Training The Average Woman: Transform Your Body!

Check out this great article with sample workout programs, exercise pics, printable logs, diet plans and much more...

[ Part One ] [ Part Two ] [ Part Three ] [ Part Four ]


Introduction

I saw my future trainee scrutinizing her body in the mirror one day. Instead of passing by though, I decided to offer her some help. I asked if she would be interested in have a personal trainer and nutritionist to help her get back in shape. Much to my satisfaction, she was very interested. I introduced myself to her and learned that her name was Angela.

As part of the deal we made for my training her, I insisted to be allowed to document her experience and progress so that other women like her may be able to learn from it. So, that is exactly what this article will be. It is an in depth 6 week guide for women complete with weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise routines as well as detailed meal plans. The design caters to the average woman who works during the day and likes to let loose and have a little fun on Friday nights.

I wanted this to be a plan that catered to my trainee. After talking with Angela for a bit, I found that certain things were imperative. Among them, variety, convenience, and time frame. Like any regular person, Angela didn't want to be eating the same things day in, day out. She also had constraints within the ability to prepare meals as well as time for exercise.

Like many people, Angela is up and out the door within 30 minutes of waking which means breakfast had to be fast and portable. She also only has one opportunity to eat while at work and little time in the evening to workout. Hence healthy microwave able lunches and short-duration high intensity workouts are taken advantage of in this program. These factors are what I used to help shape the diet and exercise plans.

For those of you who may decide to follow this program, it shall include weekly progress reports. Each of these progress reports will describe Angela's progress as well as provide a new workout routine which changes every two weeks.

This takes the guess-work out of training and gives you a template by which to judge your own progress. And of course, like any other "transformation" program, I shall include before and after pictures for those of you who just want to see what happens.


The Exercise Logs

My inspiration for the workout routines came from two sources; HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training) and NHE (Natural Hormonal Enhancement). The weight routine is full body with about 2 sets per body part performed on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Each set is performed to failure but must stay within the rep range.

This means one must find the proper weight that will bring failure on the final rep. No more, no less. The workout should also be short lasting a maximum of one hour but ideally lasting 45 minutes.



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The cardio work is similar to the weight routine in that it is interval training with maximum effort. Cardio is done on days that you don't lift weight and will, at the highest point, last little more than 25 minutes. This short duration, intense cardiovascular burst should work to cause another anabolic fat burning spike speak that should also enhance recovery.

For cardio I chose to go with a boxer style workout consisting of jump rope and bag work. I thought this type of routine would be more involving therefore more stimulating and enjoyable than the average treadmill thing. Of course, if one doesn't have access to a punching bag they may simply shadow box. In other words, box with an imaginary opponent but be sure to put extra effort into every "hit" and keep the feet moving.

The weight routine starts out with 2 weeks of 15 reps in order to prepare joints and tendons for the oncoming heavy lifting. This period may also build some muscle in untrained individuals. The primary muscle building periods though will be the following 10 rep routine and 5 rep routine.

Here is the 15 rep routine for the first two weeks, look below for exercise pics:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log
DB Lunge-2x15 HIIT 10-25 min. DB Lunge-1x15 HIIT 10-25 min. Squat-2x15
1 min jump rope 1 min jump rope
Deadlifts-1x15 2 min boxing Deadlifts-2x15 2 min boxing Deadlifts-1x15
1 min rest 1 min rest
DB Bench-2x15 repeat 3x DB Bench-2x15 repeat 3x DB Bench-2x15
DB pullover-1x15 DB pullover-1x15 DB pullover-1x15
BB Row-2x15 BB Row-2x15 BB Row-2x15
DB shoulder press-2x15 DB shoulder press-2x15 DB shoulder press-2x15
Lateral Raise-1x15 Lateral Raise-1x15 Lateral Raise-1x15
DB Curls-1x15 DB Curls-1x15 DB Curls-1x15
Hammer Curl-1x15 Hammer Curl-1x15 Hammer Curl-1x15
Skull Crusher-1x15 Skull Crusher-1x15 Skull Crusher-1x15
1 leg calf raise-2x15 1 leg calf raise-2x15 1 leg calf raise-2x15
Crunches-2x15 Crunches-2x15 Crunches-2x15
Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

The provided log can be printed and used to keep track of progress. On weight lifting days, write down whatever weight used in the white spaces under each exercise.


