Getting healthy AND sexy- the action plan part 2

Part two of ‘How to get sexy – the action plan’, and as promised here is the ‘lighter’ version of last weeks monster workout:

  • A1: Dumbbell squat and overhead press; 30seconds- aiming for 10-12reps
  • A2: Kettlebell dead lift; 30seconds- aiming for 10-12reps
  • A3: Bodyweight squats; 15reps

120 seconds rest. Complete 3 rounds.

  • B1: Kettlebell Romanian dead lifts; 30seconds- aiming for 12-15reps
  • B2: Dumbbell static lunges; 20reps

120 seconds rest. Complete 3 rounds.

  • C1-3: Inverted row (6-8reps), incline push ups (8-10reps), crunches (8-10reps), rest (15seconds); 5minutes- as many rounds as you can



As mentioned with last week’s workout, this too can be regressed again, or progressed keeping the same exercises and adding weight, work time, or decreasing the rest time.

That’s one high intensity resistance session that should still create a tough working environment and produce a lactate response, causing fatigue and exhaustion.

Now lets look at another kind of training: Hypertrohpy (pronounced hy-per-trophy, not hyper-tro-phy, the underlined part being the accentuated aspect):

So, what is hypertrophy?

Well it’s an increase in muscular size and volume. This is where many girls start panicking that they’ll look at a dumbbell and instantaneously hypertrophy into a huge bulking ball of masculine muscle. This simply will not happen, unless you are, of course, the incredible hulk and that dumbbell made you angry.

What will happen, given appropriate nutrition coincides, is that the muscles you are working, and even some others (refer to my post ‘How to bring out your six pack’) will increase in size and volume, as well as strength. This will increase your resting metabolic rate, giving you the ability to burn more fat at rest and immediately after exercise. Great examples for you females are all the girls I’ve pictured over the last two weeks. All at some point train hypertrophy, and all look great!

Although rather shattered after this brutal workout delivered to them by NN, their metabolisms are racing.

So having more muscle will make my body more efficient at using fuel?

It sure will. Not only that but having more lean muscle and less body fat means there is a range of other reactions taking place in your body and systems at play that make for a better functioning and more efficient machine. Of course the aesthetic benefits are obvious- we are trying to lean up and create the sexy  and healthy look we’ve been talking about, and this is all the more possible by lifting weights and creating new muscle.

How do I train to increase my lean muscle?

Ok this is where we need to get specific. Load, reps, sets, tempo, rest and overall volume (essentially the sum of all these parts: weight + reps + sets) are where we turn our attention in order to pin point our goal of increasing lean muscle.

This table explains simply what parameters you need to follow to hypertrophy your muscles:

Time Under Tension Tempo Reps Sets Rest Load
40-70seconds 4-0-1-0 8-12 3-4/exercise 45-90seconds 65-80%1RM

Let me briefly explain what some of the above terms mean.

Time Under Tension or TUT: this refers to the total time each set takes to complete, and specifically how long the working muscles are under tension. This is a key variable to consider with hypertrophy, so make sure you take your time and don’t just rush through or you won’t be hitting the right stimulus.

Tempo: This refers to the pace of each individual repetition. There are 4 potential parts to each rep; the eccentric phase, a pause at the bottom, the concentric phase and a pause at the top. Or more simply the control phase eg. Lowering in a squat, a hold at the bottom, (however you’ll see for simplicity there is a zero second hold, so none), the hard work part (actually moving the weight) eg. Standing up in the squat and a hold at the top, again none in this. Unless of course you need a small hold in order to stabilise and gain complete control. So each rep should take you roughly 5 seconds, easy!

Load: This is the weight used and will be chosen accordingly to the tempo and TUT. If you know your 1 repetition maximum then you can simply work out based on these percentages. These will be reasonable slow sets so you’ll need to be conservative to start with and then progress from there as you see fit. Remember to challenge yourself but work within your limits!

