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The Female Guide To Getting Lean

The Female Guide To Getting Lean

- Thanks to the source:
 https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/the-female-guide-to-getting-lean

Tami Bellon

Coach - Bodybuilding, Nutrition, Women's Fitness

So many times women ask me, "How can I lose this?" while they're pinching whatever area they want gone. While no two women are exactly the same, there are a few general tips that I can throw out there for you that do the trick whether you're leaning up for aesthetic or performance reasons.

Calorie Intake

If you weigh 200lbs and are only eating 1,200 calories, you are not eating enough. That doesn't mean break out the donuts, that means increase your protein consumption – to start. A general guide for calorie intake is your bodyweight times ten to twelve. Example: 200lbs x 10 = 2000 cal. 

bodyfat, female athlete, bodybuilding, getting lean, cutting weight
You may be thinking this is a lot of food, but it is not. Women have been taught that starving themselves will make them lose weight. In reality, we don't just want to be smaller do we? Don't we want to be leaner, too? I'm not saying bodybuilding lean, but enough to see a little definition in your arms and/or abs. Most women would answer me with a very loud, “Yes!”

Calorie intake is just one component of many that go into this machine we call our body. The body is much smarter than the average person. You may trick it once or twice, but it will learn how to overcome what you are trying to do to it. The body will combat under eating by hording everything you feed it. Then you jump on a piece of cardio equipment and pedal your little heart out for extensive amounts of time, and still - nothing. Why is that? Keep reading! 

Drop the Carbs Down

You don't have to completely eliminate them; doing so would only set you up for failure. Do you even know how many you get in a day? Do you have a food log? Are you logging on a site like Fitday.com or MyFitnessPal.com? Do you know what foods are considered high in carbohydrates?

The foods to reduce in this category would be sugar, which includes candy, cakes, pies, etc. But it also includes fruit. I hear so many people say how healthy they eat and then proceed to tell me they load up on fruit. Fruit is mostly sugar. Natural sugar is still sugar, and it still makes you fat if you eat too much of it. Okay, so we have sugar clarified. More foods that are sugary: pasta, potatoes, some other veggies - research those. Don’t forget rice and bread are sugary, too.

bodyfat, female athlete, bodybuilding, getting lean, cutting weight
Another misconception is that brown rice and pasta and whole grain breads don't do the same thing as their regular white counterparts. Truth is - they do. They just have a little more fiber and digest more slowly, so you don't get quite the same insulin spike, but they are still a carb and they can still cause fat gain if you overeat them.

So what we have learned is to drop carbs down. In general, I start people out at 25-30% carbohydrates in their diet and assess from there. How are you going to do that if you don't know how many sugars and carbohydrates are in what you're eating? Start logging your food on one of the sites I mentioned above. Take responsibility for what goes in your mouth.

Increase Your Protein and Don’t Fear Fat

Beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc. There are studies out now that are proving our governments “lean meat only” consumption isn't necessary.

For example: 

  • CLA is a substance that accumulates in the fat of grass-fed ruminant animals-fats like butter and tallow-that has anti-cancer effects.
  • Industry apologists have now done an about-face and are campaigning against the transin favor of the liquid oils - while using this opportunity of heightened public interest to continue demonizing the fats we should all be using, the natural saturated animal fats in animal foods and tropical oils.

Increased protein helps maintain the lean mass (muscle) you already have. You want to keep this, as it increases your metabolism. Adding a little more lean mass is usually a good thing. As a general starting point, I think 40% of daily food intake should be protein. I have seen great results with this.

Resistance Training

Ladies, listen very closely: you will not bulk up from resistance training. If you start getting bigger, it is most likely because you are also eating more. You may put on a little lean mass, but it should not cause you to outgrow your pants. In fact, if you clearly know what foods are acceptable, watching your nutrition, and doing resistance training, you should be getting smaller and leaner.

Just because you work out doesn't mean it's time to go get a pizza because you “just worked off the calories.” It's simple, if you have a high body fat percentage, you are eating too much, unless there are medical reasons surrounding your weight in which case you should be even more attentive to your food intake.

Resistance training has some proven benefits:

  • Improved muscle strength and tone
  • Weight management
  • Prevention and control of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis
  • Pain management
  • Improved mobility and balance
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased bone density and strength
  • Reduced body fat
  • Boosted metabolism
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Enhanced performance of everyday tasks 

A Little Cardio Goes a Long Way

bodyfat, female athlete, bodybuilding, getting lean, cutting weight
Women today go way overboard with cardio. I have a simple explanation for what this does to your body. It is well known to those of us in the industry that excessive cardio (meaning more than 45 minutes steady state or 30 minutes of high intensity interval training) is too much for the average person.

After this amount of time, your body will start to become catabolic, which means it starts to eat muscle for fuel instead of food recently eaten and fat stores. All those ladies you see on the cardio equipment day after day, who always look the same, are actually eating up their muscle.

Do you realize what this means? They are lowering their metabolism because now they have less lean mass. Basically, if you would give them a body composition test, they would be fatter.

Becoming catabolic also happens when we don't eat enough. Starving yourself will only make you carry more fat. When you can't stand starving yourself anymore and go back to “normal” eating, don't expect a positive result. All the scam diets that tell you to drink nothing but shakes or eat only five hundred calories a day, they make you catabolic and set you up for failure. Don't be lazy. Take control of your body.

All of it comes back to being balanced and approaching your health and fitness from a variety of angles. While these guidelines are general, they work and they are a great place to start whether your goals are athletic or aesthetic. Cardio, strength, and nutrition are all important and all build upon each other. Focusing too much on any one aspect while leaving others at the wayside won’t have you be the best athlete you can be.

