Total body workout for women: the tough body shape transformer

How many of you have tried a full body workout? How many of you actually know what a full body workout is?

For those of you that don’t know or are unaware, this article is for you! I’m going to give you my expert opinion on the benefits of a full body workout and how & why you should add this to your weekly routine!

Choosing the appropriate muscle toning and weight loss workout program is important if you are to maximise your time in the gym and to see body changing results. I see too many people, jumping into their first program too quickly without really thinking through what they are doing or looking for in a weight lifting program.

Through my personal 20 year experience of training I have consistently found that the basic compound exercises work the best and give you more ‘bang for your buck’. Training this way will give you results far more quickly than any other program as long as you consistently push hard in your workouts. Intensity is the key word here.

I personally would not recommend this type of program without a qualified personal trainer in order that you use correct form and technique so that you avoid any injuries, whilst maximising the most out of your program. If done correctly, a full body workout can help you meet your fitness & weight loss goals more efficiently.

I continually get great results with both male and female clients who use compound exercises in a total body workout. You literally only need 4-6 exercises that start off very light and easy before getting progressively more difficult until you accomplish your peak weight and amount of reps.
In a total body workout, you literally are training your whole body. So for example: lunges with squats followed by bench press and chins.

It’s a very effective workout that will test you physically and mentally. It requires a great deal of focus and effort but the results can be very rewarding. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

Here are the top 7 benefits to using full body workouts.

Benefit 1
The first benefit to using full body workout programs is that there is a much shorter time requirement to perform them. If you’re a busy person and struggle to make time for your workouts, it can be hard to fit in a four/five-day-a-week gym program.

As the full body workouts can be completed in just two or three sessions a week, this allows more time for other obligations in your life. It also takes the pressure off from trying to unrealistically squeeze your normal 4-5 sessions in every week! Training should be fun and easy to manage.

Benefit 2
Cut your gym session nearly in half! On the gym floor I see many members training for well over an hr! Quite often it’s on the cross trainer or treadmill which I can only assume must be very boring! Workouts can be fun and individually challenging, with small goals achieved most weeks.

When you train with a higher level of intensity, the actual time and volume (number of sets and exercises) will be less, allowing you to complete your workout in a shorter time, 30-45 minutes is optimal. You also get more out of the session as the intensity is greatly increased.

Benefit 3
Burn more fat and lose more weight! Using a total body workout really ramps up the fat burning process and burns more calories. Focusing on one or two areas burns fewer calories, because you’re working fewer muscles requiring less energy.

If you were working your legs only, it would be difficult to move from squats to dead lifts to lunges to vertical leg presses without needing longer breaks between each. When you train your whole body, your legs can rest while you work chest or back. After the upper and upper lower exercises, you can finish with core.

Benefit 4
Improve your cardiovascular fitness! Believe it or not, training with weights during a total body workout actually helps to improve cardiovascular fitness. If you’ve ever completed a set of weighted walking lunges, you’ll know what I mean.

So add bench press or chins into the mix without pause and you really will feel out of breath! So Imagine how hard you’ll work your heart and lunges if you superset lunges with squats followed immediately by bench press and chins! Improved fitness is what you’ll get.

Benefit 5
Improve strength! By using compound exercises in your total body workout, you’ll also be able to to improve your strength quite rapidly. This is helped by using many body parts together in one exercise allowing for quicker gains but also as you’re only working out two/three days per week, your body gets far more time to recover. And when you recover, you get stronger!

Benefit 6
More opportunity to play additional sports and activities. As your full body workouts only call for you to be in the gym two to three times a week as already mentioned, it allows you more time to pursue other sports. For example, you may wish to attend the gym to perform a couple of cardio sessions or swim in the gym pool.

Or like myself, extra free time allows you to play tennis or football without feeling tired or overwhelmed. Bare in mind your recovery rates because exercise is still exercise and causes stress on the body, but at least you won’t be forced into performing too many sessions as you would if you were on a higher frequency workout schedule.

Benefit 7
Firm, tone and build lean muscle. Done correctly with enough intensity, total body workouts are great for toning and building lean muscle. They key is to push yourself and train hard toward muscular failure (where the last couple of repetitions are difficult to complete) rather than an easy set of 10-12 reps.

Making a muscle strong will give you the tone that changes the shape and contours of your body. Seeing the changes in your body and strength through lifting weights gives you a sense of achievement and helps to boost confidence.

So now you’ve seen the amazing benefits of a total body workout, let’s look at an actual program. This is an example of how I train many of my female clients.

10 minutes to warm up
Steady climb on the treadmill or sprints on stationary bike

Total body workout 1
Bench press 10-12 reps
T-bar row 10-12 reps
Lunges to exhaustion
Goblet squat 12-15 reps
Ab roller 10-15 reps

Total body workout 2
Dumbbell flyes 10-12 reps
Chins/lat pull downs 10-12 reps
Leg extensions 12-15 reps
Hamstring seated curls 12-15 reps
Crunches to exhaustion

Total body workout 3
Incline bench press 10-12 reps
One armed dumbbell rows 10-12 reps
Side lunges 12-15 reps each leg
Deadlifts 12-15 reps
Functional plank to exhaustion

You should aim to complete 3-5 rounds of a total body workout with each round getting progressively more difficult. Each exercise should be completed with no more than 30 second breaks in between. 3 rounds would be the minimum with 5 being more than enough which should be completed within 45 minutes, as it’s better to keep if faster paced giving you a great cardiovascular workout to boot.

You can choose one of the above workouts or choose to mix and match but one workout with 5 exercises will be more than enough if you’re increasing the intensity. You can stick to the same programme for around 12 weeks before needing to change, in order to get the maximum benefits. You certainly get more bang for your buck by using these exercises in a total body workout which means you’ll see results all the quicker.

Which is great for your confidence and your physique. If you’re unsure of how to perform the exercises correctly, enlist the services of a personal trainer as they really can help to motivate you and to make sure you use correct form safely. Above all, train hard, train smart.