Weight Lifting For Women To Get Toned & Feminine – Not Ripped Or Buff
Some women who go to the gym to workout want to get ripped or buff — just like the guys. This is not the type of advice you’ll find here.
Usually, but certainly not always, the goal for women who start to lift weights is to get a nice “womanly” figure while slimming down and firming up. This is the look I’ll talk about here.
For women to get this look instead of a more masculine look, it takes a different approach to lifting weights. In fact, chances are that even most personal trainers are not teaching the proper techniques for women to get this look because they just don’t know how.
In my opinion, women should look like women and men should look like … men. Many women go to the gym and pay an instructor to train them to get “in shape.” My guess is that the majority of these professional trainers are giving the wrong advice to many women on weight lifting.
Weight Lifting For Women
When approaching a workout, men and women have much different goals in mind. Many times, a man is going to workout to get buff, ripped or strong — generally speaking.
Women, on the other hand, usually workout to get slim, firm and fit … not manly — the Bond Girl look.
Because of these differences in goals there are some key items that you should keep in mind:
- Do not do any “forced” reps
- Do not lift to “feel the burn”
- Do take longer rests
These three items all produce an effect that weight lifting should not produce for women who want to tone up — fatigue in the muscle and muscle growth.
Bad Advice For Women Lifting Weights
The #1 piece of bad advice for women has to do with the amount of sets, reps and weight.
I would be surprised if you have not been told to lift light weights and to do a lot of reps. And forget lifting a little heavier weight with less reps because that builds muscle mass. Right? Wrong.
- High reps create the pump in the muscle
- High reps increase the sarcoplasm in the muscle (fast muscle growth)
- High reps increase the size and numbers of the capillaries in the muscle
By focusing on the volume (pushing to get in those 10 reps) you are actually increasing the “pump” in the muscle. This is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
The pump feels good. You feel like you are getting toned. But you aren’t. You are forcing fluid into the muscle … growing the size of the muscle.
The best way way to build muscle mass (for women or men) is to lift a high volume of sets and reps. So if you do 3-4 sets at 10-15 reps that’s great. Great for building muscle. Not great for toning up.
When doing sets of 10-15 reps you may have to really push yourself (or your personal trainer may be pushing you) to get in those last 2-3 reps. This is the opposite of what you should do.
Stop doing 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Getting the Feminine Look
Now that you know what not to do, here’s how women should be weight lifting.
Do fewer reps and focus on strength training workouts. I know, it sounds odd because women don’t necessarily want to get stronger. It seems that your muscles need to grow in size to get stronger but they don’t. Not really.
Now that you know you should not do high reps, here’s why you should do low reps.
- Lower reps create less of a “pump”
- Lower reps are less likely to fatigue and increase muscle size
- Lower reps increase tension in a muscle which further increases tone.
When I am training to get toned I will increase the weight and lift fewer reps — strength training.
Doing this makes your muscles more dense. It does not make them any larger — which I think is a good thing for a woman.
The reason you don’t get much size from lifting heavier weights for less reps (if you stop short of failure) is because this is known as myobibrillar hypertophy. This basically means that you are increasing the thickness of the actual muscle fibers. You are not increasing the amount of fluid that is in them.
An Example Strength Training Workout For Women
The overall amount of reps that you will do is going to be a bit less than you’re probably used to. The common (bad) set and rep scheme given to women lifting weights is 3 sets of 10 reps to tone up. Okay, you know that now. Sorry.
Usually this is done fairly quickly too — all bad.
Instead of doing a total of 30 reps per exercise, you’ll be doing a total of 20 reps. Also, you’ll be spacing out the reps so that your muscle can recover from one exercise to the next. This prevents muscle fatigue and therefore growth in the muscle size.
- Day 1 – Chest & Back
- Day 2 – Shoulders & Arms
- Day 3 – Abs & Legs (optional)
- Day 4 – Chest & Back
- Day 5 – Shoulders & Arms
- Day 6 – Abs
- Day 7 – Rest
You should pick two exercises that you like for each muscle group and you should do 4 sets of 5 reps for each exercise and rest a full 1-2 minutes between each set.
It’s important to stop a few reps short of failure. If you do 3 reps and then barely get the 4th one up stop there. Lighten the weight a bit for your next set. You should be able to do 1 or 2 more than 5 reps … but you aren’t going to.
