The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women | Muscle For Life

08 May

If you want a fitness plan for women that builds lean, “toned,” sexy bodies, then you want to read this article.

If you’re like most women, you want a very specific type of body.

You want to be lean but not too skinny (and most definitely not “skinny fat“).

You want a toned upper body but don’t want to look like a “bulky” weightlifter.

You want a flat, defined stomach.

You want tight, shapely legs, and last but most definitely not least…

You want that perfect, gravity-defying butt.

Well, you–yes, lil’ ol’ you–can have all these things.

Seriously.

You don’t need top-shelf genetics or a lifetime of training to look like a million bucks.

You have to know what you’re doing, though.

Forget what the fitness magazines have told you–you don’t become a “goddess” through starving yourself and doing an unconscionable amount of cardio.

Instead, you need to take a completely different approach. And believe it or not, a much healthier, more enjoyable, and sustainable one.

In this article, you’re going to learn exactly what that approach is and how to build the body of your dreams.

If that gets your attention, then keep reading, because we’re going to start with what you most definitely shouldn’t be doing…

The Worst Fitness Plan For Women

worst female fitness plan

If you follow the bulk of mainstream fitness advice for women, you’re almost guaranteed to wind up skinny fat.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Sounds familiar?

And what do you think you get when you subject yourself to this tortuous prescription?

Misery.

Tired all the time…hungry all the time…dreading your workouts…daydreaming sensually about bingeing on carbs…counting the days until you can finally live again…

It sucks.

That’s not all that sucks, though. Even worse is what happens to your physique.

You’ll lose weight, of course, but you’ll also lose a considerable amount of muscle.

And the more muscle you lose, the worse your body begins to look even at a low body fat percentage.

What most women don’t know is just how different low body fat levels look with and without good muscle development.

For example, check out the following pictures:

female fitness training

woman fitness plan

Whose body would you rather have?

Most women would choose the second…and would be surprised to learn that both of these women have about the same body fat percentage.

What makes the second more attractive, though, is muscle mass. She has significantly more.

You see, muscle is what gives you curves, shape, and tone when you’re lean. Without adequate muscle, the best you can hope for by lowering your body fat is something best described as “scrawny.”

Here’s another striking example:

female fitness transformation

Can you guess her weight in each of these pictures?

Would you guess…the same?

Well, that’s the transformative power of improving body composition instead of just obsessively “losing weight.”

When you reframe your goals in terms of losing fat and gaining muscle, you open the door to real progress. That’s how you build a killer physique.

So…the question isn’t if you should gain muscle, it’s just how much.

For example, I’ve worked with thousands of women and the look most want (athletic, lean, and defined) requires they gain 10 to 20 pounds of muscle and reduce their body fat percentage to the 15 to 20% range.

Your numbers will ultimately depend on how you want to look.

If you want to be healthy, lean, and athletic, you probably don’t need to gain more than 10 pounds of muscle and go any lower than 20% body fat.

If you want to look like a bikini competitor, though (like the girl above), you’re going to need quite a bit more muscle and quite a bit less fat.

The “sweet spot” for most women seems to be around 10 to 15 pounds of muscle gained and 17 to 18% body fat.

This is where you look both feminine and fit and it’s also a look that can be maintained year-round.

So, now that we’ve dispelled some myths and located true north, the next question is…how do you actually get there?

It’s pretty simple, actually.

  • Lift a lot of heavy weights.
  • Don’t do too much cardio.
  • Use a moderately aggressive calorie deficit to lose fat.
  • Balance your “macros” properly.

That’s it.

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Doesn’t Heavy Weightlifting Make Women “Bulky”?

workout plan for women to tone

If that question is bouncing around in your head after reading my list above, I understand.

I’ve spoken with many, many women that were afraid that any type of serious weightlifting would turn them into an NFL linebacker.

Well, it doesn’t work like that. Even remotely.

In fact, if there’s one lie that prevents women from getting the bodies they desire more than any other, it’s the claim that heavy weightlifting makes them “bulky.”

The idea seems plausible at first blush.

Boys train with heavy weights because they want big, Hulk-like muscles, right? So why would women, who want long, lean, “toned” muscles do the same thing?

Crossfit hasn’t helped the matter, either, which many women think is representative of what heavy weightlifting does to the body.

Well, a quick Google search of “Crossfit girls” serves up stuff like this:

bulky crossfit female

And that’s enough to make most women swear on their children to never, ever do a heavy squat, deadlift, or overhead press in their lives.

“Whatever I do…I don’t want to look like that,” they say.

Well, if that was your first thought, I have good news for you:

It’s much, much harder to look like that than you probably know.

You don’t hit the gym every day and wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and scream in horror. It takes the right genetics and many years of training and eating like a barbarian…and in many cases, steroids as well.

That said, there are still many women seriously into weightlifting that don’t look like that but are still bulky enough to give you pause.

Well, here’s the reality:

Heavy weightlifting doesn’t make you bulky–being too fat does.

Harsh, I know, but let me explain.

First, a question: would you consider the following woman “bulky”?

strength training for women

Probably not, right?

Well, you might be surprised at how much different her body would look if she gained 15 pounds of fat because she has a lot more muscle than the average woman.

Her legs would lose their sleek lines. Her core would bulge and grow. Her arms would fill out like sausages.

