Stage 1, Workout A

Hey everyone…

Just a quick note to say I’ve just spent the last two hours working on my New Rules of Lifting for Women schedule, and now I’m heading home and getting change so I can hit the gym. I’ve put together a Google Calendar that I’ll figure out how to share with you. For details about the actual exercises, you’ll have to purchase the book (I highly recommend it, even though it will take you some time to put all the pieces together). I’ve put so many sticky notes and sticky tabs in mine that it looks like I’m studying for a final exam. It will come with me to the gym tonight because a lot of the exercises are new to me and I won’t be able to remember how to do them without it.

Anyway, I’m excited. This is a step in the right direction. Time to get some momentum going and start kicking these pounds tonight. I’m also planning to get in a run. My eating has been right on target today, and I’ve got just about a month before Halloween. My goal? Wear a super cute costume this year, and feel darn good in it.

Ready? Set? LIFT!

You can follow me on Twitter @LDunkster

New Rules Of Lifting For Women – Week 2 [Part 2]

As promised, I’m back to talk about my Week 2 on the New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW) program. It has been a difficult Week 2 and I’m still really struggling with the idea of weight lifting being an adequate workout – especially when the scale doesn’t show any favor.

Thank you for all of the suggestions on the Part 1 post about how to make it a more intense workout. I learned a few lessons this week and I’m excited to talk about them!

1. Lifting heavier weight gives me a better workout.

2. Quicker intervals (time between exercises) give me a better workout.

3. Lifting at 4pm is different than lifting at 7pm.

4. The scale isn’t moving.

Okay, so my 1st lesson: Lifting heavier weight gives me a better workout. During one of my workouts this past week, I upped my weight in the 1st set of exercises. In the past, I would have lifted the same amount of weight I had done during the 2nd set, the previous time… For example, shoulder press – on Monday I used a 7.5 lb weight for the 1st set, and a 10 lb weight for the 2nd set, and so on Friday I would start with a 10 lb weight for my 1st set) But during my last workout, I started with a 12.5 lb weight for my shoulder press – and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! And it kept my heart rate in Zone 3!

I definitely had it wrong in the beginning. I can lift/squat/push/pull much more weight than I thought. And it kept my heart rate high! In my Week 3 workouts, my goal is to continue to push myself to lift heavier weight, as long as I can manage it. Plus, I get 15 reps in almost every exercises. If I lift heavier weight but only do 13 or 14 reps, it’s better than using light weight and not really seeing the results, right?

Lesson 2 – Quicker intervals (time between exercises) give me a better workout. I allowed myself time to change the song on my ipod, take a drink of water, and start the next exercise. Previously, I would watch the clock, stretch a little bit, and wait for the full time listed on the sheet – 15/60 – 15 reps, and 60-second rest, may or may not be too much time. If I’m really panting and sweating, I don’t mind taking the extra time. But when I move a bit quicker, it keeps my heart rate up and helps me burn more calories. Plus – it FEELS like a better workout.

The 3rd lessons is – Lifting at 4pm is different than lifting at 7pm. This isn’t so much about the NROLFW program itself, but my comfortability level. I’m still nervous about being in the “free weight” area with all the weight cages and big barbells. I’m scared of the big, muscly guys who lift a lot of weight for a single rep and then slam it into the ground. I’m intimidated to set up my own NROLFW “circut” of weights and be in their way. I’m worried they might try to talk to me about my form or laugh at me and my book. I’m still self-conscious about how I look and what I’m doing –

“Hey, there’s that fat girl who thinks she can lift weights.”

“yeah, she’s a total joke!”

To be fair – I’ve never actually HEARD anyone say those things, nor has anyone made me feel anything but welcome and included in the weight area. It’s 100% in my head. Plus – there are about a thousand more people (okay – a bit of an exaggeration) at the gym at 7pm than there are at 4pm. The space and equipment is limited. Even if I’m doing something that doesn’t require free weights, like the Prone Jacknife – my NROLFW nemesis – there are much more people and trainers around at 7pm and it’s more difficult to focus on myself and my moves. As shown above, I get very preoccupied with what people are thinking of me, and not the exercises I’m actually doing.

For me, it’s easier to hide in a bank of treadmils than it is in the middle of a bunch of guys in a weight room. This is something I’m continuing to work on – and just because this is an issue with me, at my gym, doesn’t mean it necessarily affects anyone else.

And my final lesson learned in Week 2 – The scale isn’t moving. Okay – so again, not really a lesson about NROLFW, but it’s an admission of my own place in this weight-loss journey. I talked about my “infamous plateau” that lasted for months and months. During that time, I was within the same 5 lb weight range – day in and day out. Now, I’ve gained atleast 10 pounds above that weight range. Eating is a huge problem for me. Motivation to workout is another big problem.

