I am a weakling.
And it kind of sucks.
I am of virtually zero help to my husband whenever he has to move around furniture or other heavy things in our house. I can barely pick up my dog to put him in the bathtub. I have teeny little skinny sticks for arms and legs, and while I do love my body unconditionally, I’m a little sick of having the shape of a twelve-year-old.
Unlike many would-be fitness enthusiasts, I am not at all interested in losing weight. (Actually, quite the opposite, I would like to GAIN more weight, both fat and muscle). But I AM interested in being fit. As I am now, I am literally a “97-pound weakling,” aspiring to become not “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed [Wo]man” but, well, a fit woman.
I have enjoyed working out in the past, but really haven’t done much of anything in the way of workouts or fitness training in years. But, I’m getting a little tired of looking and feeling like a waif of a wimpy, skinny girl, when I think that I was designed to be strong. To be fit. To do things that build my body up, in more ways than just eating nutritious food can do.
So I was super excited when just the other day, my friend Sean Flanagan, a fitness expert loved and respected by lots of other experts I love and respect, sent me his new fitness program, the Fit Body Blueprint for Women, 2.0. I knew this was JUST what I needed—a clear, easy-to-follow guide designed by someone I trust, to guide me through the steps I need to take toward fitness goals that make sense. And Sean is definitely that guy.
Sean is legit, you guys. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen him chime in from time to time with his super-smart words of wisdom, hilarious commentary, and general bad-assery. He’s one of the rare health and nutrition figures today that I feel really, truly gets it. He doesn’t bow down to any particular dietary guru, he follows no set fitness religion—he bases his philosophies on scientifically-sound, reasonable, logical, and sustainable principles that actually work, and produce long-term results. All while not being completely, obnoxiously self-righteous about everything he promotes. (How many other health and fitness experts can you say that about?!) He’s just genuinely a real, honest, likable guy. I couldn’t wait to read all about Sean’s entire process for directing women toward their fitness goals with this new edition of his program. There’s no one else I’d rather have to guide me through it all.
So, Sean tells you right from the start when you open up the Fit Body Blueprint to read the whole thing over, which is what I just did. I’ve already learned SO much. Here’s a few of the things I’ve picked up from reading through Sean’s program in only the last hour or two.
The Myth of “Toning”
The #1 most common misconception regarding women’s fitness is the myth of “toning.” Yeah, you know, like when girls always say, “Oh I don’t want to build muscle—I just want to get toned!” Are you guilty of this? Here’s why that mentality actually doesn’t make sense at all.
Many people believe that “toning” is a word that actually means something at all. When a woman describes toning, she generally is referring to the end result of gaining some muscle and staying as lean as currently or getting leaner. It’s important to put those in accurate terms, because how women’s desire for this idea of “toning” is generally used to sell a bunch of fitness solutions that do nothing. They say you’ll get bulky if you lift heavy weights, so you need to lift light weights and get “toned”. The reality is that “toned” look is MUSCLE – if you gain 5 lbs of muscle, you’re going to look more “toned.” So don’t be afraid of muscle – and programs that talk to you about getting toned are probably not going to deliver it – precisely because they’re trying to KEEP YOU from gaining the muscle REQUIRED for that look.
Cardio won’t make you fit
Is spending hours every week on an elliptical machine at a gym really the best way to work toward fitness goals? Sean has some other ideas for you instead.
Cardio has a role, but for most people and their goals, it should be more at the top of your pyramid of priorities rather than as your foundation. Instead you generally see the opposite. Traditional ‘low and slow’ cardio as your primary exercise form is great if you’re an absolute beginner and you’re just trying to introduce regular activity to your body, but you very quickly reach a point of diminishing returns. As you get better at any exercise, you expend less energy to perform it; in other words, fewer calories. You hit somewhat of a ceiling on how much benefit you can get.
Your #1 priority in your training schedule needs to be resistance training – to either build or preserve muscle (depending on current strategy). And then other training should be built around that. This is what will help you change your body composition (appearance of shape and body fat percentage) as efficiently as possible, rather than keeping the same figure and just shrinking a little bit.
So, yeah—don’t expect that this program is going to prescribe you to start training for a half-marathon or logging in countless boring hours of jogging on a treadmill. Sean clearly explains that the foundation of your fitness program needs to be resistance training. Cardio, and low-intensity exercise can certainly play a part in meeting your goals, but that’s not where your focus needs to be.
