Brash Essentials: Strength Training for Women

The alternate title I flirted with for this article was How to Get a Body Like [insert famous celebrity name here].  Being a Fitness Professional has it’s perks one of those is not being bombarded with questions about how they can lose ‘this’ or ‘tighten up that’.

The first thing you have to understand is there are only a few ways to get that slim, fit, athletic look like your fav celebs.  Forget the words ‘tone’ or ‘sculpt’ in relation to your muscles.  You cannot shape or elongate or tone a muscle or anything like that.  You can only make a muscle bigger or make it smaller. The same can be said for fat cells; you can make them bigger or you can make them smaller. That’s it.  So basically what every women should be aiming to do is build muscle and lose fat.  When you build muscle you will end up burning more calories at rest, meaning it will help you burn fat and get leaner.

While many women want to look like Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo or Beyonce, the fact of the matter is none of them will ever come close because of a fear of looking like a bodybuilder, so they shy away from lifting weights that will actually help them with their goal.   That fear is completely ridiculous.  Females simply do not have the hormone levels necessary to build muscle at the same rate of a man; not even close!  Plus, it’s not even that easy for most men.

Look at those legs….I see muscle.
Not convincing enough?
If you truly want to drop pounds, inches and have the most banging bikini body of all time, get off the treadmill and into the weight room.  
First things first: don’t rely on your scale.  If you’re going to fixate on any number it’s your body fat percentage.  Your BF% is a number that provides you with the amount of stored fatty tissue compared to the amount of lean tissue (bones, muscle, organs etc..) in/on/and around your body.  If you don’t have access to a proper BF% reading use the absolute best indicator of a changing body…..your clothes! We’ve all heard that muscle weights more than fat, but what you need to know is that muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body.  So if you jump on the scale and you haven’t lost any ‘scale weight’ but your jeans are falling off your butt, you’re on the right track.
Use strength training to increase your metabolism.  Muscle burns about three times as many calories as fat does.  With added weight training and muscle your metabolism goes into overdrive.  Increased muscle mass equals increased metabolism; therefore, every ounce of fat on your body that you replace with lean muscle helps you to burn off unwanted calories even between workouts.  Because muscle is metabolically active, it chews up calories when you’re not in the gym. Increase your lean muscle and burn hundreds of extra calories per day.
If that wasn’t reason enough to begin a regular strength training program there’s more….Weight training prevents injury, strengthens your bones and ligaments, it’s a natural energy booster and it will improve your posture and increase your confidence.
Breasts need a lift? Strengthen your upper back muscles, that will pull your shoulders back and BAMN instant breast lift!  How about a rounder, firmer back side?  Gain muscle in your glutes [butt muscles] with squats and lunges and there you have it, J-Lo booty.
Ladies, forget skinny, forget weak, forget dainty, forget dieting and cardio only workouts.  Strong is beautiful, fit is sexy.
crossfit brash fitness clean
Here are a few things you need to do:
Lift Heavy- put down the soup cans and 3lb dumbbells, they are not going to do a damn thing for you.  You need to lift heavier weights in the 8-12 rep range, that should be the basis of your training.  Performing reps in a higher scheme [15-24] contrary to popular belief does not burn more fat or improve muscle definition.  Heavy weight training burns far more calories, I’m not just talking during your workout but the next 24-48 hrs.
Use Compound Exercises- Females should not be relegated to the abductor/ adductor machine while avoiding squats and deadlifts at all costs. If you want to gain muscle and burn body fat you have to focus on the basics. These include military presses, push ups, rows, chin ups, dips, squats, deadlifts and all their variations. Isolation exercises like flyes, leg extensions and triceps kickbacks are a waste for most females and do very little to build lean muscle or burn fat.

Follow the Rule of Progressive Overload- Some people, both male and female, do the exact same workouts with the exact same weights over and over again for months or even years and never get anywhere. It’s no wonder why. Once you do something new, your body will do all that it can to adapt to the stimulus so that it is prepared for it the next time and does not suffer the same shock and trauma. So if you bench press 65 pounds for two sets of ten reps today, your body will rebuild itself bigger and stronger to prepare for that challenge again in the future. When you do it again next week you have not presented a new challenge for your body to adapt to and thus nothing will happen. You need to continually challenge your body. You can do this by adding more sets, decreasing your rest periods, or most importantly and most effectively; increasing the weight.

That’s it ladies.  If you really want to change your body and improve your health, strength training is the missing link.


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