The reason for this is simple:

When you gain fat, the majority accumulates inside and on top of your muscles, so the more you have of both, the larger and more formless your body tends to look.

Thus, a rule of thumb for women that want to be lean, toned, and defined:

The more muscle you have, the leaner you have to be to avoid looking bulky.

For example, a woman with little muscle might feel rawboned at 18% body fat and comfortable at 25%, whereas a woman with a significant amount of muscle will probably love how she looks at 18% but feel downright YUGE at 25%.

This is why I mentioned earlier that most women I’ve worked with are happiest when they’ve gained 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and dropped their body fat percentage to about 18%.

The muscle gives the shape and the (relatively) low level of body fat lets it shine.

What “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Cardio

workout plan to lose weight

Honestly…

How many marathon runners do you see with enviable bodies?

Probably not many.

Sure, you have the outliers, but on the whole, people that do a lot of endurance training look rather unimpressive.

This is a direct result of how they exercise and it shows you exactly what you don’t want to do in your workouts.

So, if you think you have to sacrifice your life to a treadmill or Stairmaster to look great, you don’t.

Unfortunately, most women don’t know this. They think that cardio is the key to losing weight and getting fit.

Ironically, research shows that this guarantees little in the way of weight loss (even when you do quite a bit).

In fact, studies have found that you can just wind up fatter as a result, mainly by negating cardio’s already meager weight loss benefits by unconsciously eating too much and/or reducing other forms of physical activity.

Hence the throngs of overweight people in your gym slaving away on the cardio machines, wondering why they’re still not losing weight.

Doing large amounts of cardio has another downside: it can result in a fair amount of muscle loss.

As you know, this only makes it harder to get the body you really want.

So, should you just forget cardio altogether then?

Some “experts” would say yes, you should use only weightlifting and proper calorie restriction to lose fat.

While they’re right in telling people they don’t have to do cardio to get and stay lean, I disagree that it should be shunned.

When done properly, I believe cardio is worthwhile.

It can burn quite a bit of energy and thus appreciably speed up fat loss (and especially when combined with weightlifting and with certain supplements as well, which I’ll talk more about soon).

What constitutes “proper cardio,” though?

Well, if you want to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, high-intensity interval training is the way to go.

(And if you’re not ready to jump into the deep end yet, start with walking.)

Thou Shalt Not Starve

women's health diet plan

Imagine…

You have the lean, sexy body you want and you maintain it by eating foods you like every day, including treats normally considered off limits.

You never feel starved or deprived and thus rarely feel the urge to binge or even overeat.

You do this for the rest of your life and live happily ever after.

Okay…I’m no raconteur but this isn’t a pipe dream.

Millions of women are living it right now and you can too.

Repeat after me:

You don’t need an eating disorder or tapeworm to be lean and happy. You can eat more than you probably think.

Not only that, you can eat many more types of foods than you probably think. In fact, no foods are off limits.

That said, if you want to lose fat, you do have to eat less energy than you burn (and not so little than you lose muscle and/or impair your health).

The key to all of this is knowing how to regulate your caloric and macronutrient intake based on your total daily energy expenditure and lifestyle and food preferences, which I explain in detail here.

The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women

best female exercise plan

If you’ve made it this far and are eager to learn more, I highly recommend that you read my book Thinner Leaner Stronger.

It will break down everything you need to know in terms of diet, training, and supplementation to build your best body ever.

That said, I want to leave you with an action plan that will prove that the strategies I’ve laid out in this article work for you.

So here we go.

  1. Do the weightlifting workouts below every week for 8 weeks.
  2. If you would like to do cardio to lose fat faster, use this article to determine how much you should do (and what kind).
  3. Now that you know how much exercise you’ll be doing, use this article to work out your dietary numbers.
  4. Once you have your numbers, use this article to work out a meal plan that will work for you.
  5. Show up every day and put in the work.
  6. Use this article to track your progress.
  7. Watch your body transform.

Yup, it’s really that simple. 🙂

Here’s the weightlifting workout:

DAY 1
CHEST & CALVES

Incline Barbell Bench Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Flat Barbell Bench Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Optional:

(Train your calves if you want more defined calves. Don’t if you don’t.)

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

If you can’t do dips, find out whether your gym has an assisted dip machine.

If it doesn’t and you still want to do 3 more sets in your workout, you can do 3 sets of flat dumbbell presses.

DAY 2
LOWER BODY & ABS

Barbell Deadlift

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Barbell Squat

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Barbell Row

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

3 to 6 Abs Supersets

(Do the following 3 sets back-to-back to complete one superset.)

Cable Crunches

1 set of 10 to 12 reps

Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

1 set to failure

Air Bicycles

1 set to failure

If you have lower-back issues, remember that you can swap the deadlift for a more lower-back-friendly variation like the sumo or hex deadlift, or you can replace it with an exercise like the T-bar row.

If you can’t do pull-ups or chin-ups, you can use a machine that assists you. If your gym doesn’t have one, you can do dumbbell rows instead.

DAY 3
SHOULDERS & CALVES

Standing Barbell Military Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Side Lateral Raise

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Optional:

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

DAY 4
ARMS & ABS

Barbell Curl

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Close-Grip Bench Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Seated Triceps Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

3 to 6 Abs Supersets

Cable Crunches

1 set of 10 to 12 reps

Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

1 set to failure

Air Bicycles

1 set to failure

DAY 5
LOWER BODY

Barbell Squat

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Leg Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Romanian Deadlift

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

That’s it–just 9 to 12 heavy sets for each workout with some optional additional sets if you feel you still have energy in the tank.

