Ever stepped into a gym only to feel intimidated by everything and everybody there? Don’t worry, just about everyone has, at some point. Some of the fitness machines look so complicated and everybody there already looks so trim and fit; meanwhile, you’re just trying to figure everything out… We’re here to help, with the complete guide to womens fitness programs and workouts. We’ll be covering weight training for women, body building and cardio, the right type of nutrition program you’ll want to follow for that ever-elusive bikini body, how to build your own home gym, supplements – and so much more!
The basic rules for women’s bodybuilding
If you don’t know how to use a weight bench, a kettlebell, just about any type of gym equipment, or a protein powder shake, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you that we completely understand your apprehension to fitness and empathize with the fact that you might feel overwhelmed when you first start working out. More often than not, women who first go to the gym, determined to turn their lives around, end up ditching the resistance training machines and opting for the far less intimidating cardio machines. The elliptical, the treadmill and the stepper may look more familiar, but you are likely tricking yourself into a much more efficient workout, by sticking to all cardio, all the time.
Here’s a common scenario: you decide to sign up to a gym. It’s a local, low-key gym, where you expect things to go along more smoothly than at a major name establishment downtown. Yet, when you finally drag yourself down there, there’s no one to explain how the resistance training machine works. You try to copy what the model in the instructions manual pictures is doing, but eventually give up, as you’re not entirely sure if you’re maintaining proper form. So you stick to cardio, because the weight lifting area is constantly hogged by bulked up bros that intimidate you even more than the resistance training machines. As your time at the gym is up, you head home and start wondering whether or not you should eat – and, if you do, what would be best for you to snack on, post workout? Eventually, you give in to a junk food craving, blame the snacks for being too delicious, and end up ruining your whole effort for the day.
If any of the above sounds familiar, then it’s time to refresh your whole approach to bodybuilding for women. Take a look at our guidelines below, learn a few things, debunk a couple of myths and improve your physique in ways you never thought previously imaginable.
Weight training for women101
Bulking up is a myth
A lot of otherwise educated ladies will shun weight training, because they’re worried that overnight, they might magically transform into Hulk or Jabba the Hut. They will put in hours upon hours of cardio, desperately trying to maintain a feminine shape, when, in fact, all they’re doing is wasting precious time that might be put up to better use lifting weights. This is not to say that cardio is completely pointless: it’s great for toning and definition. But when you’re a plus size and weight loss is your primary fitness goal, you’re best advised to start out with a combination of weightlifting and proper nutrition. And, no, you will not turn into a muscle machine overnight, simply because your female body doesn’t have nearly as much testosterone as the body of a man.
It is true that professional female bodybuilders can sometimes look masculine, because of their protruding, bulging, sculpted muscles. However, it takes a woman years to achieve such a look, as well as a very specific kind of diet and training regimen. It’s a feat of dedication and determination that should never be looked down on – but unless you’re set on being the next Miss Bodybuilding and are willing to put in the time, you’re pretty much on the safe side, as far as muscles go. Weight lifting will do things for you, but it will only increase your lean muscle mass, helping you maintain your weight with much more ease than before.
Getting ready for the ultimate body sculpting workout
What to eat
If you’re a woman or a girl, you’re likely somewhat obsessed with spot reduction. While it is true that dietary habits impact on your overall levels of health and energy, you need to understand that there are no miracle pills, protein shakes, supplements, or diet drinks out there that can miraculously make your stomach flat. A six pack abb workout will help, as will building your nutrition plan around complex carbs, lean protein, fiber, and a healthy dose of fat (no, contrary to popular belief, a bit of fat won’t make you obese – it will help keep your heart in good working order). Eating like this does not mean you’re going to be dieting; it means starting to care about your health and tonus levels. In time, it will result in a shapelier tummy and it will make you forget all about that Brazilian butt-lift that all the celebs are getting these days.
We’re not going to give you a detailed nutrition guide, but we will list 7 basic tenets of eating well for building a better body. Here they go:
1. Don’t starve yourself and don’t completely deprive yourself of food and drink types you like. Otherwise, you’ll be perpetually stuck between mindlessly abiding by an unreasonable diet and then ruining it with cravings.
2. Eat in moderation, according to a regular schedule. If two meals are your thing, go for it. If you want to eat three to five smaller ones, that’s also good. Just make sure you stick to anything you decide on.
