Stage 2: Workin’ it out

Ladies…(drumroll please)…

…We have a period. Or rather, had.

[side bar: I tried to find a fun picture to include with this note, but trust me, it is not a good idea to do google image searches for anything with the word “period” in it. Just…trust me.]

So, I guess my body was just going through some stuff? Who knows! The good news is that things are still clunking around in there.

On to the journalling..

I’ve done my second round of workouts for Stage 2. It’s been fun! I’m super sore…Good sore.


  1. Front Squat/Push Press – 2 sets of 8 @ 45 lbs (I am having SUCH a hard time with these! They are tough!)
  2. Step-Ups – 2 sets of 10 @ 27.5 lbs (6-up)
    Dumbbell One-Point Row – 2 sets of 10 @ 17.5 lbs
  3. Static Lunge, rear foot elevated – 2 sets of 10 @ 25 lbs
    Push Ups – 2 sets of 10
  4. Plank – 2 sets @ 60 sec
    Cable Horizontal Wood Chop – 2 sets of 10 @ 35 lbs

I managed to get to the gym by my lonesome on Sunday and had a good, long workout, and I was able to fit in all of workout B.


  1. Wide grip deadlift from box – 2 sets of 10 @ 100 lbs
  2. Bulgarian split squat – 2 sets of 10 @ 35 lbs
    Underhand grip lat pulldown – 1 set of 10 @ 60 lbs, 1 set of 10 @ 65 lbs
  3. Reverse lunge from box with forward reach – 2 sets of 10 @ 20 lbs (also surprisingly tough)
    Dumbbell prone cuban snatch – 2 sets of 10 @ 12.5 lb
  4. Swiss ball crunch (Straight Arm, Weighted) – 2 sets of 10 @ 10lbs
    Reverse Crunch – 2 sets of 10
    Lateral Flexion  – 2 sets of 10
  5. Prone Cobra – 2 sets @ 60 sec
  6. Interval Training – 15 min Arc Trainer intervals, Resistance Range 12-20.

Goals post this afternoon. Promise!


Stage 2: It’s business time

In case any of you caught it, yes, the title of this post is a nod to this little gem. And by ‘business time’, I mean time to write about Stage 2!

FIrst of all, a few notes.

  • I have been so freakin’ busy with school! Hence the lack of posting.
  • I WILL be doing a re-cap of Stage 1 soon.
  • I WILL be writing about reassessment of goals/progress/etc. soon.
  • No news yet on the period front. But a HUGE thank you to all of you who shared your experiences with me. It is greatly appreciated!

Now for the fun part.

Before I get into it, a little background info for those of you who are unfamiliar with the program. It is comprised of 7 stages, each of which lasts about 3-4 weeks, with the exception of Stage 1 (which I just finished) which lasts 6-8 weeks. The Stages have different focuses, from building strength in varying ways (most of the stages) to trimming up in ‘the final cut’ (the last stage).

I’ve officially done my first week of Stage 2. My thought so far is that it’s tough, it’s different, but I like it. This stage is different for a few key reasons:

  • the exercises are different
  • the sets and rest times are different
  • there are more exercises per workout
  • there is a more distinct core component
  • there is a metabolic (cardio interval training) component

Since there are more exercises and two additional components, the workouts are also LONGER. Because of this, I’ve actually decided to break Stage 2 into a 3-day split instead of a 2-day split*. The main reasons I’ve opted to do this is because (a) I usually go to the gym with the boy, and we like to keep our workouts to ~ 1 hr, and (b) I want to keep my intensity throughout all the exercises, and I feel that the 3-day split allows me to give 100% for the ab + cardio component (this thought first came as I was coming out of my illness and feeling tired, but now I actually just think it’s a good idea.)

*For those of you who are doubting, let me say that I first heard of the idea of splitting the workouts from Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler (the guys who wrote the book) themselves. [Side note: for those who are completing any NROL program, check out this recent podcast Q&A with the authors].

With all that preamble out of the way, here is my Stage 2, Week 1 recap. Workouts with two or three exercises under each numbered item are alternating sets. You can see how I split workout B into two separate days below:


  1. Front Squat/Push Press – 2 sets of 7 @ 45 lbs
  2. Step-Ups – 2 sets of 10 @ 27.5 lbs
    Dumbbell One-Point Row – 2 sets of 10 @ 17.5 lbs
  3. Static Lunge, rear foot elevated – 2 sets of 10 @ 25 lbs
    Push Ups – 2 sets of 10
  4. Plank – 2 sets @ 60sec
    Cable Horizontal Wood Chop – 2 sets of 10 @ 35 lbs


  1. Wide grip deadlift from box – 2 sets of 10 @ 95 lbs
  2. Bulgarian split squat – 2 sets of 10 @ 25 lbs
    Underhand grip lat pulldown – 2 sets of 10 @ 55 lbs
  3. Reverse lunge from box with forward reach – 2 sets of 10 @ 20 lbs
    Dumbbell prone cuban snatch (hard!) – 2 sets of 10 @ 10lbs

B1b (note: I added in an extra set of most of the exercises)

  1. Swiss ball crunch (Straight Arm, Weighted) – 3 sets of 10 @ 6lb medicine ball
    Reverse Crunch – 3 sets of 10
    Lateral Flexion  – 3 sets of 10 (this one is hard to explain, but a great exercise! Am considering doing a video to show you all how this rocks your obliques/core)
  2. Prone Cobra – 2 sets @ 60 sec
  3. Interval Training – 15 min Treadmill intervals, Range ~5.5-8.7 MPH.