How To Perform The Exercises

DB Lunge - View Exercise

    Tips: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and pull your shoulders back. Lift your chest up and look straight ahead. Position your right leg forward in a long stride. Your foot should be far enough in front of you so that when you bend your right knee, your thigh and lower leg form a right angle.

    Slowly bend your knees, lowering your hips so your rear knee just clears the floor. Pause briefly in this position, then slowly straighten your legs and raise your body back up to a standing position. Complete a full set, then switch legs and repeat, or alternate legs for each rep. Make sure your knee does NOT travel past your toes in the down position!

Deadlifts - View Exercise

    What NOT To Do:

    Tips: Think of a deadlift as a squat, only the bar is in your hands rather than on your back.

    The Stance: Approach the loaded barbell and assume a stance about as wide as your own shoulders while gripping the bar such that the inner aspects of your arms are slightly outside of your thighs. Another way to determine your optimal deadlift foot placement is to jump down from a box which is half your own height and "stick" the landing. Now look at your feet...this will approximate your ideal stance width and degree of foot turn-out.

    Feet and Shin Position: Feet should point straight forward or turned out to a 25 degree angle at most. The best foot angle is one which provides the least amount of hip and knee restriction when you lower the hips in preparation to lift, so don't be afraid to experiment a bit. The shins should be two to three inches from the bar and then when you actually bend down and lower your hips in preparation to lift, the shins will touch the bar. Most of the weight will be on the heels of the feet. This facilitates maximal contribution of the glutes and hamstrings. During the ascent, the bar will travel as close to the leg and shins as possible. Ideally, wear cotton sweat pants or track pants with long socks to protect your shins.

    Hand Position: A "reverse grip" should be used when deadlifting. This means that one hand will be supinated (palm faces you) and the other pronated (palm facing away). This will help keep the bar in your hand. If grip strength is not one of your training targets, feel free to use wrist straps with a conventional grip. Hold the bar high up on the palm to compensate for any roll of the bar when pulling the weight up. Generally, the grip should start with the index finger and the little finger bordering the knurling in the middle of the bar.

    Head Placement and Eye Contact: The entire spine should remain neutral, which means you look neither up nor down, but instead, the head follows the body, almost like you're wearing a cervical cast on your neck. It's OK for the head to be SLIGHTLY up (this tends to improve muscular contraction of the low back muscles) but in all cases, the lift must start with the hips down, the entire spine neutral, and the feet flat on the floor.

    The Ascent: As you stand up with the weight, imagine pushing the earth away from you with your feet. When viewed from the side, your hips and shoulders should ascend together; if the hips rise before the shoulders, it means you're using your back rather than your legs. If this happens, reduce the weight until you can perform the lift correctly and add more specific quad-strengthening exercises to your program.

    The Lockout: Competitive powerlifters are required to demonstrate control over the weight by standing up and then extending the hips forward in an exaggerated manner. If you're NOT a competitive lifter, simply stand up with the weight without this exaggerated maneuver.

    The Descent: Simply return the bar to the floor, under control, by reversing the technique you used to lift the weight.

DB Bench Press - View Exercise

    Tips: Sit on the edge of a flat bench with dumbbells on your knees. In one smooth motion, roll onto your back while bringing the dumbbells up to a position slightly outside and above your shoulders. Your palm should face forwards. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground.

    Press the weights up over your chest in a triangular motion until they meet above the centerline of your body. As you lift, concentrate on keeping the weights balanced and under control. Then, follow the same path downward until your arms are slightly below parallel to the floor.

