Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Article: 9 Amazing exercises every woman should do for a better body (men read this too!)

Before I list the exercises please read these very important notes.

When lifting weights you should be lifting heavy.  And yes, that includes women.  Before you start telling me you don’t want to be bulky or have big muscles please understand this – it just isn’t that simple.

Seen a woman with BIG muscles?  She is almost certainly taking steroids.  The female body just isn’t designed for getting big.  Did you watch the Olympics?  Notice how many incredibly strong women there were in the weight lifting who didn’t have big muscles?

Lifting bigger weights will burn more calories, make you stronger (and who doesn’t want to be stronger), decrease the chance of osteoporosis, help build core strength and did I mention it will burn more calories?

Also, although this article is aimed at women, all of the points are valid for men too!

Finally, generally speaking, you cannot tone muscle.  You can however:

  • Make muscles bigger by lifting weights and eating an excess of calories
  • Make muscles appear more toned by losing fat by eating a calorie deficit
On to the exercises…
  • 1. Diet

Ok, so it’s not an exercise – but without the correct supporting diet you will never reach your goals.  Looking to gain muscle?  You need to eat more calories than you burn so you must be gaining weight.  Want to lose fat?  Then you need fewer calories than you burn.  That might seem a bit simple; that is because it is!

  • Not building muscle? Eat more
  • Not losing weight? Eat less

Do not try to combine building muscle and losing weight.

  • 2. Squat

Alongside the deadlift this is the most important exercise in your arsenal. Working the lower back, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calf muscles all in one exercise.  It is important that you squat to at least parallel – anything else is not a full squat.  You want 100% of the benefits – do 100% of the exercise.

Ladies, if you have ever seen a woman with a great bottom; chances are it was built with squats – not Zumba!

Here is a video a girl squatting a good weight – notice how not massive she is?

 

 

  • 3. Deadlift

Just like the squat this is another exercise that hits many muscles at once.  Working the forearms, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calf muscles.  Form is very important with deadlifts and I’d recommend filming yourself or getting someone experienced to check you are lifting correctly.

Recruiting as many muscles as the deadlift does, you’d better believe its a fantastic exercise to burn calories and raise your metabolism for hours after your workout.

Here is another girl deadlifting twice her bodyweight – notice how fantastic she looks?

 

 

  • 4. Indoor Rowing

Now I enjoy running and have clocked up many hours on the roads.  But running generally speaking isn’t all that good for you, especially if you run with poor form.  And you probably do (sorry!).

Indoor rowing however is non impact and using upper and lower body muscles will give a great cardio workout (and burn lots of calories).

A few points about using an indoor rower however, the numbered handle on the wheel is not resistance.  The damper setting is used to emulate different sizes of boats on the water.  It should never be used to make a workout harder or easier (if you want to make the workout harder – pull harder!)

Here is a video that explains how to set up the damper setting

 

 

And here is a video that explains how to row  (notice how she doesn’t over reach)

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVkMzEXChLc]

 

  • 5. Crunch

Crunches are good, sit ups are bad.  If you want a nice tight midsection you must not do exercises where your abs are pushed out.  Doing hundreds of sit ups and leg raises might be good for your core but will give also give you a thicker waist.

 

Remember:

  • Abs are created by losing fat which means eating fewer calories than you burn.
  • You cannot spot burn fat
  • The abdominal muscle is one single muscle – leg raises do not work the lower abs, lower abs come from having very low body fat.

 

For not doing any of the above is why you should crunch.

 

This mini seminar explains further

 

 

  • 6. Stomach vacuum

Working your transverse abdominis will give you a tighter waist and stomach vacuums are great for this.

 

 

  • 7. Bench Press

Flat bench pressing gets some bad press for damaging shoulders but with correct form it is a very safe exercise to do.  Working your chest, triceps and shoulders it is another great compound movement.  Do not get caught up in the myth that decline, flat and incline bench press can increase the size of different parts of the chest.  The shape of your chest (like every other muscle in your body) is genetic.  You cannot change genetics.

 

Here is a another video of a girl (notice how she isn’t huge) this time bench pressing a heavy weight

 

 

  • 8. Overhead Press

Shoulders, triceps, core muscles (hopefully you are seeing the theme with exercises that work lots of muscles at once) are all worked with the overhead press.  Doing overhead presses will also help increase the weight you can bench press and help keep shoulder injuries away.

I’d prefer you to keep your feet under your shoulders and not push with your legs, but this is another great video showing a strong girl overhead pressing

 

 

  • 8. Chin up/pull up

You should include a mixture of both these exercises in your workouts. Working your back, shoulders and arms will help develop a v taper to your body (which will make your waist look smaller).  One of the best things about chin ups and pull ups is the minimal equipment needed – any flat bar will do.

If you are struggling to do either exercise, try doing negatives where you start at the top of the movement and slowly lower yourself down.

