Halfway through Stage 1 already?!

I started the program on 31 January, which doesn’t seem all that long ago. Now it’s just about the halfway mark for Stage 1. That went by really quickly.

So, any changes since then? To be honest I think it’s too early to tell. With the slight change in diet (I’m calorie counting, generally 300 to 500 calories under my maintenence level, and vaguely following macros) I think I am losing fat. My fiance thinks that my ribs are more visible, and I think my stomach and face have very slightly receded. I will review properly at the end of Stage 1, and hopefully will have some obvious changes then!

My osteo visit was interesting. Since I am an archer, I have built more muscle in my draw hand than in my bow hand. My bow shoulder also tends to sit more forward than my draw shoulder. If only it were easy to switch hands and even them out! If you have never practised archery before, you will have one side that is more comfortable drawing the bow. Usually it matches up with whether you are right-handed or left-handed, but not always. It’s more to do with your sight – you have a dominant eye, and that eye is the one that you will most likely be aiming with. I digress. TL;DR: Unbalanced and unco-ordinated = recurring neck injury.

Chun Li Thighs

url

My boyfriend has just told me that I have Chun Li thighs, and that is awesome, because it reminded me that I should really check in to my blog! I’m nowhere near as lean as her, but I think I am getting there!

Today is Monday, and it was the day for Stage 1, Workout B3. I know tomorrow I will probably be sore. My favourite and least favourite “lifts” are in this workout – deadlifts and lunges. Anything, really, that uses my quads extensively I don’t really like. They are pretty tight and I stretch them a lot before, during and after. Apparently not enough? Or maybe I should be looking into foam rolling?

Anyway, I realised near the end of the workout that the reps in each set were supposed to have decreased since the last workout. Whoops. Well I will definitely be reading a little more closely next time!

Tomorrow I am going to visit the osteopath. I injured my neck stupidly a couple of months ago – improper placement of the barbell during squats. After a few osteo visits and taking it easy, it is mostly better, but I think that today I probably strained it again when I was doing crunches. Which aren’t so great for you, apparently. Planks are the way of the future it seems.

The Day After

Due to my own lack of organisation, I found myself at the gym at 7am yesterday morning.

Kitted out in my Warehouse singlet and shorts, I warmed up  – seven long minutes cycling in place. Making the most of my time, I wrapped my hands with my red hand wraps, only to get them tangled in pedals. At last, hands wrapped, warmed up and ready for action, I went upstairs to do some boxing. I practised what I remembered on one of the more traditional-looking punching bags. Left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, uppercut, uppercut!

I didn’t try to hit hard, but the bag hurt anyway. I left with skin torn from knuckles.

The day after, my lats ached with that unmistakeable feeling. It’s a strange kind of ache – while it hurts, and makes moving in certain ways difficult, its also really good. You really take notice of that muscle, and wonder how you didn’t know it even existed, or why you never use it.

As time goes on, and you use the muscles more and more, they complain less and less. But I really do enjoy knowing that one muscle more has been used.

First Things First

Image

This is my companion today. This, my friends, is a squat rack, though you probably already knew that.

The first lift of the program is a squat, and what a lift it is. This is the booty-builder, the butt-lifter, and the path to beautiful Amazonian thunder thighs. I used to hate my thighs. They were huge, white and flabby. Once I started squatting though, they had the first changes I noticed. They got harder, and a very slight hint if muscle started to show just above my knees. They are still huge and white, but while they once jiggled when I tightened my quads, now they are almost solid. Still covered in a layer of fat though. I am sure they will improve further with the program!

The first workout of the program is not groundbreaking, and that is a good thing. It starts off with exercises that we would all recognise, such as squats and push ups. It means its approachable and allows you to work out without needing to constantly look up how to do things.

I won’t go through the program in detail, because I think that if you want to do it, you should buy the book and read it thoroughly. Not just the workouts, but the reasoning behind it all. Lou does a great job of being easy to understand and be humourous in his writing.

Starting from scratch

Hello, reader, to my blog. My name is Neala, and I am a graphic designer. I like to read and write, cook delicious things, practice my archery, and, most importantly, I like to weightlift.

I’d been reading the benefits of weightlifting for a couple of years – in 2010 I came across an article on Nerd Fitness about a powerlifting gamer girl I never knew existed. My interest eventuated into an extended period of doing nothing much. Then, in August 2012, I did something for the first time in my life: I joined a gym!

I started doing the lifts from Starting Strength. And I got strong! In six months I went from 30kg deadlifts to 65kg deadlifts (which was my bodyweight!). I looked very similar: relatively big thighs, relatively big upper arms – but everything was getting less jiggy! Squats helped raise my butt and began turning it into a booty. Overhead press helped shape my shoulders. But progress, both in increasing the weight I lifted and the physical changes I saw, was slower than I expected.

So at the end of January 2013, I decided to start something new: New Rules of Lifting for Women. And here I come at last to the premise of this post: To talk about my NROLFW journey and track my progress!

I started on 28 January, 2013. Here are my specs:

Age: 25
Height: 163cm
Weight: 65.6kg

As at 17/01/13:
Chest: 91cm
Waist: 76.5cm (narrowest part)
Hips: 97cm
Bicep: 27cm (left arm)
Quad: 52cm (left leg)
Calf: 39cm (widest point)

Things I am doing: 

  • Following New Rules of Lifting for Women as closely as possible
  • Counting calories as per the New Rules of Lifting for Women program, using My Fitness Pal
  • Meeting my calorie/macronutrient goals by eating whole, natural foods (ie. vegetables, non-processed meats, eggs, rolled oats, some fruit)
  • Possibly boxing, once a week for 20 – 30 minutes
  • Archery, randomly on weekends
  • Keeping a log of workouts on Fitocracy

Things I want to achieve:

  • Feel strong and confident
  • Lose the fat, increase muscle mass (15 – 17% bodyfat, according to Built Lean. I estimate myself to be about 25% now.)
  • Have a healthy lifestyle
  • Enjoy myself!

So, here I go! Wish me strength!