my yoga work outs have gotten so much better! If you FEEL stronger, that’s what matters. You won’t lose much else though!! You are already tiny!

    Reply
  8. Holly @ The Runny Egg

    I need to take before pictures — I can see a difference in your shoulders, but it is hard to tell because of your tan + better camera :)

    Arms: pushups
    Legs: squats
    I like the “basic” moves I guess!

    Sorry to hear about your back, enjoy your rest week and I hope you feel better soon!

    Reply
  9. girl in the pink

    I think measurements are important for weight loss and possibly gaining muscle/bulking up (which has never been a goal of mine!), but if you are already thin and just trying to tone up I don’t think that measurements are too important!

    You look great btw! :)

    Reply
  10. Pingback: New rules of lifting for women stage 2

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Thanks! I think I’ve lost some of that definition recently, but I’m determined to get it back! :)

      Reply

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