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The New Rules of Lifting for Women Check Up

by Meghann on June 8, 2011

Happy Hump Day everyone! Don’t worry – we’re already halfway through the week!

I hit the gym this morning for a quick 30 minute warm up on the elliptical (while watching Meredith’s last day on The Today Show – sadness) and Stage 1B of the NROLFW.

Checking In

I’ve reached the halfway point in Stage 1 of The New Rules of Lifting For Women Plan.


Stage 1 is made up of two separate workouts (A and B) that you alternate 8 times to complete the stage. The first 4 workouts – for both A and B – consist of two sets of 15 or 12 reps, the next 4 will require three sets of 10 and 8 reps. The idea is as the weight gets heavier, the reps go down and the sets go up.

I’ve been increasing my weight pretty steadily the first 4 workouts because I always feel I can add more. I’ve already doubled where I started with the squat (though, admittedly, I probably started pretty low since I wasn’t 100% sure where I should start) and have gone up at least 5 lbs a workout with everything else.

On Monday I caught myself ‘going through the motions‘ and i’m glad I did because it reminded me of where I did not want to me. Today I was determined to stay focused and really gave it all I had. I went up weight on each set and I could feel the difference. It felt great.

I know I’m only half way through stage 1 – and just about 3 weeks into a 6 month program – but I’m starting to SEE changes!


It’s not much – even Derek made fun of me because he didn’t see what I saw – but it’s enough for me to know the plan is working. My arms feel larger and defined and my upper back looks amazing.

If only I could figure out how to get a good photo of it….


I’m also no longer afraid of the weight room. I’ve sort of developed my own routine in the free weights section of the gym and I’m learning to politely ask people if they’re done with the machine yet (instead of cowering in the corner).

I felt pretty bad ass today as I was using 20 lb weights with the Dumbell Shoulder Overpress. I could feel the guy next to me staring, but I’m pretty sure he was staring because he was impressed and not because he was wondering why the heck I was next to him with free weights.

My biggest advice with free weights is act like you know what you’re doing and people will respect you. If you’re serious, then they’ll take you seriously. πŸ™‚

All this and I’m only halfway through stage 1! I can’t wait to continue! πŸ™‚

Cool and Refreshing Breakfast


The AC fix was only temporary – meaning it’s not working again this morning. Boo.

Luckily 1/2 a Cantaloupe filled with Honey Peanut Butter, Plain Yogurt, and Granola was the perfect post-workout breakfast to help with the heat.


The cantaloupe was very refreshing and pumped my body full of some much needed H20. πŸ™‚


Good to the last drop. πŸ™‚

1 Chad @ thebreakupnote June 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

whooooooa *runs and hides* πŸ˜‰ good work!
Chad @ thebreakupnote recently posted..Marinated Maifun &amp Tofu With Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 Holly @ The Runny Egg June 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

Too bad about the AC! That stinks.

I have a weight lifting plan to start once my marathon is over and I cannot wait to get going. My gym is super empty at 5am though, so hopefully I will never have to wait to use a machine/weights. I’m glad you can see some changes already!
Holly @ The Runny Egg recently posted..Friday Date Night

3 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun June 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

Heck yea he was staring bec that’s badass!!! I can only manage 20s on shoulder presses. Those suckers are HARD! Way to go. πŸ™‚
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Self-Love Reflection- Overcoming Binging

4 Amanda @ Eating Up June 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

Glad you’re seeing progress!
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5 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

Nice job! It’s nice to be at the same spot as you on the workout plan b/c I feel the same way so far. Love hearing your updates!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..Ireland Day 6 &amp 7- Killarney

6 Elle June 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

You’ve inspired me. I bought the book a few months ago using that Amazon Groupon/Living Social deal(I get them confused) and I’ve read through it. Once I finish Jillian’s Ripped in 30, I’m doing the program!
Elle recently posted..I almost forgot

7 Hope June 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

Awesome job! That cantaloupe looks so refreshing!
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8 Aditi June 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

I just started the NRLFW program yesterday *(thanks to your blog!) and I found that the first workout was pretty easy! Did you increase the number of reps or just add more weight? For example – I started without any weights for the squats and definitely felt like I should have been using some sort of weight!

9 Meghann June 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

The goal is to add weight not reps! I started with weight and the bar and have been adding about 10 lbs to the bar every workout. πŸ™‚

10 Carly D. @ Carly Bananas June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

You look great Meghann!!
I’m having a hard time getting up the guts to use the free weights/bars. I keep walking into the weight room and turning around and leaving right away. One day I’ll get over my fear of the big meaty guys…
Carly D. @ Carly Bananas recently posted..An Awkward and Hilarious Encounter with Dean Karnazes

11 Katherina @ Zephyr Runs June 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

I can’t wait to read that book! I think after summer I’ll start switching things up and do more strength training in that direction. Also that breakfast looks delicious!
Katherina @ Zephyr Runs recently posted..Delicious Dressing &amp Workout Regiment!