3. Keep your total calorie intake around 1,200 to 1,500 and you should be seeing weight loss, as well as proper energy levels for working out.
4. Athletes usually stay away from fried foods. They eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and avoid foods that are high in processed fats and sugar.
5. Educate yourself in nutrition. Understand that the glycemic index (GI) of a certain food will impact its effect on your body. High GI foods will make you fatter than low GI foods with the same content of calories.
6. Your hunger is regulated by two hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Refined foods will drive them berserk and make you feel hungry even after you’ve just eaten.
7. For a killer body, you’re going to need a killer attitude. Approach this new eating lifestyle with an open mind and stay positive about it.
As for supplements such as creatine, proceed at your own risk. Since the FDA does not regulate herbs and supplements, their side effects are not entirely known. It’s always a good idea to consult with your physician before introducing any substance to your diet, no matter how ‘natural’ the label might make it seem. Furthermore, this is especially true if you suffer from any pre-existent condition like asthma, diabetes, or heart diseases. Their effects on pregnant women are also not entirely documented, so be sure to play it safe with such supplements, even if they come from trusted brand names such as GNC or C4, right from the very first trimester.
What to wear
Working out can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. Sure, you could opt for the four-figure subscription the high-end gym downtown. Alternatively, though, you could hit Target for some affordable workout gear to use right at home and invest in nothing more than a pair of good dumbbells for your very own ‘home gym’. In terms of workout clothing, you need to remember that looking your sexiest is not exactly the main priority; comfort and a good fit, though, are essential. That being said, it’s not that complicated to find flattering, inexpensive workout tops and pants. If you can’t quite afford fashionable designer brands like Lululemon and Danskin, it’s always a good idea to go hunting for bargains, during clearance sale season. In 2013, for instance, January was the best month for finding clothing sales, while April was the top month for sneakers – and we can’t over-stress the importance of good footwear for exercising. Don’t cheap out on shoes: finding a colorful, cool pair of Adidas or Nike trainers on discount is not at all that complicated in the day and age of online shopping.
As far as what to wear per se goes, it’s all up to you. If you want to go for the trendy look, with capri leggings or 80s inspired leg warmers, go right ahead. White and black are also very in this season, as far as workout attire goes, but you should also bear in mind that they tend to stain easily and will usually show any sign of perspiration. The flirty look has also permeated workout-wear trends, with shorts, sleeve-less tanks, and spandex pants up for sale at all the major brands, from Planet to Reef to River Island.You can also opt for a more sensible look, with cargo pants, camo prints, and loose-fitting t-shirts. If you’re into a sport that requires additional gear, such as a surfer costume, boxing gloves, a special type of shoe, or muscle compression shirts, set some money aside to be able to afford a proper brand. Hairstyles also matter, to the extent to which they can impede or aid you as you exercise: pony tails and buns are usually your best option. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re tall or petite, dressed in foreign named attire or Walmart clothing. All that matters is that your tank top is not too tight, that you have freedom of movement and that you’re able to enjoy the workout.
How to get into the groove
A large part of finding good womens workouts actually has nothing to do with the workout plan per se, but with that elusive mindset of motivation. Thankfully, with the advent of the Internet, it’s now easier than ever to get and stay motivated. There are plenty of YouTube channels where you can find at least one good motivational workout video to suit your goals and vibe. We also recommend Tumblr for quotes to get you working toward your fitness targets. One strategy to get you going even on a lazy morning, when the weather is bad and you definitely don’t feel like putting on your yoga pants and hitting the gym is to make a moodboard of funny images or a music playlist dedicated to just this kind of day. The keyword in putting them together should be ‘fun’ – steer clear of ‘thinspo’ or ‘thinspirational’ images, which will simply make you feel bad about yourself. Remember that looking ‘hot’ or sexy is all about the state of mind. As long as you feel comfortable in your own body and have a couple of songs to see you out the door and on your way to the place where you work on sculpting those abdominal muscles, you’re good to go. Choose upbeat dance music for your playlists (or rap or dubstep or hip-hop, if that’s your thing) and go! It’s your attitude that’s going to help you get that body to die for!
