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New Rules of Lifting for Women Stage 4 Recap

by Meghann on December 1, 2011

4 stages down. 4 more to go.


I’m quite proud of this stage. I only took one week off for the Savannah Marathon and was able to stick to the plan the remainder of the time – this is a big difference from the several weeks I had to take off during both stage 2 and 3. I’m still sticking to two days a week instead of three, but I’ve found that works best for my schedule.

The Workouts

Want to know a little secret about Stage 4 that the author fails to mention in the book? It’s the SAME workout as Stage 2. The only difference is the number of reps per set and the number of sets in total.

I knew the workouts felt very similar, but it wasn’t until I was inserting the data for this post that I realized they were identical. It made me realize that I should review old workouts before diving in to new stages. At the very least this should tell me where I was with workouts in previous stages and give an idea of what the weights should be.

One thing that threw me off during Stage 4 was the option of 2-3 sets for each workout.


Give me a little wiggle room in a plan and I panic. I like structure!

Since, there were no further instructions, I sort of played it by ear. I started with three sets at a medium-heavier weight for the first two workouts, then moved up to a heavier weight for the final two. I came down on number of sets as I went up with amount of weight, but kept the number of reps consistent.



Stage 4
Workout A
Front Squat/ Push PressWorkout 140 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 460 lbs(2 Sets)
Step-UpWorkout 120 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 430 lbs(2 Sets)
Dumbell One Point RowWorkout 120 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 425 lbs(2 Sets)
Static Lunge w/ Rear Foot ElevatedWorkout 115 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 425 lbs(2 Sets)
Cable Horizontal Wood ChopWorkout 145 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 450 lbs(2 Sets)
Workout B
Wide Grip Deadlift from BoxWorkout 150 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 470 lbs(2 Sets)
Blugarian Split SquatWorkout 120 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 435 lbs(2 Sets)
Underhand Grip Lat PulldownWorkout 160 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 470 lbs(2 Sets)
Reverse Lunge from BoxWorkout 112 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 415 lbs(2 Sets)
Dumbell Prone Cuban SnatchWorkout 18 lbs(3 Sets)
Workout 412 lbs(2 Sets)

*Note these are not all of the workouts from the plan, these are just the ones where I could track my weight increases.

Honestly, I probably could have gone higher. Looking at my numbers now and comparing them to Stage 2 made me realize that I wasn’t pushing myself like I probably should have. I’m not as happy with my performance as I have been in the past. If I want results, I need to give it all I’ve got.



Right Bicep11in11.25in11.25in11.75in11.75in
Left Bicep10.75in11.15in11.15in11.5in11.75in
Right Thigh21.5in21.30in21in20.75in20.75in
Left Thigh21in21in20.80in20.75in20.75in

Overall I’m happy with the improvement since May, but after seeing a consistent decrease, it’s hard not to see any results this month. This stage does come with a handful of excuses (Which one do you want first? Thanksgiving, all my traveling, or my marathon? I’ve got tons of them!), but I have to accept that not every stage is going to show a difference.

I guess the good news is all the results stayed the same. Better than going up, right? 🙂


(I’ve moved all the comparison shots to their own page and will just be posting the previous stage and current stage photos on the recaps from now on.)

NROLFW Stage 3 Complete.png

End of Stage 4 Photos: 11/27/11

IMG_0036.jpg IMG_0038.jpg IMG_0037.jpg

(all other photos)

I’m really not consistent with angles on these, am I? To be fair, I had just returned from my cruise for the Stage 3 photos so I was nice and tan. The winter paleness doesn’t have quite the same results in highlighting definition. At least that’s what I’m telling myself… 😉

FInal Thoughts

In conclusion, I’m happy how consistent I stayed with my workout commitment this stage, but I’m not as happy with my performance or results. Let’s hope I can learn and improve before I start Stage 5 next week. I’ll also be diving into the holiday season and half marathon training this stage.

It should be interesting…

1 Dori December 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Looking good! But if the number of reps and number of sets are different, it isn’t really the “exact same.” More like almost the same!
Dori recently posted..After November 6

2 Ellie@fitforthesoul December 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I still do see the improvements and changes! Great job, Meg!! 🙂 You’re brave b/c I could NEVER show pics of myself with less than a shirt on…haha. I’m sucha scaredy cat with that.
Ellie@fitforthesoul recently posted..The Importance of Challenging Your Muscles

3 k December 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm

i’m surprised you’re not thrilled with the results. i think you look great and i can see a huge difference from your may before pics.

