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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.


NROLFW side final.jpg

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 SquatWorkout 180 lbs
Workout 290 lbs
Barbell Romanian DeadliftWorkout 160 lbs
Workout 270 lbs
Dumbbell Bent-Over RowWorkout 120 lbs
Workout 225 lbs
Barbell Incline BenchWorkout 130 lbs
Workout 240 lbs
Seated RowWorkout 150 lbs
Workout 260 lbs
Dumbbell Squat, heels raisedWorkout 120 lbs
Workout 230 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder PressWorkout 115 lbs
Workout 220 lbs
Step-UpWorkout 120 lbs
Workout 230 lbs
Underhand-grip lat PulldownWorkout 160 lbs
Workout 270 lbs
Barbell DeadliftWorkout 180 lbs
Workout 290 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.


Screen shot 2012-04-17 at 1.06.03 PM.png

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)

NROLFW Stage 6.png

End of Stage 7 Photos 4/15/12

IMG_2128.JPG IMG_2158.JPG IMG_2131.JPG

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. 😉

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life April 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Great consistency, Meghann! I admire your dedication.
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2 Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free April 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm

You got great results! I’m working my way through stage 2 now after doing an abbreviated stage 1 and so far, I like it. It does get repeatative – I’ve been subbing exercises/variations for a few moves just to beat the boredom.
Gabby @ Gabby’s Gluten-Free recently posted..Perfect Pinto Beans & 2 Minute Chipotle Bean Dip

3 Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thanks so much for being so open and sharing with everybody!! You really look great. I’m completely with you when it comes to the “diet” portion … I hate having a set plan to follow and a list of things to eat or not to eat. I can’t deal with that. Way too restrictive!
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4 Niki@justrunninwithit April 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Congrats for sticking with the plan!
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5 Corey @ Learning Patience April 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Looks great…I think you have inspired me to do a before and after run down on my crazy life/physical/running change… thanks

xoxo from Trinidad
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6 Jenna April 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

You should try p90x! it is time consuming but there’s a way runners modify it which i’m sure you could look up online!

7 Emily N April 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm

So glad to see you deciding to stick to strength. I am thinking about Jamie Eason’s plan but no that with all of the running/marathoning I like to do, I am not sure that I would see the results that she gets! So therefore, not sure if it is a good plan or not. Thoughts?
Emily N recently posted..6 miles – Pre Work

8 Sneakers2sandals April 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hey girl – you look good (insert wink face) !
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9 genna April 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

happy to hear your results! I jut bought the book and now need to plan my workouts! it was hard to read everything. I found it very dry!

10 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups April 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

You look great! I can’t believe you started this plan almost one year ago. Way to stick with it and keep up with your race training!
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11 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You look great, and you really can see a difference between the first and last photo! I give you a lot of credit, I think that lifting plan is too long and not my style. I’m hoping to start working body pump or some type of strength training into my schedule.
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12 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Wait, what? an 80lb deadlift? This sounds so low. I deadlift 165lb at CrossFit and this is LOW.
Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope recently posted..CrossFit>Therapy

13 Meghann April 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I’ve spoken to other CrossFit-ters who dead lift 165 lbs+ too. I think that’s another fault to the NROLFW program, they don’t tell you where to start out with weight, so I was totally guessing. The deadlifts required 15-20 reps which is why my number seems so low. I probably could have gone up, but as I said above, the higher weights at higher reps were tricky.

14 Katie April 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Congratulations! I think you look amazing! I’m super jealous of your arm muscles! I was inspired when you started the program and also bought the book, but when I was in an automobile accident I stopped the program. I also agree that I wish they had told us some kind of average starting weight for the different lifts. It is confusing for new people!
Katie recently posted..Sun and Rain with fun in between!

15 Hillary April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting NRLFW for a while, but like you, I don’t want to give cardio up completely. I like doing cardio for the mental benefits—a good run or sweat session is like my own free therapy, and I don’t know that I could give it up cold turkey for months. Who knows? Maybe I’d love it after a while!
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16 Carrie April 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Congrats for sticking with the program for that long!!
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17 Grace @ Healthy Dreaming April 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Congratulations! I can definitely see the difference. Thanks for letting me know about the TB Lady Bloggers group! I hope I can meet you girls at a future event 🙂
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18 Brittney April 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

You looked awesome before, but you look awesome now too! You definitely got results and it looks like you burned off a little fat too (not that you really had any before but you know what I’m saying!) You can definitely see that you are more toned. This makes me really excited to start weight lifting again soon! The little bit of muscle I’ve gained from zumba just excites me, but your results really hit it home!

19 Rachel Wilkerson April 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Has it really been almost a year?! Wow, time flies, as it seems like you just started! Anyway, congrats!! Like you, I used to be a cardio junkie, but I think once you find a program you like and can stick with, like you said, you’ll never go back. Still, it takes patience to get to that point and I’ve loved following and seeing your dedication!!