I’ll be the first to admit – I struggle with the daily food choices, and the goal to move my body. When I was training for the half-marathon or the Ragnar, or even for the 5ks, it was a built-in reason to exercise. It helped me have a goal, a purpose, and a measurable event (e.g. time in a race) – with weight lifting, it’s not as clear to me. I struggle with the idea of “lifting more weight” as a tangible goal.

I’m scared that I won’t lose weight. That if I put myself into the NROLFW program, I will plateau again. I haven’t seen any of those immediate indicators of success (i.e. rapid dropping weight, the way my clothes fit, crazy high calorie burns) and I’m really scared it won’t work.

With all of these lessons learned, I’m looking forward to moving onto Week 3. I’m going to trust the NROLFW program and start looking for other indicators of success. Here’s to a great Week 3!

New Rules Of Lifting for Women – Week 2 [Part 1]

Hey, all! How is the New Rules of Lifting for Women program going? Are you working through the 1st phase of Workout A/Workout B? If you are just beginning the book, or thinking about starting it, be sure to read Jen’s post. She did a great job offering some clarification regarding the lifting schedule. There are also lots of resources over in the Prior Fat Girl Community, and a special place for the NROLFW posts.

So I’m in Week 2. Well, technically, it should be Week 3. But I am starting the workings of Week 2 after taking a week off from lifting.

Wait…. What?! A week off from lifting?!??

Before I give you a barrage of excuses, I promise I have a good reason:

I ran 200 miles!

Okay, not really me, but I ran on a team of 11 other runners during the Ragnar Relay. It’s a 2-day race, and this particular Ragnar Relay (Great River) traveled from Winona to Minneapolis. I ran 3 legs (totaling 11.5 miles), including a 4.9 leg uphill in Hudson, WI at 3:30am.

Overnight Leg at Ragnar Relay - Great River

It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!! I wrote a 3-part recap on my blog: Leg 1, Leg 2 and Leg 3.

Sole Train - Ragnar Relay (Great River) Finishers 2011

5 days later, I ran the Torchlight 5k in Minneapolis.

Lisa and I - Torchlight 5k in Minneapolis

And readers, I am still struggling with how to mix cardio and weights. I’m a self-proclaimed cardio lover, and I start and finish each of my NROLFW workouts with a run – atleast 10 minutes on the treadmil. With these 2 races last week, I decided to forego my NROLFW workouts because I simply didn’t know how to incorporate the lifting program into a race schedule.

That’s something I’d like to work on.

I’m fortunate enough to have a Heart-Rate Monitor, and during my NROLFW workouts, I can look down and see my heart rate in Zone 2 (fat-burning) and Zone 3 (cardio). I just don’t feel like a NROLFW workout burns the same amount or type of calories as cardio does. And I don’t feel as satisfied (read: sweaty) after completing a NROLFW workout as I do a cardio workout.

I’ll be working on really focusing on the lifting workouts this week, and I’ll be checking in with Week 2 [part 2] later this week. Happy lifting!

#NROLFW Retraction

This post is long overdue. Originally I was going to do a shorter post however I decided it needs to be longer because things are making more sense to me.

A couple weeks ago, I started the New Rules of Lifting for Women book along with many of you. I even went so far as to share my schedule & workout log. The PriorFatGirl Community has been buzzing with fun stuff including some conversation surrounding the #NROLW program. Included in one of the threads was a few who were confused when they downloaded my logs because it didn’t match their understanding of the program. It confused me even more because the program was confusing to begin with and I thought I had figured it out. On Sunday, I was at the gym with Jen and was getting ready to start the 2nd stage when I stopped to ask Jen, who is also doing the program about what stage she was doing. As we were talking, I began to really understand it!

When I read the book 10 months ago, I somehow misunderstood Stage One to be only two weeks however Stage One is actually SIX weeks followed by one week of rest. {Also, there are “special workouts” you can also include.} The rest of the stages starting with Stage Six are only a couple weeks but Stage One is a longer, intro type stage.

RETRACTION: If you downloaded the forms I shared on the __ post, please delete them as they do not coincide with the plan the book lays out. If you prefer not to delete them, please use it as a guide & update it to match the authors intended plan. You can still use the log portion but will need to update the week references. I’ve decided since I’m not in

For those who want a log to follow, I’ve heard good things about this log although I haven’t used it myself.

So… I’ve started Stage One Week Three and will be doing my 2nd workout of the week tomorrow. I’ve been meeting Jen at the gym in the mornings and really appreciate the accountability of just knowing she is there. We don’t really talk the whole time but there is something about knowing someone is waiting for you that gets my butt up and going a little faster. I think I need her 🙂

I’m remembering why I liked this program, because I feel strong not only physically but mentally. I’ve been alternating my weights with running as well as some biking & stair stepping and feel like I’m really in a work-out grove. In fact, you know what?

Jen’s got her groove back!



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