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How to get single-digit body fat, safely

While it's unlikely most gym-goers will be wrapping themselves in bin bags and heading to the sauna, obtaining the coveted single-digit percent body fat has become a badge of honour. Previously reserved for bodybuilders, male models and the truly dedicated, men off the street are now using pre-competition fat loss logic for jaw-dropping abs.

8 exercises for a Brazilian butt!

Want a gorgeous, toned bum? Here are the best exercises for your glutes and thighs.Donkey kicksStarting on your hands and knees, keeping your core tight and back flat, raise 1 leg and keeping knee at 90 degrees. Push that leg as high as you can in the air and lower back down, repeat for 12 reps, then switch legs.Aim for 4 sets of 12 reps.Model: Sara Fennell; Photo credit: Jamie Watling Photography

Full body workout by Jen Jewell

This circuit-based routine won’t take you hours in the gym each day. You’ll be combining some of our favourite exercises, performing them back to back with minimal rest between sets. This approach will help you to build strength, increase endurance and of course torch calories while helping to earn tight, lean and shapely muscle. Importantly, you’ll enjoy it

Scultping full upper-body workout by Marcie King

This full upper-body workout targets abs from every angle while sculpting arms, back and chest.FrequencyTwo to three days per week.The rulesPerform all exercises in pairs (e.g. 1&2, 3&4, etc), leaving 48 hours between workouts. (e.g. Tuesday and Friday).

5 equipment free exercises to tone your upper body

If you don’t have access to a gym, there are many ways you can get your daily workout in. Start off with our list of five upper body exercises.Clap push upChoose your appropriate option for the clap push-up depending on your fitness and strength ability. These can be done on either your toes, knees or eliminate the clap altogether and just keep it a simple push-up.Start in a plank position and use your arms to lower your chest towards to floor – a nice deep push-up will get great results. Push your chest back up as you would with a normal push-up but with more force, springing off the ground for a clap

Hard work hard body

Stephanie Walker competes in fitness competitions, which emphasize muscular definition but not bulk. She feels the burn of repetitions of weightlifting during a recent workout at Illete Fitness in the Durango Tech Center.Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Stephanie Walker competes in fitness competitions, which emphasize muscular definition but not bulk. She feels the burn of repetitions of weightlifting during a recent workout at Illete Fitness in the Durango Tech Center.

For Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Jayne Mansfield, known for their voluptuous curves, weightlifting and vigorous exercise were not a part of their daily routine.

But times change. While a half-century ago the concept of women seeking extreme fitness may have been disdained in this country, now it has a solid niche. That’s especially true in an athletic environment like Southwest Colorado.

Take Durangoan Stephanie Walker, for example. Having the ability to change and shape her body to her satisfaction has become an empowering experience.

Dissatisfied with her slender appearance, she decided to start building up her body and take control over each muscle she wanted to enhance.

Though Walker wouldn’t necessarily be considered a professional bodybuilder by either title or appearance, she does consider herself to be a builder of her body and fitness.

“Being a bodybuilder means you work out and see fitness as a sport,” Walker said.

She has competed in both Fitness New Mexico and the GNC Nature Colorado Open. She soon will be training for Fitness New Mexico in Albuquerque this summer.

Competitions are held for several categories, including model, bikini, figure, fitness and bodybuilding. Many competitions host all or several of the above.

Walker attended a recent competition in which only two competed in the bodybuilding division among 200 total women participants,.

Women competitors are opting more for the figure category, a less extreme version, and have steered away from bodybuilding, she said.

Walker feels that it is unnatural for a woman to achieve an extremely bulky, muscular appearance often associated with such competitions and assumes most who do are using anabolic steroids.

“It’s really taboo, and people don’t talk about it,” she said.

Figure competitions allow women to remain feminine, she said. Although it’s hard work to achieve the look, it can be done naturally.

Walker does not use steroids because of their health consequences, she said, but ironically named her dog “Tren,” short for Trenbolone, an anabolic steroid.

Dawn Malinowsky of Vallecito wanted to learn more about her body, so she studied anatomy and researched how to shape it. She quickly got into a routine and was satisfied with her additional strength, she said.

“It feels good to be strong,” she said.

Malinowsky built her body for 12 years and once placed second in her division in a bodybuilding competition in Connecticut, she said. The winner, twice the size of the other women, appeared to have used some sort of anabolic steroid, Malinowsky recalled.

“I’m only 5-(foot)-4, and your muscles can only get so big naturally,” she said. “I don’t believe in steroids. I think it’s cheating.”

After experiencing the harsh realities of prepping for competition, she realized it wasn’t for her, she said.

Depriving her body of carbohydrates, though unhealthy, was not difficult, she said. The hardest part was limiting water intake to drop her body fat percentage from about 16 percent to 3 percent, she said.

Now, at age 48, she no longer bodybuilds but continues to exercise regularly and maintains a healthful lifestyle, she said. But to others considering getting into the sport, Malinowsky said, “Go for it.”

Antoinette Nowakowski of Mayday has been retired from competitive bodybuilding for about 18 years. She said she first discovered the weight room when she moved to Iowa to attend chiropractic school.

She said it took her awhile to feel comfortable in the male-dominated weight room.

“You really had to prove yourself,” she said.

Nowakowski, now 59, began working out regularly to improve a “weak” body and her health. Her regular routine later progressed to bodybuilding.

When asked if she had ever experimented with steroids, she gleefully responded with: “No, I’m a tree-hugging nature girl.”

Just before one competition, she entered a women’s bathroom and discovered a woman shaving her chest hair. It was likely that she was on some sort of steroid, Nowakowski said.