Another option that many women opt for is investing in one or several training DVDs, which they can play at home, whenever the mood hits. There’s a recorded instructional video out there for any type of fitness program, from user-friendly Crossfit, to the Spartacus Women’s Health DVD, to hardcore Insanity Bootcamp routines. Thai boxing is also a popular fitness choice for chicks these days, endorsed by numerous celebs, as is Pilates. Feel free to opt for any type of workout that tickles your fancy – you can even try under water swimming aerobics if your home has a pool. The important thing is that you feel comfortable and motivated, irrespective of whether you’re working out in your own at-home gym room, in Walpole, Mass., Chicago, L.A., or out in the great outdoors.
One option that’s gaining ground with fitness enthusiasts in today’s tech crazed world comes under the form of fitness-dedicated electronic watches and mobile device apps. They’re particularly popular with teenage girls and twenty-somethings, since this demographic is already gadget-addicted, and they can instantly turn you into the envy of your friends. The Nike Sport Watch is one variant, as is the more recent Apple Watch; the latest iOS for the iPhone and iPad comes with a native fitness and health tracking app, which can help you monitor your daily progress. No matter what gadget suits your style, there are plenty of such smart, stylish devices out there, which you can safely leave on while you work out.
Weight lifting is a matter of brains
You often hear how the brain is the most important muscle in the human body, right? Well, it’s true and it also matters when it comes to weight lifting. Before you begin, it’s important to know what the ideal lifting program would be for your goals. You need to know what a leg day is for and how to do a bench press and a split. You can’t simply lift weights at random, or try whatever resistance training machine looks more impressive. You need to work out the proper number of sets, reps, and supersets achieving your goals requires. You can always choose to work with a professional personal fitness trainer – or check out the great many YouTube workout videos, free training programs in .pdf form, and so on.
Below, we’ve outlined a weight training program template, which makes for a good place to start for any beginner. If you’re looking to strengthen your body, improve your muscle size, and also condition your physique, you need look no further than the pattern that follows in the next section. In terms of duration, you can choose to follow this weight lifting program for women for 8, 10, or 12 weeks – depending on how intensive you want it to be.
Weight lifting women’s workout for beginners
1. The warm-up. any good workout should start out with a warm-up session to get your muscles going and to prime your central nervous system for the effort it’s about to put in. Another great effect of any warm-up is that it helps get the blood flowing into your legs and other major muscle groups. You should also consider investing in a foam roller, in order to roll the major groups of muscles before each workout: the quads, the hamstrings, the calves, and the piriformis. Rolling can also activate your upper body – from your shoulder and chest muscles, down to your biceps and triceps.
2. The muscle activation. Each daily workout will start with a movement meant to activate your speed and improve your mobility for the rest of the workout. You need to put in 20 reps, but it’s not mandatory to perform them all at once. You can select from a range of choices, in order to find a pattern that doesn’t exhaust you right from the beginning of the workout.
Examples of movements: box jumps, medicine ball chest presses, kettlebell swings, medicine ball overhead throws, box jumps, etc.
3. The strengthening prime movement. This part of the workout is a compound movement, which is made up of 5 sets, for 15 reps each. The weight selected for this part of the women’s weightlifting program should be challenging – not to the point of exhaustion, but for better muscle efficiency. In a nutshell, your body should feel it’s putting in more of an effort than during the previous activation stage, but also more than during the following one (assistance). Each set should be followed by a 1 to 2 minute break.
Examples of movements: one-leg barbell squats, push-ups, Romanian deadlifts, dumbbell presses, front squats, etc.
4. The shaping assistance movement. This is the part of the weight training program that will help you whip your muscles into shape. You’ll need to put in 8 to 12 reps on each set and the weight you use doesn’t need to be that heavy. The trick here is to rest as little as possible between the sets; however, don’t push yourself to the point of over-exertion and of having to switch to a lighter weight.
Examples of movements: lying leg curls, calf presses, cable flyes, dips, lying dumbbell triceps extensions, lat pull downs, bent-over rows, incline biceps curls, face pulls, planking, bottoms-ups, single-leg hip thrusts, leg extensions, seated leg curls, seated calf raises, etc.
