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New Rules of Lifting for Women Stage 5 Recap

by Meghann on January 4, 2012

Adios Stage 5!

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This stage really flew by, but that’s probably because this is the first stage I took zero breaks during. After I finished the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 4th, it was four weeks straight of two-a-week workouts without any interruptions. It just happened to work out that I finished Stage 5 the week before Ragnar, so the week of rest I usually give myself before a big race was built in with the suggested week of rest between each stage. Sweet.

The amount of time it took to complete Stage 5 went fast, but – in the beginning – I was fading fast with how much time it was taking me to finish each Stage 5 workout.

Just as Stage 4 was a replica of Stage 2, Stage 5 is a repeat of Stage 3 – only longer rests, shorter reps, and more sets. The original workout plan called for 120 second rests between each of the 4 sets, which can add up really quickly. I found myself twiddling my thumbs as the seconds dragged on between sets and my mind grew bored at the task at hand. Each workout took 75 minutes and knowing how long they would take, had me dreading each one.

Luckily, I took a few of your suggestions in the comments and opted to cut the amount of rest between each set in half. The 120 second rests became 60 and my time in the weight room went from 75 minutes to 55. I didn’t feel as if the shorter rests took away from my recovery and the shorter workouts saved my sanity and commitment to the workouts. Win. Win.

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The Workouts

Like I said above, Stage 5 was a repeat of Stage 3. Nothing different there. It worked out great because I was already comfortable with all of the moves and, since there were less reps, I was able to start out on the heavier side where I had left off in Stage 3. I loved it.

However, I can’t say I was a fan of the ab workouts – I dreaded them! Maybe it was because they came at the end of each workout, but I had to force myself to ‘not phone it in.’ If I wasn’t careful I would start just going through the motions and waste my time with poor form and execution. The 120 second planks and prone cobras were the worst! I was happy to get through them (because that meant the workout was over), but getting to that point was not cool.

Weights


Stage 5
Workout A
One Arm Dumbell Snatch Workout 1 15 lbs
Workout 4 20 lbs
Dumbell Single-Leg Deadlift Workout 1 20 lbs
Workout 4 25 lbs
Barbell Bent Over Row Workout 1 40 lbs
Workout 4 70 lbs
Dumbell Single Overhead Squat Workout 1 10/20 lbs
Workout 4 12/25 lbs
Dumbell Incline Bench Press Workout 1 15 lbs
Workout 4 20 lbs
Reverse Wood Chop Workout 1 40 lbs
Workout 4 50 lbs
Workout B
Barbell Deadlift Bent Over Row Workout 1 50 lbs
Workout 4 70 lbs
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Workout 1 70 lbs
Workout 4 80 lbs
Back Extenstion Workout 1 10 lbs
Workout 4 25 lbs
YTWL Workout 1 10 lbs
Workout 4 15 lbs

The workouts started with 4 sets of 4 reps and moved to 3 sets of 4 reps. When the number os sets decreased I was able to increase the weight and really feel the burn. I like doing a lot of reps at a light weight, but nothing compares to doing just a few reps at a heavier weight. You can really feel it!

Measurements


5/26/11 7/15/11 8/22/11 10/18/11 11/27/11 1/2/12
Chest 34in 34in 34in 33in 33in 33in
Right Bicep 11in 11.25in 11.25in 11.75in 11.75in 11.85in
Left Bicep 10.75in 11.15in 11.15in 11.5in 11.75in 11.8in
Waist 31in 30.25in 30in 29in 29in 27.5in
Hips 39in 38.65in 38.4in 38.1in 38in 37.5in
Right Thigh 21.5in 21.30in 21in 20.75in 20.75in 20.5in
Left Thigh 21in 21in 20.80in 20.75in 20.75in 20.75in

I’m convinced I’m incorrectly measuring my waist. I’ve been using the bend over side-to-side tactic and measuring the area where I bend at, but when I went to the doctor’s office on the 18th and the nurse measured my waist at 26.5 inches, I began to question my method.

Screen shot 2012-01-03 at 3.59.30 PM.png

My weight at the doctor’s office was also a lot less than I was expecting (a full 7 pounds less than what the new scale at home read the night before), but that’s another issue altogether.

Still, wanting to keep it consistent, I did the side-to-side bending measurement today and came to 27.5in. I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose 1.5in on my waist in a month, but I checked and double checked and got 27.5 each time. So, yeah. Who knows.