Another great addition to the program is cardio. If you want to slim down then I strongly suggest adding in cardio after each workout on days 1, 2, 4 and 5. I put day 3 in as an optional day to work abs and legs. If you do decide to work your legs then you should not do cardio after that workout.
In my opinion, if you do HIIT followed by steady state cardio after each workout then you probably don’t need to work your legs at all. The will get more slim if you don’t.
Really, I am just scratching the surface here.
Rusty Moore, another fitness expert, goes into great detail on how weight lifting for women. Here is a Visual Impact for Women review that outlines all of his different methods for achieving the “slim, fit & feminine” look as he describes it or you can simply visit Rusty’s site directly by clicking here.
June 22, 2011 @ 12:19 pm
Great article and great methodology for female workouts. I agree that most of the advice out there for fitness and health of women is lacking research and results.
February 15, 2012 @ 10:10 am
Thanks Ahmed! Yeah, it can get discouraging when you read advice on how to create a certain look and you end up getting the opposite results. It seems to me that most women are not after the buff look, but rather a slim and feminine look.
March 21, 2013 @ 9:12 am
Kevin you rock, seriously. I’m an “endo” girl and you can only imagine what I’m up against. I could easily get that ‘bulky’ look very quickly so I have to watch it. You just saved me a lot of frustration in the gym, and you are correct, most trainers are pushing the reps. Great info!! 🙂
June 21, 2013 @ 3:36 am
I have been doing Led Mills Pump 3 days a week and feel as though I have received the opposite effect of what I was striving to achieve. Its a full body workout light weight with 800 reps. How do I reverse the effect. Help there is such bad info out there. I loved the results at first I slimmed down now I feel like I’m bulking. Any advice for quick fix? I am not doing a lot of cardio. I do play tennis three times a week and do 9mile bike ride weekly and walk 3 miles at least one day a week sometimes more.
September 5, 2011 @ 1:37 am
I don’t really like to lift weights, I guess I go against a lot of rules. I would have to say I am lean and toned. I do a lot of plyometrics with medicine ball, I also use 10 lb dumbbells for extra resistance once in a while, and bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups. Has been working so far for me, and I am definitely not looking like man ( which is not a good look for a girl, I don’t understand why so many girls like it ).
February 15, 2012 @ 10:12 am
Thanks for comment Tatianna, nice to have a woman’s voice on here!
Yeah, as long as you can train with the approach outlined above you definitely don’t need to lift weights to get great results. Push ups and pull ups are awesome exercises and I use them very regularly.
January 23, 2012 @ 9:29 am
This really is an area on which women but more importantly trainers, know very little. There are tremendous benefits to be had from a well designed and executed program. One book I have always highly recommended to my female clients is “The New Rules Of Lifting for Woman”. A phenomenally designed and very informative book that successfully debunks the myths trainers and woman have with regards to weight lifting. I oversaw the implementation of it by my mom and was able to see her transform her level of physical conditioning. The program designers wife, Rachel Cosgrove, also has a book – “The Female Body Breakthrough” that is also very helpful. As the article stated, there are a great many trainers who are pitifully limited in their knowledge of proper female training techniques, and with training you must always be on the watch for quality of knowledge so that you, the client, are receiving full value for your hard earned money.
February 15, 2012 @ 10:17 am
Hi Lorenzo, thanks for the feedback. I haven’t checked out the New Rules of Lifting for Women but it sounds like a good book. I have read through Visual Impact for Women and it’s definitely a good read and a great approach for women who want to lift weights but not get overly buff or ripped.
Ultimately you’re right though, it’s all about the client receiving full value and also not wasting their time with something that isn’t tailored to meet their needs.
February 19, 2012 @ 3:08 am
This is really interesting. Never thought of weight lifting like this before.
February 20, 2012 @ 8:35 am
Great … I’m sure you’ll like the results!
Michael @ somebodylied.com
March 16, 2012 @ 4:24 pm
I totally agree that men should look like men and women should look like women. One thing that turns me off about women who are into fitness is those who do it in excess. Literally, where I work, there is this lady who stays in there for about 3 hours every day. Mind you one of those hours is spent chatting up my colleague but even still that is excess.
It doesn’t take as much work for a woman to get in peak condition as a man as peak condition for men is ripped where as for women it as you describe (lean). If I were to prescribe training for a woman, I would have a similar set up, probably 2-3 strength training sessions per week and cardio to burn calories.
