First off I want to say that I am not an expert. I am just passing on the information I have learned throughout my years and what has worked for me.
Most women want to get that “toned” look. You know the line down the middle of your stomach, possibly abs, slim legs, nice butt, want arms like Korra? Want a body like Jessica Nigir’s? How do you go about doing that? The answer is pretty simple, you need to lift heavy weights.
Let me make this very very clear. As a woman, you will not get big and bulky from lifting heavy weights. Body builders train for YEARS to get a body like that, they dedicate their whole life to it. They eat healthy, take the proper supplements and so on to get there. On top of that, as a woman you don’t even produce enough testosterone to get that big. So lifting heavy weights will not make you big at all.
It will, however, give you a body like this http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...aBVjWVxNLfeOZG
So now you know what you need to do, what exercises do you do to reach your goal? As a beginner it’s good to start out with a program called Starting Strength or other beginner programs. Basically its squats, bench press, and pull ups 3 times a week. When lifting you want to do 3 sets of 8 reps. When doing your 8 reps you want to be able to barely finish the 8th one. This will ensure that you will get the best results. I personally add more exercises to my routine. It looks something like this:
Pull ups 3x8
Push ups 3x10
Leg press 3x8
Single legged leg press 3x8
Bicep curls 3x8
Vertical raises 3x8
Lateral raises 3x8
When you are just starting out it is alright to combine all the muscle groups like that. Your body will recover quickly. However, after a few months you will want to split your exercises up to have a chest and back day, legs and back day, and arms and shoulders day. This is my preference but you don’t have to do it that way. As you progress though your body will need more of a rest between workouts.
You may have noticed that I haven’t included any ab exercises in there. Don’t worry I will get there. Before I do I need to explain how lifting weights helps you burn more fat and calories than cardio alone. That being said cardio is also good to do. I do cardio three days a week in between my weight lifting days.
When you lift weights your muscles tear. This is a good thing and you shouldn’t feel any pain WHEN lifting. Now the first few times the day after lifting you may be sore and that is alright. If the soreness doesn’t go away after a day or two you will want to give your body a longer break. If you are still hurting go see a doctor. Back to these tears, they are little and a good thing. You are burning calories when lifting and in order to repair the tears your body needs to burn more calories. It can take 24 or more hours to repair these tears, meaning that your body will be burning calories that whole time. The heavier weights you lift the more tears you get. The larger muscle groups you work the more tears you get. This is where it can get a little weird, working your leg muscle and back can help you burn fat off your stomach.
Let me put it this way, say you do 10 crunches and you maybe get 10 tears on your abs and burn around 20 calories repairing them (not real numbers just making a point) but you do 10 squats and get 100 tears and your body burns 200 calories repairing them. See how you will burn more fat when working heavier muscle groups?
Now to explain more on the abs stuff, doing a bunch of crunches will not give you a six pack. Most of the time it just builds muscle UNDER the fat and actually can make you look bigger than you are. The best way to get a six pack is to lift like I have explained AND to focus on your diet. Diet is just as important on getting the toned look if not more than lifting itself.
Diet is pretty simple, if it comes in a box, you probably shouldn’t eat it. When in the grocery store stick to the outside of the store, you will typically find the milk, eggs, fresh meat, fruit, and veggies. Avoid processed foods, and added sugar. The sugar in fruit is fine. Eat at least 1200 calories a day, it don’t really matter how often you eat. Some studies show three meals a day is best where others show the 5-6 is best. Do what works for you.
That’s about all I have. If you are just starting out I would suggest starting out with very light weights and working your way up from there. One thing I really want to stress is to look up proper form for lifts like squats and bench press.
Lift lighter weights to get the form down then more on to heavier ones. If you do not lift properly you can hurt yourself.
Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will do my best to answer. Doing this program I have gone down from a size 6 to a size 4 in one month. I have noticed that my butt is bigger and looks better. I have seen reduction of celulite in my thighs and I have lost over an inch off my stomach. This is my progress picture from January 20th to April 23rd