Time to Pump You Up
So, at this point you have made some big changes: You have set your health and fitness goals, are watching and journaling what you eat, and logging your cardio exercise. Right? If not make sure to check out my previous fitness blog posts to get started!
Now, if you’ve been taking this fitness journey with me, I hope you have met with success in meeting your goals, but even if you’ve had a few slip-ups, it’s okay. Just keep at it as it will get easier with time. Remember it’s a process! You didn’t get to where you are overnight and you can’t change it overnight.
Building new healthy habits is a life-time endeavor. But with consistency, determination, and perseverance, you will get there! And please don’t get down on yourself, beating yourself up because you aren’t, “Where you should be”. Instead, be thankful that you aren’t where you use to be!
Now, lets focus on shaping those sexy muscles!
Resistance – The Kind You Want in Life
Resistance training (strength or weight training) is very important in achieving a tight, toned, sexy figure. Yes, cardio is important to burn calories, but without muscle strengthening exercises, your body will still remain shapeless.
Now I know many women are afraid of weight training because of the fear of getting “too bulky,” but don’t worry, you don’t naturally have enough male hormones to look like Arnold in his hey-day, and if you want to burn fat, building muscle is the best way.
The more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more fat you burn (even when sleeping!). So while you won’t look like a “she-man”, what you will look like is shapely and sexy.
And there is nothing sexier than a nicely defined back, a sweeping thigh, and tight arms that don’t flap in the wind. There are a lot of shapeless, skinny people out there, don’t be one of them.
TIP: With weight-training, you can change the shape of your body. With the right exercises, you can make a pear shape look like an hour-glass. Cardio and diet can’t do that alone!
So Let’s Get Pumped Up
Let’s Talk Basics
What you will need:
- A notebook to use as an exercise log
- Optional: A pair of fingerless weightlifting gloves found at any sporting good store
- Some type of resistance equipment such as weights (dumbbells), resistance bands, or even just milk jugs and cans. Most equipment can be purchased online if working out at home.
- Music to motivate you on your headphones.
Remember these terms:
Reps: Short for “repetitions.” The number of times you complete a single exercise before taking a rest or a break.
- When doing a resistance exercise, such as a biceps curl with a weight, each time you lift your weight up and bring it back down would be one rep.
- When doing a bodyweight exercise, like a pushup, each time you flow through the full move is one rep. So, one full pushup from up to down and back up again would be called one rep.
Sets: Completing several reps of a specific exercise in a row is called a set. So 1 set might be a series of 15 reps such as doing 15 bicep curls in a row before resting. It works a little differently when during circuit training. But I’ll get to that.
Rest: What you do in between sets (usually between 30-60 seconds) and what you do on those days in between your workouts!
For example, a weight training workout plan including triceps dips might include instructions to do 3 sets of 12 reps with a 30-second rest in between sets. You might see these instructions written out in a kind of workout log shorthand, as “3X12, 30 secs.”
Tip: Rest days (also called “off-days”) are very important. When your muscles are at rest is when they grow. Weight training actually tears muscle down and it takes rest for those muscles to repair and strengthen. You can add in cardio and or a yoga class on your rest day.
What Kind, How To, and How Much?
How much weight is enough?
Let’s take a 12 rep set, for example
- You want to use enough weight that by your 12th rep, you feel you could do no more without losing proper from. At first, this is trial and error.
- Usually, you know if your weight is too light by your 6th rep. If it feels too easy then just go up on the next set (increase by 2.5 to 5 pounds).
- If the weight you’re using is too heavy by the 3rd or 4th rep, it’s going to be too heavy to complete the whole set properly. So quickly change to a lower weight and continue your set.
Once you find your starting weight and are writing it down in your log, then it’s easy to keep track. Every week or so, you may be ready to move up the weight. Do not increase the weight anymore than 2.5-5 lbs and using the above guidelines to determine if the weight is suitable for you.
Here is a great start to building a new you! If you stay committed you will see the changes you have been looking for.
A Beginner’s Routine:
I’m going to share a circuit training routine that I use with my beginner clients and students who do my Peak Performance Training program. Circuit training is done a little differently, as you’ll see.
- In circuit training, you will go from one exercise to another without resting in between. Each time you complete an exercise that would be a set for that particular exercise.
- When you’ve completed all the exercises one time, that would be one circuit set.
- You then rest after you complete your circuit set before you start your next round.
- The difference in a circuit training routine is that you won’t rest between exercise sets. You instead will rest after your full circuit set. See Beginner’s routine below for details.
- Circuit training is wonderful for beginners. Start with one set and as you get stronger, add in 1-2 more sets for 3 full circuit sets in total.
- An additional benefit of circuit training is your including cardio exercise into your training. Because you’re not resting between exercises, you’re getting your heart rate up and burning more calories.
Type: Circuit training
Frequency: 2-3X a week with a rest day in between
Equipment: 3, 5, and 10 pound dumbbells are great if you’re just beginning (see routine for suggested weight per exercise).
Set: Each circuit is a set. do 1-3 sets depending on the time you have to work out and your fitness level.
Reps: See chart.
Rest: Between each circuit set, rest for 30-60 seconds depending on fitness level.
- Warm up your muscles before working out with some jogging in place, jumping jacks, etc.
- With every rep, make sure you do each move with proper technique and control. Count 2 seconds when lifting a weight (or during the exertion phase) and 4 seconds when lowering (returning to starting position).
- Don’t Hold your breath. Exhale during your exertion phase, inhale as you return to starting position.
- Resting between sets is a great time to lightly stretch the muscles just worked or if wanting an extra challenge, do a little cardio such as running in place or jumping jacks. Or take this time to just jam out to some great tunes.
- Make sure you finish your work out with a full body stretch
- On your “Off Days” is a great time to do your cardio or yoga class
This is where you’ll use your exercise log. After you finished your workout, jot down and keep track of the day exercised, exercises performed, weight used, and sets and reps performed. You can also log your exercises between sets while your resting.
You can also plan out your next workout ahead of time. If it was too easy plan to add in more reps, more sets, or more weight.
Since I can’t design a program here personally for you, you can start with my beginner’s program and run it for 4 weeks, increasing your weight and or the number of circuits as you get stronger.
But to make sure you are using proper form and getting the most of your exercise routine, I have to refer you to wonderful exercise books like Body Sculpting Bible for Women. I have used this book for years (when the first edition came out in 2002!).
If you join a gym, ask one of the trainers to take you around (and think about paying a little extra for one-on-one training until you’re comfortable on your own). There are also some great strength training group classes held at most gyms.
If working out at home, there are plenty of online programs you can join, such as Beachbody.
Your options are pretty limitless! And that’s good because about every 3-4 weeks, as you grow stronger, you will want to change up exercises and routines to keep you challenged!
Now go get pumped!
For My Freebie Peak Performance Training workout routine, click here