Watch this clip of me squatting heavy to get a gauge of TUT and tempo, particularly the eccentric, pause and concentric parts. Note that this is not hypertrophy but max strength, however it demonstrates these different elements:

Although this is an easy general guideline, some muscles will respond better to different parameters. Things like muscle fibre type and range of motion used for the exercise dictate exactly how we should manipulate what load, reps, tempo, TUT and rest to use, however, for our purposes let’s just follow inside the above guidelines and you will be on the road to bigger, leaner, stronger and more efficient muscles. Tempo is one variable that can be altered quite a bit and regularly and still fit into the same total TUT while preventing plateaus and still causing the muscles to grow.

Girls that means killer legs and booty capable of bouncing a coin. Guys that means ‘guns’, a solid V-shaped back and ‘Xmas hams’ for legs.


Now like I’ve mentioned already, this doesn’t have to be your only training method, but can be included into your program to suit your specific goals. Just as I include some into my week to combination with some maximal strength work, high intensity resistance sessions and some high intensity cardio.

 Also- and this is really important- age is no limit. It might be more hard work than trying to achieve strength and fitness than when you were 21 but this becomes even more important as we age. Building strong muscles, bones and connective tissue as well as a strong heart and lungs is crucial in living a long and healthy live. You’re never too old to get strong!

What does a hypertrophy workout look like?

As I might just find out this year when it comes to my meat a week challenge, there are many ways to skin a cat. So you can mix and match and arrange a hypertrophy session in endless combinations, but today we’ll look at a nice simple one that should have you working hard, covering lots of muscles and stimulating growth and change.

Here goes an upper body push/pull:

  • A1: Dumbbell chest press
  • A2: Dumbbell bent over row

>Rest for 90 seconds before moving onto-

  • B1: Cable tricep pushdowns
  • B2: Neutral grip lat pull down (palms facing each other)

>Rest for 90 seconds before moving onto-

  • C1: Push ups (incline if too hard)
  • C2: Cable facepull

You will pick your weights according to them TUT and tempo you do, so let’s look at a 50 second set with a tempo of 4-0-1-0, so you should get 10 reps. You want this tenth rep to be almost too hard to do with perfect form. Complete A1 then straight into A2, rest between sets for 75 seconds, before repeating for 3-4 sets depending on your strength, ability, energy, strength, training age and time and so on as you progress through the workout onto the B’s and Cs.

That should be easy enough to follow. Now you just need to do it. Have a look at last week’s post and this will fit nicely into the weekly training log.

Girls, I want you to email me or private message me an example of a scary thing that you have done in the gym this week e.g. did you try heading into the weights room for the first time? Did you try new exercises? Did you challenge your strength?

Guys, let me know where you’re strength has hit a wall and struggling to increase. What about any exercises in particular you are battling to increase, or get your head around?

Any questions, comment below or get over to my facebook page and chat with me there:

And that’s it for another week. Next week I’ll continue this with another workout, one in the medium difficulty bracket. We’ll also look at another training style and explain just how to do it.

Interested in my weekly meats? Next week is going to be a boomer! Stay tuned….


Read part 3 here

4 comments on “Getting healthy AND sexy- the action plan part 2

  1. Love the new look! Very impressive!

    Went to the gym on tuesday at a different time to normal. A different group of boys where there, I was a bit nervous, but once I go into it was fine. The nerves must have done me good, managed a Dead lift of 105kgs. I know I have done these before many times, but this one was special. Why?? Because I did it using the ‘pronated grip’ instead of the ‘mixed grip’, that was more exciting then the lift itself. My passion for DLs is back, aiming for the 120kgs using pronated.

    These two workouts look more my level! I might give them ago next week, depends where my mind is at. At the moment it is deads, back squats (did 90kgs on Tues as well) and acheiving a chin!

  2. Pingback: Getting lean and sexy- the ‘how to’ part 3 | Twenty12: 52 meats over 52 weeks

  3. Pingback: Getting lean and sexy- the action plan | Twenty12: 52 meats over 52 weeks

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