By Demi Eftimiades
Women think they should be training differently than men, and that is not the case. In most cases I see women trainingin ridiculously high amounts of rep ranges with very little rest in between, topped off with copious amounts of cardio. I guarantee you if I had titled this article how to achieve a muscular physique, the majority of these readers would have been male.
Sigh…The reason I used the word toned to describe the ideal female physique that most women are looking for is because if I were to have used the word muscular… a picture of The Rock would have probably popped up in their head. When people say “toned” what they really mean is lean. No celebrity fitness model workout or a well-known Fitness Models who now have a large following on Instagram are going to provide you with the information you need to achieve your best self.
These fitness figures sadly do not have any degrees in exercise science or nutrition or even a personal trainer certification. The majority of their advice is based on trial and error and has no scientific information backing up their claims. I suggest you be weary and take all of the information you read and hear with a grain of salt from these well-known fitness figures.
I remember there was a profile that I had started following years ago because I was so inspired by how hard she worked to maintain her physique. Recently I had seen her post a photo of her wearing a waist trainer and I almost lost it. I unfollowed the page because I work so hard to try and express to people that you have to work hard in order for something to mean something. Diet and exercise will help you reach your goals. Not crushing your organs with a waist trainer. This is not how you are going to lose weight and keep it off.
The page has such a large following and she’s promoting this waist trainer and I was so upset. If only these Instagram Fitness figures had a better understanding of what these products actually do to their bodies and that they have no benefits. Yes I am also talking to you, tea-detox affiliates. There is nothing magical about crushing your organs.
So what can you do?
Performing, large amounts of cardio will not give you a lean physique they will actually do the opposite. Instead, focus more on putting stress on your body by overloading and creating tension. You do this by lifting weights. You must challenge your body with heavier weights and not just sticking with the same weight each week. Doing this consistently over time can create the “toned” legs, booty, and flat tummy you are looking for.
How may sets and reps should I do?
Before you crank out any sets or reps you should make sure you are following a good training program. If you are new to weightlifting, chances are when you first begin your program your strength will shoot up like a rocket! Is this because you are gaining copious amounts of muscle? Absolutely not. The strength adaptations for someone who is completely new to weight lifting is due to the fact that there are neurological adaptations in the first 6 weeks of strength training. For a veteran lifter, they have already been exposed to this kind of stress therefore, their progression is a bit slower. So if you would like to gain a bit of strength, a good general rule of thumb for strength is 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps. if you would like to increase your lean muscle, 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps is recommended. I personally recommend using both. Using my lower rep ranges on my major lift such as squats, benching, and deadlifting. My higher rep ranges might be used for exercises such as pull ups, or accessory exercises: hamstring curls, leg extensions, calf raises, bicep curls etc.
What about cardio?
A good rule of thumb for cardio is to never do more cardio. I personally recommend doing half the amount of time you spend lifting doing cardio. So for example, if you spend 5 hours per week lifting weights you would do no more than two and a half hours of cardio per week. A healthy combination between low-intensity, steady state cardio, and high intensity is perfectly fine for creating a calorie deficit and a healthy heart.
In other words…
Eat your veggies, don’t lift weights at such high volumes all the time, don’t be scared to lift heavy weights, get out of your comfort zone, and don’t lift until you can’t feel your legs anymore #liftingtofailure
LIFT SMARTER NOT HARDER!
Demetra is not a physician or registered dietitian. The content of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.