Please note, lat pull downs are not an acceptable alternative and the only way to get better at chin ups and pull ups is to chin up and pull up!

 

Here is a 44 year old woman doing 39 pull ups.  Doesn’t she look great?

 

 

To summarise:

  • Match your diet to your goals
  • Quit Zumba – NOW!
  • Put down the pink weights
  • Pick up heavy weights
  • Always lift with good form

 

Want further proof that lifting heavy weights will make you look fantastic?

 

20120908-065204.jpg

4 September 2012, Week 3 Cycle 2 Overhead Press

With my new-found energy I figured I try a switch back to 4 day workout week.  Today was overhead press and I also made a decision to up the weight more than previously planned, it’s not something that is recommended but I really felt like the weight was too low (although I am sure I will regret it in a few cycles…)

Diet feels better, the carbs are fuelling my workouts nicely and I don’t feel tired through the day anymore.  My weight is still dropping, but it has definitely stalled a little.  I’m sure the pre workout carbs is going to mess with the weight a little as I am sure to be holding a little extra water.  I will drop the calories a few hundred anyway and see if I can kickstart the fat burning again.  I haven’t done much cardio lately so that could be another reason.

Overhead Press 
5 x 20kg
5 x 24kg
3 x 28.5kg
5 x 36kg
3 x 40.5kg
2 x 47.5kg *pb*
5 x 10 x 25kg

Chin Up
10/10/8/8/7

 

 

20111023215355988

14 August 2012, Bone cracking Osteopaths, electro acupuncture and some cardio

Had my first appointment with Jason Houghton Osteopath yesterday and it went well and I came out very positive from the feedback I got.  I like to think that I am the kind of client that people enjoy seeing; I come with a full description of what hurts and when, my own ideas about why it hurts and what I need to do to remedy it.  Apparently my posture, shoulder flexibility and strength are all good; which is great if a little surprising.

Treatment involved having my spine and neck cracked which was a bizarre experience!  Apparently I was the easiest person to crack in 5 years – I guess that’s a good thing!  Also had some electro acupuncture and I’m glad I saw the needles afterwards.

We think the problem is just a mild muscle sprain which is aggravating the ulnar nerve, so it should just sort itself out with a little rest.  In addition (despite my posture being good – that’s probably because I was thinking about it in the appointment!) I have started leaving posture cues around the house.  Masking tape and sharpie markers are very useful :).  To help me when using my laptop I have pumped up an old gym ball to sit out – should be good for my core too.

I have lost a whole kg (Down to 73.8kg) since yesterday, not really sure how though as my calories are the same and I didn’t work out at all.  One theory is a water loss from the no exercising – but I don’t imagine I had much to lose in the first place!  Will be interesting to see what I come in at tomorrow. I’m looking forward to filling up with water at the end of dieting and hopefully being cut and full…

Another gym rest day today, so had myself a 7.19km walk instead before breakfast.

11 August 2012, Cardio and Squidgy fat…

Bodyweight at 73.8kg this morning so still dropping pretty quickly (despite 3200 calories a day!) and the layer of fat on my belly has become squishy, especially around the belly button where it was quite firm before.  A bit of internet research suggests this is the stage before it disappears!  Woo – goodbye belly fat hello full set of abs ;)

Looking to make another tweak to my diet tomorrow when I’m due to have a cook up.  Plan is to use less chicken and replace with a couple of eggs.  Why?  To increase the overall fat calories (to help with Ketosis).  Will save a few £’s a week too.

An old injury seems to have reappeared over the last week where a muscle somewhere around the Rhomboid region feels either like its permanently engaged or its trapped.  I can’t seem to get my roller to release it and its giving me nerve problems in my hand/arm again (pins and needles in the fingers).  Not really sure what to do, I’d rather not have to get professional help as it could end up costing a fortune.  Heat therapy and continued rollering for now.

Just a little 6.74km walk around the block for cardio this morning, lovely weather for it!

8 August 2012, Diet tweaking, low carbs and brain fog.

I decided to listen to my body today and stay in bed, the low calories/carbs and strength training is really knocking my ability to recover from workouts.  As well as a day off I have added some extra calories back into my diet and removed some more carbs by removing the apple and replacing it with another 200ml of coconut oil (so adding another 400 calories).  The changes feel like they have made a difference today with my head being a lot less foggy (although this could be me just getting more used to the low carbs) and I didn’t feel as tired so early.  If I’m honest weight loss has been probably a little too quick (200g overnight) so adding some extra calories should help slow it a little.  After doing some reading on Ketosis I think my protein/fat ratios are a bit out (protein too high) so I may have a few more tweaks to come.

Weigh in this morning puts me at 74.4kg with the second row of abs just about starting to poke through.  I hope I don’t have to lose too much more as I don’t like the feeling of being smaller.