Dismiss his moves for fear of growing he-man muscles? You may be dudding yourself out of the best fat burning ever, says PT Natalie Carter


1. Get out of the cardio area and on to the weights floor

I very rarely see men doing extended periods of cardio on machines like the treadmill, stepper or cross trainer. Men are usually found in the weights area and this is something us girls need to factor into our training plans. Your body will not change shape from doing hours of cardio. You need to build lean muscle mass and burn fat through lifting weights or performing resistance exercises.  Sounds simple, right? Well that’s because it is.

Man up: By simply adding three-to-four weight training sessions and performing two cardio (high intensity interval training sessions) per week, your results will change dramatically. Your posture will be better, your core stronger, and any wobbly bits will firm up as if by magic.

2. Assisted pull-ups

This functional upper body exercise will strengthen and turn your slouchy posture into an enviable upright one.

Man up: To start with, do an assisted pull-up using a gym machine and make sure you adjust the weight as the exercise becomes too easy.

Place your knees on the padded area and hold onto the bars above your head. Initiate the movement from your back and let your biceps help you. Always complete the exercise using full range and try perform the exercise smoothly. Pull yourself up for three counts and slowly lower yourself down also using three counts. Try three sets of eight-to-12 reps.

3. Lift heavy

The fear of bulking up is what stops girls from lifting heavy, but rest assured this will not happen. Because our testosterone levels are very different to men’s, girls have a hard time bulking up. Instead, lifting heavy will build lean muscle, which is essential if you want to reduce your body fat and slide into your skinny jeans. Once you are happy with your definition from your weight training, you can move onto a maintenance program, for strength.

Man up: You can lift heavy for all of your favourite exercises: squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows and tricep overhead extensions. Select a weight with which you can only perform a maximum of six-to-eight reps . If you can complete the ninth and 10th rep, your weight is too light. It will take a couple of sessions for you to get this technique down pat, but after that, you’re laughing. I’ve seen amazing body transformations in clients who have added heavy lifting days to their training regimes – it’s a turbo weight loss strategy (even with minimal cardio!).

4. Try action sports

Sports such as MMA, paddle boarding, surfing and skateboarding may traditionally belong to the boys, but girls are really getting into the action activities, which can give you a great cardio and core workout while pushing your physical and mental limits. And nothing turns a guy on more than seeing a woman whizz past on a skateboard.

Man up: Book yourself in for three to five beginners’ classes – in different sports! And we’re not talking badminton; channel your inner Million Dollar Baby in the boxing ring, take someone down with MMA, try your hand at the half-pipe on a skateboard, or hit the beach with a surfboard. Gnarly.

5. Adopt his attitude

The difference I find between training men and women is attitude. Men tend to get stuck in and just do whatever they are told, while women can be a little skeptical when it comes to trying new things. Take a leaf out of your male counterparts’  book and apply a can-do attitude to your fitness program (this doesn’t mean becoming a gym rat and drinking protein shakes every hour). Also mimic his focus. Men tend to decide in advance what area of their bodies they will work in a session, meaning their moves have focus and, as such, are more efficient.

Man up: Get a friend to go to the gym or park with and also have a plan of what exercises/activity you will do. By adopting the can do attitude you will not only succeed with your goals but you’ll become more consistent – vital if you want to see positive changes in your body. If you find it challenging coming up with different workouts, a few sessions with a PT can really give you the boost you need to achieve your goals.   

Natalie Carter is founder and director of Sydney’s New Outlook Fitness.


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