  • Rest 2 to 3 minutes in between each heavy set and 1 minute in between the bodyweight sets.

This will give your muscles enough time to fully recoup their strength so you can give maximum effort each set.

  • dOnce you hit the top of your rep range for one set, you move up in weight.

For instance, if you get 10 reps on your first set of squats, you add 5 pounds to each side of the bar for your next set and work with that weight until you can squat it for 10 reps, and so forth.

I guarantee that if you do this workout and eat right for the next 8 weeks, you’ll be very happy with how your body responds.

What About Supplements?

best female fitness supplements

I saved this for last because, quite frankly, it’s far less important than proper diet and training.

You see, supplements don’t build great physiques–dedication to proper training and nutrition does.

Unfortunately, the workout supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, underdosing key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

Most supplement companies produce cheap, junk products and try to dazzle you with ridiculous marketing claims, high-profile (and very expensive) endorsements, pseudo-scientific babble, fancy-sounding proprietary blends, and flashy packaging.

So, while workout supplements don’t play a vital role in building muscle and losing fat, and many are a complete waste of money…the right ones can help.

The truth of the matter is there are safe, natural substances that have been scientifically proven to deliver benefits such as increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, fat loss, and more.

As a part of my work, it’s been my job to know what these substances are, and find products with them that I can use myself and recommend to others.

Finding high-quality, effective, and fairly priced products has always been a struggle, though.

That’s why I took matters into my own hands and decided to create my own supplements. And not just another line of “me too” supplements–the exact formulations I myself have always wanted and wished others would create.

I won’t go into a whole spiel here though. If you want to learn more about my supplement line, check this out.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the most out of your efforts to build muscle and lose fat.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat. It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements–the subject of hundreds of studies–and the consensus is very clear:

Supplementation with creatine helps…

You may have heard that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but these claims have been categorically and repeatedly disproven.

In healthy subjects, creatine has been shown to have no harmful side effects, in both short- or long-term usage. People with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine, however.

If you have healthy kidneys, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine. It’s safe, cheap, and effective.

In terms of specific products, I use my own, of course, which is called RECHARGE.

creatine-supplement

 

RECHARGE is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid

This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

Protein Powder

You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.

That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement. (There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)

whey-protein-supplement

WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.

I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.

PHOENIX Fat Burner

With the weight loss market valued at a staggering $60.5 billion and more than one-third of U.S. adults obese, it’s no surprise that there’s a glut of “fat burners” for sale these days.

And for the same reasons it’s also no surprise that fat burners are some of the most expensive supplements on the shelves and feature some of the loudest marketing claims, often making big promises of “scientifically proven” rapid fat loss.

The reality is most “fat burners” are junk but there are a handful of natural, safe substances that have been scientifically proven to accelerate fat loss. And that’s why I created PHOENIX.

PHOENIX’s caffeine-free formulation is helps you burn fat faster in three different ways:

  • It dramatically increases metabolic speed.
  • It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced by your body.
  • It increases the feeling of fullness from food.

It accomplishes this through clinically effective dosages of several ingredients, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has show that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.

phoenix-bottle

Pre-Workout Drink

There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.

Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.

Many others don’t even have stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.

Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,”which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.

Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.

The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.

And that’s why I made my own pre-workout supplement. It’s called PULSE and it contains 6 of the most effective performance-enhancing ingredients available:

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.

pre-workout-supplement

 

What do you think is the best fitness plan for women? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

If you want a “paint-by-numbers,” step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body…faster than you ever thought possible…then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what you’ll learn inside…

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body” without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

 

Source: The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women | Muscle For Life

5 Absolutely Insane Body Benefits Of A 40-Min Spin Class | Women’s Health

08 May

By Grethe Swart; photograph by Munetaka Tokuyama

We put a 40-minute spin class to the test! Not convinced you can sculpt the body you want in such a tiny time frame? Think again…

Indoor cycling has changed the exercise game as it recently boomed into a fitness culture worldwide. Young or old, fit or not, a 40- minute spin class promises to burn that fat, prevent unwanted injury and tone those muscles all in one! After putting it to the test by taking five 40-min classes per week, the results are pretty astonishing…

1. Goodbye to 500 calories (2 000kJ) in 40-minutes

Not everyone enjoys running for hours on a treadmill in the hope of shedding that guilty weight. According to Spinning Instructor News, the average individual is likely to burn up to 500 calories (or 2 000kJ) during a 40-minute class! (That’s roughly four cupcakes that are ditched for good).

2. Lower risk of injury and embarrassment

Training on a stationary bicycle ensures a low-impact workout that’s far easier on your joints and reduces the risk of injury. Bonus: apart from avoiding embarrassment (after tumbling off the treadmill a la Taylor Swift – now you may as well check out WH’s essential hip hop workout playlist), you’ll also look super-professional and in control of your workout (all hail stationary equipment!). Want to know which cardio is better: cycling or elliptical training?

3. Less thinking, more fun!

Gone are the angst-riddled nights of planning your workouts… and never sticking to them – there’s that guilt again. Not only does a 40-minute spin class save you time, it also allows you to free your mind and transport your body to a peaceful place, without having to look at a piece of paper and lose count of those reps. Your sole task? Listening to the voice of the instructor, who serves both as a therapist and personal trainer – another two-for-one win! Everyday obstacles can now be tackled effectively after a powerful 40-minute workout that doubles as stress release.

