End of Stage 5, and Stage 5 Awards!

I finished Stage 5 this morning and am quite pleased to have done so! Here are some thoughts on this stage now that I have properly finished it:

  • Workout 5a takes too damn long
  • The High Intensity Interval training remains in Workout 5b, and the weightlifting part is shorter, which makes this workout a more reasonable length
  • It is basically Stage 3 all over again, but with lower reps (yay!)

Things I did not do:

  • All the sets in Workout 5a (still too damn long without them)
  • YWTL (neck issues)
  • Swiss Ball Crunch (neck issues, subbed with side planks)
  • Prone Cobra/Supermans, most of the time (time issues, and you feel a bit retarded doing it. Yes, I’ll suffer for it later.)

I’ve decided to bring back the Workout Awards for this stage, because there are some exercises I feel strongly about!

Most Improved
Partial Single-Leg Squat

  • 16 June 2013: BW/4 reps
  • 15 July 2013: 25kg/4 reps

Least Improved
Reverse Wood Chop

  • 24 June 2013: 28lb/4reps
  • 11 July 2013: 28lb/4reps

New Favourite
Partial Single-Leg Squat

How’s this one for a butt workout? I really enjoyed pushing my limits on this exercise.

Least Favourite
Barbell Bent-Over Row

This one frustrated me the most because my forearm strength limited this lift. I didn’t feel like I got to work out the muscles the bent-over row is supposed to work out because the weight that I could hold wasn’t challenging enough.

Surprise Favourite
Reverse Crunch

I used to do these when I did boxing training, and really enjoyed them this time. Normally I am not big on ab exercises (Supermans? No thanks!) but this was a fun one – especially with legs straight out!

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Impending end of Stage 5

Yesterday I did the last of the “Workout 5a”s, and on Monday I’ll finish Stage 5 for good! Hooray! In honesty, I should have finished today, but with my frustrating eternal sleepiness I took last Friday and Monday off from working out, and went back to the gym on Thursday. Feeling much better now.

So, I have a confession to make: I run out of time to do these workouts. I haven’t done a proper Body Weight Matrix in any of these workouts. I have cut out sets so I can have time to do the first BWM round, then had to go to work (late. Sigh.) The truth is, Stage 5A takes ages. Even with sets cut out and half the BWM, it takes me over 75 minutes.

I did manage to increase my weights on pretty much everything; my dumbbell snatch is now at 14kg/4reps (from 8kg at the beginning of the stage)! And my single-leg squat is at 20kg (from bodyweight). My forearm strength is affecting a lot of the lifts, and I feel like I would benefit more from using a barbell in many of the dumbbell exercises as a result. Bent-over rows are one exercise with no or little progress – mainly because my forearms give out. I tried out a supine grip this week and it was a little better.

Stage 6 will begin next Wednesday, and it sounds interesting – it trains us to do a chin up! Looking forward to it…

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!