Anyone get the SNL reference, anyone?!
I think I just aged myself there. OK, I wanted to share with you my strength training program which is somewhat derived from Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Program. I’ve recently increased my protein intake drastically (about 1g of protein per pound of body weight), reduced my cardio and started lifting heavier (no sissy weights over here!) I am determined to get more toned.
I get most of my research through BodyBuilding.com and other online resources. First, I want to debunk some myths out there for all you ladies looking to tone up:
1. Lifting heavy will make me bulk up – No, it will not! Women do not naturally produce the amount of testosterone to get big and huge. Some body builders you see in magazines and on TV (you know, the ones who look pretty man-ish?!) they take anabolic steroids – you do not. Lift heavy and push yourself, you will see results without getting big and bulky.
2. You burn more calories by doing cardio over lifting weights – No, not true. I burn just about as much when I am strength training. If you are challenging yourself with heavy weights (no soup cans here!) and at least 3 reps of 6+ separate exercises (about a 30-40 minute workout), then you will be burning plenty of calories and building muscle all at the same time. Your body will also continue to burn long after your strength training workout, more so than cardio.
3. It’s better to lift lighter weights and more reps, than heavier weights and fewer reps – Again, no! In order to build muscle and burn fat you must challenge your muscles! If you don’t use a challenging weight, you won’t provide your body with a stimulus that it must adapt to. Start with weights heavy enough that you can do 5-10 reps in good form.
Currently, I am doing a 6-day a week program which targets a different area each day:
Day 1 – Legs
Day 2 – Shoulders
Day 3 – Core
Day 4 – Rest
Day 5 – Chest
Day 6 – Back
Day 7 – Arms
In order to challenge your muscles, try this 12 week program that gradually increases the weight every 4 weeks. In weeks 1-4, lift your max weight up to 10-12 reps. This means if you can lift more than 12 reps the weight is too light, if you can’t lift to 10 reps, the weight is too heavy. In weeks 5-8, increase your max weight to 8-10 reps. Finally, in weeks 9-12, increase your weight again to 4-6 reps. Preform each exercise with 30 seconds rest in between and 1 minute rest between sets. Complete 3 sets.
Each day I will post my routine complete with videos on how to perform them. Here is Day 1 – Legs
Seated Machine Calf Raise
Squat on Smith Machine
Cable Hip Abduction
Seated Leg Curl
Lunges with Dumbbells
Mountain Climbers (as many as you can in 30 seconds for weeks 1-4, increase to 1 minute in weeks 5-8, then increase to 1 minute 30 seconds in weeks 9-12)
Don’t have access to a gym? That’s ok, I’ll post an at-home workout that will definitely give you a challenge! Here is one for today’s leg routine: at home leg workout.
Write it down!
I am currently using the Gymrat app for Android to track my routines and progress. It is a great app! It cost $1.99 but is well worth every 199 pennies. I will do a review on it soon. You can also simply use a journal and write it down, either way it is important to track the weight you are using for each exercise. If you just go into the gym blindly and jump from machine to machine you will have no idea what your progress is each week. Track it, write it down! It will really build your confidence when you look back and see how far you have come!
Currently I do about 20-30 minutes of cardio three to four days a week. When I was trying to lose weight, I was doing much more cardio. Now that I am at my goal weight, I have drastically reduced my amount of cardio and have focused more on strength training. You don’t want your body burning all the muscle you are building. You need to find the balance between the proper amount of cardio and what is too much. A personal trainer will be able to give you a better insight to the balance between how much cardio you should be doing vs strength training.
After breaking down your muscle, it is important to fuel your body for recovery and repair. Consume a protein shake or snack immediately after working out – this is a must!! You need ample protein paired with a carbohydrate. Here are some examples: protein shake with unsweetened almond milk or water, banana with natural peanut butter, hummus and pita, or yogurt and berries. Here are some more pre and post workout snack ideas.
I’ll keep posting my routines over the next week or two, so stay tuned. Get out there, have fun, challenge yourself, set goals and see what amazing things you can achieve!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a personal trainer or a medical doctor. Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise program. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge The Happy Health Freak from any and all claims or causes of action, know or unknown.
The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness, and life—not to dole out advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, do your research.