4. All-in-one exercise

Spin classes are usually divided into four types of exercises: speed, endurance, power and combination, which are scheduled throughout the week on different days and at different times. This allows you to integrate all the important aspects of training into your weekly fitness regime without having to switch equipment or ask the regulars for help (all the time). For best results: mix it up! This way, boredom can’t touch your fun workout.

5. Firmer everything!

Once committing to the spinning regime, your entire body will slowly but surely start to firm up. Due to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’ll fry fat by cycling, melt away the kilojoules and build muscles – all at the same time! According to Spinning.com, a 40-minute class targets the large muscle groups (calves, hamstrings and thighs) in your legs to shape up fast, whilst strengthening the abdominal muscles, necessary to maintain your upper body rhythm.

If 40 measly minutes come with this many advantages, then spinning is winning! Great minds ride a bike #JustSayin’

Source: 5 Absolutely Insane Body Benefits Of A 40-Min Spin Class

5 Most Effective Exercises For Fat Loss | Fat-Burning Man

07 May

Effective Exercises

Just because you’re Paleo, you listen to my show, or you follow an iron-clad fat loss program doesn’t mean you’re immune to the absurd amount of bad exercise information out there…

One research study comes out saying that cardio is the only way to burn fat, another says that running makes you fat, then yet another comes out saying that the only way you’ll see your abs is to get your stomach stapled and buy a raspberry-ketone-green-coffee-acai-berry-super-cleanse potion. (Thanks Dr. Oz.)

Where does that leave most of us?

Confused.

Well, I’m here to help. Fat loss is really just a metabolic process – influenced heavily by our hormones and nutrition – and it doesn’t have to be all that complicated.

When it comes to exercising, many different exercises will help you lose fat – and that’s the truth.

However, some exercises help you build an ideal physique, while others don’t. And not all will optimize your hormonal environment which, in the end, is what you really want.

Optimized hormones = effortless fat loss and lean muscle maintenance.

Here’s what you want to do:

  • Decrease cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Increase anabolic hormones

… yes, there’s another variable in this equation (something that very few people actually think about)… but I’ll leave that for a future post.

Fortunately, cortisol and anabolic hormones act in opposition to each other. If we train to optimize the latter, the former will naturally decrease.

And that keeps things simple.

So what’s the best way to optimize our anabolic hormones?

Two words: compound movements.

Studies have found that explosive full-body movements will simultaneously increase our anabolic hormones (growth hormone, testosterone, etc.) while decreasing circulating cortisol, lowering our body’s chronic stress response.

  • Sprinter = full body explosive movements = ripped and muscular.
  • Long distance runner = chronically-elevated cortisol = skinny-fat and weak.

BeforeAfterMarathonAbel – Endurance Vs. High-Intensity Training

So what are some compound movements you can be doing to improve your hormonal balance?

Here are my 5 favorites:

  • Burpees: Yes, these hurt… but in that “oh so good” kind of way. Doing short rounds of burpees for 60 seconds will get your heart rate up in seconds and will give you an outstanding full-body explosive workout. Really work to explode as you jump into the air at the peak of the movement.
  • Deadlifts: The deadlift engages not only your arms and back, but also your full core – front and back – along with many muscles in your legs and feet. Lifting heavy for low reps really challenges your entire body and is great for fat loss and, believe it or not, great abs.
  • Power Cleans: Before doing these make sure you study up on the proper form – we don’t want any injuries. When done properly, cleans can be a single-movement workout all by themselves. You engage almost every muscle in your body – even your face – and you really work on explosive power in your arms and legs as you make the wrist transition before lifting overhead.
  • Sprinting: It goes without saying that sprinting is an incredible workout. You don’t even have to sprint very far to get serious benefits: the results are a direct result of your effort. Go hard and you’ll start to look and feel great. You’ll get a well-proportioned look and keep lean, hard muscle in all the right places.
  • Pull-ups: Believe it or not, pull-ups engage much of your body, including your core. And with correct form (straight legs) you even engage your legs. Pull-ups can be done fast or slow, high or low. If you get really good at them you can even venture into plyometric territory: try a clap pull-up or plyo pull-up. They’re an extremely efficient movement for building a great physique for both men and women.

Master these five exercises and you’ll never need anything else. I mean it.

Abel James Deadlift

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let’s optimize those hormones. 🙂

Source: 5 Most Effective Exercises For Fat Loss | Fat-Burning Man

Pullups For Total Beginners – Scooby’s Home Workouts

25 Apr

Pullups For Total Beginners!

The pullup is one of the most important exercises that a newcomer to fitness can do, but its also the most difficult and many of you cant do a single pullup. Here I give you a 5 phase program to build up your strength so you can do 8 solid pullups. Man or woman, 13 or 80, you can do it!

First, a quick word about weight.  There are lots of reasons to get leaner and lose fat and I’m about to give you another one.  The #1 way to make pullups easier is to weigh less!  Every pound of fat is a boat anchor holding you tightly to the earth. Losing fat is 90% nutrition and 10% cardio.  To lose that fat, use my free custom meal planner where you can set up an account and make a meal plan optimal for fat loss in under 90 seconds – its the best meal planner in the world and I’m not saying that just because I designed it 🙂

Some important terminology before we start. A pullup is when your palms point away from your face, these are hard. A chin-up is done with you palms facing you – these are easier. We will use this fact to help us build up to doing eight pullups.

