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New Rules of Lifting for Women

I picked this book up after Kelly mentioned on her blog that she was reading it a month or so ago.


I finally had the chance to finish it while on the plane back from Ireland (nothing like a little vacation guilt to get you jump started on a workout plan!).  I liked the book for a few reasons. It was concise, it explained the rationale behind the plan, and the workouts are simple with incredibly easy to follow descriptions and drawings. I’ve been a photocopying fiend these past couple of days (the book is from the library) trying to capture all the moves to get me through the 6 or so months of the plan. And then finally, yesterday we got the “piece de resistance” to complete the home gym and make this plan possible to do from home.

home gymbasement home gym

Notice how most of the weights are on the floor, not the bar. Baby steps.

I priced out the cost of buying a similar setup at Walmart and it was going to run over $300. This came from craigslist, 15 minutes from my house. Cost? $50. Can’t beat that! I make fun of Ulysses all the time for his craigslist addiction (it’s bad, seriously) but I’m not sure I can blame him anymore with deals like these.

I really wanted to be able to do these workouts at home.

1. We already have the home gym (another craigslist find!) with the lat pull down and cable attachments + dumbbells.

2. It’s super convenient with about a 20 stair commute to my basement.

3. It’s cheaper than paying for a gym membership.


One of the book’s main points is that machines just don’t cut it when it comes to strength training, so I knew with just a few additions I’d be able to do this at home. In fact, the book even gives a few variations for people using a home gym. Score! I’m still missing a chin-up bar but, that move doesn’t come into play until the last stage of workouts many weeks from now. I’ll be scouring craigslist between now and then.



That one on the bottom right is fun! It kind of feels like gymnastics.

I’ve been casually lifting weights for the past year or so. I say casually because just as the book discusses, I’ve been doing what we’ve all been brainwashed to think are the “right” exercises (bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc.) but in reality these are only working small, isolated muscles and force us to use our muscles in ways our body would never naturally need to do. I actually believe the book’s viewpoint on these moves not being truly effective because even though I definitely saw an improvement in muscle definition since doing those moves, I didn’t feel any stronger. Pushups still own me and I can’t do a chin-up to save my life.

The book also has a detailed diet plan. Not a diet in the sense of restrictions but, more so about what combination of macronutrients your body needs and performs best with when doing strength training. I don’t plan on following the diet plan strictly but I did take away a few good key points (like being more mindful of my protein intake to make sure it’s enough and what I’m eating after workouts).

So, I’m jumping on the New Rules bandwagon. I’m excited to finally have a “legit” plan in place (I’ve never even used a barbell before!) and to see what the results will look like. The plan ideally calls for 3 workouts a week. I’m not going to recap the entire thing but, Meghann has a great post on more of the specifics. I still plan on running about 3 days a week as well (one interval, one mid mileage (3-4 miles) and one long run day (5-7 miles)). I’m curious how this will affect my running. Not sure if I will be too sore or tired to run my best or if the increased strength will complement running and make me a stronger/faster runner. I guess time will tell and I’ll adjust if need be.

NROLFW resultsNROLFW results

I never thought I’d post measurements or pictures on the internet but I really want to hold myself to this so here they are…

Measurements as of 5/31/2011:

Chest: 36 in (apparently I’m true to size here!)

Waist: 26 1/2 in

Hip: 36 3/4 in

Left bicep: 10 1/2 in

Right bicep: 10 3/4 in

Left thigh: 21 3/4 in (so that’s why jeans sometimes feel tighter on my left leg!)

Right thigh: 21 in

*Weight: 131.5 lbs

*curious to see how/if this changes with strength training

Side note: I can’t find measuring tape anywhere. I used bakers string, marked it and then lined it up against a tape measure!

NROLFW beforeNROLFW before

NROLFW beforeNROLFW before

It’s totally more hard core when you don’t smile.

I’m going to try and update these after each “stage” of the plan which vary in length. The first update will be in about 5-6 weeks when stage 1 is complete (16 workouts in total, 3 a week).

Here we go…

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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