“No, no,” I told the woman beside me on the Stairmill during my warm-up. “Weight training and lots of protein won’t make you big and ugly. It’ll make you firm and sexy.” I was doing something I find myself doing often in the gym — trying to convince the cardio queen to come over into the free weights area.
The problem wasn’t the message; it was the messenger. I’m a veiny, muscley dude after all, and I’m pretty sure this lady didn’t want to look anything like me, so why should she train and eat like me? Not great logic, but I can understand her confusion.
What she really needed was to talk to a woman. A woman who not only knows a lot about exercise and nutrition but a woman who looks like she knows a lot about exercise and nutrition! In short, she needed to hear the message from a Figure Athlete.
So I decided to seek out a few women just like that; our very own FA contributors. I asked them two simple questions:
1. What’s your best tip for losing fat?
2. What’s your best tip for muscle building?
One thing is for sure: They didn’t suggest that women avoid weights, adopt a carrot stick diet, and spend all day on the Stairmill! Here’s their best advice!
Best Tip for Building Muscle
Muscle Building Tip 1
Make sure the bulk of your weight training routine consists of compound lifts, and strive to get as strong as possible performing those movements with perfect form. It’s not only rewarding to see yourself get stronger, but you’ll gain a nice amount of lean mass in all the right places that way, too!
Muscle Building Tip 2
Eat! Women have a difficult time fueling themselves with enough of the right foods to build muscle. Most women are afraid of getting fat, so they never eat enough to gain muscle.
Also, make building muscle the number one goal. Most women make the mistake of trying to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. You won’t see the results in either direction. Instead, pick one and really focus on it.
So if your goal is building muscle, focus on that and only that for a set period of time. Eat to build muscle, train to build muscle, and build muscle!
Muscle Building Tip 3
Persistence. You must consistently and continually work hard and progressively on all fronts: training, eating, resting, visualizing. Persistence does pay off regarding building strength and muscle.
Those who invest in the Iron Game over a long period of time reap the benefits. Those who enjoy the actual work of training and aren’t always focused on the outcomes also get better and more impressive results over time.
You must love lifting and know and apply basic muscle building principles in order to grow. Persistently punish your muscles with stimulus: feed them for growth and fuel; give them rest, and never allow negative thoughts and energy to impede the process!
Muscle Building Tip 4
There are actually two things that are the end-all bible of muscle building: adding weight to your exercises on a regular basis, and eating enough food.
When gauging results, I’d encourage people not to focus on appearance so much as how much weight you can lift. Stronger muscles are bigger muscles. Bigger muscles are created by a sufficient caloric intake. Don’t try to create enormous caloric deficits if your primary goal is to gain muscle.
Muscle Building Tip 5
Make sure you’re getting enough protein! Protein is a must for muscle growth and repair. Most of us are in a constant routine of training and recovery, which means we need the “building blocks” of muscle on a constant and consistent basis. Neglecting your protein intake while trying to build muscle is like giving a plant sunlight, but no water!
Aim to consume between 20 to 40 grams of protein per meal, every few hours, and that should ensure that you’re getting enough amino acids to replenish, repair, and grow properly.
Best Tip for Fat Loss
Fat Loss Tip 1
Patience. You must be patient and give the fat loss process time, as our stubborn areas are often the last to go. We frequently abandon or abandon a method or protocol if we do not see immediate results. Remember that what you see visually on the outside is a reflection of what’s happening physiologically on the inside, so give the process time to work from the inside out.
Also, there’s often a “tipping point” when you’ll look dramatically different from a fat loss perspective. So from 20 to 16% body fat you may look very similar aesthetically, but BOOM, as soon as you drop down to 15%, you all of a sudden look a lot leaner.
Lastly, be open to experimenting: You won’t find a book called “(Your Name Here)’s Best Strategies for Fat Loss.” It’s very individual. If you’re afraid to experiment you’ll not learn your best methods.
Fat Loss Tip 2
Make of weighing your food a habit, and keeping track of every piece that goes in your mouth. Diet is the single mostimportant thing when it comes to fat loss, and being mindful is the first step to getting it right.
Fat Loss Tip 3
Keep a food log. To begin, this is the most important thing in many respects. Most people underestimate their food intake by 50%, give or take. That’s significant! Since fat loss is 90% diet, the more that gap of accuracy can be bridged, the more success an individual will see.
Fat Loss Tip 4
Don’t “wing” your diet! So many people are killing themselves in the gym, only to see little or no results due to improper nutrition. You can’t pay all your attention to what you’re expending in the gym without giving any thought to what you’re shoveling down your throat!
Proper nutrition is needed to refuel and replenish your body, as well as grow your muscles and metabolize and burn body fat. You don’t “wing” something that important. You plan it!
Fat Loss Tip 5
My number one best tip is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Most women are overly at ease. Their bodies are too accustomed to what they are doing — their training, diet, and entire routine.
Your body will not change unless you place a new demand on it. You won’t see results if your workouts don’t leave you exhausted because you pushed yourself too hard, or if your diet isn’t “easy to stick to.”
Lift more weight, increase your interval intensity, stop justifying eating foods you shouldn’t, and don’t be afraid to completely change your routine. Get out of the comfort zone and challenge yourself!
What have we learned here? While each tip above is good, the real lesson lies in the overlap. Notice how many of our experts mentioned not just lifting weights, but lifting heavy weights and really pushing yourself. A sexy, hard female body is not built with pink dumbbells and wimpy weight training routines.
How about diet? Well, as you can see, nutrition is the key regardless of the goal. Too often we try to out-exercise a bad diet, and as many of our contributors said, that just isn’t going to happen. Yes, work hard in the gym, but if you want fast results that last a lifetime, you have to work just as hard at the dinner table.