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NROLFW Phase 2 Results with PHOTOS!

On Monday, I finished Phase 2 of the New Rules of Lifting For Women! Given my short attention span, I'm happy I've kept up the program as dilligently as I have. I started the last week of February, so it's been about 3 months where strength training has been my focus. I still do cardio on my off-days (2 days a week on average, with one of them being kickball night), and I do cardio to warm up before strength training. The one challenge has been reeling in my eating on the weekends, and honestly every weekend is a battle. I know I can see better results if I stop sabotaging myself, so it's something I'm trying extra hard to focus on before summer starts. But, for what you really came here for, my results!

Change in Measurements:

Waist - 30.5" to 30" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -3")

Hips - 37.5" to 37" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -2")

Thigh - 24" to 24" (P2: no change, Overall: no change)

Calf - 15.5" to 15" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -1")

Bicep - 12" to 12" (P2: no change, Overall: no change, but way more muscle)

Chest - 36" to 36" (P2: no change, Overall: no change... good!)

Belly Button* - 33" to 32" (P2: -1", Overall: -1")
Abductors* - 39" to 38" (P2: -1", Overall: -1")

*Forgot to measure these things when I started, so I only have the results between the end of Phase 1 and the end of Phase 2.

Body fat % - 28.9% to  27.8% (P2: -1.1%, Overall: 1.9%)

Weight: 156.1 lbs to 157.7 lbs (basically I haven't lost any weight from the start. I'm the exact same weight the day I started the program. It bounces between 156-159.


Workout A:

Front squat/push press - 40 lb barbell to 50 lb barbell
Step-ups - 25 lb kettlebells in each hand to 30 lbs in each hand
One Point Rows - 20 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Static Lunge - 15 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Push-up - 10 pushups with feet on the squishy part of a Bosu ball to 12 reps.
Plank - 60 seconds... no progress on this one. It's HARD!
Cable Wood Chop - 50 lbs to 60 lbs

Workout B:

Deadlift - 115 lbs to 125 lbs (I didn't use the box, I'm so short that regular deadlifts are challenging enough!
Bulgarian Split Squat - 15 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Underhand Lat Pulldown - 100 lbs to 105 lbs (but it got easier, I wanted to try 115 but forgot)
Reverse Lunge from Box - 25 lbs kettlebells in each hand - no progress, someone had the 30 lb bells that I wanted yesterday to try
Cuban Snatch - 12 lbs each arm to 15 lbs each arm (couldn't manage 20 lbs, next highest dumbbell)
Swiss Ball Crunch - Holding a 20 lb kettlebell straight over my head to a 25 lb kettlebell
Reverse Crunch - 10 reps, no change
Lateral flexion - Honestly, I skipped this one.
Prone Cobra - 60 second hold, no change


And now the best part... my Progress Photos!!!!!

And here is a photo from today in my SIZE 6 FITTED GOAL JEANS! I used to fit in these when I weighed 10 lbs less than I do right now. And they zipped but I looked like a sausage in them when I tried them on the day I start the program back in February. And now they fit!!!!! I just need to have good posture, my muffin top hasn't completely gone away (and after losing 60 lbs and 5 dress sizes, I don't know if it will ever look perfect) but I'm happy with it. It just means no slouching!

So, here is living proof that weight is just a number... and a rather useless one at that. Do I look like I'm 5'2.5" and weigh 157 lbs? I wear a size 6! I can squat 10 lbs less than my body weight. I can deadlift 125 lbs without blinking (well, not really, it hurts my eyes, but you get it). And most importantly, I've finally started to break my unhealthy relationship with the scale. It doesn't mean strength training is the end-all-be-all, or that cardio is all you need. I do both, I enjoy both, and the results are what you see above.

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Not My Best 5K, But An Enlightening One

I ran my fifth 5K yesterday morning through the streets of Washington DC. It was exactly one year ago that I ran my first 5K in the same race, getting a time of 39:33 with running the entire race. This time I got 36:26, and it was my second slowest time. I'm used to getting better with every race that I run. I ran my 5K in March at a blistering 34:51 (for me, haha), breaking my record by 30 seconds.

This time was different, and I knew it would be. I haven't trained outside because of allergies and moving to a new neighborhood that lacks a consistant sidewalk network. I've been doing more strength training, so my cardio was somewhat reduced. And I woke up with a stomach ache and sore muscles from my previous workout on Friday. So I went into the race with reasonable expectations.