DB Pullover - View Exercise

    Tips: Lie on a bench, head at the end, with your fee flat on the floor. Start with your hands flat against the inside plate of the dumbbell at arms length above chest. Lower dumbbell in semicircular motion behind head as far as possible without pain. Keep your elbows as straight as you can. Return dumbbell to starting position. Can also be done with a barbell.

Barbell Rows - View Exercise

    Tips: Position your feet at about shoulder width. Bend over so your back is as close to parallel to the floor as you can and hold bar with an overhand grip and with hands a little wider than shoulder width. Keep legs slightly bent. Hold bar at arm's length straight down. Pull bar straight up to the lower part of your chest. Slowly lower bar back to starting position. Keep your head up and back straight at all times, and do NOT swing or use momentum to lift the weight!

DB Shoulder Press - View Exercise

    Tips: Pick up a pair of dumbbells and sit on a shoulder press bench (with a short, straight back) or a regular incline bench adjusted so the back is as straight up as possible. Press your back firmly against the back of the bench with your feet flat on the floor.

    Hold a dumbbell in each hand, just above shoulder level, with your elbows out and palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells up and in until they nearly touch above your head. Don't let the weights stray back and forth. Press the weights up until your arms are almost straight (your elbows should be just short of locked). Then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

Lateral Raises - View Exercise

    Tips: Stand upright, with your feet about shoulder width apart and your arms to your sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms turned toward your body. Keeping your arms straight, lift the weights out and up to the sides until they are slightly higher than shoulder level.

    Then slowly lower them to your sides. It's important to keep your palms turned downward as you lift the dumbbells so that your shoulders, rather than your biceps, do the work. Make sure you lift the dumbbells on the way up rather than "swinging" them up. Don't lean forward! Keep the dumbbells at your sides.

DB Curls - View Exercise

    Tips: Stand straight up, with your head up and your legs straight. Start with the dumbbells at arm's length with your palms facing in. Curl dumbbells up at the same time, twisting your wrists on the way up. Your palms should be facing up when you are at the end of the movement.

    Do NOT swing and do NOT move your elbows. They should stay in the same place during the whole movement. Keep your arms close to your side. This one is easy to cheat on... so don't do it! You can also do this with a barbell, or by alternating one hand at a time.

Hammer Curls - View Exercise

    Tips: With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your arms hanging at your sides, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows locked into your sides. Your upper body and elbows should remain in the same place during the whole lift. Keeping your palms facing each other, curl the weight in your right hand up in a semi-circle toward your right shoulder.

    Squeeze the biceps hard at the top of the lift and then slowly lower. Do not turn your wrists during this lift! You can also do one arm at a time and/or alternate.

Skull Crushers - View Exercise

    Tips: Sit on a flat bench holding an EZ-Curl bar with an overhand grip. Lie back so that the top of your head is even with the end of the bench. At the same time, extend your arms over your head so that the bar is directly over your eyes. Keep your elbows tight and your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise.

    Holding your upper arms in a fixed position (this is key), slowly lower the bar until it almost touches your forehead. Then press the bar back up in a slow, sweeping arc-like motion. At the finish, lock your elbows completely.

1 Leg Calf Raise - View Exercise*

    Tips: Stand with your toes on the block of a standing-calf-raise machine and your heels hanging off the end of the platform. Hook your shoulders under the pads and straight your legs, lifting the weight clear of the support. Do not hunch, but rather keep your body straight.

    Keeping your legs straight, lower your heels and the weight as far as possible toward the floor. Rise up on your toes on your toes as far as possible. Hold the contraction briefly, then slower return to the starting position. You can also point your toes in or out to vary the area of emphasis in your calf muscle.

* Shown with both legs.

Crunches - View Exercise

    Tips: Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground, or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you are resting your feet on a bench, place them three to four inches apart and point your toes inward so they touch. Place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in. Don't lock your fingers behind your head! Push the small of your back down in the floor to isolate your ab muscles.

    Begin to roll your shoulders off the floor. Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back. Your shoulders should come up off the floor only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the floor. Focus on slow, controlled movement - don't cheat yourself by using momentum!