Photos

(see complete set of photos and stage recaps here)

NROLFW Stage 4 Complete.png

End of Stage 5 Photos: 1/2/12

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Please excuse the pasty whiteness. :)

It’s always hard to see the differences in the photos (the different angles in both sets of shots doesn’t help), but they’re there – just very subtle. My arms have a tiny bit more definition and I feel like my lower abs are looking better.

Right before Stage 1 versus End of Stage 5

NROLFWBeginningStage5comparison.jpg

If you look past the different angles/posture/lighting, it’s pretty cool to see the differences. :)

Wanna know a little secret?

At the end of every stage I dread taking the progress photos. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of tracking the progress, I’m just really bad at the photos. I’m not sure how to stand, I have to use self timer (or rely on Derek who only takes one shot max before he grunts and walks away), the point and shoot quality drives me crazy (but I want to keep it consistent), and the changes are so subtle to track that sometimes I wonder if it’s really there or just the way I’m standing.

For example: I had my self timer set on three continuous shots and managed to capture this series of me correcting my posture and sucking in after each shot.

powerofposture.jpg

See the difference? The power of good posture and sucking it in is a beautiful thing.

So, yeah. I’m awful at taking photos and if I were to do this again I would:

  1. Set up a tripod that I wouldn’t touch and use it consistently every time
  2. Set up a white background for each shot
  3. Take the photos at the same time of day for similar lighting
  4. Use my DSLR instead of the point and shoot
  5. Place my hands in the same spot every time
  6. Brush my hair

Live and learn, right?

Final Thoughts

I only have three stages left! Eekk!!!

So far I’m happy with my progress. I have my moments where I wonder if I’m really seeing a difference, but it’s there. It’s not just in all the above stats either, it’s how my clothes fit as well. My jeans aren’t as tight, shirts look smoother on my belly, and my arms sort of pop in sleeveless stuff. I’m digging it.

Next week starts Stage 6, which focuses on a lot of upper body strength with an end goal of doing one unassisted pull up. An unassisted pull up, huh? Can’t say I’ve ever been successful at one, so it should be fun testing out that goal. :)

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Ahh I had taking self portraits- they’re so awkward! But it’s a great way to see your progress regardless, you look great!
Heather @ Side of Sneakers recently posted..Cilantro Lime Rice, Chipotle Style

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2 Lauri January 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I think your results are amazing, especially in your abs, what a difference!!!! I am jealous, I want to do this but don’t know if I have the time. How many days a week do you ned to strength train?
Lauri recently posted..Pumpkin Patch Birthday Party

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3 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

The program recommends 2-3 days a week of strength training. I started with 3 days a week, but found that schedule was difficult too keep up while training for my HIM over the summer. I dropped to 2 days a week in the middle of stage 1 and found that the time commitment was much more manageable that way. Each workout is roughly an hour long, so 2 hours total a week for strength training.

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4 Shannon January 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

You look great! Congrats on getting through the 5 stages and making progress!
Shannon recently posted..Goat Cheese Linguini

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5 Krissy @ Shiawase Life January 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Work it, Meghann! You are looking great!!!
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..wordless wednesday.

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6 Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

That website/application apparently thinks you are a dude. Or, just felt like telling you that you have a normal waist measurement for a guy.

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7 Katie @ Healthy Heddleston January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

It might be hard to see the difference between stage 4 and 5 — but from stage 1 to 5, you can tell it’s working! Great work!

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8 tracey January 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You can definitely see the difference from stage 1 to 5 – you look amazing! Keep it up!

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9 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife January 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Can def see a difference–nice work!

P.s. the website thing said you were a male…uhhh what? Check it out–kinda funny.

“Waist” is measured at the narrowest part, or usually right above the navel –hope that helps!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Staples To Stock Your Pantry

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10 Hillary January 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to pick a strength training plan and stick with it (something I’ve slacked on BIG time). The more I read your reviews of NRLFW, the more I want to give it a shot. Maybe it’s time to just bite the bullet!
Hillary recently posted..A Good Start

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11 Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Wow, I definitely see the difference between Stage 1 progress photos and the most recent ones! Good work Meghann!
Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! recently posted..My New Gym—OrangeTheory Fitness

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12 Lena @Fit on the Rocks January 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

You can most definitely see the progress from the beginning to now. It’s very noticeable (not that you looked bad before or anything). Your abdominals are seeing the biggest difference, so maybe I should try this. It’s the one area I’m seeing the least difference through my workouts.
Lena @Fit on the Rocks recently posted..I Hear a Rumbling

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13 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Your progress is amazing. That side by side comparison from day 1 to now is awesome. Nice job!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..Chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie

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14 Jess January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

You look fantastic! I’m going to give this a shot!

