In this article we will deal with women’s aesthetics preparation, given mainly by training, diet and a few other little tricks.
Taking it for granted that only healthy women are concerned, i.e. with no particular organic pathologies (cardio-vascular, pulmonary, metabolic, osteopathy, etc.) or psycho-behavioural (especially DCA), we will provide specific indications to harmonise the appearance within physiological and natural limits.
Only for statistical reasons, let’s assume that we have to work on the body of a girl between the ages of twenty and forty who regularly attends the weight room or a fitness centre, and who does not have any serious overweight problems.
The prevalence of female readers will be “stumbled” between these lines because they are confused; almost nobody can, on their own, find the right answer to one or more of the common doubts: How to train? Which exercises do you prefer? What to avoid? What and how much to eat?
Let’s start with a brief introduction about the woman’s body composition.
Women’s Aesthetics: Body Composition
Even for the girl who wants to improve her form, it is necessary to carry out a body recomposition. The extent of this intervention changes from case to case and, sometimes, it may intervene almost only on the proportions – even if, in fact, increasing the muscular importance of a particular district results in a variation in the percentages of lean mass (FFM%) and fat mass (FM%).
In the fitness and sports environment I well know it that the fertile woman should not have a fat percentage lower than 15%, in order to avoid irregularities in the menstrual cycle or worse, amenorrhoea (loss); in fact, this set-point differs from one case to another, but the rule remains valid that, for a total restoration of functionality, it becomes then necessary to regain more kilograms of fat than the initial condition.
Also on an aesthetic level, however, maintaining a certain amount of subcutaneous fat is useful, because it allows you to soften the figure despite greater muscularity. And let’s not forget that localised slimming, as most of us understand it, does not exist, and often in women who want to lose a lot of weight there is a certain reduction in breast size.
Different Case Studies
The training protocol aimed at improving female aesthetics is based on resistance training, more precisely on exercises with weights (free or isotonic machines) and cardiovascular exercise aimed at calorie consumption (in the open air or with fitness machines).
The overall workload – given by the intensity, volume and possibly density of the stimulus – for the girl who wants to improve her aesthetics depends above all on the initial condition and the ultimate goal.
For a novice girl
Therefore, with a neophyte with amateur objectives, it is advisable to proceed step by step starting from the simple initial conditioning sought after with a total body card; in this phase, which will last a few weeks, the movements of a few but important, fundamental multi-articular exercises will be learned, taking care of the technique and keeping the intensity low – therefore, with high repetitions (12/15) and contained recoveries (60”).
For a model or a model
If the subject has professional objectives, the protocol may change slightly depending on relevance.
Speaking of model models, if it is unnecessary to correct certain proportions, the predominant activity will be cardio-fitness (even with high intensity peaks) but extended to the entire body, with marginal strengthening work; alternatively, mixed circuit training such as PHA (always with emphasis on cardio-vascularity) can be used.
In these cases the work should not be psychologically demanding, because it will be the diet management that will be more important, absorbing many of the mental energies dedicated to the aim.
Regarding the photo models, it is slightly different; it is appropriate to work more on tropism, therefore with weights, or to orient the circuit training more towards strengthening rather than cardio.
For a girl with amateur fitness experience
Returning to the population of amateur (non-professional) beauticians, who have already performed adequate conditioning or have a minimum of fitness experience, it is recommended to create a balanced protocol between muscular and cardio-vascular activities.
It will be the concern of the person concerned, or the personal trainer following her, to move the balance needle more to either – taking into account, as above, also the proportions.
Women’s Aesthetics: How to Train
Which training protocol to choose?
Almost all girls can find a benefit in the application of resistance training with overloads aimed at body recomposition or correction of certain proportions.
On the other hand, we must also start from another assumption: many women are not comfortable with free weights (barbells, dumbbells, discs, flat bench, power racks, etc.) and certain isotonic machines such as the leg press.
The tendency is in fact to consider these tools “predominantly male”, because they are “excessively” hypertrophic – as if they were the tools that determine growth instead of the training system. That said, when the aim is remodelling, it will be difficult to do without it; caution and patience will be pleasant companions for all girls with aesthetic goals that show difficulties in overcoming the preconceptions listed above.
