‘But surely I’ll look like the Hulk if I deadlift?’

Not if you’re a female. You’ll likely end up with a sexy back and a nice behind.

‘But my shoulders get big and bulky as soon as I start lifting heavy weights…’ 

‘My thighs will get huge…’

Really? Damn, what’s your secret?

It’s not going to happen. At least not without a lot of ‘help’.

The reality is that as a woman, you don’t have the hormonal profile to build muscle in the same way as a man. And it’s not even that easy for guys. If it were, my shoulders would be bigger and I think you’d find there would be a lot more ripped two hundred pound guys walking around.

In fact, if you were to try exercises like deadlifts, dips, squats, push ups and pull ups, you would come out looking a whole lot better for it. Not to mention being stronger, healthier, feeling sexier and more confident.

So don’t confine yourself to just yoga and running. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with yoga or running. They’re great, and if you love doing them, that’s great too. But, I would argue that they are PART of well rounded program.

If you want to change the way you look and appear ‘toned’, you need to lose fat and build muscle. That’s what gives you definition and shape. Adding strength training to the mix is a very effective way to do it. 

Just to be clear, strength training means lifting heavy things. Focussing on compound exercises that use multiple muscle groups like squats, presses, lunges and rows. That will elevate your metabolism and help optimise hormones far more effectively than high rep training, jogging or yoga, which is going to help you burn more fat all day long. Not just while you’re at the gym, on the pavement or in the studio.

If you’ve tried it and didn’t enjoy it, fine (although it’s hard for me to see what there wouldn’t be to like about about being strong, healthy, sexy, feminine and badass). Just don’t be under the illusion that traditional cardio is the fastest or the only way to fat loss, and that picking up something heavier than a pink dumbbell will turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger.

To help you on your way to building a leaner, stronger and more awesome body, try alternating these two workouts with at least a day of rest in-between:

 

DAY ONE

After you’ve WARMED UP, do the following as a circuit with 15-30 seconds rest between each exercise.

For each exercise, start with a weight that allows you to get to the lower end of the rep range. Over time, try to add more reps. Once you can hit the top of the rep range in all the sets for the exercise, add some more weight and repeat.

1a) SQUAT x 8-12 reps

1b) PUSHUP x 8-12 reps (If you want to make it easier, put your hands on a bench)

1c) DUMBBELL SPLIT SQUAT x 10-15 reps

1d) ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW x 8-12 reps

1e) GLUTE BRIDGE x 60 sec. hold (When this gets too easy, switch to one leg)

Rest for 60-90 seconds and then repeat from the beginning for another 2 rounds.

 

DAY TWO

As on DAY ONE, after you’ve WARMED UP, do the following as a circuit with 15-30 seconds rest between each exercise.

1a) DEADLIFT x 6-10 reps

1b) DUMBBELL MILITARY PRESS x 8-12 reps

1c) BACK EXTENSION10-15 reps

1d) PULLDOWN x 8-12 reps

1e) PLANK60 sec. hold

Rest for 60-90 seconds and then repeat from the beginning for another 2 rounds.