March 16, 2012 @ 8:16 pm
Hey Michael, I agree, the overdone look is too much. I see men and women in the gym wasting half of their training time chatting. I guess that’s ok if you can afford to spend 2+ hours in the gym, but for me, I’d much rather get more workout done and go home to the fam!
March 17, 2012 @ 5:34 am
As a certified trainer, I always get my female clients off the cardio machines and on to the gym floor lifting heavier weights. The typical response, “But I don’t want to get big and bulky”. I tell them to give the program 6 weeks and then see how they feel. The results?…they never go back to slow boring cardio!
March 17, 2012 @ 10:32 am
Yeah, lifting weights (the right way) is a great way to create a toned and even slim look … I guess it depends on your goals as to whether you do cardio or not. I definitely do think it has it’s place, but maybe not so much as many think.
March 19, 2012 @ 12:38 pm
“But I don’t want to get big and bulky”
I think Brad nails it with this quote. I really think the number 1 fear most women have when it comes to using heavy weights as a form of getting a more feminine physique is that they believe it will lead to a more masculine, bulky look.
While I think cardio can be useful for slimming down, at some point, it becomes necessary to do some weight lifting or bodyweight exercises to get a really toned, slim looking body.
June 4, 2012 @ 3:46 pm
I agree that weight lifting definitely helps ad a nice shape to the body … it helps to be fit once you shed your excess fat.
March 17, 2012 @ 7:44 am
Fitness and body building is a really big thing in my country these years, and at the gym where I train the ladies have gotten quite muscular.
I think a little bit of muscle on a woman is attractive as long as it looks natural, such as on the crossfit chicks. When girls cut down to a low body fat percentage and I can see the outlines of their muscles and veins popping out, then that’s definitely not my thing.
March 17, 2012 @ 10:35 am
Yeah, some women can pull off a more muscular look than others. I agree, it’s when they start cutting to get ripped instead of just working out to get toned that it starts to look over done.
March 18, 2012 @ 11:53 am
I still don’t get why are women so afraid of working out and lifting heavy weights. On one hand they want a sexy and feminine body, but on the other they are lifting three pound dumbbells.
I just hope more women will learn that strength training will never make them look buff, at least when done properly and actually they have to do strength training to get fit and attractive.
March 18, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
Yeah, I think a big reason is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of advice and/or research brought out that shows a truly effective approach. The old-school mentality is thankfully dissipating!
April 22, 2012 @ 4:18 pm
I am a beginner and trying to stick with it. One major issue I have is a pinched nerve on the lower right side of my neck where it meets the shoulder. It doesn’t take long before I experience arm and shoulder pain while using weights. Any suggestions? Also, how do I squeeze in leg excercises with the schedule you suggested?
June 6, 2012 @ 9:18 am
I’m really sorry but I don’t really have much advice on the pinched nerve, other than the fact that I wouldn’t continue to do exercises that hurt it. Does it get aggrevated no matter what exercises you do?
As far as the legs, I edited the article a little because I’ve had a few questions about that. Generally, I suggest doing HIIT + steady state cardio after your workout to help burn max calories and slim down. If you do this then you really don’t need to work your legs.
Having said that, you can choose to work them on Wednesdays (or whatever day #3 falls on for you).
April 25, 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Is there a lower body workout that goes along with the upper body one u listed for the week. I need a full body weight training workout. I have used powerlifting and HIT training but I would like something to burn off the maximum amount of cal. And boost matabolism the longest that I can do in like 2 hrs and that’s counting any cardio I need to do. I’m a fairly muscular woman and I don’t mind the larger frame I just would like a little more tone in the right spots. Light weight doesn’t work to well for me because I plateau off and I have to change things around.
June 6, 2012 @ 9:19 am
I just edited the article to show that there is an optional day that you can workout just legs. See my comment above to Keera for my reasoning on this. I hope that helps!
May 19, 2012 @ 1:48 pm
I definitely do not agree with Michael and I’m not sure who you can either. How in the world is it easier for a woman to reach her “peak”, than it is for a guy to reach his peak? It takes a tremendous more amount of work for women. We naturally have more fat and less testosterone. The bodies we strive for actually aren’t natural, but they are in fact the goal that all of us want. Men have the advantage, with more muscle mass and obviously more testosterone. Also, women are not going to look manly or build up too much muscle very easily. This truly has to be a goal, for a woman to reach that.