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15 Reenie January 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Ok……..I’m ordering the book NOW!!!

From Stage 1 to Stage 5 you can totally see a difference. Great Job Meghann……waaaay to go!!!

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16 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe January 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

You’re lookin’ smokin’ girl! One of my goals for this year is to incorporate more strength training, you’re an inspiration!
Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe recently posted..It’s time to be a better me…

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17 Amanda - RunToTheFinish January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm

i love thatyou really tracked your progress. i am always saying I will with photos, but like you can’t figure out how to get it consistent. I think you recap of what to do is good.

I think your waist measurement is probably more like what the doc said, but the overall is that you consistently took 1 and that’s what counts! definitely motivating me to stick with my weight routine
Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted..Overcrowding is a Good thing

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18 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups January 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I think you’re looking awesome! Way to go–you’re more than halfway done!
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..In a jar

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19 Tina @ Best Body Fitness January 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Your changes are phenomenal!!! And you know where to go if you ever need a new workout plan after NROL4W. ;)
Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..You Can’t Fool Me

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20 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

If I can afford you! ;) My sister bought me the men’s version of the book for Christmas, I’m debating trying that one out too and comparing the two programs.

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21 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Holy cow – those are amazing results!! Have you just added this in with your regular eating, running, etc – or did you also change your diet? I’m so impressed!
Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..Cruising Through What I Ate Wednesday

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22 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I’ve made some changes in my diet and, honestly, I saw a lot of weight come off after I stopped training for the HIM. I plan to do a post on all of this in the near future.

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23 Sarah M @ Blonde Bostonian January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

You look AWESOME Meghann!! You can definitely see the changes — it has to feel so rewarding!
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24 CaitlinHTP January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

There is a big difference from stage 1 to now! you look amazing and healthy!

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25 Cait's Plate January 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

You seriously look awesome Meghann. If you can’t always see the difference, just know that we all DEFINITELY can!
Cait’s Plate recently posted..A Bowl of Fage Keeps the Doctor Away

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26 Kathy January 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I say way to go for even taking and thus posting pics….I could never do that! (Unless, I was on Biggest Loser and was maybe going to win lots of money for it…ha!)
Kathy recently posted..Here we go again…

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27 Caitlin January 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Meghann, you look great! You can really see a difference between the end of stage 5 and before stage 1, your stomach looks awesome! Did you start stage 1 in May of last year?
Caitlin recently posted..After a long holiday

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28 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Yes, May 2011 –> http://mealsandmiles.com/2011/05/27/the-new-rules-of-lifting-for-women-plan/ It’s not a short plan by any means.

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29 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City January 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Wow, I’m so impressed by your dedication. Strength training is one of those things I know I should be but dread. Awesome job!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Health Starts Here

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30 Emily January 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I also hate taking progress pics. My hubs refuses to take them for me, and I have trouble finding a good place to set up my camera for the self-timer.

But really, I can see HUGE differences in you from pre-NROLFW and now.
Emily recently posted..Am I OLD?

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31 Lindsay January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Meghann, lookin’ good! Maybe I will try this as well, you’ve inspired me. Another question I have is that it appears in your pictures that you have knock knees…..Have you ever had any problems with your knee caps causing you pain during running? I have slight knock knees too and was recently diagnosed with “loose kneecaps”?

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32 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Yes, I have AWFUL knock knees! They honestly give me more problems with properly executing yoga poses than with running. *knock on wood* I haven’t had any pain in my knees from running yet *double knock on wood*

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33 Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

what wonderful results!!!! Great job!!!
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34 Ali Mc January 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I LOVE THIS!!!! girl you are so amazing! I can’t even believe the difference. You looked great before but you look so healthy now. I need to put myself on a similar plan!

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35 Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl January 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

You are rocking the end of stage 5! Nice job! (I’m a bit jealous) ;)
Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl recently posted..Portion Control for Women

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36 ~Jessica~ January 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

You’re too humble: I can see a huge difference in your waist. Holy definition!

