Can the full body workout you recommended for middle-aged
women with minimum equipment (home gym) also be adapted by younger
women who may want to achieve a more of a fitness look? Can it
be tweaked to be used in a gym with more available equipment
to provide maximum cosmetic effect for minimal time investment?
Maybe not fitness competitor but approaching that look if that
is even possible on a minimal
training program. A lot of this is out of personal interest.
I'm naturally muscular so probably can get by on a minimal amount
of weight training and spend the rest of my time on cardiovascular
this would be possible. The program I had outlined is more of
a general conditioning program intended to be used when little
equipment is available. I would recommend to anyone to use the
equipment at a gym if one is available and within 15 minutes
distance. Access to a gym may provide many benefits at any age.
Many individuals may find too many distractions at home and consequently,
may end up not exercising regularly at home. The resistance on
weight training equipment can be more easily scaled so they would
be less likely to be forced to use resistances that are either
too heavy or too light as sometimes happens with calisthenics
type exercises. The equipment found at a gym can be easier customize
to the exerciser. There is more of a variety of exercises to
choose from allowing for a program that is less boring and may
provide stimulus for continued progress. Also see Restimulating
Progress by Changing Exercises
On the other hand, other individuals find a fitness facility
either too intimidating or consider the trip to to the facility
too inconvenient, particularly if it is greater than 15 minutes
away. In this case, exercising at home is certainly an advisable
Each case will have to be assessed to determine the most suitable
program strategy. There will always be a compromise between what
may be recommended and what the individual
is willing to do. Also see Exercise
& Sports Psychology Tidbits.
The process of toning involves restoring as much muscle as
losing body fat. Since muscle is denser than fat, individuals
who tone may not lose weight, but appear slightly smaller and
consequently more fit looking. Conversely, weight loss involves
losing more fat than gaining muscle.
I believe it is more difficult to achieve the fit look without
a combination of weight training and appropriate dietary practices.
Those that can achieve this look without implementing these components
are most likely already, or naturally not far from this ideal
body type. Whatever cannot be achieved through dietary restrictions
will have to be achieved through caloric expenditure, which will
take a lot of time and effort.
Although women appear to tolerate a high volume program better
than men, I encourage you to see how you respond to a low volume
program involving the least number of weight training exercises
with the fewest number of sets, particularly with the goal of
toning or weight loss. For one, greater intensity can be achieved
with an abbreviated weight training program. See low
While aerobic exercise will burn fat during exercise, anaerobic
exercise, like weight training and sprints, can continue to burn
fat for hours after exercise. It seems the intensity of the anaerobics
is the primary factor in sustained metabolism hours after exercise.
The article you shared with me regarding HIIT was very informative
and illustrated this concept nicely. I have summarized the HIIT study on ExRx.net.
The combination of weight training and aerobics appears to
be more effective in fat loss as compared to only performing
weight training or aerobic exercise alone, even at the same caloric
expenditure. See Resistance
Weight Training With Endurance Training Improves Fat Loss.
That being said, most people overestimate the amount of cardio
required to achieve a body transformation and underestimate the
importance of diet.
Weight training is also an important component. It has also
been theorized that an increase of muscle mass may enhance our
ability to burn fat. Weight training exercises that utilize the
greatest muscle mass has the most potential for fat loss through
both an increased metabolism via anaerobic exercise and an increased
muscle mass. However, any increase of metabolism due to gains
in muscle mass are likely countered by subtle metabolic decreases
during dieting. This is why it is important to keep calories
as high as possible, yet to a point where you can still lose
body fat (see developing
For individuals attempting to achieve fat loss for aesthetics,
the intensity of weight training can be a double edge sword.
When beginning an exercise program, muscle mass increases may
out pace fat losses, resulting in a small initial weight gain.
Significant fat loss requires a certain intensity, duration,
and frequency that novice exercisers may not be able to achieve
until they develop greater tolerance to exercise. If an exercise
and nutrition program is not adequate for significant fat loss,
a lighter weight with higher repetitions could be implemented
to minimize any muscle building effects, although less fat may
be utilized hours following weight training. If an aerobic exercise
and nutrition program is sufficient enough to lose fat, a moderate
repetition range with progressively heavier weight will accelerate
fat loss with a toning effect. If the development of a muscle
group out paces fat loss, the bulking effect is often only temporary
since additional calories can be expended as the body becomes
more conditioned. Alternatively, if the weight training exercise(s)
for that particular muscle can be ceased altogether, the amount
of fat loss is not adequate to counter the development of the
particular muscle groups. The muscle will then atrophy to a pre-exercise
girth within months. Higher repetitions training may be later
implemented and assessed.
Also see other Women's
Weight Training questions and answers.