OK, how to do your first pullup. There are four methods:

  1. chair method (anywhere)
  2. resistance band assist method
  3. partner knee spot (anywhere)
  4. cable pulldowns (gym only)

I will cover how to do the first two because you can do them anywhere with no equipment or very cheap equipment. First though, lets cover two basic exercises you will need to know to do the chair method, increase your pullup program – “walk the planks” and the “dead hang“.

“Dead hang” exercise

If your bodyweight is very high or your lats relatively weak, even doing the below “walk the plank” exercise will be too difficult. In that case, this “dead hang” exercise is a great way to build up strength so that you can start doing the ‘walk the planks’ and then ultimately build up to doing real pullups.  Strength training is all about progressions, that is, a sequence of exercises that get progressively more difficult until you reach your goal. Despite the name, you will work *really* hard in this exercise. It only has the name “dead hang” to indicate that there is no motion, its an isometric exercise. A “set” of dead hang “reps” just means hanging from the bar for 20-30 seconds or as long as you can. So with dead hangs your lat workout might be to do 10 sets of dead hang, each for 30 seconds. “Dead hang” is also a bad name because the word “hang” indicates being relaxed but you are anything BUT relaxed with the dead hang. You do NOT relax and let your weight attempt to pull your shoulders out of their sockets, you resist! You want to keep the shoulders in the packed position, that is, with the shoulders down and the chest thrust outward. How to do the dead hang:

 

  1. Put a chair or a footstool under your pullup bar so that you can just reach the bar with a wide grip.
  2. Put your shoulders in the packed position and hold it there for the entire ‘set’.
  3. Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you.
  4. With your feet still on the chair/stool, start the first 1″ of the pullup making sure your elbows move outward to the side parallel to the pullup bar rather than forward
  5. Now keep your upper body motionless in this position as you bend your knees until your feet are not on the chair/stool any longer
  6. HOLD this, hold, hold, hold.  Fight it. Keep the shoulders in the packed position.  If you find your shoulders up beside your ears that means you are not yet strong enough to do the dead hang.  In that case assist with your feet for the duration of the set

Note that in the dead hang exercise, it is very likely that your wrists will give out before you have hung long enough to do any good.  I highly recommend you use some cheap wrist straps for this exercise – you can work on grip strength later.

“Walk the plank” exercise

Getting yourself up is hard, its a lot easier to just lower yourself slowly down and that’s what we are going to do to build up strength. We also are going to start with chin-up instead of pullups for the same reason. The first exercise you will do to build up your pullup strength is an exercise I have named “Walk the Plank”.


The Chair Method

How to do your first pullup, then 8 more!

OK, now that you know how to do “dead hangs” and “walk the planks“, lets cover the chair method to increase your pullups!  Lets get started, but first, I need to place you in the right phase of the program so as to give you the proper amount of challenge:

  • If you plummet like a rock when attempting to do a “walk the plank”, start at Phase 0
  • If you can do one kipping chin-up then start with Phase 2
  • If you can already do three good chin-ups (palms facing you) then skip to Phase 4

Phase 0
8 sets of “dead hangs” with each set lasting 20-30 seconds.  Take one to two minutes between sets.  Workout every other day.

Continue with Phase 0 until you can do a “walk the plank” without plummeting like a rock. 

Phase 1
5 sets of chinup (palms facing your face) Walk-The-Plank’s, 8 reps per set, one minute rest between sets. Workout every other day.

Continue with Phase 1 till you can do it so slowly that it takes 2 seconds to lower yourself each time.

Phase 2
5 sets of pullup (palms pointed away from your face) Walk-The-Plank’s, 8 reps per set, one minute rest between sets. Workout every other day.

Continue with Phase 2 till you can do it so slowly that it takes 2 seconds to lower yourself each time.

Phase 3
5 sets. On first two reps, do as much of a real chinup as you can, followed by 6 reps of Walk-The-Planks. Workout every other day. One minute rest between sets.

Continue with Phase 3 until you can do two real chinups!

Phase 4 – Monday Workout
5 sets. Do as many real chinups as you can, followed by enough Walk-The-Planks to give you 8 total reps One minute rest between sets.
Phase 4 – Thursday Workout

Do as many real chinups as you can, and then a static hold for as long as you can. Rest 2 minutes and do next set for a total of 5 sets.

Continue Phase 4 till you can do 8 chinups

Phase 5 – Thursday Workout
5 sets. Do as many real pullups as you can, followed by enough Walk-The-Planks to give you 8 total reps One minute rest between sets.

Phase 5 – Thursday Workout
Do as many real pullups as you can, and then a static hold for as long as you can. Rest 2 minutes and do next set for a total of 5 sets.

Continue Phase 5 till you can do 8 pullups!

There you have it, my 6 phase chair method to build up your strength so you can do 8 pullups!

Increase your pullups!