The resistance training is oriented to the development of strength and the body changes that this determines. If the figure of the woman is deficient in terms of muscle volumes, for example in the buttocks, the training method will be hypertrophic research.
All muscle growth rhythms will be respected, i.e. interval training, high intensity training (up to concentric failure), 3-4 exercises per muscle group, 3-4 series per exercise, repetitions between 8 and 12 high tension times (TUT), emphasis on the eccentric phase of movement (preferably with isometric pause) and recoveries between 90 and 180”.
The achievable adaptation is always different from one organism to another. Working as above creates a short and wide muscle in section; with perhaps the only exception of the buttocks, in conditions of sufficient thinness, the other districts (quadriceps, deltoids, pectoralis, dorsals, etc.) may be too trophic.
Here it is always a great help to decrease the intensity, work with higher repetitions (12-15), normalise the speed of execution, and the ratio of concentric/eccentric phases and shift the attention to the maximum eccentric elongation.
If a woman’s muscular system is already tending towards growth, with obvious muscle insertions and conspicuous volumes, the entire workout can be focused on cardio-vascular calorie consumption work. All activities are useful, remembering that each one will create a local conditioning not to be underestimated. Especially for running enthusiasts, remember that the calf will always stand out.
The same is true for those who prefer canoeing or rowing, who develop shoulders and back in width. For these reasons, it is often worth working in the fitness room, where specific and easily manageable machines such as the elliptical are available.
A suitable compromise, used especially by women who want to correct a proportion while maintaining weight, is that of mixed circuit training; for example, alternating fitness machines with muscle isolation exercises aimed at specifically strengthening.
Women’s Aesthetics: Exercises
Recommended strengthening exercises
Let’s now describe which strengthening exercises are usually recommended in training for female aesthetics – with the usual focus on subjectivity.
As far as the lower body is concerned, every muscle can be trained. It should be considered that the leg flexing on the thigh – to give the gluteus on the sagittal plane; it is also the only exercise that trains the short head of the femoral biceps. It should also be considered that the adductor group may not be trained with isolation, unless the frontal image of the figure requires special attention to this group compared to the others of the thighs.
Therefore, from the very first cards, exercises such as frontal lunges (with dumbbells), lateral lunges and leg curl machines will be very useful. With the post-conditioning cards – in split routine, i.e. a macrocycle muscle group – it will be possible to add complementary exercises for the gluteus, abductors and adductors.
Squat and leg press may also have a very strong impact on the femoral quadriceps – although they are globally the most effective – and squat and leg press may not be recommended. The deadlift works excellently on the large gluteus, but it also tends to swell the front of the thigh; the latter can be brilliantly replaced by the half lift and good-morning (slightly more concentrated on the back than on the gluteus).
As far as the upper part of the body is concerned, we recommend quite selective development and proceed with caution. The back and shoulders (extra rotators of the humerus, such as subspinatus, small round, rear deltoid) of the woman should be trained especially in extension and opening, with horizontal traction exercises such as low pulley, machines such as the upper back, free weights such as 90° crosses etc. – paying attention to the adduction of the shoulder blades. Remember that a well extraruotated humerus with adduced scapulae highlights the breast, the shortened spine extenders place the figure well straight.
With regard to the pectorals, women with prosperous breasts can take advantage of the execution of crosses and dumbbell extensions on inclined benches, but also pull-overs (which, by stimulating the large toothed section, has an excellent postural action on the shoulder opening).
If the girl shows a considerable pelvic width, it can be very useful to perform humerus abduction exercises, specific for the development of multi-penetrating lateral deltoid bundles, which will help to give more width to the upper part of the figure on the frontal plane.
Speaking of the posterior abdominal girdle and rachis extensors, if the card did not already include the detached halves, it would be possible to insert hyper-extensions of the torso on a GHB bench (in addition to the square of the loins, also for the ileocostals, spines, very long back, etc.), also to complete the work for the high back mentioned above.
On the front abdominal, on the other hand, it will be possible to work classically with crunch, reverse crunch, frontal plank, emphasizing in the expiratory phase in order to stress also the transverse. Everything will be weighted according to the trophism of the abdominal rectum, which must not be excessive (the six-pack is more masculine). A bit of twist with a stick will favour the transverse tone without hypetrophying it too much.