Supplementation

I try not to recommend too many supplements to people unless they're really eager to try them. Angela was eager to lose as much weight as possible as fast as possible but had to follow a tight budget. I put together the following supplement plan for her.

  1. Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural Whey: serves as an easy source of protein and quick inexpensive meal.

  2. Cod Liver Oil: one of the best sources for EFA's.

  3. Green Tea Complex: Green tea has been shown to enhance fat burning and also be good for general health. It is also a source of energy boosting caffeine.

  4. Ephedrine: For her… ahem, bronchial health.

  5. A general multi vitamin/mineral complex.


The Nutrition Logs

I took into account all of Angela's lifestyle factors when creating the nutrition logs. The calorie scheme is set up in a staggered manner with high calorie and low calorie days so as to not let the body's metabolism adjust to low calorie consumption.

Also, there is no plan Friday evenings or Saturdays since we decided that these should be "free". There are however guidelines on the free days. Number one, there is to be no or very little alcohol consumption. This isn't so much because of the calories in alcohol but because of the suppressive effect alcohol has on the entire body.

Number two, there is to be no fast food. Fast food is one of the most abundant sources for hydrogenated oils which are proven to be extremely bad for health.

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Other than that, the free days are just that, so long as you don't gorge yourself all day long. Friday evenings and Saturdays are your chance to let go, relax, and have that ice cream and pizza you've been craving.

Here are printable nutrition logs for Sunday through Friday:

Sundays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    8oz. Carb Countdown milk 12g 4.5g 3g 100
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 2
    3 eggs 18g 13.5g 0g 210
    1/4 cup Egg Beaters 6g 0g 1g 30
    1 medium scallion 0g 0g 1g 5
    1tsp Cod Liver oil 0g 5g 0g 45
    Meal 3
    Mixed Green Salad:
    …amp;quot; 5oz. lettuce leaves 2g .5g 5g 26
    …amp;quot; 3oz mushrooms 2.5g 0g 3.5g 21
    …amp;quot; 3oz. Tomato 1g 0g 4g 18
    …amp;quot; 3oz. cucumber w/peel .5g 0g 2.5g 11
    …amp;quot; 1/2oz. Raw sunflower seeds (no shell) 3g 7g 2.5g 80
    …amp;quot; 2Tbsp. Cindy's All Natural Dressing 1g 15g 1g 140
    Meal 4
    Skinless Chicken Breast (152 grams) 32g 1.5g 0g 140
    2oz. Sauteed onions .5g 0g 2g 22
    2oz. Sauteed mushrooms 1.5g 0g 2g 14
    Meal 5
    1/2 cup 4% cottage cheese 13g 4.5g 4g 110
    1Tbsp. Natural Peanut Butter 4g 8g 3.5g 95
    Daily Totals 126g 74g 48g 1347

Mondays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    8oz. 2% Milk 8g 5g 12g 130
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1 banana 1g .5g 27g 109
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 2
    Lean Cuisine: Roasted Turkey and Vegetables 12g 2g 13g 120
    Meal 3
    Powerbar Protein Plus 24g 5g 37g 290
    Meal 4 (post workout)
    8oz. 1% Milk 8g 2.5g 12g 100
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1 banana 1g .5g 24g 109
    1/4 cup Egg Beaters 6g 0g 1g 30
    1/2 cup Fat Free Cascade Fresh Yogurt 6g 0g 13.5g 80
    Meal 5
    1/2 cup 4% Cottage Cheese 13g 4.5g 4g 110
    1 tsp Cod Liver oil 0g 5g 0g 45
    Daily Totals 131g 42g 161.5g 1523

