Getting a hard body probably doesn’t need to begin when you’re super young but it certainly did for me! When I was first introduced to working out, I was the very young age of 4. I still remember my mom performing the very sexy 20-minute workout in our living room, and I would join her in my pink gymnastic onsie and matching leg warmers! Back then it was all low impact aerobics, light weights and teased hair! And probably too much sex appeal for a 4 year old, nevertheless I did learn a thing or two about what it took to sweat!
As time went on, I was introduced to a whole new level of working out through my training coach Yon. A former Olympic Coach from Albania, he took me under his wing and taught me the true meaning of dedication and discipline. I learned how to lift, and how to get strong. This carried me forward, and after completing my degree in biochem with an emphasis on nutrition and supplements, I had only one desire, build more muscle, get stronger and leaner!
Of course, at that point, things had not completely evolved for women in fitness, and when I first joined the supplement industry 15 years ago it still was uncommon to see your average woman walking around with a muscular physique like I did! Although there were plenty of magazines dedicated to women’s fitness, they seemed to leave out important details on how to eat properly, supplement and how to workout to build muscle.
Luckily, I got first hand experience and access via my job – product developer for a very well known supplement company. I got privy to the best trainers, nutrition coaches, athletes and supplements. And this lead me to my first ever show, which also happened to be the first ever figure show in Canada! There was only a handful of women competing and only one class.
Fast forward to today, strong, sexy woman have prevailed. The number of women who compete far exceeds the number of men! No longer limited to aerobics, and light weights, women are leading the pack when it comes to building muscle, burning fat and getting a sexy hard body, and they are hungry for more! More workouts, diets and supplement protocols on how to build muscle, get lean and ripped like our male counterparts!
Over the years, I have collected, researched, and experimented on my own and with clients on what works for women and what doesn’t, so in this post, I’m sharing 7 tips on how you can turbo charge your results to a lean hard body.
1. Estrogen and Carb Metabolism
You probably already think carbs are the enemy and that is not entirely far from the truth. When estrogen levels escalate the body’s hormones for fat burning shut-off, insulin sensitivity decreases, serotonin levels fall and sugar cravings increase.
It has been shown that although women and men do not differ in their muscle glycogen storage ability or the transporters that facility glucose moving into muscles, we ladies do utilize fats more and use carbohydrates less for energy than men do.
This is primarily do to our hormones! Increasing estrogen increases glycogen sparing and increases lipid utilization during exercise. This means women can effectively store carbohydrates, and use them sparingly, while tapping into fat more effectively.
So filling up on carbohydrates, if we are not so easy to given them up is probably not a good idea. Eating low carb diets or carb cycling diets is more effective for fat burning and accessing that hard to tap fat!
2. Eat Protein – Lots of It
I shouldn’t have to tell you this but you need to eat protein, and lots of it. Amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks for our muscles. And to maintain, build and recover we need to fuel our bodies with protein.
During a workout the body uses up aminos, to fuel muscle contraction. Keeping muscles fully loaded with aminos all day long by eating protein at regular intervals throughout the day will ensure those muscles have what they need come workout time!
Eat at least 1 g of protein per pound of body weight, from sources such as lean red meat, egg whites, chicken, turkey, whey protein, non-fat dairy like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
3. Lift Something Heavy
Contrary to popular belief brought on by years of little pink weights, and magazines that depict home workouts with soup cans, and body weight exercises, lifting heavy weights will not somehow make you change into the incredible hulk.
Lifting heavy not only challenges your body, it burns a whole hell of a lot more calories then those little dinky ‘female’ weights. Not to mention, heavy weights performed in the 8 to 12 rep range also put on muscle. And when you have more muscle, guess what the more your metabolism increases too!
In fact, lifting heavy weight will even make you burn calories long after you left the gym for 24 to 48 hours after your workout. This is often referred to as the ‘after burn’ effect.
4. Squat, Press and Deadlift
Forget about those machines that are supposed to ‘target’ your glutes like the butt blaster or the abductor machine. If you really want to build ‘buns of steel’ you need to start squatting!
Building a hard body starts with building a solid foundation and that means you need to focus on the basics first and foremost!
Not only will compound movements like squats, bench press, rows, deadlifts and overhead presses help build muscle, they recruit a whole bunch more muscles in the process.
Don’t waste your time on isolation moves targeted on just building your glutes, not only is it pointless, it won’t give you the results you want.
5. Constantly Challenge Yourself
If you are scared to sweat, you came to the wrong place. You need to challenge yourself constantly. Change takes challenge.
After a few weeks of following the same workout, the body will adapt. If you are not changing at least the volume of weight you are lifting you are not doing yourself any favors. In fact, you are just going through the motions.
I bet you are wondering why you’re body isn’t getting any better either?
If you want to see a difference in your body you have to change up your workouts, and approach your muscle building in a new manner. Every time you do something different, it causes trauma to the muscle, which initiates change!
Changing your workouts can be as easy as changing up the exercises, adding in some explosive movements, decreasing your rest, or upping the weight. The possibilities are endless.
And remember it you start lifting heavier, it will not necessarily equate to more muscle, just stronger leaner, harder ones.
6. Skip the Long Rest, Go the Distance
As I mentioned previously, we tend to hold on to our carbohydrate stores, and tap into our fat stores more easily. What’s even more interesting, we also have higher reserves for creatine – the energy nutrient. That means we have more creatine available to make ATP our muscles primary source of energy.
That means after a short rest period we are fully ready to go again! So don’t take extra long walks to the water fountain, and don’t engage in long conversations with that cute guy you’ve had your eye on. Stay focused and fully engaged in your workout! Put on those ear buds, listen to some good beats, keep the blood flowing and pumping through your warm muscles and ready to tackle the next set!
What’s more, even though we are not as physically strong as men, we fair better on programs with greater sets and more reps. Performing 15 to 20 reps of 4 to 5 sets, or super-setting between exercises can help you build a hard body faster.
7. HIIT and LISS
Cardio is a no-brainer you do need to do it. It’s the amount and type of cardio that you do that can determine what you look like. Cardio helps tap into fat burning, but it’s a fine line. Do too much and you will eat into muscle, do too little and you will not burn off enough fat. Since we store fat in our lower halves more so than any area, we can not only go longer when it comes to our cardio workouts we can go a little harder too!
HIIT or high intensity interval training is perfect for tapping into stored fat for fuel more efficiently. Performed by doing interval sprints on a track or treadmill, bike or even step mill. Even if you are a beginner, and haven’t mastered the sprint stride just yet, HIIT can still be very effective. Simply perform intervals using less speed, or less time and work your way up into faster more effective HIIT sessions.
But there needs to be a balance…
Too much HIIT can start to get taxing on the body, especially if you are not eating too many carbs, which is the energizing nutrient the body depends on for these types of workouts. Switch it up between HIIT and LISS or low intensity steady state cardio. Try treadmill incline walking, or take an easier pace on the stepmill and the bike.
Now you know how to get a lean muscular hard body. Start implementing these 7 keys into your workout and your diet plan and start getting the body you want today.
To build a lean, muscular and sexy, strong, fit body you know you want, simply download the complete sexy, strong and fit workout and diet guide right now which incorporates these principles –>
Until next time…
Be Fierce & Rule the World,