5. The conditioning cardio. Cardio is good for your overall levels of health, as well as for fat loss, when combined with resistance training. However, we recommend a HIIT approach to it: put in 20 minutes of high intensity interval training each day when you lift weights. It’s a far more effective strategy to get you looking skinny than 90 to 100 minutes of low intensity cardio. The trick is, once more, to challenge yourself, but not to the point where you give up mid-workout. Choose an interval scheme that you can put up with: for instance, train intensely for 30 seconds, then rest for one min. Then, on a given day per week, you can only do low intensity cardio for 30 to 45 minutes, like running on the treadmill, or some other form of cardio you enjoy.
Depending on how many weeks you decide to follow this program for, you’re going to want to increase the effort from one segment to the other accordingly. Here are the three main stages of this weight training program pattern for women:
· Part 1. If you’ve opted to follow this program for 8 weeks, then this should take about 2 weeks. For a 12-week program, this will refer to 4 weeks. At first, you’ll want to start out light, in terms of the weights you use. Don’t over-exert yourself and don’t go out of the comfort zone too much, because the point of these first weeks is to understand how to perform each movement and what ‘proper form’ means. Once you’ve got that down pat, then you can progress to adding on more weight.
· Part 2. For the next 2 or 4 weeks, your goal is going to be that of graduating to a more complex primary movement. Gradually, you’ll be replacing all the simpler movements and lifts from your program with others, which involve more complex accessories. Also, as you progress, you should focus on adding more and more weight to this movement. However, make sure you do this in very small increments, so that you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed. At this point, you may also consider investing in a spotter, since you’re going to find it hard, at times, to keep at it. but trust us, when you do, you’ll realize it’s very much worth it.
· Part 3. The final part of your weight training program is also concerned with adding more weight to the primary exercises and even for the secondary ones, if you feel up for it. By this point in your workout routine program, you should be prepared to take some heat, so don’t shy away from amping up the intensity of your workouts.
How to create your own weight training program
When you decide to start a weight training and resistance program, you can opt for a ready-made one, which you can download online, in printable form, or you can build your own routines from scratch. If you choose the second option, however, there are a few essentials you need to bear in mind. Below, you’ll find a list of all the elements that a good women’s weight lifting program should include:
· Compound lifts. They’re called ‘compound’, because they require more than a single muscle group in order to be completed. Since one of the goals of your weight training program is to improve your strength, you’ll need to include at least one or two compound lifts. They’re also great for improving mobility, cardiovascular tonus, and overall fitness levels. Since they activate more than one muscle group, they also burn more calories.
Examples: squats, deadlifts, lunges, pull-ups, dips, bench presses, push presses, push-ups.
· Accessory lifts. Their name is derived from the fact that they accompany compound lifts. You need to add as many of these accessory lifts as you need, to supplement your compound movements. Many of these accessory lifts work through isolation. Such movements essentially isolate a single muscle group; they’re also referred to as single-joint lifts. In time, they’ll make those very muscles look bigger and more toned. As such, if you want more defined calves, put in a set of calf raises every day. For a bigger, leaner bicep, opt for biceps curls.
Examples: biceps curls, tricep extensions, triceps push-downs, calf raises, leg curls, leg extensions, front raises, etc.
· The proper number of sets and reps. Typically, bodybuilders put in 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps, since this is the ideal range of repetitions needed to obtain hypertrophy. For beginners, however, it’s particularly important to stress the relevance of good form. In other words, if by the last rep you’re on the verge of collapsing and perform it poorly, redo it with a lighter weight. Similarly, start out with light weights that you’re comfortable with, until you’ve got the movements down pat and are ready to take on bigger challenges. In the long run, this approach is more efficient than challenging yourself right from the get-go, only to fail, become fatigued, or give up the program altogether. Also, focus on building strength by adding extra weight to your compound movements, while you simultaneously decrease the number of repetitions down to 4 to 6. In fact, as any professional bodybuilder would tell you, compound movements are best performed in lower numbers, but with heavier weights, while accessory and isolation movements come with lighter weights and more repetitions.
· Resting time. The rule of thumb for how long you should rest between exercises is that beginners, who rest for longer spans of time, are essentially putting in less difficult workouts. The shorter the rest interval, the more intense your workout will be. A short rest is anything between 30 and 45 seconds, while a longer one (1 to 2 minutes) will allow you to recover, but will also put your muscles and cardiovascular system to less work.
