Friday, December 14, 2012

New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women (Stage 2 Recap)

My stage 1 Recap is here. 

Stage 2 of the program was much shorter. There were only 8 workouts, but the time each workout took was longer. In stage 1, I spent 9 hours in the gym with 18 workouts. In stage 2, I spent 8 hours in the gym with just 8 workouts.

The moves definitely got more complicated and this stage added some interval training as well. Throughout stage 2, I continued to spend 2 hours a week in yoga class. So, in total this semester, I logged 46.5 hours of exercise (either strength training or yoga class). Granted, when strength training, I must rest between each set, so not all of that time is physically active, but still, way better than what I normally average for a fall semester.

My results were normal and in line with what Meghann at Meals and Miles experienced, however, even though I feel physically different (stronger), I still don't see much difference in my appearance. Then again, I do see myself everyday, so it's hard to quantify.

Here's what the measurements said. Measurements are discouraging because they are hard to get accurate (I have Brendan help, but still). We also took pictures, but we didn't do it very precisely. If I could start over, I'd figure out a better way to quantify results, like maybe get a body fat percentage test.

                       This Stage                      Total Change
Bust                    -.50"                                 -.50"                      
Band              No change                           -.25"
Right Bicep    No change                           +.50"
Left Bicep     No change                            +.50"
Waist                    -.50"                               -.50"
Right Thigh     +.50"                                   -.50"
Left Thigh       +50"                                   -.50"
Hips               No change                            -1"
Weight           No change                            +2 lbs

So, my measurements still show that I've lost -2.25" from my body since starting this program. Not bad.
(I know the thigh measurements are confusing, basically, I lost 1" on each thigh after stage 1 and gained .50" on each thigh after stage 2--hopefully muscle, so I'm still down -.50" on each thigh from when I started). With weight, I gained 2 pounds after stage 1, and that 2 lbs has stayed, but I have not gained any more.

I guess one thing I should say about this program is that you won't see the same "miracle" results that you would with a diet. I'm trying to get results that will last over time (I don't think I could restrict calories for a long time), so it is a slower process. That can be frustrating, since I didn't really know what to expect, as this is my first time really strength training since high school.

Here are my strength results. Some of the exercises were much harder to increase with than others.

Workout A 
Front Squat Push Press: From 25 lbs to 30 lbs
Step Up: Stayed with 30 lbs this stage, but used a higher platform in this stage vs. last stage
Dumbbell 1pt Row: From 20 lbs to 30 lbs
Static Lunge with Rear Foot Elevated: Stayed with 20 lbs the whole time
Push Up: This stage required 2 sets of 10 each workout. I feel like I'm going lower/getting better at them.
Plank: From 60 sec to 65sec
Horizontal Wood Chop: From 20 lbs to 30 lbs (used 40 lbs one set, but decided form was compromised).

Workout B
Wide Grip Deadlift from Box: From 40 lbs to 50 lbs
Bulgarian Split Squat: From 4 lbs to 20 lbs
Underhand-grip Lat Pulldown: Stayed with 50 lbs this stage
Reverse Lunge from Box with Forward Reach: from 10 lbs to 20 lbs
Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch: from 10 lbs to 20 lbs
Swiss Ball Crunch: Stayed with 10 lbs
Reverse Crunch: BW
Lateral Flexion: BW
Prone Cobra: From 20 sec to 75 sec
Interval training: 15 min: From intervals at level 4 (setting of 4.5 on treadmill) to intervals at level 7 (setting of 6 on treadmill).

Tips for Stage 2:

  • ALWAYS have a snack in your gym bag. I've had to ask to borrow a dollar because I was too starving to make it through my 1 hour, 15 minute workout. 

  • Enjoy the 75 sec rests between each set. In workout B, it's best to just get comfortable with having some mat time. 

  • Pick an interval activity that is hard for you. (Elliptical or bike would have felt easy to me, so I opted for running, which is always a challenge). 

Well, that's all I've got. I'm supposed to take a week off now, but I have 3 weeks off, so I'm not really sure how Brendan and I will cope with being away from the gym or how much access we'll have over break. My friend is going to let me borrow some P90X videos. Anyone have experience with P90X? Tips?

Here's to getting stronger, slowly, but surely. When I think of how much I've improved in 2.5 months, I do feel like this program has helped me get much stronger.

Now, time an end of semester celebration, complete with some mimosas!

<3 S, B, L&Z

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