My Stage 1 Recap is here
My Stage 2 Recap is here
My Stage 3 Recap is here
Yesterday, I finished Stage 4 of the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. I started the stage on February 5th and finished on March 8th, so it took a week longer than I expected. The delay was due to travel and illness. This month, I've had a lot of allergies/congestion, and I also got a 24-hour stomach bug. That wasn't fun! But despite the delays, I finished the 8 workouts in stage 4, and I'm so very proud of my progress. I also added running into the mix, as I train for my 3rd 5K that happens at the end of this month. I'm still not following any prescribed diet plan...just sticking to my normal health conscious ways (but you know, I still have wine and girl scout cookies!)
Anyway, without further rambling, here are my results...
This Stage Total Change
Bust -.50" -1"
Band -.50" -.75"
Right Bicep -.25" No Change (Back to Start)
Left Bicep -.50: No Change (Back to Start)
Waist No Change -.50"
Right Thigh No Change -.50"
Left Thigh No Change -.50"
Hips -1" -2"
Weight -2lbs No Change (Back to Start)
It's really hard to believe I've lost 5.25" off my body, despite my weight remaining the same. I didn't even know it was possible to weigh the same, but look better. It's weird....I don't notice the difference all the time, but I recently ordered two bikinis, and when trying them on, I really noticed a difference! My legs look stronger, my stomach looks flatter, my back is smoother. The changes have been so gradual that sometimes I wonder if they're happening at all, so that experience was really motivating. I just feel a lot better too. Working out makes me feel happy! I also credit running with some of the changes...I need to make it a priority to keep that up. No, it isn't what I'd call fun, but it feels so good after, and I know it's good for me.
Now, time for my lifting progress. Fun fact: Stage 4 is identical to Stage 2, so I thought it'd be fun to see how far I've come since the beginning and end of stage 2.
Beginning of stage 2/end of stage 2 >> beginning of stage 4/end of stage 4
Front Squat Push Press: 25 lbs/30 lbs/ >> 10 lbs/30 lbs (+bar)
Step Up: 30 lbs/30 lbs >> 30 lbs/ 40 lbs
Dumbbell 1pt Row: 20 lbs/ 30 lbs >> 30 lbs/ 40 lbs
Static Lunge with Rear Foot Elevated: 20 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 20 lbs/ 40 lbs
Push Up: This stage required 3 sets of 8 in each workout. I feel like I'm going lower/getting better at them.
Plank: 60 sec/ 65sec >> 120sec/ 120sec
Horizontal Wood Chop: 20 lbs/30 lbs >>40 lbs/50 lbs
Wide Grip Deadlift from Box: 40 lbs/ 50 lbs >> 50 lbs/60 lbs
Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 10 lbs/ 25 lbs
Underhand-grip Lat Pulldown: 50 lbs/ 50 lbs >> 50 lbs/ 75 lbs
Reverse Lunge from Box with Forward Reach: 10 lbs/20 lbs >> 20lbs/ 30 lbs
Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch:10 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 20lbs/30 lbs
Swiss Ball Crunch: 10 lbs/ 10 lbs >> 25 lbs/ 25 lbs
Reverse Crunch: BW
Lateral Flexion: BW (used the hardest variation)
Prone Cobra: 20 sec/75 sec >> 120 sec/ 120 sec
Interval training: 15 min: I ditched the treadmill and started running outside for interval training...basically just running as long as possible, taking short walk breaks, and running again.
I'm really proud seeing all these results on paper. I've increased my weight by 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, 25 lbs, or 30 lbs, depending on the exercise. I'm VERY proud of my 2 minute planks...that is NOT easy.
Tips for Stage 4
With the option of doing 2-3 sets, I took the option to do 2 sets only if I could increase my weight (fewer sets=use more weight, more sets= use less weight).
I was happy to take my interval training outside. I didn't need as long of rests as the book prescribed...but running after a strength training workout is really hard.
I kept doing yoga 2 times a week (2 one hour classes each week). Best idea ever...it keeps you stretching and focusing on flexibility.
Plan to mess up your plans: it's good to leave yourself wiggle room in case of illness, work overload, etc. Don't stress about the days it just doesn't happen. The important thing is that you do make it back to the gym the next time.
Those are my tips...and now, my prescribed week off corresponds perfectly with spring break!! That's right, folks, we're off for the next 9 days. Right now, my mom is visiting Midland, and on Monday, she flies from here to Nevada, and Brendan and I head to Austin for a few days: I'm ready for fun, sun, rest, relaxation, and to make some wedding progress...throw in some SXSW free shows, Austin theater, friends and family, and delicious cuisine, and I'm in heaven!
Here's to a much needed break!
<3 S, B, L&Z