The major request I get from my clients is to lose fat, gain some muscle (tone), not get too bulky, get some curves in some places and achieve an hourglass shape. Fortunately this IS possible with proper weight-training!
THE HOURGLASS: CHANGING THE SHAPE OF YOUR BODY
To create this curvy, aesthetically pleasing shape we have to focus on growing the bottom and top muscles and shrink the middle part of your body. We are essentially creating an illusion. And this is how we do it:
Let’s start with lower body. Hip width is genetic, but you can build your glutes. You can train the glute muscles to grow in size in the back as well as on the sides. You can train them to be big and lifted. Or just lifted if you don’t like the “big butt look”. Next are your hamstrings and your quads. You have to train these muscles to grow in size to get a lean, toned look. You will not just blow up and get huge- that is a misconception. You have control over how you look, it doesn’t happen on it’s own.
Exercises to do: Squat, Romanian Deadlifts, Leg Press, Leg Curls, Hip Thurst, Back Extensions
Next we will focus on your waist. Ideally, we don’t want a wide blocky waist. For this reason, we DO NOT focus on excess ab exercises especially with heavier weight. You still have to train your abs as you want your core to be strong. You also want the toned flat stomach look. This will NOT come from excessive ab training. Training your abs too much will make them bigger. You want to shrink the size of your waist for the hourglass look and this will come mainly from fat loss.
Exercises to do: Deadbug, Leg Raises, Planks
Third we will focus on upper body. Many women come to me scared about training upper body. They don’t want wide and big muscles. However, training upper body is important for many reasons. Let’s talk about aesthetic. Wider shoulders will give an illusion of a smaller waist. It gives an illusion of an hourglass shape. Also, posture. A strong back and chest will help you stand up straighter, look taller and leaner. And of course functional reasons- upper body is half your body, it doesn’t make sense to ignore it. Bad posture does not look good and it leads to shoulder, back and hip injuries- which can lead to imbalances. Again, you will not get “huge muscles” or get “too wide” by chance. It takes effort and time to build that much muscle- coming from someone who has been training for 7 years!
Exercises to do: Chest Press, Lat Pulldown, Seated Row, Shoulder Press, Facepulls
WHAT ABOUT FAT LOSS?
Weight training will definitely help you lose fat. It will also increase muscle tone, and to reveal that muscle, you have to strip the fat on top. This is where diet and cardio comes in – but for this article I am not touching on diet (Check out nutrition articles: Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Flexible Diet). Depending on your current bodyfat, there are certain types of cardio that will be better for you. You need to research different types of cardio, and try out all of them and see which one helps the more. Duration is also important- most only need 1 hour of cardio per week, split into 2-3 sessions. No need to overdo it.
SO… WHAT TO DO?
RESEARCH! If you’re working out and not getting results, it does not make sense to continue doing what you’re doing. This is why most people quit. But quitting is NOT the answer! What you really should be doing is research. The internet is full of information and misinformation so learn to differentiate between fact and myth. Get a few sessions with a qualified Personal Trainer, not a salesperson (the ones you find at big box gyms). Contact me for help or recommendations on good Coaches or Personal Trainers in your area. Just don’t keep doing something if you’re not getting the results you want. You can get results FAST if you really wanted to!
*Also check out my hourglass/bikini body program!
Good Luck and Happy Training!