Hi, I'm Flavia. I have always been connected to fitness, but like most people, there comes a time when you find yourself less than your personal ideal. In my mid 20s I decided to make a change and discovered that most workout plans were designed for men.
As a Registered Nurse I had a solid knowledge base of nutrition and how food works in the body. I improved that knowledge by studying more about nutrition with Dr. John Berardi and developed my own exercise and nutrition program called Falvilicious Fitness.
You can read more about my workout programs on my exercises for women blog, and you can get a lot of free information right here on tumblr.
Flavia Del Monte, RN, CPT, PN Certified
Don’t have time to go to the gym? The busy lives of women just became easier with these 7 best at home exercises for women. Who says you need all the fancy equipment in the gym?
What you do need is the foundation behind weight loss and muscle building so you will begin to see inches falling off in record speeds. There is a right and wrong way to exercise. You can spend hours doing the wrong form of exercise and never see a difference in your body.
Cardio Vs. Cardio
Ever see a heavyset marathon runner? Here’s why. Our body is a master at adapting. Our body will regulate to almost any condition we throw ourselves into. If we do steady state cardio, such as the treadmill at the same speed, elliptical at the same level, walking, or even jogging, without changing any factor; our body will adapt and our heart rate will regulate. Start sprinting or running up stairs and BAMM! Bye bye adaptation and fat. When we change the state our body is experiencing, our body will not be able to adapt to the constant change.
Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic
Aerobic exercise is what most people refer to as ‘cardio’. This type of exercise is done at a low to moderate pace where your heart rate is approximately 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. At this pace, and with reasonable conditioning, you should be able to supply the muscles with sufficient oxygen to keep them contracting and performing for some time. Aerobic means with oxygen.
Anaerobic exercise, in contrast, is done at an intensity in which your muscle requirements for oxygen succeed the amount you can supply. Anaerobic meaning without oxygen. You will be forced to stop this type of exercise sooner because your muscles will cease to function. At this intensity, your heart rate will be at 90-100 percent of your maximal heart rate.
Here is why anaerobic exercise is much better for weight loss: When we are using the aerobic system, the body will regulate itself, creating enough energy to carry out the exercise. With anaerobic exercise, you will create a huge deficit of oxygen that will stimulate the body to continue to use energy to replace this deficit for hours after your workout. Our body uses macronutrients for energy and if we are eating just enough to cover the amount of energy needed to supply the body in normal conditions, anything above this will cause our body to look for energy elsewhere; fat tissue.
Foundation of Weight Loss
The key to weight loss is calories out > calories in. This does not mean you need to go on a low calorie diet. Our body needs nutrients in forms of protein, fats and if we are exercising, carbohydrates. Our body uses carbohydrates for energy. There isn’t a place to store excess carbohydrates in the body. All extra carbs that are not used for energy will be stored in fat cells. Too bad our body wouldn’t just get rid of them instead.
If you are very active, you need carbohydrates for energy and recovery. The key is using carbohydrates for those two purposes and those two alone; exercise and recovery. Now that you know the basics of exercise and nutrition, let’s look at how using the right exercises will help to create the body of your dreams, give you energy long into your later years of life, and will create a positive self image.
Foundation of Muscle Building
Muscle can do one of two things:
The only way to create muscle tissue is by breaking down the muscle tissue and rebuilding stronger and bigger cells. The most effective way of doing this is through resistance training.
With proper training your muscles grow stronger and larger. Benefits of muscle include:
Earlier I stated that there is a right and wrong way to exercise. One key aspect of a workout program is the focus of creating balance throughout every muscle. Each muscle has an opposing muscle, the antagonist. Let’s use squats and lunges as examples. Here, the quadriceps is the agonist (dominant muscle being used), while the hip flexors are the antagonist (opposing muscle) and hamstrings become the synergist (stabilizer or helper) muscles. When you are performing more quadriceps dominant exercises as opposed to hamstrings or hip dominant exercises, your pelvis will tilt, causing pain in the lower back, and knees that are prone to injuries.
