The Best Workout For A Lean, Athletic Body - Ivana Chapman

The Best Workout For A Lean, Athletic Body

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Yesterday I got randomly asked by someone at the gym about what the best workout is.

You might as well ask, “How long is a piece of string?”

It all depends on who the person is, what genetics they have, what their exercise history is, and what their goals are.

There’s not really one specific workout that will help everyone achieve what they want with their body.

I guess many people are thinking of pre-packaged workout programs like practically every unqualified Instagram fitness “star” offers for about $10 these days.

And I can’t say that those programs are completely useless.

In fairness, I don’t even know much about them.

And when the alternative is sitting on the couch with a pack of Doritos then just about any workout program will do – at first.

And there, you’ll soon see, is the big problem.

While nearly every workout will initially get you a bit leaner and maybe even build some muscle, it’s not long before the benefits diminish and eventually disappear.

There’s also the risk of injury with doing a workout program that isn’t at the appropriate level for you.

Whoa, bud! Are you really ready for that plyo push-up? (Actually HE probably is…)

Doing 20 burpees every other day might work for some highly-trained individuals, but the average person buying into a pre-packaged program will eventually get injured doing excessive amounts of high impact activities that their muscles, joints, and tendons aren’t conditioned for.

This is one of the criticisms of Crossfit workouts.

They may very well be good for people who are already relatively fit, but people are often pushed to do exercises that their bodies aren’t ready for.

That whole, “your grandma can do this” business isn’t reality.

Sure, maybe your grandma is a former professional athlete who’s still working out with vigor in her 70s.

But she’s probably not.

And even most people half her age aren’t prepared for the high-impact challenges that many packaged workout programs advise.

So what’s the one workout that really works for everybody?

Progressive resistance training!

So training with weights, or perhaps even starting with your bodyweight with many exercises, before moving on to heavier weights.

That’s what makes a workout progressive.

And that’s what you want, isn’t it?


A complete newbie to exercise will get a benefit from nearly any physical activity.

Hey, if you haven’t exercised for months or years, even yoga or Zumba classes 3 times a week will have you feeling more “toned” and will even get you leaner (more calories out, y’all!).

But after a few months to a year, you’ll find that your progress stops.

What are you going to do then?

More Zumba classes?

I guess that’s an option, but definitely not the right one if your goal is a lean, athletic physique.

I realize that not everyone can afford personal training or an online fitness coach to design a workout program specifically for their strengths, abilities, and goals.

But even a pre-packaged workout program (yes, I do them too!) has to have some allowances for people of varying levels of ability.

Progressive weight training programs offer that benefit because they automatically adjust to the person’s current level of strength and fitness.

One person might do the program with bodyweight squats and the other person might squat 400 pounds.

Squats are on the menu for everyone…at whatever level they’re currently at.

And if someone goes from bodyweight to squatting 400 pounds, that’s an amazing achievement.

Through that process their body changes, adapts, and gets stronger and looks better.

It’s gradual and incremental, but it’s the best method for never-ending improvement.

And taking it one step at a time means that your risk of injury is lower than just bouncing around maniacally from random program to random program.

Progressive weight training offers continuous results.

Who doesn’t want that?

Ivana Chapman

P.S. Yup, I’ve got a workout program that gives you all the weight training guidance (and personal support from me!) you need. Check out the details for Lean365, my online membership program, HERE!

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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