It has always been my passion to help people, especially other women. When I started bodybuilding over twenty years ago I felt pretty bad about myself. I didn't have a healthy body image at all. I would look in the mirror and think "I'm fat and ugly."
It didn't matter how thin I was, I hated my body. I never knew about body composition, the fat to muscle ratio. All I knew is that I was miserable.
When I was in high school, anorexia was definitely in. I mean girls were literally starving themselves thin. I could never understand this concept although I tried it too. Sure I looked thin in clothing but I could still see the lumps and bumps on my butt and thighs. This made me crazy. All that seemed to matter was what the scale said. I even got my weight down to a measly one hundred and fifteen pounds.
I could never imagine weighing that little now. My god given muscle tissue was wasting away and I was oblivious. Who knew about body type, or muscle being a much denser tissue than fat? All us girls cared about was a number. We would do almost anything to achieve that precious digit.
It is really sad to think girls and women alike are struggling with the same issues today. I am here to tell you that you can have the body you want without those drastic measures. It is time to accept yourself the way you are. If I can do it, so can you. You have to take what the good lord gave you and make it the best it can be.
Muscle is our friend, fat is the enemy. So how do we increase muscle tissue and get rid of the fat? Well ladies, it's called hard work and dedication. Make yourself a priority. Join a gym and hire a trainer if that's what it takes. The money you will spend will be well worth it. Your health and well being is that important.
Too many people view personal training as a luxury, not a health care investment. The truth is it is an investment, not only in your body but your mental health as well. That's right, regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, which by the way can affect how we feel about ourselves.
Doctors now recommend exercise for depression. We (women) take care of everyone else first. Who doesn't put their families and work ahead of everything else?
Week 1 ///
This is the most crucial period because you need to find a place to train and a qualified personal trainer to get you started. Pick a facility that you feel comfortable in. This is very important because if you do not feel comfortable in your environment you won't want to be there and this will set you up for failure.
Most gyms or health clubs offer both components of a complete exercise program. You must do both weight training and cardiovascular exercise to get the most benefit.
This will enable you to burn the most calories and salvage your lean tissue (muscle) and lose the body fat that covers it. If you would like to incorporate aerobic type classes into your routine, you can do so to get the cardio workouts in.
I am going to suggest you do only cardio workouts the first week. You are going to need to build up to four to five cardio sessions per week at a minimum of thirty minutes each. I said work up to not dive into.
Maybe your first workout will only be fifteen minutes walking briskly on the treadmill. If you did this five times that would be seventy five minutes more than you did the week before. Follow me?
Weeks 2-4 ///
These next two weeks you are going to do a total body workout using the major muscle groups only. This will entail legs, chest, back and some shoulder work. Your arms and shoulders will get some work with the chest and back. Alternate the lower body and upper body exercises.
Do a total body workout every other day: Monday-Wednesday-Friday, or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. The days in-between do just cardio and work on your abdominals. I would also suggest working up to three sets per exercise by the end of the fourth week.
This approach is gradual but it will help you build a good base to start from. The reason I recommend doing higher repetitions is for good form and feel. Once your technique is good and you can actually feel your muscle doing the work you may do 10-12 repetitions for each set. Just remember the last two reps should be damn near impossible. That is how you know what weight to select.
Weeks 5-8 ///
Now it is time to move into a four day split. This can be done upper body/lower body or front of the body/back of the body. I prefer the front and back method because it gets some upper body and some lower body in the same workout.
Monday will be front of the body. Tuesday will be back of the body. Wednesday will be cardio and abdominals. Thursday will be front of the body and Friday is back of the body. Below I will give and example of a progressive workout plan from week #1-12.
Weeks 9-12 ///
During the next four weeks you are going to pump up the volume and intensity. Stay on the four day split. Experiment with different exercises for the given body parts you are working. Do more sets, increase weight and bring the repetitions down to 10-12. Your rest period between sets should only be about thirty seconds, no more. This will keep your heart rate up and help burn more calories.
Example Of A Workout Plan
The first week is only going to consist of cardio workouts. Do 15-30 minutes on the Treadmill, Stationary bike, Elliptical trainer, or Stairmaster. You should be working at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. To find out what your maximum heart rate is you subtract your age from 220.
1 set of 30 reps
1 set of 30 reps
This is the time to increase your weights 5-10% and drop your repetitions to 10-12. Do Three to four sets per exercise and remember only rest about 30 seconds between sets.
You can do this if you are willing to take the first step. Remember the first rule of working out is showing up. Be accountable to something for yourself for once. The next twelve weeks could change your life... forever.