· Increasing the intensity of the workout. If you keep performing the same exercises with the same weights, on a weekly basis for weeks on end, you shouldn’t expect your body to adapt accordingly. In other words, you won’t be seeing any impressive results in terms of toning, strengthening, or weight loss. The trick is to keep challenging yourself in any way – either by adding heavier weights, increasing the number of repetitions you perform, or decreasing the resting period between repetitions.
· To cardio or not to cardio. Some people love cardio, while others absolutely hate it. It’s completely up to you, whether or not you choose to include it in your fitness program – although we do advise in favor of it. The best type of cardio to opt for is HIIT (high intensity interval training) and you can do it on a machine, with the aid of a weight, such as a kettlebell, or simply with your own body weight. Once you get your running or treadmill walking pants on, the trick is to alternate between short intervals of the highest intensity you can put in (30 seconds, for instance), followed by a full minute of rest. Keep at it for 20 minutes, at first, then increase the interval, as you progress. Alternatively, you can opt for LISS (low intensity steady state), which is 30 minutes on a treadmill or any similar machine. Be aware, though, that this might not be the best way to help your body lose fat. If cardio is totally not your thing, you can replace it with endurance training (great for people who enjoy running, for instance), or weight training with longer periods of rest during intervals.
How and what to eat: Nutrition for women’s workout regimens
Notice how the above title does not include the word ‘diet’. We’re purposely avoiding it, simply because, over the years, it’s gotten a bad rap and a slew of negative associations. There’s the Atkins diet, the low-carb diet, the low-fat diet… and all they’ll ever do for you is cause the dreaded yoyo effect, where you lose weight for a few weeks, then pile it back on. Worse, still, it will even bring along friends. As such, we’re not focusing on dieting here, but on the best way for you to create a personalized, unique nutrition plan that’s suited to your style, your fitness goals, and your weight loss goals.
If you follow the rules below, you’ll find that it’s easier than ever before for you to stay in shape, have energy, and also manage to shed those extra pounds that probably brought you here in the first place. However, you need to be very aware of the fact that weight loss and proper nutrition start from the stepping stone of understanding how your own body works. Only after this principle has become engrained in your mind will you be able to build nutrition plans that you stick with and that are easy for you to follow.
No one wants to think of the rest of their lives in terms of logging everything they eat and creating endless charts of caloric intake values. However, right off the bat, it’s good to understand how calories work. First off, your body needs to be constantly burning calories for its vital functions, as well as for the various types of physical activity you perform. The calories it requires in order to keep you alive make up what’s generally known as the basal metabolic rate, or BMR in short. In order to calculate your BMR accurately, you would need to know what your lean muscle mass and body fat percentages are. Since these values require complex calculations, your best bet is to come to a sort of guesstimate, via one of the many dedicated calculators online. By adding your BMR to the calories you spend doing things (from working out and lifting weights to working, sleeping, driving, and even laughing), you’ll work out your body’s total energy expenditure (or TEE).
As you may already know, you lose weight when your caloric intake is lower than your TEE. So, how do you do that, while also improving muscle strength and toning your body? Let’s take a look at how each one of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) can help.
Some people believe that protein will help you bulk up – probably because of the association between bodybuilding and protein supplements. This, of course, is a myth; what is true, however, is that the amino acids that make up protein are the same substances that help create muscle protein (among other things). You need this, in order to improve your muscle strength levels, since the body uses muscle protein during the muscle repair stage, or anabolism, of working out.
Protein is the only macronutrient that comes with a daily recommended dose. The FDA says that the average adult should consume about .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Bodybuilders eat as much as 1.2 grams per pound. Aim for 1 gram per pound and try to spread the amount out evenly across several meals, since it’s next to impossible to eat 150 grams of protein in one sitting. Good sources of protein include lean meat, eggs, milk and yogurt, quinoa, beans, nuts, and soy. A gram of protein has 4 calories.
Fat has also been much maligned, after a poorly conducted test in the 1980s ‘found’ that there’s an allegedly indelible link between fatty foods and heart attacks. In fact, the only people who benefited from the findings of this study were those in charge of the major food corporations. They got to launch dozens, if not hundreds of fat-free product versions, which are laced with sugary substances.
The truth is the body does not instantly absorb dietary fats into the tissues, causing you to gain weight. This isn’t even true of trans fats, although these are best avoided, consumed rarely and in moderation. Dietary fats, on the other hand, such as essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 will help your body feel full, protect your internal organs, and regulate the cerebral function. The rule of thumb for fats is to avoid food processed with fat, such as fried food, or foodstuff laden with trans fat. Instead, opt for fatty foods that have not been processed too much: avocadoes, olive and coconut oil and nuts. A gram of fat has 9 calories.
