How to Stay Lean Without Getting 'BIG' - What I do in the gym
I wouldn’t consider myself a fitness blogger in any way shape or form but somehow along the way I’ve found myself going to the gym almost every single day. Now don’t get me wrong I would not consider myself ‘sporty’, I’m the girl that in the classroom, if I asked someone for a pritt stick and they proceeded to throw it at me, I’d lean left and watch it fly on the floor behind me than even try to catch it. But over the years I’ve started to love going to the gym, trying classes, working out alone and even pushing myself to do things that would have once scared me so much. So if I can do it, you guys can too. But I know for so many people it’s the fear of the unknown or even just not knowing what to do!
I previously wrote a blog post on a class that scared me – circuits (read it here), but its fast become something I love. It’s high intensity and uses weights, I feel exercising in this way is what has changed my body the most, into becoming leaner without getting much bigger. Now you don’t need to join a class, you can do this alone of course, but I think as a beginner you get so many good tips and tricks from learning from a professional. So today I wanted to answer a question I get THE MOST, which is partly ‘what do you do in the gym’ and also ‘how do you get leaner without being big’?.
Now to briefly answer that question – some of it is in genetics but most of it is in the way we train and eat. Because I’m no expert I asked Danny, who runs the class I love and is an amazing PT at my gym (David Lloyd Swindon) to help me out and show you guys a few good exercises to do to get lean, without getting big and I also thought I’d ask him a few questions. For this blog post we focused on the upper body. Find Danny's Instagram Here
So Danny, should women even train their upper body if you’re not looking to get big shoulders? Why not just focus on legs and bums?
Yeah, for sure they should! If your goal is to stay lean, you wont be eating enough to get ‘Big’. Working the upper body will give you a better all round definition up top, using more energy helping with fat loss and making you feel stronger in the process!
How often should we be training different areas of the body? Do we need to stick to a routine?
Ideally if you’re starting to think about moving away from your normal cardio routine, working through a full body programme will be the best use of your time. You’ll feel better for being stronger all over, whilst being able to focus on the areas of your body in which you’d like to change the most. Training the body all over 3-4 times per week consistently, with good variety, is key to start off with.
If I want to stay lean surely cardio is my main priority?
Cardio should definitely play a part within your training sessions, theres no doubt it’s good for you. However, If you’re looking for better shape, definition and tone then you’re going to need to be using the muscles that you want to see shine through. When it comes to muscle tone, If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Consistently working muscle groups all over the body will give you a better overall shape.
Lots of girls out there run 30-40 mins most days and are too scared to cut that out for fear of putting on weight due to a lack of cardio, how do we edge our way out of that routine?
You’re right and I see this a lot, the fear of the unknown can put people off so they stick to what they know. The problem with this is that the body is incredibly adaptive, if you’re doing the same routine over and over again, the chances are any progress has ground to a halt! Slowly reducing the time you spend on the cardio equipment and introducing using muscle all over the body will be a far greater way to get variety into your sessions and use larger amounts of energy, burning more calories and putting you on track towards your goals.
Run us briefly through what we did in this workout to target our upper bodies.
So we started off with our big compound movement, the Bent Over Row. Starting with Compound movements are a good way to focus on the larger muscle groups whist hitting the smaller surrounding ones at same time.. giving you more bang for your Buck!
We then moved on to putting some exercises together, by doing this you’ll hit more areas of the body quicker, elevating that heart rate and firing up the metabolism too!
The Press up will hit the Chest, Shoulders and Triceps.
The Trx Row hits the Back and the Biceps.
Viper curl and press- This will target the biceps and shoulders.
Reverse Cable Crossover- Upper Back and Shoulders.
Putting exercises together makes you more efficient with your time, adds more variety and fun to your sessions whilst using a whole load of muscle all over the body. You’ll use loads of energy and it will be a whole lot more interesting than jumping on a cross trainer for 40 minutes!
Give it a go and you’ll never look back!
I hope this gave you guys some ideas for what you can do in the gym to stay lean without getting necessarily much 'bigger', I tend to stick to exercising with Danny (find his instagram here) at the moment and he really does have some good ideas and fab exercises
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