If you’re active on Instagram, there’s a high chance you have come across female fitness models and influencers.
With the abundance of online female fitness models, there has been a bigger influence than ever on women wanting to increase strength and muscle mass, something that was taboo not so long ago.
Gone are the days of women not wanting to lift weights in fear they will look “too masculine” or “too bulky”. Strong is on trend, and we believe it’s here to stay!
With the rise in popularity of women lifting weights, there has been an equal rise in women wanting to compete as fitness models, embracing the weight-lifting culture that was once a very male-dominated area of the fitness world.
However, with the wealth of information on weightlifting readily available online, it can be tricky to figure out the best training program, the best diet, and the best approach to becoming a fitness model (or at least training and eating like one).
As it’s so difficult to know how to achieve this, we have put together this guide to help you!
Here you will find out everything you need to know about:
- The benefits of resistance training
- Types of resistance training
- Female fitness model workouts
- Training tips
- Diet and Nutrition tips
First, let’s look at how we build muscle!
Muscle Building 101
Muscle building, also known as hypertrophy, is described as the increase and growth of muscle cells, thus an increase in size through resistance training.
Hypertrophy-focused training programs are primarily designed to cause muscle growth by increasing the size of your muscle fibres.
The three principles of hypertrophy training are:
1. Progressive overload - exposing the muscle fibres to increasing levels of tension through lifting heavier weights or increasing reps overtime
2. Muscle damage - essentially tearing (micro-tearing) our muscle fibres, causing them to grow back bigger and stronger.
3. Metabolic stress - regularly working our muscles to failure, further instigating muscle gains.
Now we have understood the process of building muscle, let’s look at the benefits of doing so!
Benefits of Resistance Training
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is described as the use of resistance to a muscular contraction to build strength, anaerobic endurance and the size of skeletal muscles.
This form of training is one that uses a mixture of bodyweight, gravity, resistance bands, barbells, dumbbells, and other forms of weight.
Resistance training carries many benefits that ultimately lead to being healthier, stronger, and leaner.
Here are some of the top benefits of resistance training:
- Improve Athletic Performance
A stronger body results in better power, speed, agility, and endurance. This is why resistance training is the foundation of any fitness program, as it helps the body adapt to any physical situation inside and outside of training.
- Enhance Fat Loss
To put it simply, the more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism. A fast metabolism means burning more calories, and a better chance of reducing body fat.
- Reduce Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Resistance training improves cardiovascular health, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Reduce Risk of Injury, Back Pain, and Arthritis
Resistance training is known to not only strengthen muscles, but also increase bone density. An increase in bone density reduces the risk of fractures and breaks, as well as building stronger connective tissues.
This is a big benefit for women, as they are more at risk of osteoporosis than men, so weight training appears to be a good defence against this.
- Decrease Stress Levels and Improve Mood
Any type of exercise releases endorphins, which are the brain chemicals known to improve mood, prevent pain, and help relieve symptoms of depression. Not to mention, strength training helps us feel more confident in ourselves, thus improving overall mood.
- Gain Muscle and Strength
Time to bust a myth! Women can gain muscle and strength without the need to look “bulky”. It’s extremely difficult for women to build muscle mass to the point a man can due to the lack of testosterone.
Women can gain muscle mass and strength while maintaining a “feminine”, toned body as opposed to the bulky look.
That being said, there is also nothing wrong with any woman wanting to achieve a “bulkier” look, as this is just as empowering as any other body composition goal a woman has.
Types of Resistance Training
- Bodyweight Training
Amazingly, we don’t always need weights for resistance training. Bodyweight movements allow us to simply use our bodyweight and gravity to cause the resistance we need - think squats, push-ups, lunges, etc.
Bodyweight training can help us build the foundations of good form, functional movement, and initial muscle growth and strength gains.
- Weight Training
Once the basics are nailed down and the foundations are laid, progressing onto strength training would be the next good idea - ensuring you are applying progressive overload to your program.
At this stage, you’d be looking at incorporating free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.), barbells and plates, and weight machines into your training program.
Female Fitness Model Workouts
When it comes to training, there are many programs you can follow available online that all offer a different approach to training. Though, it’s most effective to incorporate a split into your training program, for example:
Monday - Glutes & legs
Tuesday - Chest & Triceps
Wednesday - Cardio
Thursday - Shoulders & Abs
Friday - Back & Biceps
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Cardio
Let’s look at some example works for each day!
