The bulk versus lean conundrum has haunted women for years. With conflicting quips of advice from the media and sometimes even health professionals, we are often left questioning what methods will efficiently maintain a fit, lean body and avoid bulking. While women do not have the significant levels of testosterone that allow men to somewhat easily build and elaborate their masculine physique, many females still face the issue of not being quite as lean as they would like.
As there is nothing to be feared in strength training, and in fact the benefits are vast, there are some key fundamentals that come into play when constructing your lean figure that go beyond the concept of weight lifting.
That’s why we consulted with Pilates instructor and Fitness Expert Tandy Gutierrez, or as we like to call her, “The Queen of Lean,” to provide us with a handful of her clear-cut methods to achieve your goals toward a leaner body.
Here she imparts the five techniques she implements to maintain her sleek, toned, and healthy bod:
Try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. It crowds out the other liquids and keeps your body flushed of toxins. Your skin will radiate, your energy levels will go up, and you could lose 2-15 LBs just by hydrating…who wouldn’t try that?
2. Eat the majority of your meals from home.
Eating out is what derails us. We really have no idea what is in the food or what it is cooked with. Pack snacks, pack lunches, and educate yourself on food. Anything grown out of the earth is good; anything messed with in a factory could be trouble. If a food is labeled ’fat free, low fat, no fat or enriched’ stay far from it. They contain chemicals that your body has no idea how to process and you end up gaining weight or bloating. Yuck!
Try different foods and see what works for your body. One single nutrition plan or diet does not work for everyone and quick-fix crash diets do not work. Eat as clean, hormone-free and natural as you can and your budget will allow. Include whole foods such as: real veggies, real fruits, minimally processed, hormone-free dairy (if you choose to include dairy), and a variety of grains; quinoa, amaranth, rice and whole wheat, legumes, and meat (if you choose to include meat).
We make food complicated, but it’s really not, eat real things out of the earth or the least ‘messed with’ as possible. Eat three meals and two snacks a day, and don’t wait longer than four hours between any of those or it will be stored as fat.
3. Choose a workout you like and that creates long, lean muscles.
Equal out strength and length with exercises like Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonics, dance, Barre Method, or resistance training with high reps such as TRX, Gravity, and Zumba. Workout at least two-five days per week.
4. Rest and fill yourself with good thoughts.
Make use of affirmations, positive images, journaling, ‘self-help’ books and most importantly, be kind to yourself! Guilt will not bring you results so drop it and don’t pick it up again!
Start by choosing three positive adjectives of what your body (physically), already is (i.e., capable, mutable, and strong). Then choose three positive adjectives of what you want your body to be (ex: slender, muscular, and strong).
Honor what blessings you already are and get excited for what they will be! Visualize your results and more importantly, imagine how it would feel to GET those results.
Schedule your rest along with your movement. Get enough sleep for your body to consistently feel rested and alert. Take days off from working out (1-2 a week on average), and on those days try enjoying massage, stretching, mild walks, foam rolling, and/or baths with Epsom salt.
Actual body changes happen when you are resting, not when you are working out. If you don’t get enough rest, you may not actually change, no matter how much you work out.
5. Change it up.
Every four weeks change what you are doing. Variation and rest are where the body changes actually happen. Try a class or a workout online you might not usually try. When you find 3-4 (or more) types of workouts that you love, just rotate through them. That way, you and your body never get bored.
Muscle changes happen due to the element of surprise. If it’s not quite sure what is coming at it, it must constantly pay attention and react to it. Circumvent the plateaus that so easily arise because we stick to what we know and what we’re comfortable with. Just as in life, if something is too comfortable or too easy, your brain switches off. Keep it fun and full of variation! We all have our favorite workouts but, stray from the norm; take a chance! It can only make your body better.
Tandy Gutierrez is quickly gaining recognition as one of the nation’s foremost Pilates experts with workouts featured in SEVENTEEN, SELF, and ELLE Magazine and celebrity clients such as Sendhil Ramamurthy of USA Network’s Covert Affairs and NBC’s Heroes, Lucy Hale from ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and Emmanuelle Chriqui from HBO’s Entourage. Tandy’s client list also includes professional athletes in the NFL, MLB, and the Iron Man Competition. Tandy has appeared in workouts for ExerciseTV, on-demand via cable providers nation-wide and online.
In addition to her Pilates mat and apparatus education, she has a background as an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, specialty certifications in Budokon, Yoga Tune Up and Gravity Group. Basically, if it’s movement, she’s tried it. She loves to pull exercises from anywhere and everywhere in order to make a workout interesting and valid. She started practicing Pilates at the age of eighteen while getting her BFA in Theatre and Dance from Stephens College. She continues to verify that if you do Pilates, you can approach ANY other sports or fitness format and that the same is not true in reverse.
Her experience as a Lululemon Ambassador allowed her to share her work with the Los Angeles community through master classes, store events and appearances. Her tenure as the Regional Pilates Manager for EQUINOX in Southern California allowed her to shape programming for the country’s hottest fitness clubs and share her flavor of Pilates with hundreds of members and fellow instructors.
Tandy happily made the transition to stay-at-home momma, balancing her own workouts, work and two young sons with her role as wife and stepmom to a third son.
Here, Tandy demonstrates the Golden Child of Pilates; a core-strengthening series that can be completed within five minutes!