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New Rules of Lifting Stage 7 Recap + Final Thoughts!

by Meghann on April 17, 2012

All good things must come to an end…

The final stage of New Rules of Lifting for Women is complete.


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Stage 7 was long! Not only was it long because I chose to repeat the stage twice (there were only 6 workouts, so the author gives the option to repeat stage 7 for a total of 12 workouts), but because the workouts themselves took forever. 4 sets of 15-20 reps is time consuming!

The Workouts


When I first discovered Stage 7 was made up of 6 separate workouts (instead of the typical back and forth of an A and B workout from the other stages) I was more than a little excited. I thought “Yes! a new workout every time!” I thought it would be fun to change it up and break free from the repetitiveness I began to feel with the other stages.

Then I realized they lied. Yes, there were technically 6 separate workouts, but each workout was really just a different combination of the workouts before it. Same moves, but with a different A before it or B after it. Eh.

The workouts were still challenging, I just think that since it was the last stage, I was more than ready to be done. The ridiculous amount of reps and sets didn’t help either. The stage 7 workouts officially won for the longest workouts of the book.

The Weights


Stage 7
Barbell Squat Workout 1 80 lbs
Workout 2 90 lbs
Barbell Romanian Deadlift Workout 1 60 lbs
Workout 2 70 lbs
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row Workout 1 20 lbs
Workout 2 25 lbs
Barbell Incline Bench Workout 1 30 lbs
Workout 2 40 lbs
Seated Row Workout 1 50 lbs
Workout 2 60 lbs
Dumbbell Squat, heels raised Workout 1 20 lbs
Workout 2 30 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press Workout 1 15 lbs
Workout 2 20 lbs
Step-Up Workout 1 20 lbs
Workout 2 30 lbs
Underhand-grip lat Pulldown Workout 1 60 lbs
Workout 2 70 lbs
Barbell Deadlift Workout 1 80 lbs
Workout 2 90 lbs

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

The weights were funky this stage. Because of the number of high reps and sets, I was afraid to increase the weight. I did increase it a tad in the last week, but had to lower the number of reps on some moves for a compromise. Honestly, I think I prefer heavier weights with lower reps. In my head, that equates to a quicker more efficient workout. Whether that’s true or not – I’m not sure – but it’s definitely a better workout mentally.


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Zero changes this stage. Though, I think my measurements are a bit off. I’ve been over indulging on treats the past couple of weeks and feel a bit softer in my tummy because of it. I blame long runs and marathon training. When I should be ramping up the complex carbs, healthy fats, and proteins during training, I totally use marathon training as an excuse to eat all the dessert I want. Bad Meghann.

Still, over the the past 11 months, quite significant changes have been made in terms of shedding inches. Not only inches, but the scale is down a net of 5 lbs too. I can blame the up and down scale on changes in diet (it’s amazing how much the scale fluctuates with clean eating versus not so clean eating) and credit the toned muscles to NROLFW.


(see complete set of photos and stage recaps here)

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End of Stage 7 Photos 4/15/12

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Boy will I be happy not to pose in a bikini anymore after this. My days of self portraits are donezo (for now). My biggest regret with these updates has been my inconsistencies in lighting, angle, and posture for poses. If I were to do this again, I would be more consistent.

Final Thoughts on New Rules of Lifting For Women

Before I started NROLFW, sticking with a strength training plan for more than a week or two was unheard of for me. I was a cardio junkie (ok, I still am) and would get frustrated and give up before I could see the results. I knew how important strength training was for an overall healthy lifestyle, but I just wasn’t as motivated as I was with running. I think I saw running as instant satisfaction – run, sweat, be done. I also liked setting goals for myself with running and liked that it was a solo sport. The weight room was intimidating (still is) and the fact that lifting weights in front of a room full of people automatically turns it into a spectator sport, is the most intimidating part of all.


I liked NROLFW because it didn’t just give me a plan to follow, but motivation to follow said plan. The first part of the book was nothing, but the author raving about how awesome and beneficial weight lifting is. He argues almost every excuse a female might have towards weight lifting, which is something I needed to hear. Plus, the fact that the plan is set-up to take 6 months to complete (or 11 in my case) was another bonus. The longer the plan, the more motivated I am to stick with it.


Probably the biggest challenge with the plan was training for multiple races while following it. The author spends the majority of the book bashing endurance sports and discourages training for half marathons or marathons at all. Did I listen? Nope. I love running too much and I love training for races too much. I think if I was forced to cut that out, i would have gotten bored and given up a long time ago. Running keeps me sane and was a non-negotiable when committing to the plan.

I also did NOT follow the nutrition plan from the book – which was something I said I wouldn’t do from the beginning.The truth is I’m awful at following any eating plan that is laid out in front of me. Basically, I hate having someone tell me what to eat and what to do. I know me and I know if anything is considered ‘off limits’ I’ll immediately crave it until I eventually cave and eat obscene amounts of it. I know that I don’t always eat right, but I do strive for healthy balanced meals the majority of the time and am very happy with that. If I had followed the plan, I’m sure I would have seen different results, but I’m not sure I would ever go back and change that.


The workouts themselves started out slow and became a bit repetitive as time went off. There was a rotation of about 10 or 12 moved that he cycled through the plan. The moves were great, but after 11 months of just them, I am ready for a change! I yearn to try different lifts, presses, and even push ups just to mix it up a bit. The NROLFW is designed to mix it up some, but definitely not enough.


My body feels stronger now. My muscles aren’t bulging, but they’re definitely more defined. My stomach doesn’t stick out as much, my arms and legs are more toned, and my butt is higher than it has been in years. The results aren’t dramatic, but they’re there and I can see them. :)

What comes next?

If there’s one thing NOROLFW taught me, it’s that I need a long term plan to follow if I want to stick with strength training. I’m not a girl who can walk in the weight room and know exactly what to do or make it up along the way. I need structure, I need organization, and I need someone else to write it out for me. I think the main reason why I stuck with NROLFW so long was because of the structure of the plan. Sure, I’d take a couple of weeks off at a time (mainly when preparing/ recovering for races), but I would always return to it and pick it back up right where I left off.

I started the Tone It Up 8-week Bikini Challenge Series on Monday to mix it up a bit. I’m also researching a few other strength training plans to pick up with once that is done. I received the original New Rules of Lifting for Christmas and my original plan was to start it after NROLFW and compare the two plans, but I think i need a break from the author’s workout style. I’m sure I’ll revisit that book in a few months, but I need to mix it up a bit to keep me interested.

I do know that strength training isn’t going anywhere in my life. I’ve come too far to give up on it now. It is nice to know that the weight room isn’t so scary after all, strength training does produce results, and all it takes is the completion of one goal to sprout out a new one.

This, my friends, is only the beginning. ;)

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