Resistance Band Assist Method

The chair method is great because you don’t need to buy anything and it is an optimum way to build up your pullups as quickly as possible. The problem is that if your strength/weight ratio is low, both the “dead hang” and “walk the plank” exercises can be too difficult. If you were in a gym, I would recommend using the lat cable pulldown machine, but at home that is not an option for most of us. There is a way to get the same benefit as a cable lat pulldown machine at home and that is to use resistance bands. The issue is that the heavy duty resistance bands you will need to assist you if you cannot do the walk the planks yet are going to be expensive. There is a LOT of rubber in one of these big resistance bands so do not be surprised if it costs $40 or $50. The other thing you have to be very careful of is that you can really smack yourself and raise a welt with these bands so before we get into the “increase your pullups” program using them, lets cover how to do the band-assist pullup without hurting yourself.


Source: Pullups For Total Beginners – Scooby’s Home Workouts

The Arm Workout You’ll Feel ‘Till Next Week

Perfect Total Fitness - Dumbbell Curl
23 Apr

Everyone wants awesome arms to show off their hard work at the gym. Flexed biceps are so popular, they have their own emoji—you know you’ve used it!

If you’re looking for a workout to add some size to your bis and tris, try this superset plan. Remember, the rest time is between supersets, so perform both exercises quickly in succession before taking a break.

The Arm Workout You’ll Feel Till Next Week

Superset: Standing Cable Curl With Press-down

Use whatever handle you want. I’m a fan of doing these with a rope, because it allows you to twist your wrists and get a little extra out of the contraction for each muscle group. Start with the low pulley to perform your curls, then take your rope up higher for the press-downs.

Here’s the extra twist to really fire up those arms: Do three-second negatives on each rep. This helps you feel the muscles working, prepares your elbows for the rest of the workout, and ensures you control the weight instead of the other way around. Rest 45 seconds between supersets.

Superset: Barbell Preacher Curl With Seated Dumbbell Curl

The first superset was a classic biceps-and-triceps combo. Now you’re pairing up two biceps blasters.

The advantage in this set is that you can perform these exercises quickly, back to back, because you can do both in one space. You know how to do preacher curls, so the only thing I’ll say is make sure the tension stays on the biceps and don’t release at the bottom of the rep.

To transition into the dumbbell curls, simply spin around in your seat and place your back against the preacher bench pad. This will also help minimize cheating as you curl. Alternate or use both arms at once—your call. Rest one minute between supersets.

Superset: Close-Grip Bench Press With Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Now it’s time to shift focus to the triceps. As with the previous superset, both exercises can be performed at the same bench, making for a quick superset.

On the close-grip presses, position your hands shoulder-width apart. This aligns the joints and keeps the focus on your triceps without straining your wrists and elbows.

When you finish the press, swivel around so your head is at the opposite end of the bench. This allows you to perform the extensions without hitting the bar.

On the extensions, don’t lift the dumbbells straight up. Press up and back at an angle, as if you’re trying to touch the wall behind you. This puts emphasis on the triceps that you simply don’t get lifting straight up and down. Rest one minute between supersets.

Superset: Concentration Curl With Single-Arm Press-down

Finish off this killer arm workout with a final bis-and-tris superset. Remember those 3-second negatives from earlier? You’re adding them into your reps here as well.

Each of these exercises is an isolation exercise, so if you start with the right arm you’ll do both exercises before switching to the left side. It should be right concentration curl, right press-down, then left concentration curl, left press-down.

The only rest you get here is the time it takes you to work with the opposite arm. While one arm is resting, the other is working. This saves time, minimizes rest, and maximizes work so you can make those arms grow.

This is a great once-a-week workout. Trust me, your arms will be destroyed!

Source: The Arm Workout You’ll Feel ‘Till Next Week | bodybuilding.com

Phil Heath’s Chest Routine | Enter The Pit Bodybuilding Blog

22 Apr

A Chest Routine Good Enough to Win the Olympia

Phil Heath, AKA “The Gift,” knows a little something about building an award winning chest. His recent statement of wanting 10 Mr. Olympia titles may seem far fetched for some, but the title is his to lose and he does not appear ready to stop putting in the work to lose his title any time soon. Suffice it to say that if you want to learn how to get a huge chest, Mr. Heath is a good place to draw inspiration from.

When anyone thinks of lifting weights, the first thought on most people’s minds is “how much do you bench bro?”. This is sad but true. Big arms are impressive, but there is something that everyone’s attention to a well developed chest. The chest and arms are indeed glamour muscles to a lot of people.

When you think of amazing chest, you typically think of folks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Franco Columbu, Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. These days, it is hard not to include Phil Heath in the conversation for any well developed set up muscles. He has the size and proportion that every professional bodybuilder is aspiring to attain.

Phil Heath Mr. OlympiaDuring Heath’s early professional career, most said that his chest development lagged too far behind his arm and delt development and his pecs were simply overpowered by them. Of course, Heath turned pro just three years after starting to lift with the aspiration of becoming a professional bodybuilder and turned pro after one competing for one year.

The chest routine below was taken from Heath’s chest routine from a little more than a year ago and consists of 4 simple chest exercises. Heath likes to work fast so rest periods are typically between 45 and 60 seconds. Please note that the number of sets listed below are working sets (does not include warm-up sets). Heath works his chest one time per week over a 5 day split routine with a rest day and then the beginning of the cycle again.

Phil Heath’s Chest Routine

FST-7 is a training principle created by Hany Rambod, the Pro Creator. He has been using this training principle for many years exclusively with his clients to create physiques that win.

