How to Look Sexy Firm and Lean

Last week saw the launch of our second ‘Fit & Lean‘ programme. It’s a short strength-training programme, designed to show women in south London how to lose fat, tone up and head towards their best ever body… in other words how to look sexy firm and lean.

I say ‘head towards’ because your not going to hit your big physical goal in 8 weeks but it’s certainly going to put you on the right road. The programme was very successful last time and those that continued training with us are really going great guns now.

Some women visibly shudder when I talk to them about strength training.

So I always ask this question:

Do you want a body that’s better than you’ve EVER had?

I always have this reply: “Errrm…YES PLEASE!!”

Well, who doesn’t, right?

Here’s the truth: lifting weights is the BEST way for women (and men) to look sexy, firm, and lean.

Let’s dig into why.

The American Council on Exercise warns that after age 30, people lose half a pound of muscle mass each year unless they participate in a regular strength training program.

That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Sarcopenia is no joke.

We lose 10% of our muscle mass each decade.

So by age 60 that could be 30% of the muscle we had at age thirty!”

Argh!!…..and that’s just to maintain the body of your 20’s.

Most people would like to do even better than that.

Want a firm body? You need more muscle.

Want sleek, attractive legs? You need more muscle.

Want to avoid soft, mushy arms? You need more muscle.

You need to lift enough weight to at least maintain your youthful, lean body mass.

So what weights should I lift?”

First rule: nothing that is pink J

Second rule: `You need to find the weight that works for you but heavy probably means double digit weights

Yes, even for women!

Remember, lifting heavier weights – not 2 kg dumbbells – creates the lean, beautiful, physique that you are after. The notion that going light “ tones,” while going heavy creates “bulk,” is a myth. Muscle either grows or it does not; there’s no middle ground. Using lighter weights for lots of reps, does nothing to increase the size of the muscle, and therefore nothing to improve how you look in your favourite dress.

Another reason to lift heavy stuff, beyond muscle growth (and fun!), is calories expended. Understandably, everyone wants the most calorie bang for their workout buck.

If you’re the same and you share that goal, small weights just don’t cut it.

In a study from the journal Medicine in Sports and Exercise, women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85% of their maximum load for eight reps, than when they did fifteen reps at a lighter weight (46% of their max).

Bottom line: to maintain the body of your mid-20’s, or to go beyond it, women must lift heavier weights.

“ But…..I don’t want to be muscular and bulky!”

Ok, so now you are a bit nervous. Isn’t all this heavy lifting going to create ungainly muscle? After all, no woman wants to look like a man.

Indeed, women often say “I want lean muscle.” Reality check. There is no such thing as lean muscle. There is only less muscle or more muscle. There are no types of muscle with respect to appearance.

Yoga, Pilates, and “sculpting” classes trumpet their ability to give women long, lean muscle.

This is a lie; such a thing does not exist. Those classes may provide some muscle (albeit extremely little), but not of any unique type. This leaves two choices: build some muscle or none at all. So to have a great body, or even a better body, you must add muscle.

How do you add some, but not too much?

Train hard and lift heavy!

Women never have to worry about “bulk” because their body doesn’t create enough testosterone– the hormone vital to muscle synthesis – to become massive. Though testosterone is known as the quintessential male hormone, women produce it, too, but at much lower levels. This smaller quantity makes it extremely difficult for women to put on any significant mass.

To recap:

1) Women NEVER have to worry about transforming their body into something massive, muscular, or otherwise manly.

2) That said, women need to put on some muscle, and to do so will always require heavier weights, not pink dumbbells.

So rest easy, ladies. If you lift enough weight, all that will happen is that you’ll become hot 😉

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