Strength exercise won’t burn calories but will help to tone and sculpt the body. Females and males alike look much more attractive if their bodies are made up of muscles not fat. Even if fat is present, toned muscles change the body image and its behavior. Cliches aside, this one of the healthiest hobbies and doesn’t take much time per week. Ladies – you won’t look like a guy as muscle growth is two to three times slower in females than in men. This means that an average woman won’t look very bulky. Remember that both female and male models from bodybuilding magazines’ spreads virtually always use anabolic steroids.

My blog post on the subject:

Weightlifting is very helpful during slimming down – it helps to fill out the spaces that are left after the loss of fat nicely (remnants of fat visible just under the skin never look too attractively). Muscles are much heavier than fat and its layout is completely different to fat – if your strength grows but weight doesn’t drop, there’s no reason to be alarmed. A person who has 10% more of body fat and another person who has 10% more of muscle mass can have identical weight while their appearance will be completely different.

Usually, the first question asked is whether body fat can be “spot reduction” – for example, on the belly so that one can show off his six-pack. All online routines aiming at this, the famous “Weider six pack routine” included are a scam. Sadly, people are lured into this and spend considerable amounts of time and effort doing these pointless exercises, and then, when there are no effects, they become disheartened and give up.

In order to get the six-pack, the general level of fat in the body needs to be very low – at about 10% of total body mass in males and 15% of total body mass in females. Otherwise, regardless of how bulky the muscles are, they will always be covered in a layer of fat, masking them. Of course, everybody is different and fat is distributed uniquely to an individual – some people amass it on the thighs, some on the belly. Yet, there is no way to burn only abdominal fat, for example. If one is unlucky and the fat is distributed on the core of the body, he has to grin and bear it – and lower the total body fat to levels below 8%. Same for women who store their fat on thighs or buttocks – it is impossible to burn the fat by squats – you have to lower the general body fat %.

Once again, I’d stress – sit ups are NOT the optimal exercise for getting the desired six-pack. Rectus abdomins – this very attractive muscle – brings the ribs to the pelvis and hinges a human body in half; not at the waist though (as if you were doing sit ups) but more or less in the belly button region. Crunches are a good exercise but a significant weight has to be used in order to see the effects – do it while holding a kettle-bell behind your head. It should be heavy enough to stop you from doing more than 20 repetitions. Do 2 or 3 routines and then allow the body to rest for 1-2 days and repeat again. You can use a special exercise wheel that allows you to slide forward while kneeling.

The overall rule of all body building exercise is to: use heavy weights (causing inability to do more than 20 reps), not doing more than two (max three) repetitions of one exercises and then the muscle must be allowed to regenerate for one to two days.

Thighs and buttocks exercises will probably be of much interest to the ladies. Note that some of these exercises were talked about already in the essay about the protruding belly issue. The exercises make the buttocks round, toned and sculpted instead of saggy (this is related to increased muscle tone). Bulkier and more muscular look of the legs may be an issue to some but beauty is a subjective topic. By no means will the legs look like those of a male body-builder while the outline of quadriceps may become visible.

Wrong stance in squat can be detrimental to the health of the spine or knees so the correct technique is the key to safety. Stand hip distance apart, push the hips back slightly and then lower yourself down as if sitting down on a chair behind you; body is not titled forward, chest is slightly pushed forward, spine is long and the tail is not curled under. Tail curled under will make you unable to go deep into the pose due to an inefficient muscle stretch (still it may be less noticeable in females than males). Knees should always be over the feet – you may need to bring them to the sides a bit.

Additionally, exercises targeting gluteus medius help with toning the buttocks. Lie down on the side and bring the upper leg up (you may use leg weights). Bend the leg on the floor and slide it forward for extra stability. The active leg must be very precisely aligned with the body (straight or slightly over the body). When creating a training plan, make sure that each muscle is activated every few days. You can to a total body routine every second day, doing one series of a given exercises or you can alternatively use a three day training cycle: upper body on Mondays, lower body Tuesdays, rest day on Wednesdays, etc. It is great to train with a professional instructor or even an experienced friend as this prevents injury and building an incorrect pattern of muscle growth (agonists stronger than antagonists etc.).