New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 1

It has been eight weeks since I started the New Rules of Lifting for Women workout program. On Monday of last week, I finished the last workout for Stage 1 so it is time for a recap and to check in on my progress.

NROLFW_1

Breaking It In

Before I started the NROLFW program, I was honestly intimidated by the free weights section of the gym. A long time ago, a sports medicine doctor told me that I needed to be careful with my shoulders because of a swimmer’s shoulder diagnosis. I definitely took that diagnosis a little to the extreme and shied away from anything related to lifting heavy weights. I was also under the impression that if I lifted heavy weights I would become “bulky” and look sort-of like a man. After reading the book and doing tons of research, I realized that none of my fears were actually validated.

NROLFW_2

How It Works

Stage 1 consisted of two workouts (A and B) that were done a total of eight times each and followed by two special workouts. Each workout consisted of 5 exercises (10 different exercises total). The workout schedule prescribed the number of sets and how many reps per set that I was supposed to do as well as how much rest I was supposed to take between sets.

NROLFW_3

One of my favorite things about this program is that everything is laid out for me. Before I even set foot in the gym, I know what exercises I am supposed to do and how many reps and sets of each exercise. The difficult part for me was deciding what weights to use. In the end, I think I did a pretty good job of figuring out what was appropriate for me.

The Workouts

So did I improve over the course of eight weeks? Absolutely!! By the end of stage 1, I increased the weights I used for every singe exercise. In my opinion, that is a significant improvement. The tables below show the difference between the my starting points and ending points. Workout 9, the special workout, was intended to show a difference and it did. I used the same weights as I did for Workout 1.

Workout A:

Workout 1

Workout 8

Workout 1

Workout 9

Dumbbell Squat*Push Up**

Bent Over Row***

Step Up

Prone Jackknife**

50 lbs.

30* BW

20 lbs.

40 lbs.

BW

70 lbs.

Full BW

60 lbs.

60 lbs.

BW

15 reps

15 reps

15 reps

15 reps

8 reps

20 reps

20 reps

30 reps

20 reps

20 reps

Workout B:

Workout 1

Workout 8

Workout 1

Workout 9

Dumbbell Deadlift*Dumbbell Shldr. Press

Wide Lat Pulldown

Lunge

Swiss-ball Crunch**

50 lbs.

20 lbs.

40 lbs.

40 lbs.

BW

80 lbs.

40 lbs.

80 lbs.

60 lbs.

20 lbs.

15 reps

15 reps

15 reps

15 reps

8 reps

30 reps

25 reps

25 reps

20 reps

40 reps

  • * These exercises were supposed to be done with barbells but my fitness center doesn’t have any so I used dumbbells instead.
  • ** These exercises are all body weight exercises. I went from doing my push ups at a 30* angle to a full push up.
  • *** My fitness center doesn’t have a cable machine so I had to do a modified version of this exercise.

The Results

These workouts were definitely about finding a good starting point and becoming comfortable with free weights. Along the way, I have learned to push myself and test my limits. I have also started to become more comfortable with my body which is huge! So are there measurable results? Absolutely!!

Before (1/23/12)

Stage #1 (3/11/12)

Difference

Chest

Rt. Bicep

Lt. Bicep

Waist

Hips

Rt. Thigh

Lt. Thigh

Wrist*

Rt. Forearm*

Weight

Body Fat %

35.00

10.50

10.50

29.00

39.75

23.50

23.50

5.75

8.375

151.0

26.8%

33.50

10.00

10.50

29.00

38.50

23.125

23.25

5.75

8.00

146.0

26.7%

-1.50

-0.50

-1.25

-0.375

-0.25

-0.375

-5.0

-0.1%

That is a whole of lot of numbers to process but essentially I lost a total of 4.25 inches, 5 pounds and 0.1% body fat during the first stage. I think I was hoping for a bigger loss in my body fat percentage but the again I wasn’t very strict with my diet.

Before and After Stage 1 Pictures

BeforeAfter Stage 1

BeforeAfter Stage 1

BeforeAfter Stage 1

The visible changes that I can see are very subtle. As my sister so wonderfully pointed out to me while taking the “After” pictures, I have back fat. Now that I look at these pictures side by side, I can see that I have less back fat. I can also see that my arms have more definition (yay!) and my stomach is slightly flatter (double yay!). The results that I want won’t happen over night so I am thrilled to see even the slightest changes.