Getting lean and sexy- the action plan

Today we start on the roadmap to lean and sexy!

Last week’s post about females, training and what I think is sexy seemed to cause a slight stir. Some people questioned my opinions, but the majority were in agreeance. This short letter in particular from a female client of mine is a great example:


I have been strength and resistance training for just over 2 years. Training, particularly strength training has done absolute wonders for me. Strength training has not only made me stronger physically but stronger in mind and soul.  I have a new attitude in life and all obstacles are now seen as challenge, just like trying to dead lift or back squat heavy.  The heavier I lift or squat the higher my confidence grows in all aspects of life. 


I had tried in the past to lose weight many times through many of the latest fad diets, walking and light weight dumb bells.  All failed and usually I put back on more weight than I lost.  Through training with Mike, who is an excellent trainer, I have learnt great nutritional tactics, lost 27kgs, and achieved the goal of a dead lift of 120kgs before my 50th last year. I have not ‘bulked up’ through strength training, which is a common misconception of strength training, but have become more lean and toned.


This year has bought a massive change within my life and I unfortunately have not been able to continue training on a full time basis, all of the above has given me the tools to deal with the situation, keep healthy, train when I can and manage stress.  There is nothing like a few dead lifts to get rid of frustrations of life!”


And that is what I’m talking about!

My intent is definitely to challenge the mass media’s portrayal of what makes a female sexy and how to go about being a strong, healthy sexy fox. I think most people with any respect and admiration for the human form can recognise that large and obese is unhealthy, if nothing else, while skinny, shapeless and floppy is unattractive and unhealthy to boot. Showing a picture of a celebrity in exercise gear and 1kg weights does not constitute her being strong!

Is this just for females? NO! I see countless guys slogging away on the cardio equipment just to see very little or no change, apart from the amount of sweat on the machine. If your goal is only ‘to exercise in some form’ then cool, fill your boots. But if you actually want to lose that gut and improve your health then you need to lift weights and get strong fellas! This will help you form muscle, but you won’t turn into a massive body builder just by looking at the weights room, instead this will help you lose body fat and get sexy shape among many other great benefits. So gents, if you’re a gym goer or exercise regularly and you’re not lifting- it’s time to begin!

The foundation of a healthy person, male or female lies in inner happiness, low stress, good sleeping patterns, top nutrition and great exercise. This is sexy.

Yes! I want that, but what kind of training will do this for me?

There are many different training protocols. None are necessarily better than any other, it all just depends on the individual:

  • What level are you currently at?
  • How long have you been resistance training? This is your training age.
  • What are your specific goals
  • How do you move?
  • What is your daily life like? Time, workload, stress, energy, nutrition, commitments.
  • What is available to you? Are you a gym member? Services of a trainer?

There are a few things to take into consideration right? For some people it’s easy, for others it’s diabolical. So I’ll tell you what, let’s agree that you need to set aside 1 hour 4 times per week initially. Once your knowledge, strength and ability grow and you can fine tune your workouts and become efficient with your training time, then perhaps you can decrease this to 45 minutes and then add more sessions in if you’re capable.

Because everyone is at different levels and has a different training age, I will split this into 3 kinds of sessions: light, medium and hard.

Now just because you are an advanced trainee that doesn’t mean you can’t do the light workout, just tailor it to fit you, for example increase the intensity by having shorter rests times and adding an extra set or round to each exercise. Every exercise can be regressed or progressed, depending on your ability or desired outcome, so this is another option- making the exercise a harder alternative. Always challenge yourself but work within your boundaries.

One very important thing to remember with resistance training is that there is always a risk. However, we simply make sure that the benefit always outweighs the risk involved.

  • Always use correct technique and never sacrifice this for weight. It simply defeats the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve whilst sending the risk/benefit equation plummeting towards you visiting the physio.
  • Never train past failure. At times with resistance training failure is a good thing, causing the right kind of reactions in the body for what we desire, however, trying to push past this will only lead to bad form and the potential for injuries increases dramatically.
  • Always listen to your body and learn to react to how it responds to your training. If something is sore then weigh up the risk of continuing versus the benefit. On the flip side, if you feel energetic and strong then try another set.


What specific training should I do?

Ok, for now we are going to make things simple keep the parameters easy to follow. Today’s workout is going to be using a mixture of timed sets, with a reasonably heavy weight, relatively short rest and a lot of compound movements targeting many muscles. The idea is to have a high intensity session, create an element of strength training whilst aiming to promote a high lactate environment in order to deplete energy in the muscles and get your hormones and metabolism working in the right way. That is- burn body fat, build lean muscle and increase your strength.