Advocates of the low carb diet will go on endlessly about how bad carbs are for you. They will allegedly cause sugar rushes, energy crashes, and weight gain. When consumed in excess, and as simple carbs, they might do some of the above. However, complex carbs like those found in potatoes, brown rice, fruit like berries and bananas, and vegetables like broccoli and spinach, are highly beneficial for you. They’re great pre workout, for an energy boost, will keep your body feeling fuller for longer spans of time and will also provide you with the fuel you need, in order to do your workouts and go about your day as efficiently as possible.
So, what about the low-carb diet, then? Is it healthy? Does it work? Should you try it? The answers to the above questions are entirely up to you, but be aware of the fact that some 40 to 50 per cent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbs. The prolonged effects of low-carb diets on some women have turned to be rather dramatic. While the diet has been known to work for a few, most women will experience chronic fatigue on low-carb regimens. And this, in turn, can actually lead to weight gain, since the body will push for consuming more calories, when it’s feeling depleted and low on energy. What’s more, a low amount of carbs each day, for prolonged periods of time, can cause insomnia, bone density issues, and other hormonal problems, such as irregular periods.
A gram of carbs has 4 calories.
Proper nutrition for your body type
As we’ve already established, the three major macronutrient groups (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) should all be consumed on a daily basis, for the proper level of energy and the good functioning of your body. However, the ratio of each nutrient consumed varies depending on your body type. By and large, the average person should get 40 per cent of their daily allowance of calories from carbs, 30 per cent from fats and 30 per cent from protein. Yet, since we’re all different, this ratio will vary from one person to the next; one major determining factor for this variation is body type. Bear in mind that, when talking about body type, we’re not talking bulges, pounds, or looks – we’re referring to one’s predetermined constitution or build. Here are the three main body shape types and the corresponding macronutrient proportion for each:
Ectomorphs have small bones, what is popularly referred to as an ‘active metabolism’ and generally find it easy to stay lean, because they can put on lean muscle mass without too much difficulty. This is why they can ingest a larger quantity of carbs without piling on the pounds. They should eat 50 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat.
Mesomorphs are the in-betweens: they can put on muscle mass with average ease, have medium-sized bones, and, when in good shape, tend to look athletic. The best version of a mesomorph combines the best of both ectomorphs and endomorphs. The recommended ratio of macronutrient intake for them stands at 40 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein, 30 per cent fat.
The endomorph body type is that of powerlifter: they’re larger overall, with a pronouncedly massive bone structure and higher overall levels of strength than the other types. Since they tend to be larger, they fare better on a lower intake of carbs and a higher intake of fats. The ideal ratio of macronutrient intake for endomorphs is 25 per cent carbohydrates, 35 per cent protein, 40 per cent fats.
It’s important to understand that these guidelines are not cookie cutter boxes, in which people can fit in perfectly. Most of us display several characteristics from more than just one body type.
How much to eat: Portion control v Counting calories
You’ve probably heard that counting calories is the only guaranteed way to lose or maintain one’s weight. However efficient it may be, it’s also exhausting. Think about it: can you imagine a life spent counting everything that goes into your mouth? Not only would this endeavor be tiring, but it would also be doomed to fail from the get-go, since research has proven that, even when verifying the veracity of caloric information from three sources, you’re still bound to be wrong by a margin of 25 per cent!
Perhaps a more sensible option would be to keep your portions in check. As many nutritionists agree, most of us in the Western world live in a toxic food environment, where restaurants supersize their portions, supermarkets offer discount prices for bulk quantities of food, and many of us gorge on comfort foods even at home. To avoid this unpleasant situation and also steer clear of counting calories, here’s a method that’s been known to work: use your hands, which are proportional to your body size, to measure your portions. Protein is measured with your palm, veggies with a balled fist, carbs with a cupped hand, and the thumb is used to measure fats.
Here’s what a meal should comprise, based on your body type:
· Ectomorphs: 2 cupped hands of carbohydrates, 1 palm of protein, 1 fist of vegetables, half a thumb of fat.
