Tuesday, 21 August 2012

What women want: Not featuring Mel Gibson

Everything Oprah, women's fitness magazines and the girl next door has ever told you about 'toning' and getting in shape is as useful to the 'real' woman as eating soup with a fork.

As a coach I read a lot of magazines, Internet blogs, and articles, and listen to a lot of what is being said relating to how to get 'in shape'.  The majority of the people who know me, know that I'm a little more raw when it comes to 'training' and know as most women should that all the bullshit we are being told, is in fact, just that, bullshit.

There are some simple rules I follow in order to keep myself at my best, and the same laws apply to the ladies under my watch.

Firstly the word 'tone' is not in my vocabulary, a muscle can either be made bigger or smaller, that's it, simple.  Woman seem to run from the idea of 'building muscle' when they should be running towards it, building muscle enhances your 'definition', it also increases 'fat burn' the more muscle you have the more energy you require to feed the muscle, so this causes an increase in your metabolism and this aids in fat burn. Simple.

I've touched on this subject in previous blogs, but I still meet woman on a daily basis who claim to get big when they lift heavy, heavy cakes maybe.  Lifting weights do not make you big, eating cakes make you big.  We just don't have the hormonal profile that men do, unless we are mainlining testosterone our genetic make up just does not allow for it.

My advice as a coach is to pick up heavy weights, lifting milk bottles are not going to help you achieve anything.  If you want to see changes to your body, challenge it. Simple.

Heavy weights at low reps (8-15 for woman) builds definition, whatever you have been brainwashed to believe about shooting a 5kg dumbell around for 50 reps is going to get you 'definition' is fabricated.  Another great phenomenon I hear quite a bit of, is that if you not sweating, its not working.

Any experienced coach will tell you that it's not about what you burn in your workout, it's about what you burn in the hours following your training.  Lifting heavy increases your metabolism which forces your body to burn more calories, feather weight lifting for 100 reps does not.

On that note, lifting the same heavy object day in and day out for months on end will get you nowhere.  My next simple rule applies here, progressive overload.

It's all about adaptation, you lift a 20kg bar above your head every day for weeks and your body is going to build itself up in preparation for it, your body adapts and this no longer becomes a challenge.  Add more weight, or more sets, or shorten rest - present a new challenge. Simple

I've been lifting heavy for a few years, I have achieved feats of strength I once couldn't comprehend, yet I still do not look like a female Jay Cutler, its simple science.

My biggest rule, no matter what I've read, witnessed or have been told otherwise of is that compound exercises, big exercises give big results.  I hate gimmicks and gadgets and new ideas, balancing on balls, hanging from ceilings and wasting time on the small things when the big things are what make big changes.

We as women should not be subjected to the 'yes no' machines, ab classes, stomach crunches and butt blasters.  Its all about the fundamentals, sticking to the basics that have always worked.  If you want to lose fat and build muscle in a big way, do big exercises.  Deadlifts, strict presses, heavy squats, rows, chin ups, dips, push ups and the assistance exercises that accompany them.  I do these, I know, this works.

Personally, as a woman its not just about achieving a 'great body' there is something empowering about being feminine, being a woman and being able to lift heavy.