New Rules of Lifting for Women: A Recap

January 22, 2010 § 11 Comments

I recently finished New Rules of Lifting for Women, which is a 7 phase strength training program lasting approximately 6 months depending on the frequency of your workouts.  The program builds strength through basic multi-joint exercises and is a chin up progression.  At the end of the program, you should be able to do unassisted chin ups.  I was able to do them before the end, but that’s only because I did them often and they got easier.   

Phase 1 starts with basic squats and deadlifts among other exercises.  This phase may seem too simple and most experienced exercisers tend to want to skip it, myself included.  After some consideration, I decided that I would do it  because I felt I could use improvement on these exercises.  Also, the program was designed by Alwyn Cosgrove.  Enough said.

What I liked about the program:  

  • The workouts are planned and easy to follow.  It takes the guesswork out of what you’re going to do next.
  • Workouts are 2 – 3 x per week.  I did them 2x per week.
  • No cardio is required except for Phases 2, 3, 4, and 5 and this is in form of HIIT (high intensity interval training).  I love this type of training and did it often before doing the program.  You can do other activities you enjoy.  For me that was spin class, kettlebells, and some running.

The program comes with nutritional information and recipes.  I didn’t try any of the recipes but the nutrition information was very good.  If you’re familiar with The FitCast podcast, you’ll know Cassandra Forsythe who wrote the nutrition section in the book.  She is highly educated on the subject of nutrition and has done some great research on different nutrition topics.  You can read more about her credentials and research here.  

The basic nutritional guidelines I follow are:  

  • Have a protein shake after my workouts
  • Keep wheat free non processed complex carbohydrates (with the exception of ezekial sprouted tortillas) timed around my workouts.
  • No counting calories but I did eat more during certain times and especially during phase 6 when the program was low rep heavy weight.

This works for me but understandably might not work for everyone.  I do want to note here that another reason I decided to eat more was because my monthly periods were getting messed up.  I went from an exact 28 day cycle, (which I have always been) to 31 days + and periods sometimes lasting for several weeks.  This was happening at about 123 lbs and 15% bodyfat.  For me, it’s just more important to be healthy.  Screwing with my hormones and possibly heading on the road to losing my periods altogether (the medical term is amenorrhea) is not something I’m interested in doing to look good.  While it’s possible that my cycle could be changing (I am 36 years old), when I ate more, my periods returned to a strict 28 day cycle.  Interesting.   

I also want to note that a few months into the program, I started working out with kettlebells.  Turkish get ups and swings were the majority of what I did for months.  Then I added cleans, presses, and snatches into the mix.  I was very careful not to overtrain, and New Rules was always my number one priority.  

   

The Results:  

 I went from doing zero to five consecutive to the sternum chin ups.  I can do a total of 8 in a workout though (in a descending set).  

Increased 1 minute sprint from 9 mph to 10.5 miles per hour. Increased 30 second sprint to 11 mph.  

This is the difference in measurements taken 5/25/09 and 1/21/10:  

  • Height – 5 foot 6 (no change…boo!)
  • Weight – 127 (down 1.5 lbs)
  • Bodyfat – 17% (down 3%)
  • Waist – 27 (down 1/4 inch)
  • Hips – 35 inches (no change)
  • Arm – 10 inches ( up 1/8 inch)
  • Thigh – 19.5 inches (no change)
  • Calf – 14 1/4 (down 3/4 of an inch!)
  • Chest (under bra) – 27 inches (up 1/2 inch)
  • Chest (at the largest part) – 31 inches (up 3/4 of a inch)

With the exception of thigh and hip measurements not budging, I’m very happy with these results.  I am assuming my chest measurement is up from lattisimus dorsi growth doing all those chin ups, turkish get ups, and presses.   

After finishing the program, my back is thicker and broader.  Also, my legs are slimmer even though the measurements didn’t budge much.  Yay for small victories!  

   

What I’ve Learned:  

Taking a rest is good!  The program says to take a 1 week rest between phases.  This was a foreign concept to me.  I found I was actually getting further taking all that rest!   

Being strong, capable, and healthy is SO much more important than looking ultra lean.    

Pay attention to what your body is telling you and adjust accordingly.  Be aware of how foods and sleep patterns make you feel.   This is a huge component to success.  

Doing REAL chin ups while men in the gym do half chin ups really freakin ROCKS!  

   

What’s Next for Me:  

In a word…kettlebells!  I am looking forward to improving even more on my strength with the program “Enter the Kettlebell” by Pavel Tsatsouline.  In addition, I will cross train with my TRX, traditional lifts, and some sprinting.  

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this program to any woman looking to improve their strength!  

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§ 11 Responses to New Rules of Lifting for Women: A Recap

  • way to stick to a plan

    you can definitely see a difference in the progression of photos

    legs are obviously slimmer, posture is better, and carriage of the frame in general is improved
    the butt has tightened up quite a bit

    sticking with a plan is a huge deal, and having followed your progress for a while, you definitely stuck with it

    good on ya mate, hope to see you at a cert some day 😉

    Get Strong, Stay Strong

  • that70sgrl says:

    Fantastic summary Jules! Congrats on finishing and your visible changes! 3% decrease in BF is AMAZING! Great summary, super thorough and very informative. Good call on the choosing HEALTH over what the book says. Our cycles are definitely a very loud voice we should listen to.

  • Laura says:

    You look mahvelous!!! You’ve got that “fit female” look Rachel Cosgrove talks about in The Female Body Breakthrough 🙂

    I also really respect your choice to prioritize health over leanness. I wish more women realized that it’s not healthy to try to look like an Oxygen cover model 24/7

  • Don says:

    Congratulations. Am impressed with the changes in the before and after pics. Remarkable gains in such a short time. You look terrific. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Jerry says:

    How about being 36 but looking lightyears better than most 22 year olds? I don’t see that in your list of results 😉

  • Joe says:

    Julie, terrific post and terrific results. Not only do you look great, you’re stronger than when you started. Rock on GreenteaGirl

  • greenteagrl says:

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I’m so glad I stuck with it and finished strong!

  • Sue says:

    Great review and results! And you can’t look any fitter than when you’re doing a chinup!

  • J.Savage says:

    Fantastic! You really rocked the “New Rules of Lifting” – I love the results you have gotten.

    Pullups are very womanly – there is nothing better than when a girl can do more pullups than most guys!

    Keep it up and I cant wait to see your next post on the ETK program!

    Great info Julie!

  • Deana says:

    Julie! You rock it girl! I think what I find so amazing is your total commitment and passion for what you are doing. Your “no excuses” attitude has inspired me many times when I have definately needed it. Not only have I had the privilage of seeing your transformation in the last 6 months on this program, I have been lucky enough to be a part of your life journey for almost 8 years now. I am so grateful to have a friend who is such a strong woman (on the inside and out!!) and who is living so authentically. You definately embody the saying “practice what you preach” and I cannot wait to see what you do next!!!

    • greenteagrl says:

      @Joey – Thanks for visiting and commenting. It means alot.
      @Deana – You’re going to make me cry! Thank you for commenting and for encouraging me when the negative thoughts creep in. You are truly the best! 🙂

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