Check out some related articles and training plans:

Posing - Reality of Instagram

Progress Not Perfection.

One of the most common things we find with people training, is that the goal is generally centered around feeling good and looking good.

The problem is, that both factors affect the other synonymously. But unrealistic expectations and lack of understanding then results in negative feeling and assumption over a lack of achievement.

It’s important to understand that throughout the day, your body goes through a lot of changes. Understand that your body may feel bloated at times, especially after consuming food or water. This does NOT mean you are fat. This does NOT mean you aren’t making progress.

It’s natural, and should be embraced.

The other thing that we see a lot of; is women comparing themselves to ‘Instagram Celebs’ or ‘Fitness Models’ online…
Understand that a photo on someone’s Instagram is NEVER a reflection of how they look 24/7.

Whilst we love people sharing their physique and hard work gains, especially if it serves as good inspiration, it is important that it doesn't deflate your ego, or attitude towards your progress.

There are a number of factors that go into every photo, and lets face it, there aren’t many women out there that are going to post a photo ‘at their worst’ is there?!?!

So take the inspiration, but don’t compare yourself and feel inadequate or as if you aren’t making progress.

To illustrate our point further, our wonderful Gym Rat Zoe Lummis @MuscleBunny_Lummy has given us this perfect example.
Now Zoe is one of those Gym Rat’s that just always has abs. Her 6 pack is on display before and after a healthy serving of Chocolate Cake. She works incredibly hard for it, and we love the attitude she has towards her training. So we had her take 2 photos, one straight after the other.

Zoe Lummis Pose

This is such a good example, as this could easily be believed as a ‘Transformation” over weeks of hard work. The reality is, each photo was take 2 seconds apart.
Oh what a difference Tensing and Posing makes…
Add some lighting in there and she would have a 3rd image with even more definition and ‘development’.

We hope you are seeing the points we are trying to illustrate here. It transcends much deeper than the initial subject of viewing Instagram Images and understanding what you are really seeing.
It also shows that we all have a ‘good side’. We all have elements and things we can do to improve our ‘look’. This also hopefully explains why you see Gym Rat’s alike going to ‘posing coaches’ before they are about to hit the stage for competition. There is so much more to this than just hitting a few weights and dropping carbs…

Happy Training Gym Rats.

We love you.

Top exercises for the Booty

Barbell Hip Thrusts

Barbell Hip Thrusters

Cred: Zoe Caton @Zoe_Fitness_Caton

The Barbell Hip Thrust is a fantastic way to transform that backside! 
This exercise is a great way to strengthen glutes, building strength, speed and power.

There are many variations, but we love the barbell simplicity.

Cross Lunge Squats

Cross Lunge Squat

Cred: Leslie Munoz @LeslieMunoz

We love to target specific hard to reach muscle areas, and the cross over lunge squat is a great way to do just that!

PopSugar breaks down the technique in the following way:

  • Feet Shoulder Width apart.
  • Take a large step diagonally forward (11 o clock) with left foot, sinking down until thighs form right angles.
  • Extent legs, lift knee and bring towards chest. Step back with the left foot, this time lunging behind torso stepping diagonally back (8 o clock).
  • Sink down to complete first rep, then switch sides.

Dead Lifts

DeadLift

Cred: Jasmine Dawn @JasmineDawn91

There are many variations of the Deadlift. We recommend the Romanian DeadLift – Such a great Hamstring and glute blitz.

The Girls Gone Strong Blog is a great spot for tips and benefits of the DeadLift.

Essentially this is a hip hinging movement, and technique is absolutely crucial. Dead Lifts are a fantastic way to support the lose of body fat, gain muscle, get stronger, and become more athletic.

Squats

Squat for the Booty

Cred: Brittany Danyelle @BrittanyDanyelle0

Keep those feet flat, knees inline with the feet and a straight back. The squat is a fantastic booty worker!
Some of the top 10 benefits of the squat according to Beauty And Tips include:

  • Improve Circulation – bye bye cellulite.
  • Great for digestion – improves flow of nutrients and fluids.
  • Helps build muscle all over the body
  • Non-Impact exercise
  • Great to improve posture
  • Burn fat faster and lose weight
  • Tone your whole leg
  • Get that rounder, fuller booty.

Kettle Bell Sumo Squats

Sumo Squat

Cred: Zoe Lummis @MuscleBunny_Lummy

The Sumo Squat is a great exercise to get the Quads, Glutes and Hamstrings firing on all cylinders.

The wide stance allows us to focus on the pin point area on the inner thigh.
Some great tips according to Muscle & Fitness

  • Do not let your heels lose contact with the platform.
  • Do not let your knees cave inward.
  • Do not round your lower back as you squat.

 

 

Weighted Donkey Kicks

Donkey Kicks

Cred: Sally Miller @Sally_GymRatInc

With so many variations of the Donkey Kick, we love the resistance weighted technique, but know that you can certainly choose your variation of preference.

Lushious Lifts breaks down some fantastic information on this particular movement and it’s benefits to your gluteus maximus! But don't let that fool you, it will target all the supporting muscles too and really help bring that booty lifted shape.

Sled Runs

Sled Push

Cred: Elisha Thompson @Elisha_t22

The great thing with Weighted Sled Sprints is that it is a real compound workout that hits numerous muscle groups including our targeted area of the glutes, quads and hamstrings. Getting everything firing just the way we want!

According to Mens Fitness, optimal technique is “Arms Straight in front of you, head slightly down, and spine neutral”.