Progress Pics

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The New Rules of Lifting for Women ~ Phase 1 Started!

Today I started the weight lifting program outlined in the book THE NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN by Lou Schuler. I'm making other changes which I will outline here as well.

Before I explain this 6-month program and share today's workout, I wanted to offer some background as to why I chose this as the direction to follow for the New Year.

This past week, Steve's "Wednesday's Word of the Day" on his blog was ELEMENTARY. There is a good message in that video if you care to check it out.

Anyway, Steve's word of the day really tied into something from over a year ago and it made me feel like I had come full circle. Way back at the beginning of my journey when I started hanging around the body building forums to hopefully LEARN something, I would look SKEPTICALLY at the advice they gave about losing weight --- do about a half dozen body building exercises (that are considered foundation builders) three times a week, keep your protein at adequate amounts to build muscle, cut enough calories from your diet to lose a pound or two a week, and add intervals or cardio once or twice a week IF YOU WANT TO.

According to them, 99% of people will totally transform their body in 6-months to a year using this formula. I was an emotional, physical and psychological mess at the time. My fat and out-of-control behaviors seemed too big and too complicated to be solved by a formula that seemed so simple. Being overwhelmed was my natural state at that time, and what the body builders said seemed too simplistic to me back then.

Here we are almost a year later and I see that men and women have had phenomenal success with this formula -- some of them are in their 40's or older and lost 50 to 100 pounds or more, and look more fit than they did at age 20.

So, seeing this, reading good books like THE NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN and hearing messages like Steve's, I am ready to embrace simplicity and to give an honest try to the basics that the seasoned body builders recommended to me nearly a year ago.

So for the next 6-months, at least, it will be just me and my weight training equipment (or my gym, when I am there;) and for the winter months, whatever cardio I can do on the opposite days. (When Spring breaks, I will focus more on the running on the opposite days).

That's it, no bells and whistles, no gadgets or attachments. I don't have to buy a bunny suit and hop around in it. Just me, the knowledge of what I have to do, and the basic equipment that I need to get the job done.

I will explain the program here and I'll be posting all of my work-outs, starting with the one I did today. For starters, below is a photo of the weight bench that DH picked up for me from Craig's list. It came with 2 bar bells, one ez-bar, 3 dumbbell bars, tons of plates, a stand to hold the plates, plus a set of iron dumbbells from 5 to 15 pounds -- all for $75 -- and of course, Zeke had to saunter by as I was taking the pic! LOL

Since I am going to be so intimately connected with this weight bench, I figure I ought to be on a first-name basis with it. So I have named it "the beast." LOL

In terms of the program itself, the New Rules of Lifting For Women program is divided into 7 stages and will take 6-months to complete if you work-out 3 times a week and follow the program as outlined. If you can only work out twice a week, you can still do the program, but it will take longer.

It uses the basic body building fundamentals and foundation-building exercises that the body builders recommend:

Squats, dead lifts and lunges along with basic exercises that involve the motions of pushing (like push ups and chest presses), pulling (like rows and cable flies) and twisting (like side bends, chopping motions, and back extensions). That's it. It is that simple.

Each stage has two different work outs called "A" and "B". Since you work out three times a week, you will always be doing one workout twice, so you alternate which one gets done twice.

Since I have been using the machines at the gym since July and using free weights with the ChaLEAN Extreme program for the past three months, I am not really a "beginner," per se, so I'll be adding a few extra exercises to my workouts-- mainly targeting my problem areas.

Also, the program calls for doing crunches and what not with a swiss ball. I no longer have a swiss ball so I'll be doing crunches, leg lifts and the like on the floor. I learned great ab exercises from the ChaLEAN Extreme ab burner work out so I may just continue to use that three times a week, incorporating it into what I am doing now.

Another thing to note is that I don't have a squat rack, so getting the barbell onto my shoulders to do squats, I found today, was not easy. I had to lift the bar above my head and place it on my shoulders-- so the weight I could use was limited to what I could lift above my head.

DH is a carpenter and has a good engineering mind, so he is going to figure something out for me that will be safe and enable me to squat with heavier weights at home. I can't afford to run out and buy a squat rack at this point.