Hard workout and weekly training log:

I will take you though a hard workout I did and put this into a week’s training schedule. Watch the video then read on for details, explanation and more…

  • A1: Barbell thrusters (front squat and overhead press); 30seconds- aiming for 8-10reps (pick all weights accordingly)
  • A2: Kettlebell hip swings; 30seconds- aiming for 15-20reps
  • A3: Bodyweight squat jumps; 20reps

90 seconds rest. Complete 3 rounds.

  • B1: Kettlebell Romanian dead lifts; 30seconds- aiming for 10-12reps
  • B2: Plate overhead walking lunges; 24reps

90 seconds rest. Complete 3 rounds.

  • C1-3: Chin ups (3-4reps), weighted push ups (6-8reps), reverse crunches (8reps), rest (this was in a group of 4, so one person placed the plate on the back of the person doing push ups); 5minutes- as many rounds as you can in that time



How did that workout look to you? I did this workout with three of the girls I work with. These girls are fit, strong, and look pretty sexy right? They workout hard when appropriate and as I mentioned last week, could put most guys to shame, yet they are most definitely not big muscly, bulky, butch chicks. Good examples of how the right kind of training in conjunction with great nutrition and lifestyle leads to a sexy, healthy body.


Next week I’ll bring you a lighter version of this workout, with easier exercises and another workout to do throughout the week. I will also explain some of the loading parameters that we want to consider when resistance training to improve strength and get a lean sexy body.


Now let’s put that into a week’s worth of training for you:








Workout 1- above

Rest day

Upper body push/pull

Rest day

Lower body squat/bend

Hill sprints 30 minutes

Rest day

For the upper body and lower body days simply use my Primal Pattern movement series (see ‘Bits and Pieces’ at top of page) for exercise selection. Try and pick weights that allow for 3-4 sets of 10-12reps. On the upper body days pick a push for A1 and a pull for A2, complete both exercises and have your rest of 90 seconds then repeat for 3 or 4 rounds depending on your energy and ability, and so on through B and C. The same goes for the lower body, A1 a squat or lunge and B1 a bend (glut/hamstring movement). For the hill sprints, aim for 20-30 seconds of work and 30-60 seconds rest between each, depending on your fitness level, and repeat 10-15 times. You should be sucking in the oxygen and hanging out for the end!

This is suitable for anyone, as long as you are not completely new to resistance training, in which case we would drop the load and total amount of work done. If you find what you’ve done to be too easy then increase the weight and go from there. Conversely if it’s too hard, try adding longer rest times and check your weights. The other big variable for us to consider if it’s too difficult is exercise selection. I’ll regress this workout next week.

Girls, does this make sense?

Guys, you can follow this simple program too. Just chose weights and exercises that are appropriate for you. Take note that I did the exact same workout as the girls, I just used more weight, and I was sucking in the oxygen hard! There is no reason why girls and guys shouldn’t train the same!

Ok, now it’s time to get cracking! Implement this stuff with some purpose and intensity, make a nutrition goal each day and combine these into an overall weekly goal for your diet. Watch the changes and improvements unfold…

 Who thinks they are capable of this? Who thinks it’s easy? Awesome, try me out and let me know your ability and what works for you.

Happy training and happy living!

Special thanks to the girls: Leanne, Jade and Josie, and to NN for advice, filming and editing. The post wouldn’t happen without you!


Read part 2 here

7 comments on “Getting lean and sexy- the action plan

  1. Another excellent blog! Awesome workout! Kudos to you all for getting through it! Tempted to give it ago, although I think it will be the death of me! Might wait and see what the ‘regressed’ version is next week.

  2. Fantastic!! Bloody great blog again this week…. You are very good at this Mike.
    Personally, however, I am struggling with the concept of ‘less cardio’ / introducing weights / stepping into the ‘grunting boy zone’…. I’m rubbish, I know.
    So my sessions Tue and Thurs before work went ahead, great way to start the day, but I totally avoided the weights area, in fact I tried my best to not even look in the direction of the weights area……
    ….. there is always next week…. :o)

    • Ah Mez! What happened?
      What’s the lay out of your gym like? Why not try this to start- go and grab some of the smaller dumbells and take them to a space not in the actual weights room. Then crack into it! You can make it the ‘grunting Mez zone’… Keep the intensity up and the rests short and you should get the cardio effect you so desire…
      All the best! Let me know how it goes.

  3. Pingback: The most effective cardio to get you lean! | Twenty12: 52 meats over 52 weeks

  4. Pingback: Sexy, fit and strong- how girls should be | Twenty12: 52 meats over 52 weeks

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