A weight lifting and strength training program for women
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For those of you just starting a weightlifting program (women) or for those of you who have been working out but want to start with a new program from the beginning you might want to do this one that I have listed below from www.SimplyShredded.com I have been weight training for over 2 years now, but over time I have altered my workout routine. I went from working up my proper form on various weight lifting exercises, to slowly increasing the weight and lower the reps to build muscle and burn fat. What I found was that eventually over time I didn’t stick to my routine and wound up going in and doing whatever I felt like doing that day (mostly leg exercises since I love those), which made me stop and ask “Why am I getting so bored of my workout routine? Should I restart with a new one?” – the answer to both was a resounding YES! If you are looking for a routine to keep you focused and interested I always like to make my gym visits 85% weight lifting and only 15% cardio. What women fail to realize is that doing ONLY cardio won’t change the shape of your body/muscles. Sure you will lose body fat but what is underneath that fat is not going to help shape you. I hope this workout also works for you, when I found it I began it and really enjoyed it!
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Below is a picture of me at the same exact weight (108lbs)….
The picture on the left is me after years of killing myself doing endless cardio, eating a diet that was mostly low protein but “diet” foods at about 1400 calories a day. I was what many ladies call “Skinny Fat” – in clothing I was a size 1-2 and XS but I had little to no definition and was not firm or tone is certain areas.
Was I thin? Yes. Did I have real definition or muscle tone? Barely. I did pilates, yoga, some weight lifting but did the “low weight/high reps'” because I didn’t want to get “BULKY” (such a bad thought given to us women by magazines)
The picture on the right is me about 6 months into only lifting weights. I cut out doing all forms of cardio and only did weight training. I did the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” workout program (you can buy the book here). What I quickly learned is my body changed more in those first few months of weight lifting than it ever did with my previous years of “going to the gym everyday and dieting”. I was also eating about 2200 calories a day of mostly high protein and high carb but also healthy fats and usually 6 meals per day.
Do you notice a pattern here? All of the stuff you’ve been told all your life as a woman is a lie. You don’t have to starve. You don’t have to do exercises to “lengthen and tone” (you’ll never lengthen your body, it is what it is. exercise won’t make you taller ladies).
Think of it this way:
Fat covers muscle
Weight Training builds muscle while burning fat
Cardio just burns fat, no muscle building
If you lift weights and burn fat you will SEE big results
If you just do cardio you will just lose the layer of fat, but not change any definition underneath
In order to get back on track and get into a routine I knew I had to have one that outlined things very clearly, gave me 2 days of rest per week, was less focused on cardio and more focused on strength training and finally, one that would still challenge me and keep me interested. So, I found the below 12 week workout program similar to a 5×5 strength training workout for women I had done before. This one breaks up the week into 4 lifting days and splits the workout days into lower body and upper body. What I like about this routine is it will give you the time to work your way up in weight and it doesn’t have you isolating just one area of the body (example: back/chest day). Ladies, don’t be afraid to lift weights. Make sure to pick the right weight so that you are fatigued/tired at the end of your last rep. If you can do more reps then the weight is too light, if you can’t do all of the reps it’s too heavy. Make sure to pair this routine with a high protein, clean eating diet with good carbs on the days you lift heavier (leg days for example is the day I eat more carbs than a day I just do cardio/upper body). I will do a separate. post about carb cycling/carb loading.
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF WEIGHT TRAINING – YOU WILL NOT GET “BULKY” LIFTING WEIGHTS!
As of October 21, 2014 – Current stats: 110lbs, 14.5% body fat, 26″ waist, 9″ biceps unflexed, 33″ hips. I lift weights, I do very little cardio, I don’t consider myself bulky by any means.
Am I saying that the below routine is going to get everyone the same results? No. If your goal is just to lose weight, not build muscle then maybe it’s not…but let’s get this clear first – the reason you look “bulky” is not from lifting weights. If you are lifting weights and feel like you look bulky it’s the layer of fat that is covering your muscles…so you need to lift and combine cardio to burn fat/drop your body fat % and cardio alone is not going to do that. You need to pair both to get maximum results. Work your lifting weight up every 2 weeks if you feel you are not feeling fatigued by the last rep of each set. I aim to do 5-10lbs increase every 2 weeks if not sooner. It all depends on the exercise and how sore I may be still.
Give yourself time to build your strength and make sure you are monitoring how much you are lifting each time you go to the gym. You will be surprised that over time you will slowly increase the weight. For example if I do 95lbs one week on free squats, by the 2nd week I feel that 95lbs is light, so I bump it up 10 more pounds. Over time the weight you used to think was “heavy” is now light. Your body will adapt and no, you won’t get huge and masculine. I focus very little on cardio and use my weight training as my cardio. I’ve been down that road of endless hamster-like cardio, and it wasn’t until I lifted actual weights (not 5lb dumb bells but heavy weights) that my body changed. Below is my current routine and I highly recommend it to see results. Remember: to lose body fat you must 1. eat clean 2. eat at a deficit 3. lift weights 4. do HIIT cardio
The 12-Week Workout Program (from www.simplyshredded.com)
As we said before, women need to lift heavy, challenging weights in order to gain muscle. Lifting heavy weights will not cause women to get big and bulky like men because women produce a fraction of the testosterone that men do. When women begin working out, their goals are to tone up and gain shape/curves and following this program will accomplish just that! In this 12-week program, you will decrease the number of reps you complete and increase the load you lift as you progress. The number of sets per exercise stays the same, but the rep range changes.
On my rest days i like to REST. If on Saturday and Sunday I am itching to go to the gym I will do abs, plyometric work or just a HIIT set of no more than 20 minutes.
If you are unable to do pull ups or dips you can use the assisted machines, which I do also. it’s hard as hell to do that many pull ups so go easy on yourself.
Above all else you MUST enjoy working out everyday. You will get sore, especially in the beginning. Make sure you take the right supplements and vitamins to help you.
I recommend taking a BCAA/Amino Drink to help with recovery, a whey protein powder to make shakes with, a multivitamin, fish oil.
I also recommend having a workout partner, or make sure your spouse or significant other is also living a healthy lifestyle. This will keep you on track and away from failure. While me and my fiance do not do workouts together, we do go to the gym together and keep one another on track. I don’t know if I could be with someone who didn’t share a common interest in living a healthy life.
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