Enhancement Exercises Not Recommended
It is usually contraindicated:
- Working on the development of the upper trapezius beams (such as the exercise of the slow behind);
- Exceeding with back width work (lat machine pulling and high pulley);
- In the case of small breasts, work on the development of the pectorals, especially the centre-lateral ones;
- In pre-existing gross accent conditions, hyper-extensions of the torso can be avoided;
- Increase too much the tropism of the obliques of the abdomen, by performing lateral flexes of the torso to the cable or to the specific bench with
- dumbbell, which tend to widen the waist;
- Exceeding the tropism of the muscles that emphasise the gross curve; if excessive, this can lead to decompensation and pain
- Work with isolation exercises for the arms, then triceps and biceps; the arm is already strengthened with multi-joint exercises and, in women, excessive shortening of the brachial biceps is not always appreciated.
Note: consultation with a personal trainer is always desirable, to change the volume, frequency, number of repetitions and exercises according to the above characteristics.
Example total body card (6-8 weeks)
The example card refers to a girl between 20 and 40 years old, a neophyte, in perfect health and normal weight. Passion: amateur model.
Card suitable for learning the gesture, priority complex multi-articular exercises. Note first the execution of the lower part and then the upper part for the reasons mentioned above. Note the alternation of pushing exercises with pulling exercises. The P.T. is asked to insert any stretching exercises.
- Bike 5′ warm-up
- Frontal lunges3x15 rest 90″
- Side lunges2x15 rest 90″
- Legs Curl 2×12 rest 90″
- 5′ rest, loosen the legs by holding them up on a bench.
- Pulley pull with narrow grip 2×15 rest 90″.
- Thrusts with handlebars on inclined 2×12 rest 90″
- Sit up 2 x max. repetitions rest 90″.
- Hip and rachis extensions on bench GHB 2×15 rest 90″
- 5′ rest
- Bike or stepper 20-30′ – 60/70% HRmax.
Obviously this example will have to be adapted from subject to subject, from environment to environment. As already explained, for the model, cardio work must be increased and anaerobic work must be reduced to a minimum.
Example split routine card (A-B)
To be carried out after about 8 weeks, alternating, of course, training A with training B.
- Bike 5′ heating
- Frontal lunges 2×15 rest 90 (up to 120″)
- Side slings 2×15 rest 90-120″
- Legs Curl 2×12 at rest 90-120″.
- 5′ Rest
- Side Slants 2×15 rest 90-120″
- Calf (exercise indifferent) 2×18 rest 90-120″
- Crunch 2 x max repetitions with forced exhalation and bust extension in descending phase
- Resting 5′ with melting legs in elevation on bench.
- Bike or stepper 20-30′ 60/70% HRmax (max heart rate).
- Bike 5′ heating
- Pulley pull on horizontal pulley with narrow grip 2×15 rest 90-120″.
- Abduction of the humerus with dumbbells (crucified – no more than horizontal) 2×10 rest 90-120″
- Horizontal extension of the flexed bust humerus (90° crucifix with adduction and contraction of the shoulder blades and forced extra rotation of the
- humerus) 2×10 rest 90-120″.
- 3-5′ rest
- Thrusts with handlebars on inclined 2×12 rest 90-120″
- Sit up 2 x max. repetitions rest 90-120″ (always forced exhalation to fully contract the transverse)
- Hip and rachis extensions on bench GHB 2×15 rest 90-120″ Rest 3-5”.
- Twist with rod 2x >20 rips (optional) rest 90-120″.
- Rower or bike 20-30′ 60/70% HRmax (max heart rate).
Remember that in the case of a professional model, reinforcement exercises could be reduced to what is strictly necessary, increasing the time dedicated to cardio work and dietary study.
At the instructor’s discretion, cardio exercises (bike, stepper, rowing machine) can be included, instead of at the end of the protocol, in specific extra sessions during the week.
This 2-way split routine can be changed after another two or three months. The changes to be made at that point will depend on the progress made and how the female figure is modelled. However, please keep in mind the long premises discussed above.
Let see to the diet.
