I’ve been pretty active over the years but I was never really sure what to do in the gym….did I train all body parts in one day? Should I split my training into an upper body workout and a leg workout? When should I do cardio, same day as weights? Different days? My training mostly involved attending classes for some direction (circuits & spin).
A couple of years ago whilst I was a uni I started to worry that I was ”skinny fat” (a slim figure with greater fat percentage to lean muscle mass). The danger of being ”skinny fat” is that a higher fat percentage can still pose the same health risks as someone with obesity; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Of course this is usually accompanied by other unhealthy lifestyle factors; inactivity, poor diet, smoking etc. Sometimes this can be more dangerous because people think because they are a”healthy” weight they aren’t at risk.
I decided that I needed a personal trainer to revamp my workout routine. My goal was simple; I wanted to build muscle mass. After some research of the personal trainers at my gym I chose Victoria. She had competed in a number of bikini/physique competitions and had her pro card. I trained with her once a week and 4-5 sessions outside of that. Many of the programmes were similar to what she would use for prep. These were body building style plans with muscle group/body part splits, for example one day you would complete a leg workout, the next day your upper body workout.
I found that I really enjoyed this style of training. It gave me independence in the gym, meaning I could go at any time and not rely on classes (turns out I train better in the mornings!). I started to see improvements in my strength and physique which built my body confidence. I also love just getting in the gym and zoning out for an hour.
Its coming up to two years since I started weight training. It’s something I’ve actually stuck with and still enjoy. Of course I adapt my own plans now but they still follow the same sort of structure. Thought I’d give you a little insight to what one of my leg workouts looks like. Maybe give it a go as something different?
Emily’s Leg Workout
- Front squats (4 x 10)
- Back squats (4 x 10)
- Overhead lunge walks (4 x 12 total) superset weighted wall sits (4 x 30sec)
- Curtsy lunges (barbell) (3 x 10) superset reverse deficit lunges (3 x 8) (dumbbell)
With front squats I use a lighter weight but I am able to go much deeper with good form, whilst back squats I can go much heavier whilst still maintaining good form. Superset curtsy lunges with deficit lunges on one side then switch and keep alternating until you reach the 3 sets on each leg.
Rest is 45sec to 1min between sets.
Go as heavy as possible whilst still keeping good technique. You should be feeling fatigued towards the end of the set and may not manage all reps in the last sets.
This leg workout usually takes 1 hour with warm-up/cool down.
Now, don’t be fooled with this lower body workout. It may not look like much but this is DOMS guaranteed. This wasn’t even DOMS the next day, it was a few hours later! I especially felt it in my glutes and quads. Be careful using stairs after you’ve finished, jelly legs!
Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, building muscle mass helps to increase metabolism and fat burning capacity. It is therefore essential for weight loss and maintenance. Also great for stronger bones and supporting joints, giving a better quality of life and decreased risk of injury, especially useful for ageing health. If you’re after some fat loss too, why not check out this quick circuit you could fit in on another day.