Call it what you want — a hunger for exercise, obsessive-compulsive gym attendance or sadism-gone-fitness — but there’s simply no prying you away from your workout routine. You’re never more than a treadmill visit away from a whisper-inducing, stare-stealing physique, but even the fit get bored. For you, progression is everything.
“Advanced female athletes want to be functionally strong, sexy, shapely, lean, defined and heart-healthy,” says Denver-based professional fitness competitor Carla Sanchez, CSCS, also the founder and coach of the Performance Ready Fitness and Figure Team. “This six-week progressive program consists mainly of compound exercises but also incorporates some heart-racing plyometrics that will challenge any athlete.”
This Sanchez-tailored boot camp spends two weeks in each of three distinct stages — building, sculpting and defining. You’ll work out three days a week on nonconsecutive days, with each phase focusing primarily on heavy compound movements. Sanchez recommends multijoint exercises not only for their ability to affect total-body composition but for their cumulative effect on “secondary” muscle groups like biceps and triceps. “Plus, you get in and out of the gym faster,” she adds.
For the first two weeks, you’ll focus on some basic heavy lifts to build a solid base from which to work. You’ll complete three sets of each exercise in straight-sets fashion — in other words, you’ll knock out three sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. You’ll rest only one minute between each set of a given exercise and take no rest when switching exercises.
In the sculpting phase, you’ll increase reps to the 10–12 range to keep your heart rate and metabolism working overtime. Rest no longer than two minutes in between sets.
Once you’ve built and refined muscle for a month, you’re ready for the defining phase of this routine (outlined on page 59). This dynamic, high-rep circuit regimen will help melt away remaining fat stores and start you on your way to greater gains.
Sanchez recommends performing this routine Monday, Wednesday and Friday, using Tuesday and Thursday for 30–40 minutes of high-intensity cardio and ab training.