Today, and yesterday, I weighed 63.5kg. This is 4.6kg less than my highest weight, 68.1kg, at the end of January.

Obviously, I’m pretty stoked.

What seemed to get me off the plateau that is been stuck on for the past month was increasing my kilojoule limit, and focusing on getting enough protein. Weight loss seemed to rev back up once I started doing that!

I’m seeing a few small physical changes, like under my cheekbones I’m starting to see shadows, and my top abs are now appearing. My three pairs of shorts are becoming too big – one pair is basically only good for lowriding now. I’m a bit sad, as that pair had excellent pockets. Yes, they were that good, it needed to be in bold.

I’ve gained some muscle too, so it looks like I’ve found that awesome combination of eating enough to gain muscle, but limited enough to all lose fat. My biceps are probably the most notable in terms of growth, but I think my awesome upper back is coming back! Not to mention my hams. I neglected them in my last program, but with all my kettlebell swings and Romanian deadlifts, I think they’ll become pretty mighty.


Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer

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Like diets and university majors, the best way to choose a workout regimen is to choose one you can stick to. I’ve toyed with doing Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer since she published it, and I think that now is a great time to do it. I noted in the past that the workouts can take a really long time, but at the moment, I have plenty of time for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately with my ankle still recovering, Supercharged isn’t viable for another few weeks, but the LiveFit split-style workouts mean I don’t have to put too much pressure on my ankle each time I work out.

I started today, at a whim, as you do. I initially intended to just do some HIIT training on the cycle, but, well, one does not simply walk into the gym and not lift anything. Thanks to the excellent Wifi service in the gym, I found the LiveFit trainer and completed Day 1. It was good. It was hard. But it was just what I wanted in a workout today.

The only thing that I will not be following is the diet plan. Too hard. I have a handle on my current plan, and if I need to, I’ll increase the kilojoule limit. Food and cooking is one of my personal interests, and I know I can make my preferences work for my limits. I guess I just don’t want to be told what to eat, especially if it means chicken breast multiple times a day. Srsly. Thigh and wings are where it’s at. I’d much rather enjoy what I eat, even if it’s only a little bit.

So tomorrow, Tony and I have planned to go to the gym, and I’ll do Day 2 of the LiveFit trainer.

I’m already excited.

Shit’s going down

I’ve lost 2.5kg in the past month! Woo yeah! I’m super stoked. Calorie counting is working for me! And it’s so much easier to stick to an allotted number by eating regular meals, rather than restricting foods.

Speaking of food restrictions, the junk food one is going okay. I’ve slipped up a couple of times, mostly from just eating something without thinking, like sharing a cupcake (and a lamington) at work functions, or redefining junk food (Burger Fuel’s burgers are debateable; their milkshakes, chips and delicious kumara chips are definitely junk food in my book!).

So, what exactly do I live on? I track pretty consistently on My Fitness Pal. Porridge, toast or crumpets for breakfast, rice cakes or a protein shake for morning tea, a salad or sandwich for lunch, rice cakes or nothing for afternoon tea.

And… How many calories? Well, I’m 163cm tall, and currently 63.1kg. On workout days I aim for 1700 calories. On non-workout days I aim for 1500. It’s easy if I have the same things for the first four meals (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea), or aim to get 200 calories for each of these. That leaves me with plenty for an evening snack after work and a normal dinner.

PS. If you’re going to change your diet or lifestyle, please talk to a doctor first! Please be sensible when reducing calories too – I feel really crappy when I don’t get enough, and it’s just not healthy or sustainable.

Measurements, June 2013

Before I start each stage I try to get myself measured to see how my body has changed. I always ask the same trainer at my gym, because I like her, and to also keep things as consistent as possible.

So, here are my measurements in November 2012, January 2013, March 2013, and June 2013 (today)…


And, as you can see, everything is pretty much identical. There have been slight variances of one or two centimetres, but it’s hard to say whether that is due to actual changes or simply being measured in a slightly different place to last time.

However, just because my measurements haven’t changed, it doesn’t mean my body hasn’t changed. As I was saying last week, what was once soft and jiggly is now becoming firm and strong.

I’ve also decreased my weight slightly, from 65kg in November and January, 64.4kg in March, to 63.7kg now. Not sure if this is a trend or just fortunate timing. Let’s hope it’s the former. Muscle may weigh more than fat, but 63.7kg is still a bit high for someone of my height!

The Stage One Awards

I have finished the A and B workouts from Stage One, and now just have the two special workouts left. I am getting measured by my PT next Wednesday, so I’ll compare the measurements (and my weight!) with when I started. And maybe even post a progress photo.

Today was supposed to be a workout day, but I really felt like I needed a rest. I have an ache in my lower back which I don’t think is a good thing. And I want to be fresh for the special workout, in which I plan to do my first-ever widowmaker squat set. That’s 20 squats in one set. My glutes are going to be sore the next day!

Anyway, on to the awards!

Most Improved
Workout 1B: 2 sets of 30kg/15reps
Workout 8B: 1 set of 50kg/8reps and 2 sets of 52.5kg/8reps
Is this really a surprise? Deadlifts have been a hard and fast favourite of mine, and I always like pushing myself on these. Perhaps too much in the last workout though…

Least Improved
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Workout 1A: 1 set of 5kg/12reps, 1 set 5kg/11reps
Workout 7A: 3 sets of 6kg/7reps
This was a truly poor improvement. And to think barbell shoulder press was my favourite lift before starting! The issue was that I would strain my neck, and reawaken my neck injury from a couple of months ago.

New Favourite
Prone Jackknife
This is more of a personal preference category. They really intrigued me – it involves balance and core strength, both of which I was/am lacking. I improved from 8 reps to 15 reps in this one, and improved my form on the way.

Least Favourite
Tie – Lunges and Pushups
Another personal preference category. I have always known I would hate lunges, but the things you hate are the things you need to work on. Pushups, on the other hand… I thought I’d progress more. I started on my knees doing 10, then changed to bench pressups a couple of weeks ago and finished at a measly 3-5 reps in my final workout. Never have I felt so disheartened in a workout.

Surprise Favourite
Workout 1A: 1 set 25kg/15reps, 1 set 25kg/10reps
Workout 8A: 1 set 35kg/8reps, 1 set 37.5kg/8reps, 1 set 40kg/5reps, 1 set 40kg/3reps
Yeah, I know. Squats are supposed to be awesome and good for you. I hated them when I started. In the last workout I started feeling inspired and stronger. I am actually looking forward to my widowmaker set on Monday.

I also did my best rowing machine warmup distance on Wednesday – 474m in 2:06 minutes! I only row for 2-ish minutes usually because I don’t want to tire myself out. This was the furtherest I’ve done!

I’ll update you with my new measurements next Wednesay.

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!