Tag Archive: weights

4 Things Women Should Be Doing in Their Fitness Training—But Aren’t.

If your workouts consist of doing light weights and steady-state cardio, you might be in for some bad news: These things alone won’t likely get you the results you’re after, say experts. To increase your fitness level, burn fat, and improve muscle tone, you’ve got to step up your game.

Here are four things women tend to skip that can deliver serious results.

1. High-intensity training.

All that time coasting on the elliptical at a comfortable pace probably hasn’t done much for your body, says Panama-based trainer Belinda Benn, creator of the Breakthrough Physique home fitness system. In fact, the biggest mistake women make in their training is not exercising with enough intensity, she says.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. “High-intensity interval training  is the best way to improve your overall fitness, burn fat, and stimulate your hormones for a stronger body,” says Benn.

How to tell if you’re training hard enough? Look to your body for clues, Benn says. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) during exercise. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign. “If you feel nothing,” Benn says, “you probably didn’t work out hard enough.”

2. Heavier lifting.

For most women, a typical weight-training session equals light dumbbell exercises, says Toronto-based strength and conditioning specialist Craig Ballantyne, creator of the Turbulence Training Program. But doing fewer reps with more weight—say, 8 reps per set with a 15-pound dumbbell, instead of 15 reps with an 8-pound one—will burn more fat, he says. Lifting heavier will also increase your strength and muscle definition.

Start by swapping out your normal weights for slightly heavier ones, and gradually work your way up.

3. Upper body workouts.

Women tend to store body fat around the waist, hips, and thighs, so that’s where they typically focus their exercise efforts—neglecting their upper bodies, Benn says.

But you can’t spot-reduce fat, and sticking with what’s easy can stunt your progress, says Benn. Because you may feel weak while attempting pull-ups for the first time, Benn suggests doing the hard stuff at the start of your workout, “when you’re freshest and feeling mentally strong.”

“Focusing on underdeveloped muscles will improve the contours of your body,” Benn says.

4. Training with a barbell.

Think barbells are synonymous with back-breaking chest presses? Not so. “You can do a tremendous workout just with a barbell,” Benn says. “If you’re holding a bar rather than using two separate weights, it forces you to get your body  in sync.”

Barbells are great for both upper- and lower-body exercises. Balancing one across your shoulders while doing squats, lunges, or walking lunges helps develop posture and balance, Benn says.

If you’re flirting with a barbell for the first time, go as light as you need to. Even 10 pounds is a good start.

Bonus tip:

If you’re worried you’ll bulk up with any of these exercises, consider your body type. Benn says women generally fall into two categories: those who build muscle easily, and those who don’t. If you build muscle easily, she suggests emphasizing high-intensity exercises. If you develop muscle slowly, you’ll benefit from spending more time on heavy lifting.

Chelsea Bush writes for AskFitnessCoach, a site that promotes a down-to-earth approach to fitness and weight loss


My quote I live by….


As you all know that I’ve been preparing for my first figure competition. It’s been a long road since late October- early November. I’m only 18 days away from the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championship. The past few months I have been dieting and working hard to get ready for my competition. I have been on a somewhat strict diet only eating 1200 calories for about 8 weeks and then dropping down to 1000 calories. Lately I have been eating in between 600-1000 trying to lose the last few pounds. For competition I want to be 120-125 and now I am currently at 130. I started at 135 got down to 126 and shot back up to 134 really quick. But I’ve managed to get my weight back down.

I haven’t taken any protein supplements or creatine. The only supplements I have taken are: BCAA’s, Glutamine, and CLA. I drink almost 2 gallons of water/day and green tea unsweetened *YUCK*

Here is what my day looks like:

Wake up 6-7am

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 2 pieces of wheat toast, 1 cup of almond milk

Workout for about 1.5- 2 hours (depending on the body part and how much weight that needs to be used) BCAA supplement and glutamine right after

Post Workout Meal: 2 turkey burger patties, 5 egg whites and 1 egg yolk with chopped bell pepper and onion and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 cup of almond milk

Snack: 1 can of tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 chobani greek yogurt with carrots

Lunch: 3 oz of chicken breast, 1/2 cup fresh green beans or zucchini, brown rice

Dinner: 3 oz of chicken breast, 1/2 cup of veggies, and a yam or baked potato

Bed @ about 10 or 11pm

Sometimes I prefer to eat veggies most of the day. But I did cut out salt completely since I’ve started prepping. So far so good.

Dieting isn’t as hard as I thought it would be but you better believe that my post competition meal will be serious. I’m hoping to place in the Top 5. My goal is to get my Pro Card in Figure by the end of the year.

Below the pic in the red was taken in November. The pic in blue was taken yesterday you can see my progress.

If you’re in the LA area on January 29 come and check me out at:










  1. Grasp a bar using an overhand grip (palms facing down). You may need some wrist wraps if using a significant amount of weight.
  2. Stand with your torso straight and your legs spaced using a shoulder width or narrower stance. The knees should be slightly bent. This is your starting position.
  3. Keeping the knees stationary, lower the barbell to over the top of your feet by bending at the hips while keeping your back straight. Keep moving forward as if you were going to pick something from the floor until you feel a stretch on the hamstrings. Inhale as you perform this movement.
  4. Start bringing your torso up straight again by extending your hips until you are back at the starting position. Exhale as you perform this movement.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

TIPS: Keep your back flat and make sure your knees are slightly bent when performing this exercise. If you have low back problems then please don’t do this exercise. Don’t use a jerking motion either and this exercise can also be performed using dumbbells.