ANYWAY, I did "work out A" today with a few moves of my own added in. Here is what I did:

Squats: 15 reps with 35 pounds; 15 reps with 55 pounds
Push-ups, (45-degree) 2 sets of 15
Bent over barbell row - 50 pounds
Step-ups (18" box) two sets of 15 with 20 pounds
Pullovers, 2 sets of 15 with 30 pounds
skull crushers, 2 sets of 15 with 30 pounds
bench press 2 sets of 15 with 55 pounds
dumbbell chest press, 2 sets of 15 with 25 pounds
Side bends holding 25 pound plate, 20 reps each side
cruches - 2 sets of 25
leg lifts, 2 sets of 15
preacher curls, 12 reps each arm with 20 pounds, then two reps of 10 with 25 pounds

The step-ups are killer. You step-up onto a wooden box while holding weight. My butt and thighs are killing me! I can see how a few months of this stuff will have an affect! I had DH make the box for me and it was my bright idea to tell him to make it 18" tall. I wanted to challenge myself. Me and my big mouth! LOL

I am sore all over but very proud of myself for getting though it. My next weight work out will be Tuesday.

On other fronts, since I started that thyroid medicine all I do is wiz. I am like a pee factory. I even got up twice last night to go and I NEVER do that. Bet I've lost several pounds of fluid and that this will help lower my blood pressure even more.

I wanted to thank Greta at BigBottomblogger for the good info about hypothyroidism. Greta is also working out. Check out the pic of her arm that she posted the other day!

I also wanted to thank Helen over at Doing A 180 for sending me the fantabulous work out logs for the New Rules of Lifting program. They are awesome! Thanks Helen.

I plan to do some sort of Cardio tomorrow but I don't know if I will attempt to go around the neighborhood doing jogging intervals (brrrrrrr, cold!) or just do a cardio DVD in my toasty TV room!

Well, I am off to fix a great dinner for Jeff and I! Hope you're all doing well.



  1. I need to focus on strength training as well. Thanks for inspiring me. Lots of great info here.

  2. Excellent info here!! I can't speak enough about the benefits of lifting. I'm lucky in that my trainer is a professional body builder and he HAS SHOWN ME THE WAY!!! It's awesome! Good luck with it. I look forward to following your progress (and if you keep strength training, you WILL see progress). All the best and Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks for the shout-outs - I really appreciate it!

    I think the NROLFW (did I get the abbreviation right?) is going to be some awesome training for you. I have come to believe that the cardio is fine, but the muscle is where it is.

  4. Wow, you are really focused and that is so GREAT. The Beast looks great and it is going to help you feel great, too. Enjoyed all the good info on your new routine.

    Margie writes at:

  5. sounds like a great program!! you are going to rock the goddess body! :)

    You should have him look at some open racks forms - they are great for lifting on your own.

    Also... you could give front squats a try - they are easier to get out of if you get in trouble on your own, coupled with being harder - so you don't need to use such heavy weights.

  6. Wow! Once again, I am in awe of your strenght. I can't wait to get on board with the program, although I'm not sure I'll ever be doing deadlifts again...

  7. I love the book and I follow Cassandra Forsythe's blog. I think strength training is actually more important than cardio and you see a faster transformation from lifting. I've noticed my jingly bits are looking better since I started lifting.

  8. Looking forward to hear of your progress over the next months. I have been working out with a personal training twice a week for just about 2 months (give or take some weeks because of traveling and such)...I know I have loved the weight training she has me doing.

    Good luck in the new year!

  9. Wow you have quite the setup there - how nice that you don't even have to go to the gym! Glad you're enjoying the logs.

  10. I have this book and have only skimmed through it so far... At the moment I'm using fitness games for the Wii, but I (and the other half) really need to focus on weight training. The step-ups sound just what I need! lol

    Look forward to seeing your progress. The difference between your December '08 and December '09 photos is staggering! Love the July purple outfit, btw... :o)

  11. I can't believe I didn't mention your photos in my last comment. Your progress photos are amazing and you look great! I am so impressed with your success! I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the New Rules of Lifting. You are definitely not a beginner when it comes to weight lifting...:-) Good luck with this program. I am going to work on more strength and toning this year, rather than miles. I will still do miles, but really want to shift my focus. xoxo

  12. teat post !!

    This is wery usefulinformation about Fitness..

  13. I am reading your posts backwards.....silly me. This is a great post and look at all your new goodies! How awesome!! Woo hoo! We just added up all the weights we have and it is only 55 pounds. My little brother (not so little...he is 6'4") left a weight bench at my Mom's house eons ago....I'm going to go inspect it and see if all the weights and such are with it and bring it here. That will get us more iron in the house. I can usually go to the gym, but my teenagers can't on weekdays.


We are all so busy.... so I truly appreciate your taking the time to comment.