Today, I will post my last set of pictures for the 6-month challenge I was doing over at JP Fitness Forums. I know myself and there was never any doubt that I would complete the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. The biggest factor in whether I will finish a program or not is the time commitment. [That's the only reason I didn't complete P90X. At the time, I didn't have adjustable dumbbells and it was just taking way too long to finish a workout.] For the most part, the workouts comprising the NROL4W are very manageable. At most I spend an hour lifting especially if I have my act together. If I arrive at the gym at 6, I am out by 7:30 the latest (and that includes 20-25 minutes of cardio and stretching). For Stage 6, I could be out by 7:00.
I loved Stage 6 for many reasons--including the fact that the workouts were short and sweet. I got to work on my chin-ups (I can now do three full chin-ups) and push-ups. The workouts themselves were just really enjoyable and fun. I looked forward to doing each one and honestly, I could happily re-do Stage 6. When I think back on the program, there were some stages that were just tortuous and really give me pause when I think about maybe re-doing this program in the future. But Stage 6? Oh, it was awesome.
So now I'm moving on to Stage 7 of NROL4W. It's the finisher stage. There are a couple of new lifts I need to study/learn for this stage--nothing too intense. I hope to finish the program on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, if all goes as planned.
I feel like I have made many strength gains doing the program but I also feel that I have hit a wall. It occurs to me that I may need to put on weight in order make any more strength gains but it is really hard for me to think about doing that having worked so hard to lose weight. Currently, I am about 118-119 lbs. and 5'2" and quite muscular which makes me look like I weigh less than that. I feel really comfortable at this size. I feel nimble and quick and I certainly don't want to go clothes shopping again. I am strong--but maybe only as strong as I can be at this size. But perhaps I can make some more breakthroughs and stay this size but I have a feeling that just 10 more pounds would make a big difference.
Anyway, I'm taking part of this week off. Here's what I'm doing:
|Sunday||Long, Easy Run|
|Monday||Bikram Yoga (it's been forever since I've been)|
|Tuesday||Cathe Friedrich's Athletic Step|
Brutal 8 Exercise Drill + very light stretching
|Thursday||Interval run + 20 mins. Yoga|
|Friday||NROL4W Stage 7, Workout 1|
|Saturday||60 mins. yoga|
I've also started really paying attention to my stretching after lifting and running. If I ignore proper stretching post workout, my hips get so uncomfortably tight. It's also very meditative for me to take everything down and just be still. So I've been diligent about devoting 5-10 minutes post-workout to stretching. I bought a foam roller but I have not been using it with any consistency. When I do use it, though, I basically follow this routine and it really does feel amazing in a painful release kind of way:
I would definitely like to foam roll more. Just like I'd like to practice more yoga. And read more. And meditate more . . .
Lastly, I've been wearing my Vibram Five Fingers to the gym (the foam roller and the Vibrams are my latest fitness purchases). I'm very pleased with the Vibrams. I really like the feeling of being close to the ground--grounded. They are comfortable to me and I have low arches/flat feet. I tried running in them on asphalt and concrete and that was really jarring to my knees and hips. I know that I have to modify my style of running so that it's not painful but I think running in them on concrete reinforced the idea that I have that running on concrete/pavement is not a great idea in the first place. It's not what we are meant to do . . . I still enjoy running though and I do so mainly on pavement but I will stay with my regular running shoes (my Asics). I may try the Vibrams on a track one of these days but definitely not on concrete. But for lifting and floor exercise, the Vibrams have been great. I love not having to do shoe switcheroos. I can wear the Vibrams to the gym, lift, do cardio and wear them home. They won't work in the winter though because they are really just mesh but in the winter I usually have to wear boots to the gym anyway.