You don’t have to lift “like a girl”
Men’s and women’s workouts actually shouldn’t be drastically different from one another. This was news to me. Check out what Sean has to say about it (crafted into a little meme by yours truly).
Guys need to stop doing so many freaking sets of bicep curls and do more pulls, presses, and squats…. And women need to stop doing so many freaking sets of tricep kickbacks and leg lifts and do more pulls, presses, and squats. The differences in goals doesn’t mandate radically different training – just slight divergences. A person looking to burn more fat may use more circuit training and then there’s differing dietary strategies based upon goals….. but good exercise is good exercise.
Point is, women need to stop lifting wimpy little nothing-weights if their goal is body recomposition—that means changing the shape of your body to define muscle tone where desired, and reduce fat where desired. In other words, to look “toned.” Which as we’ve established, ain’t gonna happen by pumping tiny two-pound dumbbells. You need serious resistance training, to gain muscle, in order to have this type of desired effect on your body.
Benefits of Strength Training
Fit Body Blueprint for Women is, unapologetically, strength-training-based. And that’s because fitness really ought to mean an improvement in strength. Resistance training is how you get there.
I didn’t even realize how far-reaching the benefits of strength-based resistance training are. It’s so much more than just building muscles and losing fat.
- Burns calories AFTER the workout, not just during!
- Shapes your body, rather than just change the size of it
- Getting stronger boosts your self-confidence and improves mood
- Alleviates clinical mental illness including depression
- Boosts libido from increase in testosterone production (don’t worry ladies, you’re not gonna start growing hair on your chest or anything! But you could have some better and more frequent…quality time… with your partner)
- Increases bone density and prevents bone loss, decreasing risk of osteoporosis
- Reduces symptoms of arthritis and chronic pain
- Improves balance, strength, and weight maintenance
- Improves sleep and alleviates insomnia
- Improves cardiac health and decreases risk of heart disease
- Improves glucose control
- Increases insulin and leptin sensitivity
- Improves hormonal health
- Increases metabolism and cellular respiration
This is something that I am now convinced is so critical to your health, that I think everyone should be doing it. Yeah, everyone. Especially women! Women are at a greater risk for many those health issues listed above which strength training improves.
A truly different approach to fitness
Sean has a very body-positive, women-positive mindset that I truly love and appreciate. Here’s a good example of what I mean—you know how people sometimes use before and after progress pictures? Well, Sean wants you to think of those as “process pictures.” He explains:
Use of the word “process” rather than “progress” – though perhaps seemingly a typo – is absolutely intentional. I want you to use the visual changes you see in your body as merely another form of data on your process – and not put physique on too high of a pedestal.
This is because Sean’s program isn’t designed to give you hyped-up promises of weight loss and other somewhat meaningless markers of health—his primary goal is to help you become fit and healthy. All while respecting yourself and respecting your body.
As Sean says, “This book is not intended to be yet another fitness book that romanticizes the process of getting skinny no matter what – this is about taking care of yourself for the long haul.” And what’s more important than that?
I am so stoked about having this program now. What I’m saying is that I think I actually have what I need now to actually start working out. This is a big deal for me!! But I know I can do it with this program, because I know Sean’s style and it’ll be something I can stick with. So I am starting at the beginning, and I’ll be working my way through it at my own pace AND blogging about my progress—er, process—as I go! I’m gonna lift things, and eat lots of food, and gain MUSCLE! And I won’t be a little weakling anymore. 🙂 Should be pretty fun.
Wanna join me?
Sean is offering his newest updated version of the Fit Body Blueprint for Women on sale right now.
The Fit Body Blueprint for Women includes:
- A full-length fitness manual with all the information you need PLUS instructional videos
- Three step-by-step printable workout logs for all three phases of the program
- The Warm Up & Cool Down “Cheat Sheet”
- Printable daily journal to record your progress
- A weekly checklist for meeting your goals
- A special report on “What a Healthy Female Body Looks Like”
- Recommendations for continued progress
- A BONUS guide: The Ultimate Bodyweight Conditioning Fit Body 4-Week Training Manual
- Plus more—you get 11 total digital documents in all
I think it’s a really great deal (certainly a heck of a lot cheaper than hiring a personal trainer!!) and I’m so glad to finally have a fitness program I can recommend to everyone. Get your Fit Body Blueprint for Women package now so you can get started on your journey to better health and fitness TODAY! Let’s DO this!!