Let’s take a look at how to maximise your efforts in the gym, whilst minimising your time investment, so you can get on with more important things – like living your life!
You’re going to perform resistance exercises in the gym (so that means training your muscles with resistance machines or free weights). Again cutting out the scientific jargon, and skipping directly to the results orientated principles (called GIVE ME THE SKINNY), here’s what you want to do.
Aim to perform resistance exercise for your entire body … that’s every muscle group in your body once per week. Here’s how you elicit maximal muscle tone, and stimulate maximum response from your resistance exercise. If it’s different than what you’ve been told, ask yourself again – “is what I’m currently doing eliciting the responses I desire?”
Chose one piece of resistance exercise for each muscle group in the body. For example here’s a workout below:-
Start by performing 5 minutes or so of gently warming up such as jogging on the treadmill – your aim being to get the blood pumping around your body, raise your heart rate, and most importantly … begin lubricating your joints and raise your temperature. Why are you doing this? To prevent injury. Nothing more. There is no magic to warming up, it isn’t for weight loss. But it is important.
Now move to your first exercise – in this example, it’s the leg press. Perform 30 or so reps in a slow controlled manner. So chose a weight that lets you achieve around 30 reps, that is uncomfortable, but achievable and so if you were pressed and pushed into it, you could continue maybe to 40 or so reps. So it’s not an all out effort. And then stop when you get to 30. It’s not a magic number, you’re simply getting your body ready to perform the work you want it to do.
Here’s where you perform your work. Now imagine, muscle stimulation is like switching a light switch. Once you have pressed the switch, you don’t have to continue pressing it on many times to have the light activated. Once is the trigger. The switch has performed the stimulus. You triggered the response. So here you go. Mentally prepare yourself for your ONE set of your exercise to stimulate your muscular stimulation. This is where you are going to perform all out maximal effort. There will be not other sets. No other chances. No other attempts to stimulate your muscles in that movement until the same time next week. So make it a good one. And push yourself to your true maximal effort. And it is in this challenge you are probably pushing yourself to your psychological limits, as physically, you can quite simply do it.
Choose a weight you believe you can handle around 6 reps with. This being the suggestion, if someone was to hold a gun to your head and scream at you to perform another rep, you simply could not do it. That is all out maximum muscular effort and what elicits the kind of results you want.
So pick your weight and perform the maximum number of reps you can achieve (aim for 6) but if you honestly (think of the above scenario) believe you could do another (say 7, or even 8 reps) you keep going until you physically cannot perform a single rep more. You are pushing yourself to the absolute limit.
**CRITICAL – raise the weight very slowly at around 4 seconds to raise the weight, and around 5 seconds to lower the weight to the starting position. The speed is critical. Stay slow, and push yourself. Do not speed up. Do not swing. Do not cheat the weight into movement with momentum – USE YOUR MUSCLES.
Once you have completed your reps with maximum effort have a rest. Think to yourself and be completely honest. Could you do the same thing again?? If you can, then you did not work hard enough, and you should attempt this maximum effort again. If you think to yourself that you maybe could, but only manage 2 or 3 reps, you need to work harder next week. If, honestly, you truly believe you cannot do a single more rep again, then you’re done and good to move onto the next exercise.
The whole workout should take no more than around 20 – 30 minutes. Once you’re done, you’re done. That’s muscle stimulation completed for the week, and take a week off of resistance training until the same time next week. When you return to the gym, you should be able to perform either more weight for the same reps, or more reps with the same weight as you did in the last gym session – this is called progression and a key indicator that you are making progress with your training.
