Go Lean: A Guide For Women's Fitness!

The following is an example of how to get and maintain a healthy tone/lean body. The key is to be efficient without spending hours at the gym. Bonus: Five great articles to help you get lean!

Finding the right exercise program can be a very intimidating and frustrating process. Along with finding the right program, finding time is also a concern. The majority of women want an exercise program to trim away those extra pounds.

As a professional track and field athlete my training requires "bulking up" and "leaning out." During my competition season my weight ranges between 126lbs-123lbs., however during the off-season my muscles are leaned out (120lbs.-116lbs.) I prefer the more feminine look.

The following is an example of how to get and maintain a healthy tone/lean body. The key is to be efficient without spending hours at the gym. The lifestyle to achieve your needs begins with a consistent workout along with a healthy eating regimen.

3 Hours A Week Is All It Takes

3 x 20-30 min of cardio every week

You can choose whatever cardio you want to do...but to stay lean you need to do at least 3 days of pretty intense cardio. Running is always good for the problem areas such as upper thighs, butt, and lower abs.

Start slow and gradually move up to 20 minutes, 25 minutes, then 30 minutes. Stairs or hills are another great lower body workout. A good consistent schedule to follow is one day hard, one-day off, one-day moderate, one-day off, and one-day hard.

3 x 30 min of weight lifting a week

Start with high repetitions and low/medium weight. You should increase the weight whenever the exercise is getting easier... about every 2-3 weeks.

Lower Body

  • Squats: 2 x 10-12 repetitions
    You can use the squat rack or alternate with Walking Lunges (dumbbells).
  • Hamstring Curls: 2 x 12 repetitions
    Single or double Leg Raises.
  • Quad Raises: 2 x 10 repetitions
    Single or double Leg Raises.

Upper Body

  • Arm Curls: 2 x 10-12 Reps
  • Triceps Push-ups: 2 x 12 or as many as you can.
    (Think of these as Reverse Push-ups. Find a bench chair. Face upward... position your body so that your arms are on the chair and your feet are out in front of you on the floor, now do a Reverse Push-up.

Arm Circuit:

Grab 5 Lb dumbbells and do each exercise, 2 sets x 10 reps (continuous from exercise 1 through 5).

Click here for a printable log of the Upper & Lower Body Workout!

My 4-Minute Ab Routine
Core Area: 2 X week, ab routine

Day 1

This is a non-stop ab routine for 4 minute. You can choose any ab exercises as long as they are non-stop & high intensity. Do each exercise for 30 reps, then switch.

  • Crunches
  • Bicycles
  • V-Ups
  • Rocky Mt. Sit-ups
  • Stabilization
  • Sit-Ups
  • Flutter Flies (laying flat on bring both legs and arms off ground back and kicking feet approx. into a V-shape 6" off the ground.)
  • Alternating V-Ups (same as V-ups, but opposite arm and leg.)

Click here for a printable log of the Day 1 of the 4-Minute Ab Routine!

Day 2

  • Weighted/Incline Sit-ups: With a count of 5 seconds on both up and down. 2 x 15-20 reps.
  • Hanging Bent Knee: Find a bar to hang from, then pull your knee's parallel to your pelvis. 2 x 30 reps.
  • Back Extensions: 2 x 10-12 reps.

Click here for a printable log of the Day 2 of the 4-Minute Ab Routine!


I really don't have too much advice on nutrition. I don't diet...mainly because all the training I do does not allow me to gain weight. It's more of a lifestyle of simply eating healthy.

There is no reason to starve yourself but what you eat needs to supply your body with the right kind of nutrition. I don't eat fast food, or a lot of junk food. I eat smaller portions, but instead of 3 times a day more like 4-5 times a day.

Most people already have a good idea of how to supply the body with the right stuff; the problem begins with the discipline it takes to eat healthy. Fish is always a good source of protein, which your body needs to change and repair the damage you do from working out. A protein/low carbohydrate shake is a good way to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to change your body.

I don't really want to suggest too much, everybody is different in this department. However, for example during the competition season when I need to supply good nutrition, I'll eat a big breakfast, lunch, snack, protein shake (during or after my workout), and dinner. Dinner needs to be healthy and not to filling. Good luck.