You must spend all day in the gym. People say this to me all the time. Because I carry a lot of lean muscle, which the general public does not know how to generate, common conception is that the gym must be my life.
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In this case less really is more.
Before I got into bikini bodybuilding I had a very standard, girl who exercises, type of body. It wasn't bad, you could tell I exercised, but no one was stopping me in the streets..
(Me BEFORE my Competition Days)
The ironic thing is that because I had not yet discovered the bodybuilding formula I was actually exercising MORE. Yoga, Pilates, Bar Method, stair master, walking, spin classes. I did it all!! But I still didn't have the figure I desired, and I had NO CLUE how to get there.
When I met my trainer Bill and he told me that he only wanted to train me 30 min a day I laughed in his face!
I was already exercising 2-3 hours most days and that wasn't enough. How could he get me there in 30 min? It seemed ludicrous.
Then we did high intensity intervals until I wanted to puke (it only took him about 5 min....) Apparently, I wasn't as fit as I thought!
So, here's the skinny.
Through working with Bill, I learned that any workout which you can maintain for longer then 30 minutes simply isn't hard enough. Time in the gym does not equal effort expended and we want to train harder in a shorter amount of time.
In other words, instead of throwing everything at the wall hoping it would stick, I needed to work smarter.
We started training 5 days a week for 30 min a day.
We trained first thing in the morning so that my heart rate would stay higher longer (more time to burn calories before bed)
Traditional cardio (such as running, elliptical, etc.) was not included. For a bikini body it is important to build lean bulky muscle. Sustained cardio actually breaks down too much muscle and causes muscles to appear smaller and softer. Weight bearing exercise is key!
(Behind the Scenes at my 2nd INBA Competition)
As mentioned above, the training sessions were high intensity interval. What this amounted to (practical application) was a circuit of 7 different exercises. Exercises were done back to back, 20 reps each, and we completed the circuit 3 times.
A Standard Circuit Usually Consisted of
- 1-3 Different Leg Exercises
- Chest and/ or Shoulders
- 1-2 High Intensity Cardio (15-20 reps of anything from tire flips to squat jumps)
- 1-2 Abdominal Exercises
The exact set up and nature of a workout will vary from person to person depending on goals. For example, the gym experience for a power lifter is vastly different to the experience for a bikini girl.
For bikini, long lean muscle bulk is key, and the above formula is how we accomplished that.
With this type of workout, it is vitally important NOT to take breaks. We are doing short workouts with no added cardio because the lifting IS your cardio.
Lift constantly for 30 min and you will be out of breath and sweating! I Guarantee it!
Light activities such as walking can be added to this regime as desired but nothing too strenuous. A good rule of thumb is, if you are too out of breath to carry on a conversation then cut back. Our goal is to build muscle up not break it down!
These days my personal workout looks a bit different for a few practical reasons.
1.Actually competing takes A LOT of time, disciple and drive which I prefer to devote to other areas of my life (such as building a business) so these days I am more focused on maintaining then competing
2. Sharing the Space... I currently train myself at a local gym which means it's pretty much impossible to set up a 7-exercise circuit without other people jumping on and claiming the machines.
3. About 4 years ago I discovered and became passionate about aerial silks.
(Me in my Happy Place)
This is a disciple that just happens to fit perfectly into a high intensity workout plan because its load bearing (holding your own weight in the air) and high intensity cardio (stay up there 3 min or more and I guarantee you will be dying on the floor afterwards!)
Because I am not actually preparing to compete, AND I spend a lot of time in the aerial studio I don't actually need to train as hard as I once did. (Please note: I can slack off a little bit now BECAUSE I worked so hard during the years I was competing. Maintenance is MUCH easier then achieving).
For the Past Couple of Years my Routine has Been
- Gym 3-4 days a week
- Silks 3-5 days a week
In the gym I have adapted to doing super sets (2-3 exercises back to back). Usually this looks something like:
- 2 Leg Exercises
- Back and Triceps OR Chest/Shoulders and Biceps
- 2 Abdominal Exercises and 1 High Intensity Cardio
I want to stress that exercises are grouped this way due to convenience (what machines are next to each other) and not some kind of super smart gym guru strategy.
(Me Today. Three Years Post Competition)
Want to Know my Dirty Little Secret??
I HATE THE GYM!!!
In my opinion the gym is boring, repetitive and there are literally a bazillion other things I would rather be doing.
That said, weight lifting is THE most effective thing I have found for lean, bulky muscle and 2 hrs. a week is well worth being able to confidently love my body.
The Take Away Message is
You DO NOT have to be a total gym rat to get that bikini body!
I hope that the practical advice listed above helps you to streamline your exercise plan and achieve YOUR ideal body.
It's actually quite easy once you learn the magic formula. That said, it can be worth hiring an expert in the beginning, just to learn the ropes.
Please feel free to post questions if there is anything you are unclear on and
HAVE AN AWESOME BIKINI DAY!
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