Incline Dumbbell Press: 3–5 sets, 8–12 reps

Incline Dumbbell Flye: 3–5 sets, 8–12 reps

Seated Chest Press: 3–5 sets, 8–12 reps

Cable Crossover*: 7 sets, 15 reps

*Performed with 30 seconds’ rest between sets. Heath calls this type of training with 7 sets of 15 reps and 30 seconds of rest FST-7. We discuss FST-7 training in a recent episode of the Mass and Shred Podcast.

Incline Dumbbell Press

Performing the incline dumbbell press can be tricky at times because most gyms probably do not have heavy enough dumbbells if you have lifted for a while. These days, it is normal for gyms to max out at 60 pound dumbbells, so pick your gym accordingly depending on what your goals are.

Seated Chest Press

Heath pays attention to every detail during every exercise and focuses on time under tension (TUT). He focused on the concentric portion of the movement. When performing the seated chest press, focus on forcing the weight up in a controlled manner and then hold the weight at the top of the rep for a second before controlling it down in a slow, methodical fashion.

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Dumbbell flyes (check out our guide to Dumbbell flyes) are great movements assuming that you do not have rotator cuff issues, and if you do, go see someone about that. Dumbbell flyes are great to get a nice wide stretch in the chest muscles and add to the general size and roundness of the chest muscles.

Cable Crossover

Cable crossovers are all about the mind/muscle connection. Each rep should get a nice stretch on the pecs.

Pay close attention to each rep of exercise when you lift. It is all about working the muscle. Strength comes in time and no one cares how much you lift (seriously). If you plan to turn pro any time soon, it is time to get serious about your training. As Heath himself says, “it’s about quality over quantity.” Bodybuilding is not about getting bigger. Adding 20 pounds to your frame is not always a great idea. Heath stays true to slow gains over time and is not always the biggest guy on stage, but is surely the most well rounded or he would not be where he is today.

Source: Phil Heath’s Chest Routine | Enter The Pit Bodybuilding Blog

Quick and Easy Ab Workouts for WomenPrettyFit.Blog

22 Apr

Ready to strengthen that mid-section? Great! But first things first, let’s cover a few myths about abs, six-packs and strengthening and toning your core.

Myths about abs

1. Doing crunches and ab workouts alone will not “tone” your mid-section. Your diet plays a large role when it comes to losing that belly fat and developing a more defined core. For maximal results, we recommend a nutrition program like If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM).

2. Building up the muscles in your core through workouts will help you achieve a stronger healthier core. However proper diet/nutrition and a full-body training regimen will help you achieve a more defined core. Remember, weightlifting is more important that cardio for fat loss.

3. Besides a better physique, the benefits of strengthening your entire core, not just your abs, has numerous benefits including better posture, back health and overall body function.

4. Crunches and sit ups are not the best exercise for building abs and may even be detrimental to your back health. Sit ups and crunches can cause flexion in your lumbar spine (your lower back) which can cause lower back pain and damage. Try incorporating core exercises that do not require lumbar flexion.

Quick and easy ab workouts for women

Check out the following core workouts. These are designed to help strengthen your entire core and building muscles in your abs. When you start to drop body fat, that toned midsection is going to look great!

For best results, we recommend adding these workouts on to the end of your weight training or cardio sessions.

The No-Equipment Ab Workout

ab workouts for women
This workout requires no equipment. It can be done at home, outdoors or even in your office break room. Click the exercises for a video demonstration.

Duration: 10 minutes

20 Bird Dogs (10 each side)
10 Updown Planks
20 Rolling Side Plank (10 each side)
10 Lying Knee Raises
30 Seconds Rest

Repeat 3 Times

The Pull-Up Bar Ab Workout

Ab workouts for women 2
For this ab workout, all you need is a pull up bar. Not only will this workout help train your core, it will help your grip strength and upper back strength.

Remember during the hanging leg raises and bicycles to keep your shoulder blades retracted while you perform these exercises so you are not in a dead hang.

Click the exercises for a video demonstration.

Duration: 10 minutes

10 Hanging Leg Raises
10 Supermans (hold each rep)
30 Seconds Hanging Bicycles
30 Seconds Rest

Repeat 3 Times

Conclusion

Besides looking great, there are numerous benefits from having a healthy core, such as back health, good posture and overall body balance and function. Try out these great workouts and let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

Source: Quick and Easy Ab Workouts for WomenPrettyFit.Blog

Super Quick Tropical Chicken Salad Recipe – Natalie Jill

22 Apr

Quick Tropical Chicken Salad

Chicken breast is one of my favorite proteins to use so I love creating new recipes to help keep things interesting! Try this quick tropical chicken salad with the unique addition of tropical flavors. It will take you less than 10 mins to make!

Quick Tropical Chicken Salad

Click to Pin It!

Ingredients:
4 oz shredded chicken breast
1/2 zucchini cut up into bite sized pieces
2 tsp coconut oil
3/4 cups pineapple cut into small cubes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dry basil
himalayan salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized mixing bowl add your chicken, zucchini, and pineapple. Top with coconut oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Then toss!

ENJOY!  

Be Happy…Be Healthy…Be FIT!

