Women have it all wrong when it comes to weight loss. The average woman when she joins a gym looks at how many treadmills there are and the aerobics schedule to see if there are classes that fit in her schedule. When women want to lose weight they torture themselves with repetitive movement for hours on end spinning their wheels or running to nowhere like a hamster in a habitrail! If you take a look at all of the women walking on the treadmills you’ll notice none of them have the body most women want.
The problem is that most personal trainers haven’t figured it out yet either. They get a female client who hires them to change their body and they think, “Oh man…another one of those stupid toning programs in the ladies only section with the pink dumbbells doing lots of reps…” Most trainers don’t realize that they need to challenge women to get their bodies to change and to stop being afraid of pushing her to gain muscle to boost her metabolism to change the way her body looks, permanently.
1. Endless hours of cardio or aerobics classes
2. Avoids strength training because she doesn’t want to get “big and bulky” or maybe she uses some rinky dink pink dumbbells to “tone” for lots of reps
3. Cuts back her diet to practically starve herself
4. Focuses on the scale weight and a number she wants it to say.
What works about this plan: NOTHING!
What is wrong with this plan: EVERYTHING!
She will lose weight but it will be a mixture of muscle, water and maybe some fat so she’ll end up looking like a smaller version of her same self but in the process she will have dropped her metabolism so there will be no way she can keep the weight off and will gain it back guaranteed. This is the cycle most women have been through many times throughout their lifetime. Yet, when they want to lose weight they do the same thing again. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
1. Metabolically demanding full body strength training program lifting challenging weights. This should be their priority workouts 2-4 days a week.
2. Boost their intensity and drop the duration on their cardio sessions performing interval style workouts for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
3. Fuel their body with healthy food every couple hours getting their metabolism revving.
4. Focus on how her clothes fit and how she looks and feels and not on a number on the scale. Focus in Fat Loss, not Weight Loss.
What works about this plan: It will boost her metabolism, it will change her body, it will make her feel confident about herself, she can eat and she will be able to maintain her new body!
To really change their bodies permanently women need to start checking out the strength training floor. They need to get out of their comfort zone and push their bodies beyond what it is used to. No more walking to nowhere on the treadmill! I am not talking about bodybuilding routines where you split up each body part and bomb and blitz the pecs or pump up the biceps. It is not necessary for a woman to isolate any muscle group to get the defined look she wants.
Instead a woman should do a full body, metabolically demanding program in which she alternates between an upper body compound movement such as a push up or chin up with a lower body compound movement such as a squat or lunge. Keep the rest periods short and use a weight that is challenging. Use 3-4 pairs of exercises working out for no more than an hour at a time.
The woman with toned arms and defined legs looks that way because she has the very thing most women are terrified of, muscle. They are so afraid to lift weights in fear of bulking up that they never get their bodies to look the way they want them to. They have it deeply seeded in their subconscious that as soon as they touch anything over 10 pounds, they will sprout humungous muscles! Even if they do use weights, they probably still aren’t lifting heavy enough and pushing themselves hard enough to get the look they want. Most women don’t know what their bodies are capable of and tend to not push themselves hard enough. There was actually a research study done on this where they showed that women when left to train on their own, lifted loads below what they were capable of.
Maybe it is because women have been conditioned our whole lives to exercise from the point of view of what we “can’t” do, rather than what we can do. Women grew up doing “girl” push ups, because we were told we “can’t” do actual push ups or hanging from the bar instead of a chin up because girls “can’t” do chin ups. The first woman to run the marathon had to sneak in dressed as a man because women “can’t” run a marathon, and that was only in the 70’s, not that long ago. Women “can’t” lift too heavy, they will hurt themselves. We still subconsciously hold ourselves back when it comes to training whether we realize it or not. We need to start training from the standpoint of- What CAN you do? How much CAN you lift? How strong CAN you get? And stop letting “can’t” enter our vocabulary. As women start to push themselves in the gym, lifting weights and building lean muscle tissue, their metabolisms will be revving and they will be the toned, defined body they have always wanted.
So how do you get your body to change? You have to lift enough weight to build muscle to increase your metabolism, fuel your body with healthy food and turn your body into a fat burning machine. Stop pounding your body with hours of cardio and stop starving yourself, I promise if you do it the right way, you WILL see results!!
By Amy Barnes - Health & Wellness Consultant