We can fix this by adding hip and hamstring dominant exercises to balance out all muscle groups. As a rule, you should never do more quadricep dominant exercises than hip movements. Always keep the volume balance between each muscle.
Large Muscle Groups
Any exercise plan needs to involve large muscle groups, focusing on working the antagonist in the same amount as stated earlier. Knowing the proper exercises can ensure you will also target the smaller muscle groups, creating harmony throughout the entire body by incorporating stability muscles as well. And in doing so, you will also cut the amount of time needed in the gym by leaving out certain body parts that were already targeted in other exercises.
You also need to be aware of the muscles being worked with each exercise to ensure you keep balance throughout all muscles. A simple chest press targets your pectoalis major, but also uses pec minor, deltoids, trapezius muscles, and your rotator cuff for example.
Importance of the Core
The core encompasses more than two dozen abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, and hip muscles that stabilize your spine to keep your torso upright. Your core allows you to bend forward, back, side to side, and rotate. Your core plays a major role in movement. Working your core (stability muscle) is crucial to optimal performance.
7 Best At Home Exercises For Women
By now you understand the importance of exercise. You don’t need fancy equipment for you to benefit from exercise. Here are just 7 at home exercises, especially for women, that will not only better your appearance, they will better your health.
Chin-up/Pull-up -These exercises target your lats but also hit your tere major (stabilizer muscle) and biceps (more so with chin-ups). Your core and middle back are also involved in assisting in the movement or acting as stabilizers.
How to perform:
Pushup -This exercise targets your pectoralis major but also involves your front deltoids and triceps. As for stability muscles, your rotator, traps, serratus anterior, and abdominals all assist with this movement.
How to perform:
Inverted Shoulder Press -The shoulder press targets your front deltoids, middle deltoids, and the triceps. They also activate your upper traps, rotator cuff, and serratus anterior which act as stabilizer muscles.
How to perform:
Squat -These exercises target your quadriceps, but also activate your core, and every muscle in your legs including your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This exercise burns a ton of calories and is a must-have home exercise for women.
How to perform:
*For extra burn add in a jump from the squat position.
Stability Ball or Towel Leg Curl -This exercise is great for targeting your hamstrings and glutes, and also activates your lower back muscles and core. Because the glutes are the largest muscle in the body, any exercise involving your glutes will burn a lot of calories.
How to perform:
*If you are using a towel, simply put your heels on the towel and copy the same format above. If you want an extra burn, try one leg at a time!
Single-Leg Toe Hops off Bench or Chair -This exercise targets your calves, but also incorporates your quads, hamstrings, glutes and gets your heart rate up to the fat-burning zone.
How to perform:
Side-plank -This exercise improves the strength in your back and will help with performance. Planks target the entire core, making this exercise a must-do for health and appearance sake.
How to perform:
*The higher the hips, the more work you are creating. Add a dip to increase difficulty.
Your At Home Workout
The workouts are split into different combos with 3-4 exercises in each combo. Each exercise is preformed 3 times before moving onto the next combo. Do the different exercises back to back, then repeat for a total of three sets. You must always warm up for 10 minutes and cool down for 10 minutes.
After you are able to do these workouts in 45 minutes or less, add 20-30 minutes of cardio following your workout on three of the five days. Two days of cardio should be HIIT and the other day should be steady cardio for endurance training. Stretching is also vital following the workouts.
Chin-up till failure 3 sets
Pushup till failure 3 sets
Toe hops off bench 20 each side 3 sets
Inverted shoulder press 10-12 reps 3 sets
Squat 20-30 reps 3 sets
Leg curl 20-30 reps 3 sets
Side-plank 30 seconds/side 3 sets
Use these 7 at home exercises for women for 6-8 weeks to improve strength, build muscle and burn fat.