Doing the split this way actually made each of the workouts ~ 1hr each, which is perfect. I typically go to the gym 4-5 days a week ANYWAY, so it won’t slow my progress.

I have much more I’d like to write, but I think that’s enough for today – this is already a marathon post!

Day 45: big itemized update

Hi guys! I’m back! ….Kind of!

I have soo many things to update on, so I will try to be brief! For your reading ease, I’m going to itemize (oh yes):

Illness Sucks
First off, sorry for the super long delay in posting and my lack of comments on all of your blogs. As I mentioned in my last post (where I reviewed The Great Fitness Experiment), I’ve been sick. I figured it was just a little cold and would take only a few days to heal, but boy, was I wrong. It really, really wiped me out for over a week. I was completely exhausted, sniffling, sore mess. I missed classes and skipped out on some social events, and obviously, did not do my regular workouts. Honestly, this illness kind of came at a bad time – I had only ONE regular workout left in Stage 1! Ridiculous! Needless to say, I’ve really missed the gym 😦

Work Trip
My absence can also be partly explained by a little work trip I had to take. I went away for a couple of days for a meeting related to my research assistantship job to this place:


The boy has family in the town where I had my meeting, so we stayed with them in their gorgeous, ocean-view home, which was decked out as it used to be a B&B. Needless to say, it was a welcome mini-break and outside of the research work I was doing, I took a vacation from my homework as well.

So….On the exercise front, I must admit I’m feeling a bit deflated. A few days ago I was starting to feel a bit better so the boy and I spent a night at the pool, which was nice. I was feeling a lot better yesterday, and so was quite hopeful about getting in that last regular stage 1 workout…..

IT DID NOT GO WELL. I felt OK to begin with – just a little weak – but OK. I reduced my weight a little bit on the squats because they did not feel strong, and only did 30˚ pushups, which was OK. I was starting to feel weak and shaky during the step ups and jackknife – and then I got hit with nausea and basically cut the last two exercises short. Brutal, but I honestly thought I was going to toss if I did one more move. 😦

Here’s what I did:

Straight Sets

Squats – 2 sets of 8 @ 110 lbs, 1 set of 8 @ 105 lbs

Push ups – 3 sets of 10 @ 30˚
Seated Row – 3 sets of 8 @ 70 lbs

Step Ups – 2 sets of 6 @ 25 lbs
Prone Jackknife –  2 sets of 12

So, the final regular workout of stage 1 was a bit of a flop. Unfortunate, but I’m glad to have at least finished the majority of it. For those who are not familiar with the program, there are also 2 “special” workouts at the end of Stage 1, which basically ask you to do all of the exercises with your ORIGINAL weight, for as many reps as possible. This is to show you how much you’ve progressed since the beginning. Then, you’re supposed to take a week off before starting Stage 2.

Because I took a week off during my sickness, I have decided NOT to do the special workouts, mainly because my progress has stalled and possibly declined as a result of my illness, and so my “progress” won’t truly be captured by the As-Many-Reps-As-Possible (AMRAP) format. Plus, I’m just tired of Stage 1 and am ready to move on. So I’ll be moving right along to Stage 2. I’m still not sure if I’m 100% ready to be fully back into my heavy lifting routine, so I am going to go to the gym and see how it feels.

Other (*ahem*) Issues
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m taking some time to assess my goals. I think I’ve figured a few things out and will be posting on them shortly. A lot of thinking along with my sickness has caused me to re-assess a few things, namely around my physical and mental well-being.

Aside from my cold, there’s something else going on physiologically: I missed my period this month (and/or) am almost 10 days late. Before you get super excited (or scared), NO I’m not pregnant. Or at least as far as I (and the pregnancy test I took) can tell. So something else has thrown me off.

My period was due BEFORE I got sick so it wasn’t the illness. I haven’t gone through any new or significant stress over the past month, so that can’t explain it. The only things I have narrowed it down to are (a) exercise (although I feel this is unlikely, since I did lift weights and exercised very regularly before) and (b) diet (this is what my gut is telling me, as it is what has changed most significantly this month). Or I am pregnant and the test was wrong 😉 Also, I should mention that my body fat is no where near the lower limit, so it’s not a case of low body fat. Any thoughts you might have on WHY this might be happening would be GREATLY appreciated!

Fun Link
Did you guys hear about the sweet little ten-year-old Canadian girl who caught Lady Gaga’s attention performing Born This Way? She’s performing with Lady Gaga at her concert tonight. Can’t say I’m a huuuuge fan of Gaga, but this girl is pretty darn cute (this last link may have caused me to shed a tear).

Alrighty…that’s all for now. Sorry for information overload….:/