12 Dori June 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

It is really great that you now know what to do with the weights. Even when this plan is finished, you will always have this knowledge and can do whatever exercises you want!
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13 Bethany June 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

That breakfast looks delicious πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Good job on the weight training!

14 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

It’s great that you feel like you’re getting results with weight training. I hope you can stick with it πŸ™‚

15 Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

The cantaloupe idea is genius! I’m definitely going to try that soon.

I used to only strength train with Body Pump, and I definitely felt it was harder to increase weights with Body Pump’s style of weight lifting. It felt so much harder to increase weight for that many reps.

I’m proud of you for standing your own n the weight room! I always get intimidated by all the grunting men, who look at me like I’m some little kid who doesn’t belong lol.
Liv @ The Salty n’ Sweet recently posted..Drink the Day Away

16 Jessica @ sushi and sit-ups June 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

Your arms are looking great! I definitely get shy in the weights area at the gym. Thanks for the tips!

17 Stephanie June 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

LOOOOVE cantaloupe following a workout. So refreshing!

Men are ridiculous when it comes to seeing small changes in muscles. I’ve been following the plan as well have definitely noticed differences in my arms and strength but the husband acts like I’m insane. They’re there…I swear! πŸ˜‰
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18 Alaina June 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hmm, I may have to seriously look into NROLFW! I never really thought about using it. I used to do P90X.
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19 Kerry June 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

I can definitely agree about the progress felt! I just finished stage one and the difference from the beginning is shifting from inwards to outwards. You do feel like a badass when you squat so much weight with the Smith Machine!!
Kerry recently posted..Week 6- San Francisco Half Marathon

20 Marissa June 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

I still remember my very first free weight workout–and how strong and amazing I felt afterwards! I love how different forms of exercise can make you have such varying feelings of fulfillment. Sometimes, a sweaty cardio workout is what you need; sometimes, you need to shove some heavy things around and feel like a BEAST afterwards. And DOMS always make me feel just pleased as punch with myself!
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21 Holly @ Pink Runner June 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’m also new to weights and I can’t wait to see results! Your arms are looking goooooood πŸ™‚
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22 Laura June 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

I ordered the book and just recieved it last night! I’m super excited and am going to start right after my upcoming marathon. Thanks for the inspiration!

23 Melissa June 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

I just finished reading the book and want to get started! You sound so badass, lifting heavy weights like it’s NBD πŸ˜‰

I think I’m only going to do the first stage and then I’m gonna begin marathon training, I’m worried to do both! He even says not to do it if you’re training for an endurance event like a marathon. Hopefully in December I’ll start with the weight lifting program again.
Melissa recently posted..Back in NJ and it Feels So sweaty

24 Emily @ Savory and Savage June 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

Wow, it sounds like that program is working out really well for you.

Congrats on keeping with it!

I am heading to the book store today I am definitely going to pick it up.
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25 DefineDiana June 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

I’m glad to hear your review. I’m about 2 weeks behind you in my routine (I started, then took a 4 week hiatus, so I started from the begining again). Do you do the warm ups as the book suggests? Or do you just go straight to the routine?

26 Jamie June 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

I am also on level one of the NRWL and I did 17.5 lbs on the shoulder presses today… That was hard. I guess I am only on my second week though. Doing this made me realize that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. When I lifted @ home, the heaviest weights I had were 10 lbs and I have found I can handle much more than that for most of the exercises! I need to start taking progress pics!

27 Ali @ Ali Runs June 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

After hearing all of the awesome things about this book/plan–I finally bought it! I can’t wait to start reading it and to lift again!
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28 Jessica @ For the Fun of Fit June 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

I love your comment about acting confident! It makes me laugh though – because you probably know what you’re doing moreso than some of those huge bulked out men who go in and act tough and are actually using very bad techniques while they lift. Keep on rockin’ it πŸ™‚
Jessica @ For the Fun of Fit recently posted..Cooking for Two

29 Emily @ comfortable home life June 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

I ordered TNROWLFW (what an acronym!) and I am excited to start! I also had half a cantelope for bfast.. So refreshing!