All three women have heard comments from other women who believe “lifting weights makes women bulk up and look like men.” They assure the statement is false and in bad taste.

“I didn’t want to emulate men,” Nowakowski said. “I wanted to have a beautiful, strong feminine body.”

Though the women’s bodybuilding community is very small, the women have received an immense amount of support and admiration from friends and curious admirers in the gym.

Also, even after achieving a “near-perfect” figure in their minds, like anyone else, they are not exempt from experiencing personal body-image issues.

The three women said it’s all about finding a balance.

Don Roberts, who owns Fitness Solutions 24/7 in Bodo Industrial Park and has participated in a few amateur bodybuilding shows, expressed a mixed opinion about the sport.

“It’s great when women do it in a feminine way,” he said. “It can be very tastefully and gracefully done from a woman’s standpoint.”

He did, however, express his distaste for both men and women who obtain their muscular physiques through the use of chemical enhancements.

“They are totally different types of people, he said. “I’m all for it as long as it’s drug-free.”

The women agreed theirs is not a lifestyle suited for all. But they emphasized the importance of not neglecting your health.

“Don’t wait until you’re at the point where you feel bad or are overweight. Find a buddy and work out with them,” Walker said.

Base Body Babes full-body barbell workout

Get stronger, fitter and feel more confident in the gym with this exclusive full-body workout by the Base Body Babes.”The barbell is our favourite piece of training equipment, as it can be used for such a great range of exercises. We like to say that ‘Load is King’ – the exercise that allows you to lift the heaviest loads will ultimately give you the best results, and the barbell allows you to do just that. Although there is no magical number, we love the eight rep range as it allows you to build strength while still keeping the heart rate elevated for optimal calorie burn,” says the ladies, Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson.Here’s what you need to doA1 Barbell Back Squat A2 Barbell Military Press A3 Barbell Romanian Deadlift A4 Barbell Bent-Over Row A5 Barbell Split Squat A6 Barbell Glute Bridges Perform each exercise A1–A6 back to back, with no rest in between exercisesComplete 8 repetitions of each exercise Rest for 4 minutes after A6 Repeat 4–6 times NOTE: Choose weights that you believe you can complete all repetitions and sets with without failing, yet still keep the weight challenging enough to complete a great workout. Technique is most important when lifting heavy, so don’t compromise your form. Ensure you are completing all repetitions and sets with perfect technique before increasing the weight.Let’s do this!Words/Workout: Felicia Oreb and Diana JohnsonPhotography: Vanessa Natoli / @vanesSanatoliphotography

Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Madness

Edgar ArtigaWORKOUT BY: Luis Buron, Spartan SGX Coach In this workout we’re simulating a Reebok Spartan Race. The mix of running in place and stepups imitate running and climbing uneven terrain and the moves mimic Spartan Race obstacles (as noted in parentheses). The workout finishes with Spartan signature penalty, burpees, and we go for 2 min.

HIIT: the most efficient way to exercise?

What do you get if you mix giant ropes, friendly competition and a heart-pumping workout? Answer: Whipped!

It’s easy to get bored of treadmills, cross-trainers and slogging it out on your own in the gym. So a class that mixes effective results, competition and a fresh element is a welcome relief to an already busy day. Using battle ropes, that are more tug of war than skip in the park, Whipped!, is an exciting new circuit class at high-end London gym Equinox, bringing together the best elements of high intensity circuits, ramping up your cardio capacity while blasting fat (yey!) and using a great range of equipment.

The background

The HIIT class is designed to get your heart rate soaring to burn fat while sculpting you from head to toe in the most time-efficient way. Our instructor Rory explained that, unlike steady state workouts, intense bursts of exercise help put your fat loss in the fast lane. Sounds good, right? So if you want to change your body for the better, the Whipped! class is the perfect place to start.

You work to your body’s maximum capacity in 30 seconds, doing as many reps, using good form, as you can and then have a quick rest. The circuit is cleverly designed so you work a different muscle group with each exercise, and simultaneously push your fitness to its limit.

The class

Rory led a dynamic warm-up involving a quick jog around the room, followed by exercises like high knees and jumping jacks.
We were then paired up and allocated a fitness station. As usual in circuits, each pair circled the room in a clockwise direction, performing high-octane exercises at each station for 30 seconds before moving to the next exercise. By the end of the class, we’d visited each station four times.

My partner and I began in plank position on our forearms, pushing up onto our hands. The aim was to do these plank transfers as many times as possible within 30 seconds.
Next, we moved to the battle ropes, which posed the biggest challenge of all the exercises. Holding a rope in each hand, we slammed them to the ground, making small rippling waves, and swung them from side to side.
This was followed by a whole host of exhausting moves, from V-sits holding a 3kg dumbbell to barbell rows while wobbling on a BOSU ball. The class ended with another speedy jog around the room, followed by a series of stretches to ease our shaking muscles.

Louise’s verdict

If you’re bored of the same old workouts, this class is brilliant. Yes, it’s punishing, but the fact that the HIIT exercises are short and sharp is a big draw. Our trainer was a great motivator and helped spur us on – even when our arms felt like they were about to fall off! There’s no denying the class is challenging but it’s also fun and there’s no risk of getting bored. We’ll be back!

AT A GLANCE
 

What’s the concept? A high-intensity 45-minute circuit using battle ropes, the ViPR, BOSU balls and hand weights.

How much is it? The class is only open to members of Equinox. Monthly membership is £180.

Where can I get more info? Visit equinox.com/clubs/Kensington.

Difficulty? Whipped! is aimed at all fitness levels, but steel your nerves for
a tough session!

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