4 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe December 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Nice work! You’re doing such a great job, and the results are definitely visible! Keep it up!
Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe recently posted..Better Oats RAW Pure & Simple…

5 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Hey, at least your left bicep caught up with your right! And I wouldn’t expect changes for every single stage, it takes the body time to add inches of muscle or lose inches of fat!
Katie @ Peace Love and Oats recently posted..Feeling the Spirit

6 Chef Katelyn December 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Ah! Impressive chica! I definitely need to work on my lifting. Huge issue. otherwise, congrats!! <3
Chef Katelyn recently posted..Fighting the Floopy Day Blues

7 Melissa @TryingtoHeal December 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Oh man, I just did measurements for Bobbi’s Holiday Shred…I need to do your workouts in the arm area so I can get some inches on! Yikes!

But I definitely see the improvements between your pictures! Look’n good!
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8 Jessica December 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Congrats on staying the same. I would definitely say that’s better than going up. I decided to copy and started this program last month. I wanted to ask you did you get sore every time you changed the weights? I got sore at first but not getting sore too much now. I am not lifting as heavy as you are and was wondering if maybe my lack of soreness is because I am lifting too light. Keep up the great work!!
Jessica recently posted..Finally some perspective!

9 Meghann December 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Yes, upping the weights = soreness. I usually take non-soreness as my sign that it’s time to go up. I bet if you went up that you feel it again. BUT I’m no expert.

10 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen December 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

You look great! Staying the same is definitely better than reverting. I’ve taken a temporary hiatus from NROLFW until after my half this weekend then I plan to restart on stage 4 and continue over the winter. I just couldn’t keep up with longer runs and not constantly feel sore!
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11 Meghann December 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I usually take the week off before races for that reason, but I’ve also tweaked my training plan to give plenty of rest between lifting and long/hard runs.

12 Meg at December 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Agreeing with everyone else! Looks like its working to me! I wish I had the attention span to complete a lifting program like this…I’m lucky if I can convince myself to do a few bicep curls a few times a week.
Meg at recently posted..A Blogging Niche and Audio Books

13 Meghann December 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Ha! I started the training plan so I could stay focused, otherwise I, too, would just do a few bicep curls and pat myself on the back for doing something.

14 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Nicely done! It is true that it takes time to really see changes, so keep at it! Don’t lose your mojo–and remember what YOU want most 🙂 Training is hard work, but you’ve got this!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Sugar Addiction -Part 2 + Thankful Thursday

15 kathleen @ the daily crumb December 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm

wow.. i see a huge change between stages 3 and 4! not so much weight loss or looking “skinnier” (i HATE that word), but you look super toned and buff. congrats, girl!
kathleen @ the daily crumb recently posted..thursday crumbs.

16 Heather December 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

you are doing a great job at sticking with this for so long! Way to be consistent!
when I did 6 weeks to 6 pack (which i know you have done some) 5 days a week I wanted to never have to stick so tightly to a plan ever again, so good job!
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17 Katy (The Singing Runner) December 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I think you look great Meghann! Even though there wasn’t a lot of improvement number wise, I see a difference in the photos. 🙂
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..WIAW: I’m Smart! Edition

18 Kate December 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Damn, girl- you look good! I think you’ve officially inspired me to order this book 🙂
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19 Katie @ Livehalffull December 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Wow! You look so good!! You make me want to buy this book!

20 Alexa @ Simple Eats December 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm

You look awesome! Great job 🙂
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21 April December 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

wow! I can totally tell a difference, you look soooo great! Hot Mama!

22 fsugirl December 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm

looking good girly! 🙂

23 Marie December 2, 2011 at 12:18 am

Eat some meat. Muscles aren’t made from nothing. Maybe you’d get some muscle definition with more actual protein, not protein-like substances.

24 J December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

what marie said. you eat WAY too many carbs and hardly ANY protein (meat, not meat like is key here).

and the angles on the pictures skew it so that results look like they are there, where I am guessing they arent (which is why you stated you werent happy with the results).

lay off the oatmeal, cereal and bars.

25 Ida December 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It’s hard to build muscle while training for endurance events. It seems like your primary goal is a 1/2 marathon PR, and therefore you might not see as much muscle growth.
I think you look great, and weight lifting is good for injury prevention and building strong bones. While you may not notice more definition, your body is thanking you for all the hard work.

26 Katherine December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Hey just wanted to bring up that just because there are no “tape-measureable” results, you definitely look stronger 🙂 it’s not all about the measurements and they don’t need to change! You are strong and beautiful and an inspiration 🙂

Katherine recently

27 Scott R December 5, 2011 at 12:47 am

Results are looking good – just stick to the big compound lifts like squat, deadlift and bench and the results are practically guaranteed!

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