End of Stage One NROLFW

So I’ve talked lots of times about how I love lifting, I really have found something I’m really passionate about and I’ve finally managed to finish Stage One of the New Rules of Lifting for Women. For those who don’t know what this entails it’s 8 weeks of workouts in which you steadily increase your weight while the reps and sets change.

It’s honestly the best ever thing that I’ve embarked on and it’s truly become a massive passion of mine, it’s hands down my favourite part of my workout in the gym and the most challenging. I think it’s because the whole point of it is to push yourself to your absolute limits, to failure, and that really appeals to me, also it’s measurable in a very clear way.

Absolutely don’t try copying this programme without reading the book. I’ll say that now. You need to read the advice, instructions and understand the reasons *why* you are doing the movements so you do them properly. I just wanted to share with you some of the progress I made in the first stage of the programme, I’ll probably do a review after every stage so you can wait with baited breath for them.

For clarity Reps are how many of the exercise you do, Sets are the number of groups of reps you do. So 3 x 10 would be 30 in total but you’d have a 60 second break after 10. The NROLFW Stage 1 gives you two routines in stage 1 workout A and workout B I’m just going to quickly look at each exercise. I love how functional they all are. I have comparison pictures too so if you aren’t interested in the actual moves then skip the next bit!


My first ever workout with squats I started just doing 2 sets of 15 reps of body weight (BW) squats, so your regular run of the mill kind of squats, and the last workout I completed the course of 3 x 8 at 55kg.

Push Ups

I’m still doing these on my knees but I’m doing them strong, I feel strong doing them and I’ll head towards real ones as soon as I can though. I will keep trying, ass in air.

Seated Rows

Seated Rows are more challenging than they look, I started off doing 2 sets of 15 reps at 10kg, my last seated workout was 3 sets of 10 reps at 40kgs. The man tried these out and even he admitted that that was pretty challenging so I’m proud of myself for pushing myself seriously hard.

Step Ups

When I started (and failed to continue) the NROLFW the first time around I was doing these on a one riser step like you would in retro step classes, then when I started this time round I realised that your thigh has to be parallel with the ground and knee at 90 degrees. That was a bit different! I started with just body weight and now I’m carrying two 10kg dumbells.

Prone Jacknife

This hurts but I do it every single prescribed rep. I swear to god my eyes nearly fall out of my head when I’m doing it but I do.


I started here with just a 10kg bar, I was more focussed on getting the whole thing right, the movement and the form, then once I’d managed to get that right I looked at what I was lifting. So like I said, I started at 10kg, my last workout I finished at 50kg. I’m pretty damn proud of that. 30 deadlifts.


Barbell Lifts

So these are pretty good too, I really enjoyed doing these as they really do push you to the final limit. I always find myself struggling on the last few pushes which is quite satisfying in a weird kind of way.


Lat Pulldown Wide Grip

I hate this one. Sorry. I do. It’s so so so hard but I’ve moved from doing 18kg to 40 kg in the 16 workouts and my shoulders are much much stronger. So I do them and I hate them.


Again I hate these, but they do the trick for legs and butt. 10 per leg 3 sets. I started off and spent a lot of time doing them at body weight only. Then I started to move to having a weight across my back to do it as well. Last workout I did, 25kg across my back for all 60 lunges.


Swiss Ball Crunches

Crunches. Who likes them really? No one that’s who, they are up there with burpees. ‘Nuff said.

So on to progress pictures. I am really hoping to do these after every single stage as I want to see my body change and develop along with my strength improving. I have said many a time that I find it so difficult to see differences in my body and that’s still the case. I’ve studied these next pictures with the man and he’s helped me see the light so to speak. It’s hard seeing change in your own body though and I think I will always struggle to see it.

First a side on shot. Now I want to get my excuses in preface this, I’m standing in a slightly different position and I was mega bloated with a food and natures gift so the pictures look backwards. One thing I can see in this picture is that my posture is massively better.


So the next one is a good old flex picture. My wrists are so …. erm… flaccid in the first picture it almost makes me laugh! Now I feel like I’m getting much improved definition in my arms, both the top of the bicep and the bottom is looking less jelly like now. I have a real thing about my arms and my wobbly “bingo wings”, I’ve a lot of loose skin there now too so that doesn’t help either. It’s great to see a bit of an improvement.


 So like the first one I don’t see a lot of change between these two pictures but my posture is better again and I seem to find something up on the roof interesting, maybe a cat or bird or something. The man pointed out that the “triangle” between my legs is getting bigger, the point is higher up, and my feet don’t seem to be more apart so theres a win.


I think the difference on these next two is pretty clear, the top fits so much better now, I’m losing the “rolls” around the middle of my body although some remain, and again my legs and butt appear to have slimmed out as well (so says the man). I can kinda see my shoulders are looking more toned and they are most definitely stronger!



Just for fun after my last workout I decided to see how heavy I could go for one deadlift. I stopped at 75kg but I was pretty happy with that! That’s a 20kg bar, 2 x 25kg weights and 2 x 2.5 kg weights.

So all in all I’m pretty pleased with the end of stage one of the New Rules of Lifting For Women, and quite honestly I’ve found something I’m so so passionate about. I LOVE LIFTING. I love it so much I look forward to weights days! I want every girl out there to pick up some weights and work their muscles for all the strength that they have in them. I’ve introduced my lovely friend to them now and I hope this post hopes some more girls to pick up the iron.

15 thoughts on “End of Stage One NROLFW

  1. Yay! I’m so excited for you :) I love all the photos! You can totally see changes! I wish I done that. You already know how much I love this program, and I can’t wait until you go through the whole thing – I hope you feel as amazed and confident as I did by the end of it.

    Definitely go through the whole thing step by step. They’ve done an amazing job scaffolding all the workouts!

  2. I read another blog by a runner who did all the stages of NROLFW and posted pictures after each stage – the difference after all 7 stages was impressive! I’ve thought about picking the book up and giving it a try, but we’re trying P90X right now, and I only have so many hours in a day. :) I’ll follow your progress with interest!

  3. Hi there:-) I’ve just completed Stage 1 of NROLFW, but reading your blog has made me realise that I haven’t pushed myself enough, so I’m starting Stage 1 over! I’ve been using a much shorter bar for my squats and deadlifts…I’ve been to afraid to us the Olympic bars that the guys use…but I did had my first go at it this morning and it is quite a challenge! Because the bar is longer, it takes some concentration to balance the weight. Your pics inspire me:-) So thank you for sharing your progress….
    from sunny Cape Town, South Africa:-)

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