What The Best Workout Routines For Women Should Be
Despite the overwhelming amount of information online, it’s actually pretty difficult to find the best workout routines for women. Every website has its own tried and tested method, and sometimes even a “unique discovery” or two. It’s the same offline too; fierce competition causes gyms and personal trainers to promote the next big thing, the easiest new technique, and gimmick after gimmick.
It’s not all bad of course, I’m just highlighting how problematic a lot of women find it. Do you even know whether men and women should be doing the same exercises? It seems even reputable sources have their own opinions on this, and strangely enough, evidence to back it up!
What Do We Actually Need?
So what’s the purpose of this article then? Am I going to throw my hat into the ring and suggest a new method? No. Am I going to list 15 great exercises you can start today? No, not really. I wouldn’t be adding anything new.
What I AM going to do is talk about all the facts behind the best workout routines. I’ll highlight what makes a routine work, what sort of things you need to consider, and the theory behind a successful workout. By the time you’re done here today, you’ll find it a little less confusing out there, and will be able to view my recommendations for which workout routines are really worth following.
The first thing I’d like to do is dispel a few myths that seem to be going around online. There’s too much misinformation out there, and it’s easy to get confused.
Myth # 1: – Working Out Like A Man Will Make You Bulky.
Using weights and performing “lifting” types of exercises is hardly popular with women at all. I can understand why. You see men lifting weights at the gym, you see their big Arnie muscles and think “No thanks, I just want tone”. So what do you do? You go on the treadmill or the bike.
Not that I’ve got anything against the bike, but it’s a big mistake to rule out weights.
Here’s a fact. Women have about a 16th of the testosterone levels that men have. Even the highest testosterone in a woman would be some way short of the lowest in a man. It’s testosterone that leads to bulking up when using weights. This means that if women use weights, they are not going to bulk up – they just don’t have the requisite testosterone levels.
What about those bulky women you’ve seen? Well, they are using testosterone injections or taking steroids.
If YOU were to workout with weights, say dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, all that would happen is you’d develop a lovely tone. Sounds alright to me.
Myth # 2: Men And Women NEED Different Workouts.
On a similar tangent, there are a lot of people out there saying that men and women need to workout differently. They’ve got different bodies and physiology, so that warrants different styles.
Well, not exactly. Men and women have pretty similar metabolisms and physiology. Women might burn fats and carbs more quickly than men, but we have fundamentally the same bodies.
Men tend to store fat in their abdomen, while women tend to store fat in their thighs and hips, but the same exercises will burn fat in both sexes.
What’s fine for a man is fine for a woman.
Of course you could argue that men and women WANT different exercises, and I will agree with you. Men might prefer to sweat it out with weights and go at it as much as possible, whereas a lot of women might prefer something more “fun” such as aerobics or the cycling machine.
This is as much down to culture and habit as it is anything else. There’s definitely no physical reason for it. As such, in the list of recommend workout routines below, we’ve included ones “just for women” and ones for both.
Myth #3 Match Your Body Type With Exercises.
This is another half-truth. There are certainly different body-types (pear shaped women, apple shaped and so on), and different shaped women would be looking to burn fat in a different location. HOWEVER…you can’t “localize” fat burn.
There are no workouts that are going to just burn fat for pears or apples. Nada. You CAN fix your body type though.
When it comes to toning up, naturally you’ll have a different area of your body that you want to work on than the girl next to you, but you should still both be doing the same workouts. The best workouts involve total body exercises. You want a balanced workout every time.
Myth #4 Exercise Is Better Than Diet (Or Vice Versa).
By “diet” I’m talking about your every day intake, not the latest fad.
There is a lot of information online about how you don’t need to diet, you just need exercise to get a good, healthy body. Exercise is going to get you a long way there, but completely ignoring your nutritional intake is another mistake.
As Rusty Moore points out, you need to pay attention to what you eat, and how you exercise, in order to really get the body you want.
You are what you eat, it’s not an original saying, but it’s true.
On the flip side, nutrition companies will have you believe that just by taking good nutrition, you’ll also get the body of your dreams. Once again, nutrition is a major player, but without exercise, how exactly is your body going to get in shape? It needs to be trained.