Now, in terms of cardiovascular training for health, I recommend swimming as your all time number one best exercise for maximum stimulus in the shortest amount of time. Why swimming, well, swimming has multiple benefits. First off, it exercises your entire body from head to foot, which causes your heart to work at maximum capacity pumping blood to every muscle in your body. This maximises both your muscle tone, fitness levels and your improves your cardiovascular health. Perform swimming 2 – 3 times a week for half an hour or so. Swimming has the added benefit that you are plunging your body into cold water. Your body is warm blooded, so guess what happens? Correct, a chemical reaction. Your body has to work harder than with any other form of exercise to raise your body temperature back to correct levels. This thermic response is why swimming enables you to burn far more calories during the performance of the exercise than any other form of cardiovascular exercise. But if you can’t swim, or don’t have access to a swimming pool on a regular basis, don’t sweat it. Just pick another exercise and perform around 2 – 3 sessions of 30 minutes or so cardiovascular exercise (running, cycling, dancing etc.) and you’re good.
…That’s your exercise complete.
The rest is entirely diet and nutrition, and here on protein for women blog is a rule book on precisely how to achieve maximum and rapid fat loss. The rest is entirely diet and nutrition, and here on protein for women blog is a rule book on precisely how to achieve maximum and rapid fat loss.
Well, interesting question. Is female bodybuilding a sport, an endeavour, a lifestyle? What is it? And is it natural in any shape or form. We would like to suggest, that in some ways YES and in some ways NO – depending on your moralistic outlook.
For anyone, male or female, bodybuilding can be defined as the pursuit, and art form, of striving to build a better body – that can be from internal health, mental and emotional state, through to the absolute best performance of fitness physically. That all taken into account my gym bunnies – if you are striving to develop a great level of physical fitness, combined with maximum health, and with that comes looking physically aesthetic and attractive … then surely most people would be hard pressed to disagree that bodybuilding is actually a superbly positive pursuit or endeavor.
Especially since the devotion to an exercise and nutrition plan that supports and nourishes the mind and body for optimal functioning and output, developing structure and routine to life it is, most would agree, actually hugely beneficial. In fact most successful business people, and popular icons, work out and ‘bodybuild’ to some degree because they are given a daily and weekly schedule or structure, along with a set routine that supports a healthy goal setting mentality.
Female bodybuilding is so much more popular in the mainstream these days. Take for example famous glamour model from the UK Ms Jodie Marsh, who competed in two natural amateur bodybuilding contests in 2011. No longer do people believe the common misconception that weights are for boys, and cardio is for girls. That’s simply physiologically complete nonsense. Resistance exercise is in fact probably just as important to women, as it is to men, if not more so. Not that bodybuilding for women is entirely resistance exercise only – far from it. Bodybuilding is a lose and generic term that typically encompasses ‘getting in great physical shape‘ and includes being toned and increasing muscular strength at the same time.
Strength and weight training (resistance training) for women holds so many benefits and rewards. Those being immediate and long term, and none of these benefits should be overlooked when analyzing, or even denouncing female bodybuilding in the press and media. You could write an entire book about the many benefits of resistance and weight training for women, though we shall save that for another time and summarize the key critical benefits to resistance training, alongside your cardiovascular training when it comes to female bodybuilding.
So here are just a few outlined benefits of female bodybuilding. So why the turn off? Why the bad press? Well, simply put, the world of professional bodybuilding one thinks of that comes to mind when we hear the phrase female bodybuilding, is usually one of muscle bound freakish women who are often twice the size of the typical average male and golden brown more than bronze itself. What are we dealing with here? Is this what fate is going to befall any woman who turns their hand to resistance training and adding weights routines to their cardiovascular exercise?
Simply put – no. Not it is not. Not unless you begin extremist tactics and often making use of illegal pharmaceutical cocktails – such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones. Women who weight train can enjoy the many physcial and natural hormonal benefits of positive resistance exercise. When it comes to competitive bodybuilding, the coin is often flipped onto the reverse and the female bodybuilder is more often than not subject to an onslaught of terrible negative attack on their physical, emotional and mental state through damaging exercise routines, nutrient deficient dieting and an anabolic cocktail of black market drugs.
So you can rest assured, if you add resistance exercise to your routine, unless you are going to be dabbling in the dark side of competitive bodybuilding, you are very much unlikely to encounter unsightly muscle growth, or a sudden chiseled eight pack looking like it has been forged from steel, and carrying veins like a roadmap.