Would you say that the figure you now have is primarily down to the NROLFW program, or to any dietary changes you might have made?

Thanks!

xxx
~Jessica~ recently posted..WIAW’s 50th – ‘Orange’ You Glad Its 2012?

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37 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

The big question! i think the dietary changes helped with losing the inches, but I think the NROLFW helped with the definition, especially in the tummy area. I’m going to write a post about this topic sometime next week.

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38 JamIe @ Don't Forgetthe Cinnamon January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Lookin’ great girl!!! You should feel pretty darn awesome about yourself!
JamIe @ Don’t Forgetthe Cinnamon recently posted..Starting the year with a bang!

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39 Jessica January 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

There is a HUGE difference between stage 1 and 5! Awesome job!
And yeah, I resort to the time for progress photos as well and it sucks :(

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40 Claire Z. January 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Meghann, I wanted to know if you ever dealt with shoulder joint pain while working on weight training? I amped up my workouts in Dec and my shoulders have been killing me, like doing something as dumb as slicing bread or pulling a sweater off is painful. Just looking to see if anyone else has had anything like this.

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41 Meghann January 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

Is it just a soreness pain or does it feel like you pulled something? I would suggest speaking to a certified personal trainer or a physical therapist to make sure you’re using proper form with the movements. That could help.

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42 Claire Z. January 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

It feels like more of a jointy/tendony thing than an “I overdid it with the weights” thing. I know you’re right but PT is so expensive. I’m working on icing it and giving them a break and seeing if that works.

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43 Lauren January 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I, too, see a very noticeable difference in your waist and stomach. You looked great before, and you look great – and even more toned – now. Such great work!

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44 Heather @ Run Eat Play January 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

You look great! Keep up the awesome work!
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45 Katy Widrick January 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Holy tiny waist and hips — you look so strong and lean!
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46 Jessica January 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I can definitely see the difference in the waist from stage 4 to 5. You are looking fantastic! Keep up the great work. :)
Jessica recently posted..Why I don’t run well with others

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47 Bri January 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Congrats on your awesome and hard-won results! You look fantastic and really confident. The next time I feel like skipping a weight workout, I’ll probably be less inclined to do so. :)

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48 Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle January 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm

You’ve made some awesome progress with this! But I do have one question, I obviously follow you on twitter too so I see that you run a lot. Do you think the running has more to do with the weight loss than the lifting?
Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle recently posted..Shifting Focus to Get Strong

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49 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I’ve alway been a runner (well, since January 2008) and haven’t upped my running mileage at all since I’ve started this program. I still consistently run 25 miles (give or take) a week, just as I did back in May. :)

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50 Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle January 5, 2012 at 10:13 am

Oh that’s awesome!! In that case… I need to try this! :)

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51 Carissa January 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I love this post! I’m so happy to see someone sharing the success they’ve seen in the weight room. More women need advocates to see the benefit of strenght training.
- You won’t bulk up
- you’ll gain metabolically active tissue (muscle)
- You’ll build stronger bones
- You’ll lose inches

It’s all over a good thing!
Carissa recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday – A Tale of 2 Meals

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52 Allison January 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

You look fabulous and have def developed definition- one of my goals this year! Great inspiration…
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53 Breanne January 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm

You look AWESOME! Way to go! I can totally see a huge difference between stage 1 and now!

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54 Shayla @ The Good Life January 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

You look absolutely fantastic Meghann!!! You can most definitely see a difference between then and now – you look so beautiful and healthy – and you can really see it in the tummy area. I saw above in the comments that you’ll be doing a post on your dietary changes and crediting some of that to your figure so I’m looking forward to that as I’m curious about that as well!

Question – I know in the past you had period troubles when losing weight, I know this is a personal question but have you maintained your period or noticed a difference since losing weight? I’m still trying to get my period back since going off the pill and my history sounds similar to your Period posts and was just curious if your body’s changes effected your period at all?
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55 Meghann January 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

My period has remained normal through the program. It’s actually more regular now than it has been in the past three year. I think the higher protein intake and less running miles really help.

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56 Shayla @ The Good Life January 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Wow that’s so interesting! That tells me even more that my lack of period is contributed to my cardio which I’ve lessened significantly…so interesting how some people are so much more sensitive to cardio and need just that right balance than others. Thanks for answering my question Meghann, I appreciate it! :)
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57 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Wow, you can totally tell the difference! Well done on following through with the program. Looking good!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Dyn-a-max!

