I’m sharing some tried and true basics that every women should know about fitness. As women embark upon their fitness journey, there is a lot of information out on the interwebs that could cause confusion about the best way to meet fitness goals.
Let’s eliminate that confusion right now so you achieve your own fitness success.
There is no such thing as girl versions of exercises
I hear all the time people referring to modified exercises as girl exercises such as the “girl push up”, etc. There is no such thing as a female version of particular exercises.
There are modified, standard and advanced versions of exercises. Each one taxes the body with different levels of intensity depending upon one’s fitness level.
Star an exercise attempting the standard and if it is too difficult, regress to a modified version of the exercise. If the standard version is too easy move up to an advanced version of an exercise.
Here’s an example of variations for push ups based on fitness level
- Modified: While on your knees and toes on the floor perform your push ups
- Standard: On your toes perform your push ups
- Advanced: At a weight plate on your back while performing push ups on your toes
It’s a marathon NOT a race
If you gained 50 pounds over the course of 10 months, don’t expect 30 days of consistent exercising and eating right will peel those pounds off in that amount of time.
You didn’t put the weight on overnight and the weight will not burn off overnight. Be patient with the process and set realistic expectations.
If you want lasting results, take your time. In this instance, faster is not better.
Non-scale goals are better
Many of the women I coach, when asked about their fitness goal(s), 9 times out of 10 say they want to lose weight. While that is fine and I understand some of your physicians may be instructing you to lose a certain amount of weight because it is putting you in the chronic disease category, it is NOT the only or best measurement of progress.
Other ways you can measure your fitness progress are:
- Use a measuring tape to measure your limbs over time
- Track improvements with your endurance as you walk distances, climb stairs or carry grocery bags to and out of the car
- Measure and track your vitals such as resting blood pressure, blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, etc.
- Track if you are sleeping better
- Track if you are stressing less
- Are you fitting those jeans or dress that were too tight to fasten?
By keeping an eye on some of these key ways to measure fitness progress, excess body weight has no choice but to eventually burn off
Don’t be a light weight
I see women in the gym pushing very light weights (5 pounds or less) and then wonder why they aren’t seeing any definition in their arms or glutes.
Ladies, to build nice curves we must lift moderate to heavy weight. There’s no way around it. I get it won’t be easy but nothing worth having is.
My general rule of thumb is to use heavier weight the larger the muscle. For instance, when working glutes, use very heavy weights since it is a large muscle. Same goes for back, hamstrings and quads.
When exercising smaller muscles such as deltoids, biceps and triceps, use challenging and moderate weight especially since you don’t want to injure yourself by lifting too heavy for those smaller muscles or your rotator cuff.
Before I forget, lifting heavier weights will not bulk you up. Women do not have enough testosterone (which is the hormone that helps men bulk) to bulk up like men. Also, most women aren’t working as many hours or days for years on end it would take to even get close to bulking like a man.
So go ahead and pick up those heavier weights. Your body will thank you for it.
Cardio is not the end all be all
While our hearts need cardio to stay healthy and certain types of cardio such as HIIT helps burn excess body fat too much cardio can do more harm than good, especially if you want to build curves while slimming down.
It is recommended adult women perform 150 minutes of cardio a week. That’s typically 5 days of 30-minute cardio sessions. The rest of the time, work on lifting weights to build lean muscle and curves.
The other benefit of cutting down on cardio and lifting more, lifting weights actually burns more calories longer than cardio because one burns the most calories while performing cardio and once you stop, the burn stops.
When building lean muscle, muscle burns more calories at rest than fat so even though you are not in the gym lifting, your body is a fat burning machine.
Building lean muscle helps rev up your metabolism.
You cannot out train poor eating habits
I’m sorry ladies, you can do all the cardio in the world and push all the weight you want, if you then go home and revert to eating low nutrient dense food that doesn’t feed your body or muscles, then you are wasting your time.
Your nutrition is about 75% to 80% of the results you want whether they be weight loss, slimming down or building curves. So don’t throw it all away eating high calorie junk food.
A sample eating plan could look something like this:
About 1,400 to 1,500 calories a day (everyone is different so you really need to calculate your specific caloric needs)
- 4 egg whites with spinach
- Cup of non-instant oatmeal
- Protein smoothie
- Fresh cut strawberries and plain Greek yogurt
- 4 oz of baked chicken
- 1 cup of steamed vegetables
- ½ cup brown rice
- Apple slices
- 2 TB almond butter
- 4 oz of lean protein such as turkey, beef, fish or chicken
- 1 cup of steamed vegetables
- ½ baked sweet potato
To wrap things up
I realize there is a lot of information on the web and much of the information conflicts with each other but if you understand these tried and true rules of thumb you will SMASH your goals.
If you are ready to take the next steps towards your fitness goals but looking for an effective fitness program with meal plan then consider signing up for my 12-week #NoFluff Fitness Program.
It includes beginner, intermediate or advanced level workouts (you select one) plus 6 meal plans to help guide you on how to eat to meet your fitness goals.
You can learn more about it HERE. I would love to work with you and coach you to fitness and wellness.
Let me know which of these rules of thumb resonated with you the most.