20 Army Amy* April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

The proof is in the pudding! You look great! Check out those guns, Girl!*
Army Amy* recently posted..Big D Texas Marathon Race Recap

21 Melissa @TryingtoHeal April 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

If you have the $$ and want a serious challenge, I suggest Insanity. I just started month two and it’s seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve even done some P90X and this puts it in the dirt! If you want to hear more about it let me know!!!
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22 Melissa @TryingtoHeal April 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Oh, and of course, your results are AWESOME!! You did a great job working with this for almost a year!
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23 BroccoliHut April 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Major congrats on finishing the final stage! You look so toned and, more importantly, happy 🙂
I am the same way when it comes to strength training–I need someone else to do the planning and create structure for me. Otherwise, I’ll get intimidated by the weights and come up with an excuse not to strength train. Seth is an expert when it comes to that stuff, so I periodically have him make me a new plan to follow!
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24 Cait's Plate April 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

You honestly look fantastic!! Your hard work most definitely paid off 🙂
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25 Amanda April 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

If I was training for a marathon I’d probably see it as a good reason to eat more ice cream. A lot of ice cream.

26 Emily @ runningmyliferace April 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Way to stick with the program for the long term! Your pictures motivate me to start a long term plan because you clearly got results from the program. Even thought I try to be active and/or workout 5 days a week, I’m always so sporadic with workouts. Thanks for being brave and sharing your photos with us, they are very motivating!
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27 Taryn April 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Congratulations on sticking with it! I’ve been trying to get through Stage I for three months now, only 4 more workouts to go, I think! I love seeing the progress you made over your 11 months with the program. Your hard work definitely paid off!

28 Kalee April 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Congrats on sticking with it for almost a year!! That is wonderful! I’d rather lift weights than run (or any cardio). I don’t like the feeling of my heart beating so fast). I know both are important though, and I am so glad you are going to stick with it! I also love your brave before & after shots! You look GREAT and I just may have to do the same now! 🙂 …maybe! 🙂
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29 Aubrey April 19, 2012 at 1:42 am

I love Jillian Michaels 30-day shred book if you’re looking for a new plan. A lot more diverse than the DVD and focuses on dynamic moves which are more interesting (I think).

You had great results! And you still trained for races, which I think is super hard when you’re lifting. Awesome job!
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30 Coco April 19, 2012 at 8:31 am

Wow!! You look great 🙂 There is definitely quite a difference!
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31 Brandy April 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

O.M.G. You look freaking amazing. I’ve seriously had NROLFW since January because of you. I’ve read the whole thing but been lazy about starting it. Book is pulled out and I’m about to take notes so I can get on this.

How tall are you? My measurements are slightly smaller than your current ones and body can’t even compare to how rockin’ you are! I look like the marshmallow man in comparison!

But really- congrats! 11 months is quite a commitment! Go you!

32 Laura May 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Love it!! So inspiring.. I’m on week 3 of stage 1 and really enjoying it so far!

33 Linda July 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

Thank you so much for documenting your experience. You don’t know how much it has helped me. I will finish stage two on Wednesday, and start right into stage three on Friday.

I wasn’t planning on doing stage 6, but now I think I will. I am doing this all from home, thank goodness hubby has 90% of what I need. I have had to make some changes due to not have a cable machine, but I am still getting some great results. I am on the hunt though for some better alternatives for myself.

I am also not doing the food plan, my attitude about that is just about the same as yours.

I do have a lot more belly to lose, since I have had six children, but I am starting to see the definitions in my abs and it is soooo exciting.

Sorry for the novel, just really wanted to say thank you!!!

34 amy April 6, 2015 at 10:36 am

I’m looking to start this, new rules of lifting for women, I stupidly ordered on kindle, now have to buy the book to get the sheets. i have a question. ive been doing some lifting, not near as much as this program will be, but I’ve been doing piyo. (team beach body) I’m wondering how much of piyo I need or can do with this program. I’m 51, but in fairly decent shape.,

35 Tina February 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for sharing. I am starting stage 7 now and am looking forward to starting NRFL Supercharged. I think I put on alot more muscle than you because I was NOT running, I just did the recommended interval training on my exercise bike.
One thing I noticed about the exercises is that they focus on stengthening the back thigh muscle, and the shoulders. Very little effort was put into stomach, chest, front thigh, and calves. I’m kind of disappointed with that, cuz’ my stomach is still really flabby…

36 Oksana July 15, 2014 at 6:10 am

Thank you for sharing! Tomorrow I am starting Stage 4. And I also LOVE running, and I was thinking whether I should stop or continue doing what brings me a great pleasure! After reading your post I decided that I would run. I do not care about muscle growth. YOu look great, the results are obvious, so thank you for motivation! Here I have found “back up” of my ideas – I do my running, I do not stick to the diet plan (here in Russia there are no such products as advised in the book). And my way with NROL4W is nearly the same as yours. So thank you very much!

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