Tuesdays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    8oz. 2% Milk 8g 5g 12g 130
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1 banana 1g .5g 27g 109
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 2
    Life Choice: Homestyle Baked Chicken 28g 6g 11g 210
    Meal 3
    Clif Bar 10g 5g 44g 250
    Meal 4 (post workout)
    Sandwich:
    …amp;quot; 2 slices Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 10g 1g 28g 160
    …amp;quot; 1 lettuce leaf, 1tsp. mustard N/A N/A N/A 5
    …amp;quot; 1oz. part skim mozzarella cheese 8g 5g 0g 80
    …amp;quot; 7 slices Hillshire Farm Deli Select Pastrami 11g 1g 0g 160
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 5
    1/2 cup 4% Cottage Cheese 13g 4.5g 5g 110
    4oz. blueberries 1g .5g 16g 64
    1 tsp Cod Liver oil 0g 5g 0g 45
    Daily Totals 125 g 62.5 g 159 g 1663

Wednesdays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    Power Bar Harvest 7g 4.5g 45g 240
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1 banana 1g .5g 27g 109
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 2
    Life Choice: Roasted Turkey Breast 38g 4.5g 14g 260
    Meal 3
    1 slice Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 5g .5g 14g 80
    2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter 8g 16g 7g 190
    Meal 4 (post workout)
    Skinless Chicken Breast (152 grams) 32g 1.5g 0g 140
    12oz. baked Red Yam 5g .5g 94g 395
    1/2 cup Fat Free Cascade Fresh Yogurt 6g 0g 13.5g 80
    Meal 5
    1oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    1 slice Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 5g .5g 14g 80
    1oz. part skim mozzarella 8g 5g 0g 80
    Daily Totals 150 g 63 g 245.5 g 2094

Thursdays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    8oz. 1% Milk 8g 2.5g 12g 100
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1/2 oz. raw Almonds 3g 7g 3g 80
    Meal 2
    Lean Cuisine: Glazed Chicken 21g 5g 25g 230
    Meal 3
    Powerbar Protein Plus 24g 5g 38g 290
    Meal 4 (post workout)
    Tuna Melt:
    …amp;quot; 1 slice Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 5g .5g 14g 80
    …amp;quot; 1 6oz. can tuna in water 32.5g 1g 0g 150
    …amp;quot; 1/2 Tbsp. sandwich spread 0g 2.5g 1.5g 30
    …amp;quot; 1oz. part skim mozzarella cheese 8g 5g 0g 80
    Meal 5
    1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese 8g 5g 0g 80
    2oz. blueberries .5g 0g 8g 32
    Daily Totals 137 g 32 g 109.5 g 1272

Fridays

    Type of Food Protein Fat Carbs Calories
    Meal 1
    8oz. 2% milk 8g 5g 12g 130
    1 scoop Optimum 100% Natural Whey 23g 1.5g 4g 120
    1 banana 1g .5g 27g 160
    1 oz. raw Almonds 6g 14g 6g 160
    Meal 2
    Michelina's Lean Gourmet: Swedish Meatballs 17g 7g 40g 290
    Meal 3
    1 slice Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 5g .5g 14g 80
    1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter 4g 8g 3.5g 95
    Meal 4 (post workout)
    Sandwich:
    …amp;quot; 2 slices Healthy Way sprouted grain bread 10g 1g 28g 160
    …amp;quot; 1 lettuce leaf, 1tsp. mustard N/A N/A N/A 5
    …amp;quot; 1oz. part skim mozzarella cheese 8g 5g 0g 80
    …amp;quot; 4 slices Butterball thin sliced turkey breast 10g .5g 2g 50
    1/2oz. raw Almonds 3g 7g 3g 80
    Meal 5
    Friday evenings are "free" N/A N/A N/A
    Daily Totals 95 g 50 g 149.5 g 1359


Biographical Information

Angela is a 27 year old female who has had the typical low quality gym experience for several years. As of June 6, the day before the start of our program, she weighs 140 pounds. She has had very little experience with consistent healthy eating and exercise so this program will be an interesting and trying change for her. Here are her max lifts for 3 reps as of June 7th:

    Bench Press …amp;quot; 65 pounds
    Squat …amp;quot; 95 pounds
    Deadlift …amp;quot; 85 pounds
    Military Press …amp;quot; 45 pounds

Pics:

Also included is a before picture taken on June 7th just before beginning the first workout.

[ Part One ] [ Part Two ] [ Part Three ] [ Part Four ]