Plenty of women these days go to gyms as part of their fitness routine. In fact, some gyms such as Curves even cater to women exclusively. That way, women can work out without being ogled, approached for dates, or ridiculed by men for their body shape.
It’s true that in most cases, women (like many men) go to gyms to lose excess weight. But what if you’ve been a skinny woman all your life, and you can’t seem to gain weight? That may not seem like a problem from the perspective of overweight adults, but it’s a problem, nonetheless.
You’re considered underweight if you’re at an average height of 5 feet, 4 inches, and you weigh less than 107 pounds. If you’re too underweight, potential health problems include a weakened immune system and fragile bones. You may also feel fatigued more often than not.
You’re probably an ectomorph, meaning you have a powerful metabolism that makes it more difficult for you to build fat. It also makes building muscle a lot more difficult. But it’s still doable, starting with the right steps.
The Right Diet
As any fitness instructor will tell you, getting a toned body always starts with eating right. And for ectomorphs, this means going with a diet that’s relatively higher in carbs. You will want to avoid any low-carb-diet. Instead, go with a diet that consists of 50% carbs, 25% fat, and 25% protein.
Eat more regularly to compensate for your fast metabolism, so you should be eating every 3 hours or so. Go with nutrient-dense snacks, along with meals with complex carbohydrates. Don’t forget your protein intake, and if your appetite can’t deal with all that meat, try protein supplements as well. Also, don’t forget to include lots of green veggies.
Track your calorie intake, and make sure you’re getting enough calories each day. It’s better to eat more than what you’re used to, since your old calorie intake isn’t getting the job done.
Skinny folks generally do much better when it comes to endurance activities. That’s why they’re great when performing cardio workouts like running and cycling.
But if you’re skinny and you want to tone your body, you’ll need weight training. More particularly, you need to go with compound exercises that target major muscle groups.
You should try to lift as much weight as you can without hurting yourself, while you limit your reps to a lower number. Your max reps should be about 8 to 12 reps only. You should also let yourself rest for an adequate period of time in between particular exercises.
Try to reduce your high-intensity exercises, along with the cardio. Just do the healthy minimum for these. You’ll want to avoid unnecessarily burning calories, plus these exercises may also reduce muscle mass.
Here’s a workout designed to focus on your major muscle groups so you can end up with a toned and shapely body. For this workout, you will need barbells, dumbbells, a bench, and a cable/pull down machine.
Do a few dynamic stretches to warm up.
The workout will involve the following exercises:
- Barbell back squats. Legs, lower back, and core.
- Close grip bench press. Chest and arms.
- Dumbbell walking lunges. Legs, lower back, and core.
- Wide grip lat pull down. Back and arms.
- Stiff leg deadlifts. Legs, back, and core.
- Standing barbell press. Arms and core.
- Russian twists. Arms and core.
- Do 12 reps for all the exercises listed above.
- Use the weight that’s manageable for those 12 reps.
- Some of the leg exercises can be done with just your body weight.
- Rest for 30 seconds in between exercises.
- Do 2 or 3 rounds of all 7 exercises.
For More Advanced Students
- Do 10 reps for all the exercises listed above.
- Use the weight that’s manageable for those 10 reps, but try to go as heavy as you can.
- Rest for 45 seconds in between exercises.
- Do 3 or 4 rounds of all 7 exercises.
After the workout, cool down by gently walking on the treadmill for about 5 minutes. You can also do some static stretching perhaps 4 to 6 hours after the workout.