You want to know what will give you the biggest bang for your buck? I’m not talking about strip clubs here. I’m talking about strength training using full-body compound exercises.
Many women are intimidated by the bar, and many gym goers show up and wing it, working on whatever body part split they have in mind for that day.
Have you ever:
– Hit a plateau?
– Been bored with your split?
– Looked exactly the same for the last 3 months?
– Been fed up with 2-3 hour gym sessions?
– Gone through periods of enthusiasm, only to burn out and skip sessions?
Drop everything you’re doing and reset your frame of mind. Get back to the basics and focus only on performing compound and bodyweight exercises. These are exercises that engage multiple muscles at the same time. You will get more done in less time, and well on your way to being lean and sexy.
Using multiple muscle groups at the same time will burn more calories, build strength, increase bone density, improve coordination and balance, decrease the risk of injury, and most importantly allow you to carry all your groceries at once. That is pretty badass, right?
Not only are you going to perform less exercises, you are going to focus on building strength and lift HEAVY—tons of people don’t recognize their own strength and sell themselves short. Use good form and challenge yourself by performing 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps only. Make sure you perform mobility drills and dynamic stretches beforehand.
When I work with people who have never focused on strength, their anxiety kicks in thinking that because they’re not on the floor panting and dripping in sweat that they didn’t work hard enough (well, you definitely didn’t lift heavy enough if you’re not sweating). Strength training will recruit your fast-twitch B muscle fibers, increasing your muscle mass since it weighs more than slow-twitch fibers (predominant in endurance athletes), so if you see your weight on the scale go up it’s probably a good thing. Strength training also really stresses your CNS, so you better make sure you’re eating wholesome/fresh, nutrient-rich foods to fuel and recover.
And please get enough sleep. I struggle with this since I’m a night owl by nature, but it makes a world of a difference. We’re all busy and have a million responsibilities and a growing to-do list, but your health is your greatest asset and if you don’t take care of your health first, you’ll go through life half-assing everything.
Anyway, here are the compound exercises you should focus on:
– Bench press
– Overhead press
– Bent-over barbell rows
– Hip thrusts
– Pistol squats*
– Handstand pushups*
– Spider crawls*
*these are tough, and there are progressions you should master first
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t listed any cardio. This post is about getting you to look good NAKED, not having you on the elliptical for 38 hours burning 957 imaginary calories and tricking yourself into thinking you’re hardcore when truth be told, you’re just spinning your wheels. Remember: stimulate, don’t annihilate.
For the majority of people who are not already very lean, proper nutrition and strength training will burn more fat than cardio. Yes, even you endomorphs. Forget mindless cardio! If you enjoy biking, swimming, running, etc. then continue doing what you’re doing. But don’t succumb into the latest fat torching cardio routine. I’ve personally tried every one of them out there, and my body didn’t take the shape I wanted it to until I focused on strength.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s perfectly okay if you’re not sore. I used to think that if I wasn’t sore from my workout, I didn’t work hard enough. Soreness is a result of three factors (more about that in a future post), and though strength training can make you sore, you shouldn’t be chasing it.
Now, go squat.
PS. Don’t ask me if you can use machines instead of free weights. The use of machines has its place (which I will discuss in a future post), but if you’re an injury-free individual (bad knees do not count as injury), then don’t use machines. Use barbells and free weights.
PPS. For those wondering, yes you can get stronger while cutting calories. You’ll just have to time your food intake. I will talk about this in more detail as well in a future post.