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58 Rachel January 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Let me just echo the comments and say you look fantastic–talk about a flat stomach :) Good motivation for me to get on board with the program!

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59 Army Amy* January 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

You look great, Girl. The program seems forever long, but it apparently pays off!*
Army Amy* recently posted..Book Review: Born to Run

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60 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats January 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I bought the book before Christmas and I’m so excited to get started when I get back to school!
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61 Allie January 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Oh my gosh, you look awesome!! I am so inspired by your dedication, you are amazing!
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62 Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Self portraits are always hard to take, but at least you’re taking them!

And your waist is measured at the thinnest part of your body, so I figured out when I measured for Bobbi’s Holiday Shred, haha.

I can certainly see a difference! but really, it should be all about how you feel and comfortable with it! :) Great job Megs!
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63 Sue Kauffman January 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

You really can see a difference. You go girl! I did P90X two years ago and have been doing some kind of weight training ever since. Sorry to say I never took before and after photos because I was already “in shape” and didn’t think it would be worth it. Wish I had now. At age 49 I can do an unasisted pull up and I NEVER could all my life. You will be proud when you accomplish it as I am sure you will.
Sue Kauffman recently posted..Online Fitness Coaching: Get back on Track After the Holidays

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64 Jana January 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Awesome post! You’re body looks awesome and it really is encouraging to see what a difference strength training can make in the overall appearance. You look so strong, I may have to get the book myself!
Jana recently posted..Puppy Love

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65 Denise January 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Inspiring results! Congrats!
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66 Sally Kate January 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

You look great! I have noticed a huge difference in my body since my boyfriend and I moved in together… and not in a good way. I’m trying to start yoga again- which I haven’t done since I started school in August and my legs are starting to really feel it!

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67 Emily @LivingLongfellow January 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Dang girl you’ve come along way!! Good for you!!

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68 Heather January 5, 2012 at 1:19 am

You look flipping amazing! Congrats!

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69 Chatelaine January 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

such inspiring results! i had contemplated starting this program back in the summer and found your site and dove right in. i’m just starting stage 4 and have been battling hunger with increase in workouts. i’m really not doing my self any help by eating more while working out. bummer. i’ve totally gained weight….. seeing your results in front of me should be the kick in my pants to smarten up with this program! thanks for posting all of this, it really helps!

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70 Amy @ Pinning my Pinterest January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

great job!! I love lifting – I started oh Feb before last so going on 2 years. I did zero cardio – I lost all my weight by lifting….I love it. I have actually decided to add cardio, I really need to. Lifting can be addicting. I don’t go at it as hard as I used to….I used to be really strict – 5 days a week!
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71 Alaina January 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

WOW!! You look amazing!! I bought that book but it’s just been sitting there; I haven’t touched it yet. I think the main thing is that I don’t have a gym membership.

Do you think having that membership is more beneficial to the program instead of working it out at home?
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72 Ellen @ Undercover Runner Eats January 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I JUST finished Stage 5 too! You can check out my recap here: http://ucrunnereats.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/nrolfw-stage-5-recap/
Ellen @ Undercover Runner Eats recently posted..NROLFW – Stage 5 Recap

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73 Nicole January 8, 2012 at 12:05 am

You look amazing! Truly amazing!
Nicole recently posted..Getting things done

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74 Hannah/hyunah February 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Hi, it’s so good to see some good resort becouse I just start this program myself. And at the moment I am doing it only in stage1 workout 2B. but I used to work out 5 days a week no matter what. I think I got a resolt in 4 month. my dress size is definitly changed. (14- 10, some clothes are 12. )And I can feel people looking at me sometimes when I walk around city.. well… it’s not a full on.. I was just surprised!
Anyway the thing is… Recent few days I was sick by breathing problem ( I had a surgery before) and I kind of indulged a lot. And I can feel my butt is blooming! I cannot resist this! So I am heading gym today for sure..///
Moving on~ so.. what I want to say is .. I am not sure about 3 days a week program… is this really gonna work? Because now I feel it’s not enough.
I used to doing things 3set 15reps every workouts, but now it’s all 2 sets. And all the movements are I already used to it.. so it does not really fresh and feel new for me. How can I do? Do you have any advise for starer for this book?

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