June 1, 2012 @ 7:23 am
Kristene, see comment below 🙂
May 31, 2012 @ 6:34 pm
That’s really professional of the author to delete my message that I posted on here last month. I will just repost it again, because obviously this is only a one-sided article, that doesn’t consider all facts. Michael says “It doesn’t take as much work for a woman to get in peak condition” and the author agreed with it. How can you possibly agree with this? It takes a whole lot more work for women to reach their peack than men. Men naturally have more testosterone and less body fat than women, which helps them reach their peak much faster and efficiently. Also, it’s going to take an insane amount of work for a woman to look “ripped” or “buff” from working out. This would truly have to be a goal and most women take supplements if they are trying to reach that kind of physique. It does not come naturally. The only buff or ripped looking women I have seen are on muscular magazines….like I said….that was a goal for them. Women can try what they want and hopefully find what works for them. But, to put myths in their head…that working out the old fashion way or working too hard and not the way that you are suggesting…may cause them to look “ripped”. No offence to you, but I would not be writing and suggesting ways for a man to work out, especially when it isn’t completely true….just as you should take caution in the “advice” you give to women. Also, thanks again for deleting my last comment. Just shows to me, that you are not an author that takes constructive critism very well. Happy working out.
June 1, 2012 @ 7:21 am
I didn’t delete the comment … I personally approve every comment that comes through here and I have been very busy for the last few weeks and haven’t had any time at all to go through them – there are A LOT of comments that I still need to approve. You wouldn’t believe how many spam comments come through. Your comment probably appeared right after you submitted it but in small text it should have said “comment waiting for approval” or something along those lines.
Anyway, let me clarify. I do NOT agree with what Michael said about it being easier for women to get in shape than men. I was agreeing with his comment in regards to the amount of time that people can waste while at the gym … my comment:
“I agree. I see men and women in the gym wasting half of their training time chatting.”
I’m very sorry for the confusion, and YES, I do take constructive criticism … I’m not a know-it-all guru and just about anybody who thinks they are will soon realize they are not.
As for as the workout goes, yes, whether you are a man or a woman, training in the light weight/high rep model DOES build sarcoplasmic fluid in the muscle. This, in turn, produces a bloated and full looking muscle … probably not what most women want (or even many men) … in my opinion.
Strength training produces a smaller but more defined muscle. Avoiding failure and refraining from creating a burn also prevents the muscle from breaking down as much and creates a smaller but more dense muscle.
This applies to either man or woman.
September 27, 2012 @ 11:52 pm
I read a lot of your stuff regarding weight lifting and losing weight for a more feminine look. I noticed that the schedule you have for women on weight lifting is Chest and Back on Days 1 and 4 and then Shoulders and Arms on Days 2 and 5. You said that we should pick 2 exercises that we like for each muscle group and do them in 4 sets of 5 reps. My question is, are the chest and back or shoulders/arms considered as the muscle groups? So that on Days 1,2, 4, and 5, we do a total of 4 exercises? Or do you mean particular muscle groups in each category of chest and back or shoulders and arms (in which case we would end up with more than just 4 exercises each day??). Like for arms, we would have to do two exercises for the triceps, two for biceps, etc. and for chest, we would have to do two exercises for upper chest and two for lower chest? If you meant the latter, do you mind sharing what the muscle groups are for each category? And if possible, do you have any specific recommendations on what sort of exercises we could do for each muscle groups?
October 12, 2012 @ 6:05 pm
Lily, chest is one muscle group, back is one, etc. Arms could be separated out into biceps and triceps but if you are short on time for one of the days just do one bicep and one tricep exercise.
October 12, 2012 @ 9:44 am
Thank you for your post. My problem is this. I have that latina pear body type. My upper body has basically no fat, very tiny waist, nice abs, thin but toned arms, but my lower body and backside are big. I like my curves, i just want to slim down and lean my thighs more. Its like having 2 different bodies in one. To buy clothes, i need Small or extra small blouses and medium skirts. All dresses have to be taken in at the waist and back. When i do slim down a lot, to get my legs where i want them, my upper body and face gets so thin i look sick !! (in a bad way). So, a friend recommended me to train heavier on upper body to create the V illusion and match my hips. But that didnt work well, since my upper body fat is so low and im so tiny on top, my shoulders got very big and muscular right away, my upper body responds to weights extremely quicky and even in pictures, i didnt look good. My arms where overpowering and muscular, it didn’t look femimine. I want that “bond” look you mentioned . So i laid off the upper body weights and now I am only doing very few head presses and push ups after my runs, not to fatigue, and still my arms muscles are showing, but now i dont have that round PUMP over my lat shoulders, they look ok now. My problem is lower body. How can I slim and lean them out without losing so much weight on upper body?? I have tried everything!! Now im only running and doing bodyweight hiit and push ups & 5pound shoulder raises. Should i focus on just pull ups and push ups to increase my V shape without adding shoulder mass? Help!! (note: women (friends and colleages say i have the perfect body) but my thighs are too wide for my upper body… and still have thunder thighs. Its my hourglass shape that is attractive, i want to keep that but a smaller version on lower body). Hope i explained myself well. Thank you for any suggestion!!
