If you haven’t figured it out yet, living the fitness lifestyle is an ever-changing thing. It ebbs and flows with your progress, moods, schedules, injuries and pretty much life in general.
I work out 5 days per week – lifting weights 5 days, with 2-3 sessions of cardio/conditioning sprinkled in. I always perform my conditioning immediately AFTER my weight workouts to save time and maximize efficiency.
I am a recreational bodybuilder. Surprised? Most people who meet me for the first time think I’m a runner or a triathlete because I don’t fit the bodybuilder stereotype. I don’t look like a man (at least I don’t think I do) and I have worked very hard to acquire the muscle mass I now carry around on my frame. Building muscle doesn’t come easy for most of us, and my goal is to debulk the myths surrounding women and weights.
You will not become Hulk Hogan if you lift heavy. It’s just not possible without steroids. However, you will build a beautiful lean shape, so woman-up and lift weight that’s worthy of you.
I don’t compete, but I train and eat like I do. In order to change the shape of your body you have to incorporate resistance training, and you have to lift heavy. I also use a lot of compound moves like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and pushups because they recruit so many big muscles at one time, and I find a lot of success performing them. I also follow several figure athletes and incorporate new moves they recommend that seem fun or different.
Since my lower body is always a work in progress, it gets 3 full workout days. My upper body responds well, and I emphasize chest and back since they are the largest muscle groups. Arms and shoulders just come with the territory, but I do work them individually too.
I include conditioning as part of my workout 2-3 days per week, usually on upper body days. As I detailed in my Metabolic Finishers post, I still am not a cardio fan, and have pretty much abandoned conventional cardio using the machines. I have done this to preserve my muscle mass and my sanity. I am in love with this new fat-burning method, so check it out and see if you feel the love too! When I do feel the need to do something different, I’ll use a machine for an interval workout to shake things up a bit.
So far, I still do very little ab work. Abs are built in the kitchen, my friends! That’s not to say core strength is not important. In fact, I tried a plank recently to test my core. Because I consistently use a variety of compound exercises, especially pushups and squats, core strengthening is automatically built into my program. By the way, I could hold the plank for over a minute. This was really impressive to me and further validates my philosophy.a
FEWER SESSIONS SOMETIMES
I have discovered that once you have built a decent amount of muscle on your frame, you don’t have to work out quite as often, as long as you’re eating clean. This has worked well for me, since I get burned out sometimes. I have alluded to this rickety, overtrained feeling before, and I’ve found that appropriate rest takes care of it. I still try to work out 5 days per week, but there are occasions when I’m just worn out and only make it 3 or 4 times, or when I encounter changes to my schedule. Since I’m the mother of small person this tends to occur pretty often, but it’s totally worth the sacrifice. I know that in just a few short years I’ll be begging for any scrap of attention she slings my way.