Tip: Don't Train Like a Figure Competitor

Here's how emulating their favorite competitor is wrecking many female lifters, plus a better approach.

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Time for a Reality Check

We tend to emulate those we want to look and be like. So women will see a figure or fitness competitor and assume she knows the secret to getting in shape.

In reality, the majority of these women look the way they do not because of the way they train, but because their will to look good exceeds their need to enjoy life.

They're great at following diets that are closer to starvation than nutrition. They often resort to drugs (for fat loss or muscle growth) and endanger their long-term health.

I know many who will do 90-120 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning on top of 90-120 minutes of lifting later that day. And while I admire the dedication, few women can actually pull that off in daily life.

CrossFit Women Are Better?

I coach a lot of female CrossFit competitors and enthusiasts, and the average CrossFit girl actually looks a lot leaner, and in better shape, than the average figure wannabe.

Look at CrossFit girls and other female athletes in sports like track and field and you'll see women in better shape on any average day than the figure wannabes, and that's without crazy dietary restrictions. In fact, they're often in way better shape than actual figure competitors when they're not preparing for a contest. After all, do you want to look good for only three months out of the year?

I'm not saying that all females should start CrossFitting. Yes, it's better than the typical figure competitor training, but it does have its own set of problems. Take my wife for example. She LOVES CrossFit and since she began doing it she simply doesn't want to do any other type of training. The problem is, in the past three years she hasn't been able to train for more than three weeks in a row. Injuries always force her to take some time off. Not good for consistent improvements.

The Solution? Train For Performance

Use an approach that takes a page from CrossFit. Here's how that would look:

  • Use dense workout sessions (short rest intervals, such as complexes or circuits).
  • Focus mainly on big compound lifts: squats, front squats, deadlifts, military press, push press, and the like. Don't be afraid to push the numbers up as long as you maintain good form.
  • Learn the Olympic lifts.
  • Work on being able to do unassisted dips and pull-ups.
  • Do loaded carries like farmer's walks.
  • Push or pull a Prowler or sled if you can.
  • Use whole body sessions or a lower/upper split. Forget body part splits.
Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.