October 22, 2012 @ 1:34 pm
I found this article very informative. I am underweight, and have very small legs. I have a medium frame, so I need to gain a little more weight than most people think. I’m currently going to the gym with my hubby about 4 x’s per week, and I do strength training. He doesn’t push me too far, but I have been doing 10 to 12 reps, and now my shoulders feel too broad! I’d gladly accept any more advice, and will heed what I read in your article. Thanks!!!
October 22, 2012 @ 1:39 pm
it’s me again… by the way, just to clarify, I do workout my legs also, but I assume they will take a while to show positive results. My arms look great, and I also work chest and back to firm up my upper torso. I’m 36 with 3 kids. 5’3″ tall, and only 104 lbs right now. VERY fast metabolism. Starting tomorrow, I will definitely increase the weight a little, but do less reps. Thanks again!!
October 22, 2012 @ 6:54 pm
So for all us ladies who dont do workouts at all really, what are some examples of exercises we can do and follow the outlined program for women? It says 4 sets of 5, but 5 what? what are some examples of good exercises to do for each of these??
October 29, 2012 @ 12:35 pm
Thank you for this article! I’ve been wondering what to do in regards to weight lifting. I go to a MMA gym and I do boxing and kickboxing throughout the week. In fact this is my schedule. My classes are all in the evening.
Monday – Kickboxing 1hr, weights (arms) 1hr
Wednesday-Kickboxing 1hr, weights (core)1hr
Thursday – Boxing
Friday-Kickboxing 1hr, weights (legs)1hr
Saturday- Kickboxing 1hr & Boxing 1hr
Sunday – a long walk minimum – 2 miles
Now mind you also Monday through Friday I also do 1 mile walks at work on our school track. I am overweight. I originally weighed 270 and currently am at 240. I do want to lose weight and tone up at the same time because I want to avoid the flabby skin issue. My biggest issue was trying to figure out a workout plan with the weights, I would just literally just go to the pieces of equipment that I was used to and workout for an hour, track my reps and pounds used, but wasn’t sure if I was doing it right and from what I can tell I wasn’t. I was use to doing the 3 reps with at least 10-15 reps, so thank you for this post hopefully this will help me out more. Because I am not trying to bulk up like a man, I want to be toned up like a woman.
November 2, 2012 @ 7:21 am
Thank you so so much for this article! I am a curvy woman, approx a size 10-12 with a large bust and behind to match it. I am trying to get “in shape” but still want to keep my womanly figure and feminine softness which has always made me “afraid” of weights. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of advice from fitness friends to start lifting heavy weights and lower reps and was hesitant to do so, so I decided to do my own research when I found this awesome article. As trendy as it is, I don’t really like the “strong/fit/hard” look that a lot of women are adopting right now. I want to be soft.. not fat, but not hard, ya know? I love my curves, but would like to get down to a comfortable size 6. Well anyways, I’m blabbing now, but seriously, thank you for this article. Very helpful!!!
November 17, 2012 @ 8:05 am
Hello, great article!
I do have a question when it comes to abs. How do we do the less reps more weight method for abs? I usually stick various forms of pilates moves to work my abs but now I’m worried about them getting bigger. Which I do not want, what would you suggest for working out abs?
April 22, 2013 @ 3:55 pm
I don’t do heavy weighted ab movements. The risk of injuring your spine just isn’t worth it … plus to see your abs has VERY little to do with the exercises. It’s all about lowering your body fat percentage and that is mostly diet.
I only work my abs once or twice per week and that’s it.
Focus on planks, side planks and renegade rows for strong/flat abs.
November 26, 2012 @ 3:39 pm
Also, how do you know how much to increase the weight? just trial and error? instead of doing squats 3 sets of 10 with 115 should I be doing 4 sets of 5 with 130?
