It seems like there’s a new up and coming fitness trend or latest, greatest workout routine popping up just about every day. We’re faced with more options to sort through when it comes to our workouts than we are with new snap chat filters to choose from.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all routine when it comes to your health, and you’ll have to choose what’s right for your body based on your goals, health, age, body type and a host of various other factors, there are a few key rules that hold true across the board.
Here Are Some Of The Best Workout Plans For Women
Whatever workout program you follow, you can be sure that any solid routine will take into consideration these following truths.
#1 Say Goodbye To Cardio Bunny Days
We had to start with this one because it’s a trap we see far too many ladies falling into. And let’s be honest, is there anything less inspiring or more boring than logging hours and hours on that dreaded elliptical or treadmill?
We’ve all been there – maybe you’re still there.
Ever notice that you see the same women, day after day, even year after year, toiling away on the cardio machines too, dare we say it, minimal if any, results? That’s because the cardio bunny way of fitness simply isn’t the best use of time. All top workout plans and trainers will tell you that you must mix it up to see results or your body will get used to the same monotonous cardio routine. And, as your body adjusts, you’re no longer challenging it.
While slow and steady definitely doesn’t win the race when it comes to your cardio game, don’t make the mistake of going to the other extreme and ditching cardio altogether. There’s a smarter way than pounding away on the treadmill for an hour.
What is it?
It’s high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Just three 20-minute sessions of HIIT cardio is as effective as five 30-minute sessions of moderate cardio. And who doesn’t want more bang for their buck, in less time? When you knock out some short and intense HIIT cardio routines, you boost your metabolism for the rest of the day. In fact, your body will be torching calories for 38 hours post workout!
#2 Lift Heavier Than You Think
Gone are the days when the weight room was just for the guys. We hope you’ve embraced it as your mantra by now because curls are for girls! In all seriousness, it’s impossible to get that tight, toned, chiseled physique you want from cardio alone. Weights will build you the body you’re after.
It’s a common misconception that lifting heavy will result in a manly, bulky body, so let’s get that notion off the table right away. Girls have to lift, period. And, no matter how much you’re curling and benching, you are a woman and don’t have the testosterone needed to end up with the dreaded bulk, even if you wanted to, so don’t stress about it.
What lifting heavy does do for you is it triggers muscle growth and turns fat into lean muscle. The leaner and meaner you are, the faster throughout the day your metabolism will fire away, meaning you’ll burn more calories without even trying.
Those tight glutes, abs, and arms we all want?
They’re made of muscle. To get that look you are going for, ditch your fear of the weight room, step away from the super light pink dumbbells (they’re not going to cut it!) and start weight training in earnest. If you aren’t used to lifting heavy, gradually work your way up and start with the basics like biceps curls, dumbbell shoulder presses, dumbbell bench presses or even just goblet squats holding a weight.
You’re stronger than you think so lift like you mean it!
#3 Adjust Your Rest Times
Ever see anyone in the gym doing back-to-back sets without taking a rest?
Don’t let that be you!
Even if you’re crunched for time and trying to hammer out a gym session on your work break, take the extra seconds to rest and you’ll reap the benefits far faster than you would by powering through.
Just how much rest between sets should you be taking?
Ultimately, that depends on your goals. If toning and shredding out is your main objective, keep your breaks between movements less than 30 seconds. That will keep your heart rate up and your body burning more calories. If you’re looking to build some strength and pump up those guns or that booty, you’ll need more downtime.
When you let your body rest about a minute between sets, you allow the activation of muscle fibers and, as a result, you’ll see more muscle growth. While you may see guys at the gym resting for longer, studies have shown that women overall typically need less rest. So don’t succumb to the urge to let that one minute break turn into a five minute Instagram scroll session, but do give your body the downtime it needs to build and repair.
#4 Give Yourself Some Off Days
Building on the theme of proper rest, no solid workout routine will preach that more days are better. In fact, rest is key. You can’t build the body of your dreams without taking a little time to rebuild and recover, and going super hard with zero rest days will ultimately just derail your progress.
We know it might be hard to rein yourself in when you are pushing hard and starting to see progress, but it’s a must. Taking at least one rest day a week allows your body to physically recover and rebuild and also gives you the mental break you need. That means when you do go back to the gym, you won’t have a workout hangover from the week before, but instead, you’ll be ready to crush it.
If you’re a true gym addict and the thought of taking a day off makes you a little panicky, don’t sweat it.
You can still make your off day an active recovery day. Think light yoga, stretching, taking a long walk – anything that gets your body moving, but in a restorative, non-taxing way.
#5 Fuel Your Workouts
It’s a common mistake and one worth addressing: Running with your tank on empty while working out like crazy. Don’t let this be you. We’ve been told from some fitness and dietary sources that working out on an empty stomach is best and it can be effective for shredding fat. But, if you’re going
But, if you’re going for a more sustainable, long-term level of strength, then fuel up!
If you’re regularly lifting and hitting the gym on an empty stomach, your body has no choice but to pull from your muscle reserves for fuel. It’s often thought that you’ll force your body to burn fat when working out on an empty stomach, but studies show that muscle loss can occur instead. Not a great idea if you’re working hard for that rounded booty and capped shoulders.
To keep your energy levels up, make sure you are building lean muscle, burning fat the safe way and recovering from each workout. You should also chow down on a combo of complex carbs and protein pre-workout. Then, aim to eat within the magic 30-minute post-workout window and make sure you are choosing carbs and protein to refuel and give your body what it needs for muscle growth.
When it comes to your physique, the devil is in the details so don’t let a few common, minor mistakes like skipping pre or post-workout meals or being a slave to the elliptical derail you. One-size-fits-all workouts may not be a thing, but adhering to these common sense rules will keep you safely building muscle, shredding out and achieving those dream body results.