Once I started, I could tell it wasn't going to be pretty. I was already looking at my HRM to check the time after 5 minutes. My legs were definitely still sore, and my inhaler didn't help much so my HR shot up to 180 within a few minutes and stayed in the high 180s most of the time I ran. Oh, and it was humid, bleck. But, I set a goal. Even if I don't run this entire race, I'm running the first 2 miles as fast as I can.

Mile 1:

Running towards the US Capitol on Pennsylvania Ave is pretty darn awesome. So at least I had a goal that I was working towards. Once we rounded the corner and ran in front of it, I saw Mile Marker 1 pop up in the distance and saw I was on a pretty good pace for myself. I crossed Mile 1 in about 11:30, so I was happy.

Mile 2:

This is where I started questioning my ambitious goal of running the first 2 miles. I slowed my pace and stopped to walk for 30 seconds at the water station. Around 20 minutes in and my lungs were ON FIRE (imagine Chalene Johnson yelling that in the Turbo Fire video, that's how I felt). Yes, yes I'm on fire. But I refused to stop until I passed Mile Marker 2. And I stuck to it. I passed it right around 23:30, for an 11:45 split. Not too shabby...

Mile 3:

I stopped to walking for a minute or two after passing Mile 2, and I really wanted to try to run the rest of it without another walking break. Yeah, that didn't happen. I was completely spent and I knew it. So I ran for probably half a mile, walked again, and ran thinking I was going to see Mile Marker 3 soon. Nope, it was still .2 miles ahead despite my Map My Run telling me I had just hit 3 miles. Not sure what was going on there, but whatever.

The Finish:

Passed Mile Marker 3 and knew a record time was completely out the window, but I wanted the best finish I could muster. I made a feeble dash for the finish and that last .1 mile felt like it was going to kill me. Crossed the finish line in 36:26 official time and had a HR of 191. Then I limped off to the popsicle stand and had one of those red white and blue rocket ones, haha. I totally earned it.

I learned a few things from that race. I will not always beat my record from the race before, everyone has off days and this was one of mine. I can't always count on hills in a course to give me a boost in speed (happened in the last race). My strength training is not a complete replacement for actually running outside to prepare. And primarily, even if I'm not going to break a record, I might die trying. I'm in need of some ibuprofen and an iced coffee today... haha.

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A New Mindset

When I first started out, I was so dead set on hitting 140 lbs that the scale was the entire focus of measuring my progress. It was 75 lbs away from where I was starting and it seemed like 200 lbs. And then I managed to get myself within 8 lbs of that goal. But I didn't expect to completely stall out before reaching it! I wasn't even a healthy weight by BMI standards, so why was my body being stubborn?

Well, after a year of soul searching, or at least answer searching, I've finally found a reason. Who the bleep cares! BMI is total crap. Does it take into account that I've got quite a bit of lean muscle? NOPE! Or the fact that I fit into size 6 even though I'm considered now 10-15 lbs overweight? NOPE! It's all crap... haha. I might be 5'2.5", but I'm a little powerhouse of muscle and determination. I don't recommend getting in a fight with me, I'm a fiesty one, haha.

So what it really boils down to is that when you're approaching your goal weight, that number is pretty much garbage. I know there are definitely women out there who do hit the number they set for themselves, but there are a bunch of others like me that don't. And that probably shouldn't. I'm not going to starve myself, cut out my strength training, and give up the things I enjoy just to reach a specific number. So I'm focusing on my waist and hip measurements, body fat percentage, and most importantly, how smokin' I look in my clothes and swim suits. Whether it's at 150 lbs, 155 lbs, or by some miracle I got down into the 140s, I'll survive.

But does this mean I'm never stepping on the scale again? Definitely not! I can't give that up, because it does help me stay in check. If I see the number jump up 2 lbs, I know it's because I let myself go a bit too much, or I'm super sore from a workout. But being conscious of that number is important for me to keep moving forward. I don't ever want to go back to where I  was, and seeing the number daily is a reminder of where I am in comparison. I'm just about to finish Phase 2 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women and I'll redo measurements, and take a set of comparison pictures from 2 weeks after starting the program. I'm curious to see if I notice any changes, since I see myself all the time and don't notice if I'm really shrinking. But my jeans do fit better and my size 6 tight fitted NY&Co pants are getting more wearable. Maybe in another Phase or two I'll be able to wear them in public again. My main goal is to shrink the muffin top and pooch. That's where a large majority of my excess fat is hiding and it's gotta go, haha!

For everyone who sees the scale everyday and freaks out because it's not the number they want, please step back and reassess how you can measure your progress. It's honestly taken over a year for me to get to this point, and I still beat myself up often over making the wrong decisions. But at least I'm not shooting for an unobtainable goal anymore.

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