April 22, 2013 @ 3:44 pm
Trial and error for the most part but you’ll figure out where you are at real quick. Just pick a weight (like 130lbs) and aim for 5 sets. If you can barely get 5, lighten the weight. If 5 was too easy and you could have done 10 … up the weight.
You’re aiming for a weight that you can do 6 or 7 times – but you still stop at 5.
June 23, 2014 @ 9:43 am
When you say “like 130lbs”, did that number just shoot off the top of your head or should I be lifting that much weights? Cause I gotta tell you, on arms, I’m like 3- 50 lbs. I’m hoping you’re talking about yourself. Also, I do a whole bunch of different machines when I work out. Say 7 for legs and arms are about 7 as well. Are you telling me that I should only be doing no more than 3 machines for legs as well as arms?
March 18, 2013 @ 11:21 pm
Just to clarify: Wouldn’t doing cardio after weight training have a negative impact on the muscles in body since a few resources mention muscle loss?
March 20, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
Hi Kevin, great info! However, I was wondering if I do steady state cardio after each lifting session, will that burn off all the muscle I build? I don’t want to lose muscle and look skinny fat!
April 22, 2013 @ 3:51 pm
As long as you aren’t overdoing the cardio afterwards you will be fine. 30-45 minutes would be plenty.
March 27, 2013 @ 10:47 pm
I have a trainer that said he can get me ready to compete in November. What you’ve described in your writings is what he has me doing. I’ve been at the gym working out six days a week with very little results. I currently do 4 sets of 15 reps to failure for every part of my body except abs. I do those on my own. I’m frustrated that I haven’t seen my body change. I’m going to be 54 years old but please don’t tell me that my age will slow down my process? I eat healthy and about 5-6 meals a day. My trainer wants me to gain weight and I don’t feel good about putting weight on. Can you please help me? My legs and butt need the most help and then my stomach. When I had my children more than 30 years ago, I was 5’9″ tall and 109 lbs. Now I’m 5’9″ 125 lbs and I feel pretty good. I don’t understand why I need to gain weight. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
April 22, 2013 @ 11:19 am
Is that 4 sets with 5 reps for workout day? For example, if I was doing shoulders and arms on Tues, am I picking one exercise for 4 sets for each muscle group on Tues and then another exercise for each of 4 sets on Thurs (totaling 8 sets for the week for each muscle group). Or is it two exercises for each muscle group on Tues (totaling 8 on tues for each) and then again 8 on thurs…which is a total of 16 for the week…This is a huge difference
April 22, 2013 @ 3:48 pm
Total for the week would be 16 sets for each muscle group.
Since you will be stopping well short of failure you won’t need to worry about over training.
May 4, 2013 @ 8:24 am
Thanks for writing this article. It’s was so helpful! There is a lot of confusing info on the internet about weightlifting for women.
One question I had for you was that is there any real difference between weight lifting and resistance training? For example, as a woman is it better for me to do push ups to tone my arms or is weight lifting better? I get very confused about this point….when should I lift weights and when should I do traditional resistance exercises?
And if I’m doing exercises like push ups (that don’t require weights) should I still be follow the 4 sets of 5 reps with 1-2 rest intervals?
May 20, 2013 @ 8:45 am
I’ve started a training routiune, consisting of full-body workouts 3x per week, I do cardio on the 2 days I’m not doing weights. I also eat pretty clean, 3 meals/day with snacks. After 6wks I don’t have any visible results, my pants actually feel tighter—I can see muscles in my arms, but only when working out. My overall goal is to lose 10-12lbs and “tone up”. I am 28y/o 5′ 9.5″ 165lbs. Do you have any suggestions?? Or possible any advice for reaching my goals?
May 20, 2013 @ 7:46 pm
I have a real challenge for you. I’m 54, 5’9″ tall 125 lbs. I’m looking to compete for Ms Fitness. I don’t want to bulk up like a man. I have a trainer but I’m very down right now. I’ve been working out at least 5-6 days a week for 5 months now with no results. Please help. I’ve feel like I’ve wasted my time and money. It should not be this hard. Thank you. April
June 1, 2013 @ 5:11 am
I am aiming to get bigger quads and have found this article useful as it’s clear now what I shouldn’t do. Thanks Kevin!
