The best way to ensure your success when trying to change your body is to have a plan. Writing out your goals will be a big help in deciding what plan you should make! For instance, if your goal is to lose body fat, then your plan should be to increase your cardio. I recommend performing some sort of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training, which is an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic with less-intense recovery periods. Incorporating this type of cardio training can also be a form of resistance training (using your own body weight). However, if HIIT doesn't sound right for you and you dread long durations of cardio, I suggest switching up the type of cardio throughout your workout. For example, start by warming up with 10 minutes on the elliptical (doing a set of resistance training in between each cardio set will also help speed up your workout), then perform 5-10 minutes on the bicycle and then 10 minutes on the treadmill, and so on... These are just examples so you can do any type of cardio that you are most comfortable with. On that note, I have to say, doing something you wouldn't normally do in the gym might give you more results as opposed to doing the same thing every day. Your body recognizes the motions and it is no longer as much of a challenge. SWITCH IT UP! If your goal is to develop muscle, then an increase in resistance training will make that happen, and lift heavy! And ladies, I cannot stress this enough... lifting heavy weights will NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT turn you into some crazy overly buff woman! The fact of the matter is, women naturally don't have enough testosterone in their bodies to even come close to the amount it would take to get all "yoked" out. Women who do look like that are most likely taking some sort of anabolic steroid/supplements to increase testosterone levels. For women, lifting heavy weights will actually BURN FAT and increase LEAN muscle tone! With all of this said, I must say that you will not see any results at the gym if you don't change your eating habits. You should be aware of what you put into your body at all times, not only to reach your fitness goals, but to become healthy! Before I eat something, I ask myself, "Why am I eating this? What will this do for my body? Am I eating this because I know my body needs this? Or is it because I just feel like eating it right now?" It is very important to listen to your body before you eat. Only eat when you are hungry, and eat to put nutrients into your body! So, when you're making your fitness plan: 1. List out what your goals are. Is it fat loss, increase in muscle mass, or perhaps it is overall health, whatever it is, WRITE IT OUT! 2. Develop a fitness routine based on your goals. (It's also important to set specific, challenging, approachable, measureable, and proximal goals). This plan should include both cardio and resistance training, regardless. Along with this you should plan out which days you will be working out along with what specific body parts you will work out that day. 3. Develop a meal plan (writing out what you're going to eat and making your meals ahead of time to stay on track) 4. Put your plan into action! And don't give up! TIP:Be sure to track your progress by weighing in frequently and getting your body fat % tested. (MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT so don't freak if the scale says you are gaining lbs. Chances are, you're losing body fat and gaining lean muscle mass, which is why it is important to get your body fat tested regularly)
NOW GET AT IT!Elizabeth Brown is 22 years old born and raised in San Jose, California. Sheis a full time student in the process of transferring to San Jose State University to complete her Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology. As Bodybuilding.com’s 2012 Fit USA Winner, Fitness Model, Spokes Model for Bodybuilding.com’s upcoming B-Elite clothing series, NPC Bikini Competitor, and newly Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, she aspires to build a career in the Health and Fitness industry to further help and inspire others to achieve their fitness goals.