· Mesomorphs: 1 cupped hand of carbohydrates, 1 palm of protein, 1 fist of vegetables, 1 thumb of fat.
· Endomorphs:half a cupped hand of carbohydrates, 1 palm of protein, 1 fist of vegetables, 2 thumbs of fat.
Of course, you should adjust these measurements, as well as meal frequency to your needs and schedule. You can have six smaller meals each day or just 1-2 big ones; you can cut your carbs if you feel like your clothes don’t fit because you’ve been piling on the pounds lately, etc. The key is to feel comfortable with maintaining your daily schedules, as well as this proper regimen of nutrition for fitness.
The best womens workouts by body type
Just like nutrition for fitness, womens workouts should be tailored to respond to their particular body type. In the following, we offer a fitness program customized by body type, which includes women’s workouts for the abs and women’s workouts for the legs (ab muscles and leg muscles constitute two of the more delicate areas, which most women like to tone). However, the workouts described below don’t offer a one-size fits all type of solution. They take into account your particularities and focus on the areas you are most likely to want to improve.
Women’s workouts for pear shaped bodies
Pear shaped bodies get a lot of flak, as women who have them tend to feel unattractive, from a conventional point of view. However, there are plenty of pear shaped beauties out there on the red carpets, from Jennifer Love Hewitt, to Alicia Keys. Pears have a more developed lower body, with a smaller upper body. Their goal is usually to tone their inner thighs and buttocks, yet they also have a hard time toning their shoulders and arms.
The best workout for this body shape requires working out for three days a week, with a day’s rest in between. It involves strength training and HIIT cardio. The recommended strength training moves are: the lift-off lunge, the scissors jump, the pushup and leg raise, the hundred on the ball, the mermaid, the boat curl and press, the triangle lat raise, and the dip and knee raise. Do two sets with 30 seconds rest on the first day, perform them circuit style on the second day (with no rest in between), and on the third day perform a set of two exercises back to back, with no rest, rest for 30-60 seconds, then repeat each set.
Women’s workouts for straight shaped bodies
Straight shaped bodies resemble male bodies, to a certain extent, in the sense that, most often, the extra weight is piled on in the form of a pot belly. They’re similar to athletic types, but find it more difficult to acquire muscle mass, and they usually focus on getting curves. That’s why the recommended workout below focuses on core tightening, weight training for lean muscle mass in the butt area, and upper-body work designed to improve the square frame of this body shape.
The workout includes the following moves: the lift-off lunge, the mermaid, the pushup and leg raise, the hundred on the ball, the crossover crunch, the stacked pushup, the squat and overhead press, and the plyo plank. Exercise for three days a week, on non-consecutive days, with 30 seconds of rest between sets plus cardio on the first day, a circuit workout on the second day, and a set of each two exercises back-to-back, followed by a short rest and a second rep on the third day.
Women’s workouts for curvy bodies
Curvy women can really fill out what they wear, from cute bikinis to evening gowns. They have larger chests and a larger bottom, and, unfortunately, when they do put on weight, it tends to be all over. Their most sensitive areas are the thighs and the upper part of the arm. That’s precisely what a workout for this body type needs to focus on, while also working toward an overall toned body.
This workout follows the exact same structure as the ones above: three non-consecutive days a week, two sets of each movement with a brief rest and cardio on the first day, circuit training on the second one, and strength training sequences on the third day. The recommended moves are: the lift-off lunge, the mermaid, pushup and leg raises, the hundred on the ball, the Tai Chi lunge, the glute bridge with triceps extension, lateral step-ups, and the side plank with moving knee.
Women’s workouts for athletic bodies
The great part about having an athletic body is that you put on muscle mass quick. It’s far easier for women with this body type to get toned than it is for women with bodies that resemble the pear shape or the curvy shape. However, while you can ward off the fat with less difficulty and get lean fast, you also have a rather square silhouette, with a short, often thick waist, and a broad back. Since women who have this body type are already athletic to begin with, they won’t need much toning work. They will, on the other hand, want to narrow their waist, shape their thighs and glutes, and generally work toward achieving a more feminine, lean look.
While the workout follows the exact same structure as the ones listed above, the type of exercises differ. Athletic shaped women should focus on curtsy lunges with front raises, hundred on the ball, swivel squats, mermaids, tip and rows, alternating side lunges, pushups, and leg raises.