July 17, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Kevin, I just came across tour site; I am really into fitness and lift a lot at the gym. I just had my daughter and started back workout about February. I started with insanity and went back to hitting the weights. I am 5 ‘9 and currently 164 which sounds like alot but I swear I look thin but I am more pear and athletic built. I am not getting the tone as quickly as I would like, am fit looking and have definition, but my body does tend to bulk. What you are saying is I should do less 5 rep of 4 sets for my weight workouts? I do have my own spin bike and do this a lot for cardio, I can squat 230lb right now that is with 5 sets and I end with 230. I guess I train like a man but have been taught this way. I do not want to lift Winnie weights I feel like it dosent do anything
September 5, 2013 @ 12:48 pm
I like the plan but don’t want to feel obligated to workout 6 days per week. How can I get the same results is a four day workout with a resting day between.
September 27, 2013 @ 2:17 pm
Ok, I’m going to just come right out and ask this – please keep laughter to a minimum…!! I don’t understand the weights routine! Am I supposed to do it like a circuit?(first 5 reps of exercise number 1, then rest 1 min, then onto next exercise – or 5 reps of exercise number 1, rest 1 min, then another 5 reps of exercise number 1 until set is finished?) I know it sounds ridiculous, but I need clarity, quite obviously!!:)
May 30, 2014 @ 5:13 pm
This is so mindblowing to me! As a female, it only makes sense that both genders have differentiated workout routines (I almost want to smack myself for not realizing our differences in physique). I have yet to read the ‘women review’ but will read it when have the time.
As I am now following this routine — do you have any knowledge or advice on protein powders for women also?As of right now, I am taking whey protein (body fortress brand, strawberry flavored) to replace a meal, usually everyday or every other day after I workout. I would definitely love to know what you think, especially since there is so many commercial protein powders out there.
P.S. no soy protein for me, because I am allergic to high doses.
June 10, 2014 @ 8:33 am
I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this concept. I have been doing a pretty progressive circuit for over a year now, making changes and advances as I go so I keep seeing progress. These workouts burn close to 2000 cals daily for me. However, while I’ve lost much of what body fat I had, and leaned down, I seem to have hit a wall and stopped noticing changes in my actual muscle. I began searching for the best ways to adjust my routine to get toned and defined abs and came across your site. I’ve worked in this new style of weight lifting into my mornings in replace of what I used to do: high reps, lower weight (or low-ish). However, I watch my heart rate be drastically lower on certain days (legs and shoulders, for example) than on others (arms and abs) than in my older weight routine. I guess my question is, does this lower heart rate mean I’m getting a less effective workout? Less cals burned can lead to higher body fat right? So is the lifting I’m changing to taking away from what I already was doing? Or will it equal out in the end?
April 17, 2016 @ 9:10 am
So what weight should I be lifting? I am 5’4″
May 2, 2016 @ 11:56 am
Great info! I have 4 day weekends of which I workout mostly 3 of the 4 though always aiming to do 4 days.
First, I do cardio workout on our treadmill for 40 min and then afterwards I use 5-8# Dumbbells doing 4 sets of 20 for my arms and squats and do sit ups obviously with no weights. I don’t focus on one area at a time, as I prefer to do 20 squats then to sit ups and then arm curls. Rotation makes sense.
I’m not looking to build bulk, but need your input to ensure what I’m doing is correct to create a toned body.
December 4, 2016 @ 9:19 am
I have been looking for a weight training routine that will pair well with my yoga practice. I have a personal home practice and I also teach a hatha based class three times a week. I want to incorporate weight training to my home practice to build more strength and tone further. I have just been super cautious about getting started, and I have no idea how much weight I should start with! I really like your approach and it sounds like what I’m looking for. What would you suggest I start with? Thank you 🙂 and Namaste
February 17, 2017 @ 9:17 am
My husband wants me to join his Crossfit gym with him. I’m looking to increase strength, speed and endurance, while slimming down, and maintaining a lean but athletic look. (I’m 6 feet tall and naturally have a leaner build but can put on fat and muscle semi-easily). From what I understand crossfit is a lot of high intensity reps. And from the look of gym goers they have very built shoulders and legs. Something I’d like to avoid. Now obviously you might say, “well then don’t do crossfit.” But I’m wondering if there’s a way to do it a few times a week and how I’d make it work. Can I counter the affects of that type of lifting with cardio or HIIT? If I did go, I’d probably have to scale back the reps and replace certain lifts with something else entirely. Which may get me some stink eyed looks from others. Thoughts on Crossfit bodies. Is it possible to achieve a lean feminine look by doing crossfit?