30 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio June 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

Congratulations on your weight lifting! I was a powerlifter in High School and as a college athlete weight trained daily. Women should feel comfortable in the weight room and know that there’s so much they can do. Our bodies can always do more than we think… and women shouldn’t fear getting “too buff”. Weight training is a key to good health and I think it’s fantastic that you’re showing women what you’re doing in the weight room!
Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio recently posted..A Traveling Meatless Monday

31 Casey (The Hippie Health Nut) June 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

Congrats on the progress! I’m sure there’s plenty more to come. πŸ™‚
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32 lauren June 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Yay for progress! I’m starting tonight and the only thing I’m not excited about is that the free weights, machines, and ball are in different “rooms” at the gym. I suppose walking between the rooms won’t really take more then the 60 second break between sets? How have you handled this?

33 Meghann June 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I walk around with my cellphone set on 60 sec timers. I probably look like a huge nerd watching the seconds tick by, but it works. πŸ™‚

34 Julie June 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm

thats a good idea! i always count in my head then get distracted and forget what i was doing :/

i always feel super dorky walking around with a notebook too…i really need to get over that if i’m going to do this!

35 cailen June 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

mmm…what a fabulous breakfast! i’m going to have to try that sometime. so pretty and so healthy too : )
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36 Lauren June 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Meghann! You are bad ass girl! Look at those guns.

Our AC seems to be on the fritz too and what is sad is that we just built this house a few months ago so its 100% brand new. Ugh, so annoying.
Lauren recently posted..Winner of the Sun Warrior Giveaway

37 Courtney June 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

That cantaloupe breakfast looks super delicious!! Yum!! πŸ™‚

38 Hillary June 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I feel the same way about free weights! Ever since I got confident with my routine (a few years ago), I no longer feel like people are looking at me funny. Maybe it was all in my head before, but I think it has something to do with looking like I know what I’m doing!

39 Rachel Wilkerson June 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Congrats on your progress! Strength training is one of those things for most women that is SO hard to commit to and believe in, but the results make it worth it if you just stick with it. Can’t wait to see how phase II goes for you!
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40 Amy June 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Awesome progress! Can’t wait to continue to hear updates and reviews of the program!
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41 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Awesome job with your lifting progress and congrats on getting over your fear of the weight room! πŸ™‚
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42 Daniella SMF June 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm

That canteloupe looks amazing!!
I’ve been eating my way through a fruit salad that I made on Monday…I just can’t get enough of fruit for breakfast.
Daniella SMF recently posted..Salmon and a kitty but not together

43 Sarah June 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I have to tell you that I tried the apple/provolone/almond butter combo for lunch today and it was delicious! I added a swiss laughing cow to it too πŸ™‚ Your cantaloupe breakfast looks like a really great summer breakfast. I’ll have to try it sometime since many mornings I am not feelin hot oats.
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44 Ally June 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

20lb per arm?? Dang, girl – that is bad ass! I’ve been lifting heavy for a couple of years and haven’t gotten much higher than 25lb per arm. Work it!

45 Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I read the new rules of lifting for women too and I LOVED it! I couldn’t jump right into the program as I’m in the process of moving and therefore commiting myself to a definite workout 3 times a week while I’m in between gyms was impossible. BUT I did try out workout 1 and it was HARD! Buuut effective πŸ™‚
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46 Bridget June 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I am right where you are in the program too. I think I’m getting muscles (although my mom just laughs at me…)! If anything, it is definitely giving me better body image.

47 Anne @thefitbridesmaid June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Yeah, just own it in the weight room! I’m so glad that you are enjoying it. I loved when I discovered this small line in my arms for my triceps. It was a new one for me!
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48 Christine @ Burning It Off June 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I totally agree that the best way to navigate the weights room is to just act like you know exactly what you’re doing. And you should feel like a badass doing the shoulder press with 20 lb dumbbells… I can barely get through my sets with that weight.
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49 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I think I need to get this book! I want to get really toned!
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50 Elisabeth June 9, 2011 at 12:09 am

Are those K-Swiss tubes you’re wearing in the pic? How do you like ’em? I’ve been wanting to try them – they’re cute & look way comfy πŸ™‚

51 gasem June 9, 2011 at 7:58 am

I thought you may find this interesting

52 Stephanie Clement June 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

Duuuude, Derek shouldn’t make fun of you!!!!!

53 erin June 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

am just finishing up stage 1. I don’t see that much of a change yet. I’m optimistic though. (there are a few things i’m not crazy about on this plan) but i’m gonna stick with it. I just have to do the final 2 steps – doing as many reps as i can possibly can.

i actually find doing deadlifts incredibly difficult. (last year, I had my own routine, i did different body parts about 4 or 5 days a week). Then went on hiatus since we couldn’t afford the gym. and i started up with this again. I personally think just 3 days a week is NOT nearly enough!

54 Ellen June 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm

This forum has Excel tables all ready filled out for each of the NRFW exercise stages:

Its great! I just shrink the tables to fit into a small notebook I have to carry to the gym. Before each stage, I just print out the table and I’m ready!

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