Strong Is The New Skinny

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Strong Is The New Skinny, Training Tips

Ladies, what if I told you that lifting weights WILL NOT make you bulky. Squash that belief, and next time you’re in the gym, step away from the cardio equipment, and get on the gym floor. It’s no secret that these days strong is the new sexy. Toned, strong, and curvy women are back in and skinny women are out.  Eating healthy and working out WITH weights will help you get lean and sexy, improve your shape and curves.

All too many times I’ve heard girls saying, “I don’t want to use weights because I don’t want to have bulky muscles.” Almost 99.9% of the time, this is coming from women that have never touched a weight because of this myth. I’m here to tell you why these women are wrong and why weights are so important in building that strong and sexy body.

Testosterone. This is the mythbuster. Testosterone is a male steroid hormone that is the culprit behind the stereotype that lifting weights will make you bulky. The testosterone level in males is DRASTICALLY higher than that of females.   The average level of testosterone in males is anywhere between 270-1100 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter), whereas women have testosterone levels between 6-86 ng/dl. As you can see, there is a significant difference. So what does that mean? It means that unless you are taking testosterone injections or anabolic steroids, your body will not be able to naturally add bulky muscle. Lifting weights will NOT give you the same muscles as a man; they will help shape and tone your body.

Now there have been proven studies that men and women do not need to train differently, with that said put down those 5 lb dumbells and grab something a bit heavier. So tighten and tone that body, we’re going to be lifting and heavy. Don’t worry, those muscles wont be getting bulky they’ll be getting sexy and lean, and you? You’ll be getting jacked. Your version of jacked. The jacked you that you’ve always wanted to be. It’s possible, and this is how!  There is a general “guideline” for rep ranges that I will provide you with. Rep ranges of 1-5 are general said to help build strength and power. Anything between 6-12 leans toward hypertrophy, and anything in excess of 12 reps is used for endurance.  So which are you going to be doing? You will find out soon! Before that let me throw in some nutrition advice!

To build the ideal body we want to burn fat and build muscle. How do we do this? We find our maintenance calories and then add 250 calories to that number. We find out the final number and then set our macronutrients.  The female body burns a greater ratio of fats-to-carb then its male counterparts. This means that the body uses fat as energy more than men. This means that you can handle lower carb diets more easily. Adequate protein and EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) intake is required to build muscle and burn that fat. Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoid anything processed. Drink lots of water. 3+ litres a day. The benefits are amazing, and you’ll feel full longer! Stay consistent, feed your body whole foods, and enjoy the progress! Now onto determining your body shape.

female body

No woman is shaped the same! That’s because there are four general female body shapes and knowing yours is the first step to getting to that lean and sexy you!

The Banana (Rectangle) Figure 

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Thin frame, long limbs with a petite upper body.
  • High Metabolism; eat pretty much anything and remain skinny.
  • Ectomorph body type
  • Examples include Cameron Diaz or Kristin Stewart.

Workout Prescription: As women with this body shape are petite and thin, heavy weights mixed with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) should be used to add some muscle and curves to the frame.  Gym sessions with heavier weight and lower reps will help add some beef to the frame and 2-3 HIIT sessions will sculpt and tone that muscle into a beautiful body.

The Hourglass Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Naturally proportionate; chest and hips of same size, with a smaller waist.
  • Classified as a meso-endomorph; tend to look heavier than they are
  • Examples include Scarlett Johansen and Kim Kardashian

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape generally have proportionate chest and hips, with a smaller waist. To accentuate the curves, I would prescribe HIIT cardio 3-4 times a week coupled with weight training, performing heavy aiming each set in the 8-12 rep range.

The Pear Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Smaller upper body and waist with larger thighs, butt and hips
  • Tend to have a slower metabolism.
  • Classified as an ecto-mesomorph.
  • Examples include Jenifer Lopez, Beyonce, Rihanna.

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape generally have a smaller upper body with larger thighs, hips and butt. To accentuate the body shape, I would prescribe 3-4 HIIT sessions a week with a focus of using heavier weights with lower reps to build the muscles in the upper body, and use moderate weights with higher reps to tone the lower body.  Building up the upper body and toning the lower body will help build a pear shape build a body that resembles that of the hourglass figure.

The Apple Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Top heavy with thinner arms, legs and hips with a tendency to store bodyfat in the midsection.
  • Classified as an endomorph.
  • Apple shapes have a tendency to drop weight and build muscle easier than the other shapes, but can also regain fat quickly if not maintained.
  • Examples include Queen Latifa and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape are generally top heavy with thinner arms, legs and hips. In order to accentuate the body shape, lifting heavy weights and using circuits/supersets will ignite your metabolism and burn the bodyfat sitting in the midsection. Intense circuit style gym sessions along with 2-3 days of HIIT cardio. This plan will have you feeling sexy and looking the part if done right.

To conclude this post, there are two main points that I must emphasize: (1) determine your body shape and  (2) lift and eat you’re way to your true potential. You will NOT bulk up, this I promise you. Follow the blog, educate yourself and build that beautiful, toned body of your dreams.

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