-Natalie Jill

Source: Super Quick Tropical Chicken Salad Recipe – Natalie Jill

10 Smart Ways Dietitians Rebound When They Overindulge | MyFitnessPal

22 Apr

 

If you’ve ever worked with a dietitian, you’re likely familiar with the idea that while weight loss requires changes to your overall diet, there’s also room in every eating plan for the occasional treat. Though there are plenty of balanced ways to incorporate indulgences into your eating style, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some point, you’re going to overeat — no matter how healthy your eating habits are.

Even the people who are trained to give diet advice do it occasionally: “Every dietitian overindulges, and since they should have a healthy relationship with food as fuel, the name of the game is modification and not restriction, which will definitely backfire,” explains Amy Goldsmith, registered dietitian and owner of Kindred Nutrition. Instead of getting too hung up on the indulgent meal or snack itself, it’s often more helpful to think about actions you’ll take before, during and after to enjoy yourself — and then get right back on track.

Here’s how to enjoy that indulgence — and bounce back — like a nutrition pro.

Knowing you’re going to have an special, off-plan meal ahead of time can help you feel better about it and figure out how your food for the rest of the day will be structured. “I always try to plan what my day is going to look like,” Goldsmith says. “I am still very flexible, but if I know where I am going out to eat, I generally have an idea of two or three items I’ll get from the menu. For example, if I know I’m going to go out for Thai food for lunch, I am most likely going to order drunken noodles, which gives me a healthy serving of carbs, chicken, some vegetables and fat.”

By thinking about what you’ll eat ahead of time, you can consider what you really want to order, rather than going overboard in the moment.

“I’ll eat a small snack, like veggies and hummus or a large apple prior to going out so that my appetite isn’t ravenous, and I don’t clean my plate, which I could easily do when hungry,” Goldsmith says. Serving sizes at restaurants (or even at a friend’s house for dinner) are usually pretty large, so by having something nutritious within an hour or two beforehand, you’re likely cutting down on the actual volume of food you’ll eat without ruining your appetite.

There’s no point in having something indulgent if you feel bad about it the whole time, right? “When I overindulge, I thoroughly let myself enjoy the food I am eating,” Goldsmith says. One way to simultaneously enhance enjoyment and prevent yourself from going overboard with your portions is to practice mindful eating while you’re eating something you wouldn’t normally have.

“Focus on properly chewing food (15 times or more) and putting the fork down between bites,” suggests Katrina Trisko, a registered dietitian. “Eating with your non-dominant hand is also a great way to increase awareness at meals. By taking steps to be more mindful during meals, you’re less likely to overindulge, more likely to savor every bite and will eat until you’re satisfied — not stuffed.”

“If I happen to eat a heavy meal that leaves me feeling a bit ‘overstuffed,’ I like to treat myself to a 15–20 minute walk outside to get some fresh air,” Trisko says. “Getting in some light physical activity after a heavy meal prevents me from falling into that post-meal food coma.” Research also suggests that taking a post-dinner walk can aid in digestion and speed up the rate your meal moves through your stomach, helping your body deal with your meal quickly and efficiently.

While she’s all for having one really special, extravagant meal, the first thing registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Shoshana Pritzker does afterward is ditch anything that’s left over. “One meal is one meal; leave it at that,” she says. Once you’ve had one indulgent meal, the tendency can be to continue the trend, so it’s best to prevent that from being possible. “I get rid of the leftovers — toss them out or give them away,” Pritzker says. And if you’re eating out?  “Don’t take leftovers home from the restaurant; that way they’re not around to tempt you.”

You probably already know this is a good idea, but it’s worth mentioning because it really works. “Aim for one glass of water every hour or at least 8–10 glasses in total for the day,” Pritzker recommends. “This will help flush out any extra salt and fluids your body is hanging onto from the junky meal.”

It’s important to wait until you’re actually hungry to eat your next meal, Goldsmith says. “When I truly feel I’m hungry, I prepare my next meal and snack focusing on first eating the macronutrients that were absent from my last meal,” she explains. “For example, if I have some chicken wings and beer, I’ll focus on eating some fruits, vegetables and grains at my next meal, or possibly a large salad that incorporates one or two servings of quinoa and is mixed with fresh berries. This cleanses the palate and provides fiber to help move food through the body, as well as many vitamins and minerals that support important bodily functions.”

”Chop up some asparagus into your next omelette or get it as a side with your dinner entree,” recommends Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a registered dietitian-nutritionist in New York City and founder of Tracy Lockwood Beckerman Nutrition. “Asparagus is filled with asparagine, which is an amino acid that acts as a diuretic. Asparagine also pushes out excess ammonia in the body, which may help improve metabolism.”

Hydrating by drinking water is essential, but one of Beckerman’s go-to strategies for regaining lost hydration — something that’s crucial after a night of drinking, for example — and fighting bloat is to eat foods that contain a lot of water. “By adding foods rich in water, such as iceberg lettuce, grapefruit or cauliflower, you are more likely to correct dehydration or sodium imbalance and move things along in your system faster,” she says.

Whether your indulgence was planned or spontaneous, don’t let yourself get hung up on it. “My number 1 rule after overindulging is to forgive yourself and move on,” Pritzker says. “Cut yourself some slack; treating yourself here and there is totally normal (and healthy) and if you beat yourself up over it, you’re just feeding the urge to indulge again. Move on after a treat and get right back to your usual healthy diet and routine as soon as possible.”

Source: 10 Smart Ways Dietitians Rebound When They Overindulge | MyFitnessPal