What’s more important? Arms or legs? How about both?
A great workout routine incorporates, or at least acknowledges the importance of, good nutrition.
Why Are There So Many “For Women” Workout Programs?
There are quite a few reasons for this. First off though, I’d like to say that I’m not slamming products designed to be “for women”. There are plenty out there (below) that are really good. I’m just going to make you understand a bit about why there are so many though:
- Marketing – Marketing something as “Made by women for women” is a lot easier than “Made by someone for everyone”. It’s a lot easier to speak to one particular audience, and convince them that this product is for them.
- Psychology – Women (and men) tend to believe that they need different exercises, so are they going to want one that’s designed for women, or one designed for men? It makes sense that you create a product for one or the other. (If you look at a product like P90X, which is insanely popular with men and women, you’ll see that it’s fine for men and women to do the same exercises).
- Enjoyment – Let’s face it, not everybody enjoys the same type of exercise. Women might prefer trying to get that lean hollywood look a little more than men, and men might prefer to go for the bulk. Men also prefer standing in a gym lifting weights, while women often prefer a more social or “fun” experience.
The Best Workout Routines For Women (And Men Too!)
In this section I’m going to cover the best “for women” workout routines, and the best “for everyone” routines. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that it’s not important whether you’re a man or woman.
This is what I mean when I say what things all the best routines have in common. These 6 things below. If something doesn’t meet 4 or more things from that list, I won’t be recommending it.
My criteria for this list is as follows:
- The program needs to have been around for at least a year (this rules out most of the current ones around!).
- It needs to focus on total body exercises and not be a specific “ab” or “ass” program.
- It needs to be fun!
- It needs to be tried and tested.
- It needs to have some emphasis on both exercise and nutrition.
- The program creator needs to have a good reputation.
Top Workout Routines For Women
1. Visual Impact For Women
This is a great little eBook. It’s got tons of advice about routines, eating, and getting a lean body. There are no videos, which is part of the reason I like it. It doesn’t sell itself on being a new fad or gimmick, it’s just really good advice and a solid plan for working out.
Also, out of all the people we’ve recommend it to, not a single one has asked for a refund.
2. Fat Loss Over 40
This isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but if you’re over 40 or closing in on 40 you should give it a chance. I’m not going to go into too many details here. If you’re over 40, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Bodies slow down and slowly start to deteriorate after a certain age. We produce less calogen and less calcium. This workout is designed to handle a different sort of body.
3. The Fitness Model Program
This is a classic “Product of the products” program where you get to see first hand that the program works, because the creator follows it. While I’m not usually a fan of this type of program, I like the “NO BS” myth-buster approach that creator Jennifer Nicole Lee has. It’s a refreshing approach.
Incidentally, this isn’t a “fitness model” program, it’s following a program that would make you look like one.
4. Lift Weights Faster
I initially thought this was a men’s program when I first checked it out, but it’s clearly for women and has a LOT that would appeal to any woman who likes using weights. In fact, even if you don’t use weights it will get you into using them. I was convinced!
Top Generic Workout Routines That Women Can Enjoy
As well as the four above, I really think you’ll enjoy some of the more mainstream “generic” programs that are aimed at both men and women:
I recently read that this is just as popular (if not more so) with women as it is with men. I’m sure you’ve heard of this workout before. It’s not for beginners, but it gets fantastic results.
An equally impressive (and exhausting) workout that gets equal results. P90X and Insanity are both from the same creators, beachbody. Recently some of the top selling workout routines have been produced by this group.
3. Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
This has been the top selling fat burning program online on and off for years. It’s been tried, tested, proven, and proven some more for a long time. Thankfully, it’s still available!
This has been a long article today so I’ll keep this short. There are a lot of great workout routines out there, and even more terrible ones. What the great ones have in common is that they don’t play on myths or fads. The ones I’ve listed above might not be the be all and end all of fitness, but they are ones that I’ve found and can safely recommend. If you’ve got your own recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
What’s more, they also all come with a money back guarantee.
When looking at any other routines or devising your own workout, what you really need to understand is that you have to keep it simple and balanced. Work out your whole body, be consistent, and eat clean and healthily. Also, have fun!