Training The Average Woman: 2 Weeks In!

The first two weeks have gone smoothly and my trainee is more enthusiastic than I could have hoped for. She constantly pushes herself...

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

Results From The 15's Cycle

The following is the results of the two week 15 rep cycle of the program outlining Angela's strength increasing. All weights are in pounds:

    DB lunge: bodyweight to 10 additional pounds
    Squat: 28 to 35
    Deadlift: 23 to 35
    DB bench press: 15 to 20
    DB pullover: 10 to 12.5
    BB row: 23 to 35
    DB shoulder press: 10 to 15
    Lateral raise: 5 to 7.5
    DB curls: 10 to 12.5
    Hammer curls: 10 to 12.5
    Skull crusher: 10 to 12.5
    1 leg calf raise: bodyweight to 10 additional pounds
    Crunches: bodyweight to 5 additional pounds

HIIT cardio increased from 12 minutes per session on the first week to 15 minutes per session the second week. It is important to continually increase resistance and offer the body a challenge so it is inspired to adapt and change.

As a bonus, I had Angela do a twenty minute jog during the second week just prepare her for the increase of cardio work that is soon to come.

New Dietary Guidelines And Supplementation

We ran into a few snags when it came to maintaining the strict diet outline. There were one or two days when it was just impossible to follow the outline. It is important to remember that on days like that it is okay to stray from the plan.

One must learn to go with the flow, so to speak. The answer is not to skip food altogether but to do your best to find food that is close to what was on the menu. The two things to remember in such situations is to grab high protein foods first and don't even think about anything made of refined carbs.

We both decided that a few new supplements are in line. On top of that, she is very eager to experiment with some new things. This is what we have gotten to enhance her training:

    Bitter Orange: a source of the thermogenic substance synephrine.
    Dymatize Elite Whey: basically a better tasting replacement for the Optimum Nutrition whey protein.
    Yohimbine HCI: a vasodilator found to enhance fat loss.

Her fat loss stack is taken twice per day, morning and noon, with weekends off. It looks like this:

    1 half tablet of VasoPro (12.5mg ephedrine)
    1 tablet Bitter Orange (25mg synephrine)
    1 capsule Lean Tea Complex (140mg caffeine, 254mg EGCG)
    2.5mg yohimbine HCI (only in the morning)

I want to stress a warning at this point in regards to the combination of supplements above. The more you add and the more you combine, the more dangerous it can become. Caution should be paramount when using any kind of stimulant.

It is easy for some people to take too much of a substance (especially when it is combined with others that act synergistically) and experience possible life threatening results. This is why we do a thing called tolerance mapping where you start out with a low dose and use it for a few days then slowly increase the dosage, sometimes over the course of weeks, until you find the most effective but tolerable amount.

The 10 Rep Cycle

For the next two weeks after the 15 rep cycle, a 10 rep cycle is performed. This is where it starts to get fun. Naturally, one would want to increase the weights lifted in order to make the 10 repetition sets be more challenging.

Along with the theme of providing a constant challenge, I have increased the amount of cardio that is to be done. One thing that I believe is that cardio too should be a time to build muscle and not just burn off a few extra calories. I don't like hour long cardio sessions that just crawl and crawl nor do I think they are very effective at creating a noticeable change in body composition.

This is why I enjoy performing and always recommend doing things like sprints and stair running. Often times it takes less than half the time and gives better results. Here are the new weightlifting and cardio plans to be followed for weeks 3 and 4 of this program:

Monday Wednesday Friday
Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log
Squat-2x10 DB Lunge-2x10 Squat-1x10
Deadlifts-1x10 Deadlifts-1x10 Deadlifts-2x10
DB Bench-2x10 DB Bench-2x10 DB Bench-2x10
DB pullover-1x10 DB pullover-1x10 DB pullover-1x10
BB Row-3x10 BB Row-3x10 BB Row-3x10
DB shoulder press-2x10 DB shoulder press-2x10 DB shoulder press-2x10
Lateral Raise-1x10 Lateral Raise-1x10 Lateral Raise-1x10
Concentrate Curls-1x10 DB Curls-1x10 Concentrate Curls-1x10
Hammer Curl-1x10 Hammer Curl-1x10 Hammer Curl-1x10
Skull Crusher-1x10 Skull Crusher-1x10 Skull Crusher-1x10
1 leg calf raise-2x10 1 leg calf raise-2x10 1 leg calf raise-2x10
V Ups-2x10 V Ups-2x10 V Ups-2x10
Printable Log Printable Log Printable Log
Monday Wednesday 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.

Cardio (June 20 to June 25)

Sunday Tuesday Thursday
Printable Log Printable Log
30 minute jog:
Light to medium pace
HIIT 15-25 min. HIIT 15-25 min.
2min jump rope 2min jump rope
2min boxing 2min boxing
1min rest 1min rest
repeat 4x repeat 4x
Printable Log Printable Log
Sunday Tuesday Thursday

(June 27 to July 2)

Sunday Tuesday Thursday
Printable Log Printable Log
HIIT 15-25 min. HIIT 15-25 min. 30 minute jog:
light to medium pace
2min jump rope 2min jump rope
3min boxing 3min boxing
1min rest 1min rest
repeat 4x repeat 4x
Sprints: 10 sec. at max
20 sec. walking
repeat 7x
Printable Log Printable Log
Sunday Tuesday Thursday

As you can see, the cardio workouts get more intense starting June 27. At this point I am also encouraging my trainee to do a quick 10 minute cardio warm-up in the morning before breakfast.

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!


The first two weeks have gone smoothly and my trainee is more enthusiastic than I could have hoped for. She constantly pushes herself to squeeze out reps when the weight starts getting unbearable and is able to keep good tabs on her workouts when I'm not available to train with her.

Such dedication is probably the number one factor in realizing your fitness goals. Failure is usually a choice, not the uncontrollable freak occurrence that many make it out to be when they give up.

I'm very much looking forward to the 10 rep cycle as it gives my trainee a chance to experience increased intensity and it will also mark to beginning of what I hope will be some drastic changes in body composition and athleticism.

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