Strong Curves by Bret Contreras is a book that I think most women could benefit from reading....
As some of you may or may not know, Bret Contreras is one of the people who coaches me, and gets me ready for my fitness competitions, and helps me with my programs throughout the year, so that I stay toned and lean. One of the reasons that I have worked with Bret for several years is that I love my results, but another reason which I think is just as important is that he has shown me that it is possible to have an amazing body, without living in the gym. Many times in my life, the program that I was given to get into "fitness model shape" was 5-6 days a week, with a time commitment of approximately 2 hours a day. For me, spending 2 hours in the gym isn't something that I could ever do long term. If that was what I had to do now, I certainly wouldn't have the time.
I usually train three times a week for 45 minutes to an hour, doing exercises such as the hip thrust, deadlift, goblet squat and hip extensions. Most of my exercises have a focus on glutes and legs, but they work my entire body because I'm using free weights.
One of the points that Bret has reminded me of (again and again and again and again:) is that in order to look stronger and more toned, I have to be actually getting stronger. Upping the weights with every workout, or increasing my reps. No improvement ever miraculously happened by staying the same, and doing what you've been doing. Last year when I called him and told him that I was going to train for Miss Bikini Universe, he talked to me at length about what I would need to do to get the kind of ridiculously toned body that I wanted. I started hitting the weights with such intensity, and I surprised myself. All along I thought I was working as hard as I could, but I had been at about 60 percent.
I think it's time to increase the intensity again, and set a new goal.