There is so much misinformation out there in regards to training and dieting, we can easily get confused or conned into something that is worthless particularly when trying to elicit positive changes in your body shape.
1. Train the big lifts
Plan your workouts around deadlifts, squats, pull ups, lunges, and so on. With big lifts you train multiple muscles at one time and burn more calories. Secondly, these movements translate into everyday life, for example carrying heavy grocery bags & picking up young kids. These lifts also increase our bone building abilities leaving us less vulnerable to osteoporosis, back problems, joint problems. Thirdly, if done correctly it can improve our body shape dramatically.
2. Lift heavy
Lifting heavy wont make you big and bulky ladies, so leave down the light weights. Research shows that even women with training experience naturally pick weights 30 percent lower then needed to provide any changes in their body. I find that clients who come to me are shocked at what they can achieve and lift with a little encouragement and motivation, compared to when they train on their own, resulting in their body shape changing much more rapidly.
A general rule is to use weights that are between 65-85% of the heaviest weight you can lift once. For instance if you can squat 55 KGs once then you need to be doing at least 35KGs when squatting for reps.
3. Train with free weights
Using Dumbbells and barbells allow a full range of motion, increases grip strength and trains muscle more optimally. When squatting with a barbell if you move below the level of your knees you are increasing glutes (bum) and Hamstring (muscle back of thigh) activation by 150 percent.
4. Count the timing of exercises
The timing or Tempo of a lift is a commonly underused element in workouts. I see people randomly lifting and lowering weights at mind boggling speeds. To get bang for your buck in terms of fat loss, better body shape and increased metabolism pay attention to tempo.
A general rule when squatting is to squat down for 4 seconds in a controlled fashion, with no pause at the bottom, come back up in 1 second. You would pause at the top again in your original starting position for 1 second and repeat.
5. Get clever with cardio
Males and females traditionally tend to turn to aerobic workouts to lose fat. However studies show that traditional cardio for example; running, cross trainer, bike can eat into your muscle which in turn lowers metabolism. This is especially prevalent with women. Add in sprints or high bursts of activity if losing fat is your priority. The reason why, it burns more calories, keeps metabolism high even when training stops, improves hormone function which aids fat burning, increases muscle which boosts metabolism and burns more calories.
6. Tidy up your diet
You cant out train a bad diet. Look carefully at your workout nutrition and work smarter not harder. Prioritise each meal with protein, good fats and lower carb vegetables, save higher carb foods for post workout. To improve your body shape avoid sports drinks or carbs before or during training.
7. Leave the phone at home
All too often I see people messing with their phones during their workouts. Keep focused, stay driven, plan your training schedule for that workout and follow through. Phones are a distraction.