Diet for female aesthetics
Let’s be clear: diet is diet.
There is no difference between men and women, except for some particular aspects which, in any case, leave time for them. Priority is given to objectives, which can be achieved by modulating caloric intake and nutritional distribution.
We will not mention here, for obvious reasons dictated by the wide range of cases, any examples. Nutrition is too specific a subject to be generalised; the risk that someone, while reading, carries out a dangerous “do-it-yourself” totally incorrect is considerable.
So we will limit ourselves to general indications. It will be the professional who, being able to evaluate the various characteristics of the subject live, will draw up the diet. Diet which, for female aesthetics, will have to take into account the following.
The diet will include the usual 5-6 meals a day and must provide all the necessary nutrients, including vitamins and minerals – with attention to iron – dietary fibre – given the greater tendency to constipation of the fair sex – and water.
The model wearer, not training for hypertrophic purposes, will preferably require a normal protein diet (about 1.1-1.2 g / kg of weight) and balanced (with about 25% fat); if necessary, a calorie cut can be made before the performance but, for the rest of the year, the weight must remain in set point – normal range. It is logical that, for ethical reasons, we cannot recommend a typically slimming diet (70% of normal calories) to an already normal weight subject. For this reason, if women readers decide to do it anyway – perhaps for work purposes – we recommend that they rely on a professional and limit the slimming cycle to what is strictly necessary.
As a general rule, therefore, the model’s diet is aimed at accurately maintaining a basal condition that must not require excessive stress to cope with a work performance.
In the diet of the model or the woman who simply wants to remodel herself, it will be advisable to go up with the protein intake (about 1.5 g / kg or a little more) but remaining within the margin of balance; fat should not exceed 30%.
Low-carb diets, especially ketogenic diets, are not recommended, especially in the long term. The calorie cut before an event can normally be 30% of the total, leaving the proteins unchanged and preventing fats from falling below 25%.
Keep in mind that just before the menstrual flow the woman shows a peak of progesterone and oestradiol, which can lead to water retention.
No supplementation may be necessary; the most frequent cases require minerals (especially iron) and vitamins.
Some people find it useful to use beta stimulants such as cocoa alkaloids, caffeine, guarana, green tea, etc. during periods of calorie-cutting before a book or work performance or at the peak of fitness. They should be avoided in the long term.
Doses, a professional should evaluate methods of use and timing, as they are not without contraindications and side effects.
Other products are to be considered useless, if not to compensate for nutritional deficiencies due to lifestyle frenzy – replacement meals.
It will be strange to most readers to see that we have not yet talked about cellulite. This is because both the causes (sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, alcohol) and some treatments of this blemish go hand in hand with slimming therapy.
Cellulite is a pathology that affects the loose connective tissue, the mesenchyme which, because of the polymerisation of mucopolysaccharides becomes increasingly dense, rigid, up to sclerosis (irreversible – necessary surgery).
The thickening of the mesenchyme leads to the compression of arterioles and nerves (with the appearance of pain) and to the formation of cellulosic nodules. The polymerisation of mucopolysaccharides occurs because of the stagnation of lymphatic fluids with an influential presence of solutes called “toxins” (although the term itself is inappropriate).
Therefore, its aetiology can be summarised as: sedentariness associated with bad eating habits. Aetiology exacerbated by hormonal imbalances, compressed tissues, paramorphisms and dysmorphism. But we won’t add anything else, since the subject is already well taken care of on the site.
To “cure” cellulite which has become a permanent form is the task of surgery, which can only succeed in part (depends on the site and the state of the pathology). Therefore, as with all diseases, the solution is prevention, which is easier and cheaper than you might think: regular physical activity and healthy eating, or a correct lifestyle.
Alcohol and Smoking
If you have the habit of smoking, waiting to quit (so to speak), it is good to remember to bring an exorbitant amount of antioxidants with food and supplements.
Alcohol is metabolised in the liver with the same system with which it inactivates poisons because it is itself a poisonous principle. So much so that the calories it gives are empty, precisely because they do not bring a sense of satiety (the brain does not recognise alcohol as a nutrient) and still raise insulin by lowering blood sugar levels.
For aesthetic and health reasons, we must ban them.