Glutes & Legs
- Squats - 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Lunges - 4 sets of 10-12 reps each leg
- Kettlebell swings - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Bulgarian split squats - 4 sets of 8-10 reps each leg
- Glute bridge - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Goblet squats - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Calf raises - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Walking lunges - 4 sets of 10-12 reps each leg
- Box jumps - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Good mornings - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Chest & Triceps
- Dumbbell bench press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Incline chest flies - 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Tricep kickbacks (dumbbell) - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Skill crushers - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Push ups - 4 sets of as many reps as possible
- Cable crossover - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- High-angle face pull - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Incline dumbbell bench press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Tricep dips - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Triceps rope pushdown - 4 sets of as many reps as possible
Shoulders & Abs
- Seated dumbbell shoulder press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Overhead press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Dumbbell lateral raise - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
4 rounds of:
- Dead bug - 10 reps each side
- Hanging knee raise - 10 reps
- Sit ups - 10 reps
- Russian twists - 10 reps
- Barbell push press - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Upright rows - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Dumbbell front raise - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Alternating overhead press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps each arm
4 rounds of:
- Crunches - 10 reps
- Bicycle kicks - 10 reps each leg
- Leg raises - 10 reps
- Plank - for as long as possible
Back & Biceps
- Bent-over barbell row - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Lat pulldown - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Chin ups - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- EZ-bar bicep curls - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Incline dumbbell curls - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Barbell deadlift - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Single arm dumbbell row - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Barbell Good morning - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Dumbbell hammer curls - 4 sets of 8-10
- Single arm preacher curl - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
As a general rule of thumb, 30–60-minute cardio sessions could be in the form of any of the following:
- Indoor rowing
- Stair climber
- Indoor cycling
You have the versatility of mixing the intensity of these cardio sessions, such as challenging yourself to complete a certain distance on a running timer while incorporating rest.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to cardio is doing something you enjoy best!
- Warming up
Ensure you do a proper warm up before each session to avoid any risk of injury and prime your muscles for the session ahead. This is also a good opportunity to practice your form and technique with slower, lighter movements before your working sets.
Warming up increases blood flow and your body temperature, thus making it easier to move and train. Try to avoid training on cold, stiff joints, which makes it harder to move, thus increasing your risk of injury.
- Form and technique
Speaking of form and technique, being mindful of this can save you from serious injuries, particularly when weight is involved. Engaging your working muscles, your core, and ensuring your joints are aligned are all important points to consider when checking your form.
- Choosing appropriate weight
Avoid lifting weights too heavy for your current strength capacity. When warming up, gauge your sub-maximal weight by doing plenty of reps of a light weight and assessing the difficulty. Lifting lighter with good form would be more beneficial for gains than trying to lift heavier weights with poor form.
- Cooling down
Cool down after your workout by doing some light mobility and stretches. This will improve the range of motion of your joints and will also help bring your heart rate back down to baseline.
Did you know your muscles grow when you rest, not when you train? Training simply damages and stresses the muscle, but the recovery and growth takes place after this.
This is why sleep and nutrition is key, as outside of training your muscles needs nutrients and rest in order to repair and grow optimally.
Diet and Nutrition Tips
Achieving a body like a fitness model is solely down to your diet and nutrition habits. While training is key to growing muscles, your nutrition would massively complement this, as well as manage your body composition.
So, if you want to maximize your muscle and strength gains, nutrition must be considered as a major part of your program.
Here are some of our top diet, nutrition, and supplement tips:
- Eat a balanced post-workout meal
Rehydrate, replenish and repair your muscles after working out with a meal that includes sufficient protein and carbohydrates.
- Fuel your sessions
Ensure you consume a meal or snack before your workout, rich in carbohydrates and protein to fuel your muscles.
- Consume adequate protein
Prioritise protein at every meal, ensuring you hit your daily target to support your muscle growth and repair.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole foods is essential for your overall health and wellbeing, as well as supporting your gains and physical performance.
- Maintain physical activity
Stay physically active throughout the day to support your recovery - also known as active recovery!
Sleep is key to ensuring your muscles are rested and recovered optimally before your next session. It’s also essential to all other aspects of your physical and mental health and failing to achieve 7-8 hours per night could be a detriment to your training and recovery.
- Track your progress
Taking progress pictures, weighing and measuring yourself every week, as well as tracking your training goals only ensures you’re on the right track to achieving your body composition goals.
- Consider a supplement like Burn Lab Pro
Burn Lab Pro helps accelerate your results by burning more fat, optimizing your performance, and supporting your overall recovery from training.