NROLFW Stage Two Recap
A few days ago, I finished stage two of the NROLFW program. This stage took half as long as stage one, which had its pros and its cons: while I never got a chance to get bored necessarily, I definitely stalled in terms of my progress on a few exercises. The book attributes this to a couple of possible issues, but I think my major “problem” was that I started out with weights that were a little on the heavy side, and my strength could not increase fast enough to make significant progress. That aside, I did walk away from stage two with a few key insights:
- I hate (HATE) step ups. Like, I never ever want to do another step up again for the rest of my life. This is where I stalled the most in this stage; for the life of me, I could not advance past 50 lbs on a medium-high step. I could do higher weights on a lower step, but I didn’t feel as though that was as effective (is it?) so I stuck with my 50 lbs for the entire stage. And it was hard for every single workout. And I hated it. Did I already mention that?
- I am officially becoming the obnoxious person who grunts in the weight room. Especially during my last few reps of step ups. I’ll occasionally drop the F-bomb if I’m feeling particularly exhausted. It’s not cute, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. Sorry, fellow gym-goers.
- Where has the reverse wood chop been all my life? This is an ab exercise that actually feels like it is working my abs, in a good way. I’m happy it carries over into stage 3 because I enjoy doing it and feel like it’s actually effective.
- All this focus on interval training (which I am LOVING) has made me marvel at the fact that I trained for two half marathons. This interval method is the complete opposite of the method you follow when training for an endurance event, and while I think both have their benefits, interval training is the right thing for me right now. It’s fast, it’s intense, and it’s definitely effective. I do not miss slogging through two hour runs right now, but I’ll also never say that I’ll never do it again!
- The workouts are still taking between 25-40 minutes, depending on the rest I need between sets (I’m going more by how I feel and not as much by the prescribed rest periods the book recommends). This is perfect for me—I can still fit in an interval session before the workouts and still be out of the gym in about an hour.
- I’m feeling more confident in the weight room in general. There are a few scary exercises coming up in upcoming stages that I know will make me feel timid all over again, but right now I feel like I know what I’m doing. After six or seven years of lifting weights, this is the first time I’ve had this much weight-room confidence, and it’s pretty fantastic.
- Why did I ever stop doing squats and lunges? I used to love working out my lower body—I think it took me back to my strong-leg dancer days or something—and then I just kind of dropped off on my lower body workouts. But holy hell, squats and lunges do incredible things for everything below your hips. I am so motivated to increase my weights in these exercises because I feel like they are the ones giving me the most pay off.
- My weight hasn’t changed much since the end of stage one, but I attribute that mostly to my eating habits. I know if I was eating “cleaner,” I’d be seeing more results. Plain and simple. Something to work on in stage three!
- I’ve seen another small drop in my hip measurement after this stage (about 1/2 inch) and a small increase in my thigh measurement—all those squats, I guess!
Overall, I’m enjoying the program as a whole. I love the structure of any program—I’m just the kind of person who enjoys walking into the gym with a plan! I’ve already started stage three, and so far, it is HARD. I’m looking forward to continuing and seeing what kind of results I get as I go forward!