long lean muscles

How Do I Get Long, Lean Muscles? [Podcast Episode #095]

Look at the people around you.

It's obvious that we're all built quite differently. Different heights, sizes, and shapes. But do genetic differences mean that you're stuck in a particular shape no matter what type of exercise you do?

Is it possible to develop long, lean muscles even though your body hasn't shown that shape in the past? Let's find out...​

Episode Resources:

How Do I Get Long, Lean Muscles? [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the make your body work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today we're talking with a guest who's been on the show before.

I'm excited to have her back because not only is she very knowledgeable, she's full of positive energy. She's also a good friend of mine. She's got a lot of great solutions to a question that Tracy wrote in with. Let me read you what Tracy wrote.

Tracy says, "My question is how do I get long muscles, rather than tight little ones? Pilates? More yoga? Yoga is so boring and not much of a challenge. I need something challenging that won't bulk me up but lean me out. I feel like that's always the question that women are asking. They want muscles that are long and lean, not bulky and tight."

Tracy, I just want to say you're right. I know for a fact that women are always asking this because I get this question all the time. Probably more so when I was a face to face personal trainer.

When I started training female clients, almost always on our first day or within the first couple days of training together, they would look at me and they would say "This isn't going to bulk me up is it?" Quite often I feel like they were asking that question because they came from a place where they weren't really lifting weights or they weren't lifting the type of weights that we did when we were training together.

There was that skepticism, that concern. I don't want to bulk up. I want to have a lean long physique. One of the terms that I would hear from clients is I want to look like a ballerina. Strong, lean, long, tight, that sort of body.

Like I said, I've got a great guest today who she knows what she's talking about when it comes to exercise. She's super fit herself. She works with tons of women who are in this same position who want to transform their body and need a little help doing it. I'm really excited to re-introduce to you, Debra Atkinson.

Meet Debra Atkinson

Dave: Hey Debra, thanks again for being back for a second time on the podcast.

Debra: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I always look forward to talking to you.

Dave: I feel like you and I, the first time we talked, we really connected on many different levels. I've been looking forward to this interview. I was wondering if you could start off by telling us what have you been up to lately? I know you and I are Facebook friends, so I see little glimpses of your workout life and your personal life. What's going on in your life?

Debra: Well in my personal life, I'm in melancholy a little bit. A lot of the women who are going through the same thing will recognize this. I had the very last golf tournament of my son's college career a couple weeks ago, then went back to the Mid-West to watch him flip his tassel and had the pleasure of attending his grad party afterward and realizing he has great friends, he is a great friend, and I like him. There is nothing better. Those are all booing up my personal and my business life right now.

What's new as far as work goes, we have some great programs. I love this season. I do love the new year. I think we were talking last, it was that time of year. This is like another new year because people are getting ready for summer and excited. Programs are thriving again and that is so much fun to watch women get excited about feeling good and looking great.

Dave: You personally, I've seen you post about your workouts and some of the stuff you're personally doing fitness wise. Can you tell us, what do you have in terms of goals right now fitness wise?

Debra: You're so good at this. You're coaching without coaching.

Dave: No, I'm not trying to motivate you.

Debra: Did you all hear that? Actually I wasn't thinking motivating. I was thinking nail me to the wall is what I was thinking.

Dave: Come on.

Debra: I think you did this last time. Here's what I want to do. I really want to do an iron man this year. I have one more in me. Unfortunately, what's the date today? As we're recording, it's about a month out exactly from having to be at a starting line. I'm not there. I would be injured if I tried to jump into this one. It's in my backyard, so I really wanted to do it, but can't do it. I'm going to shift my thought process and start planning to train for one in November in Cozumel.

What I'm going to do is I talk so much about exercise and hormone shifts, is I'm going to test my hormones right now before I begin training, keep an eye on them during and after. My whole goal is to really downsize the volume of training and increase the quality of training.

When exercising, the quality is more important than the quantity. Train smarter, not harder

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Do so much more interval training than long distance athletes are used to. Not just that slogging hours and hours which can be so damaging to telemeters and cortisol and hormone balance. I'm going to try to do it right because it is a joy factor. I'll reveal it all. There it is. I just put it out there to the world.

Dave: Cozumel in November, you're doing an Ironman. There you go. Honestly Debra, I would love to have you back. I'd be very interested to hear what your findings are from that.

Debra: I will. That's as long as you're coming down to [Sherba 00:05:58] for me, right?

Dave: Any chance, any excuse to go on a vacation, done.

Debra: You should take one for the team.

The Beauty of Interval Training

Dave: It's interesting that you mentioned about training less, sort of training smarter, not harder. I just on Sunday a couple days ago did my first marathon.

Debra: Congratulations. That's huge.

Dave: Thanks. Honestly it went really well. I got the time that I was looking for, felt great. For me, the prohibiting factor for not having done a full marathon before was the fact that I always pictured having to train to run five days a week. I like running, but I like a lot of other things too. I just can't do it all.

When I went into this, the only reason I signed up for this is a friend of mine wanted to do it. He insisted he have a training partner. I was like, "Okay, I'll do it. I'll train with you. If I'm going to train with you, I might as well run the race."

We followed a program that was just three runs per week. We did an interval run, a tempo run, and then a long slow run. It was fantastic. That's manageable to me. I felt great in the race.

Debra: I love that. You know what, I do that with everyone I coach. If you're 50, if you're 60 and you're looking at how do I do cardio, I approach it just like that. One of each, like a potluck. Don't do the whole meal with the steak hanging off the plate. We take a little of everything. I love that.

When I did my first marathon, I thought that it was going to impede my ability to train and to do well because I was teaching so many fitness classes. I was spinning and I was teaching high/low at that point. Does anybody remember that? Doing some step, ironically, I got to the end, and I was like, "You know what, I think that's what saved me." I think it’s why I got to the starting line injury free and finished also feeling good. It was great.

Dave: The whole cross training, who knew cross training brings benefits? Who knew?

Debra: I know, right? Right.

Dave: That's so funny. It sounds like things are going well from a training perspective in your life. That's why i was excited to connect with you over this question. This is one. Tracy wrote in and basically she says, "I don't want to get tight, hard, bulky muscles" like man muscles. She didn't say that, but that's what she was describing. "I want to have a long, lean figure."

I know that you're big into strength training and cross training and doing all those different types of exercises specifically for women. I did want to ask you, are your clients, are they saying the same time? Are they afraid about how their body is going to morph? Do they not know where to start? Is this something you hear all the time?

You Do Have a Unique Body Type and Muscle Stucture

Debra: That sure is a common concern for women. It has been for years that I don't want to bulk up meaning I don't really want to see the muscle, yet on the flip side, without knowing it, they're saying, "But I want muscle. I want tone." It's like, wait. Tone comes from the muscle. It's a little yin-yang, we've got to do a little dance.

What I often come back to and I think you'll agree is there are certain body types that simply reveal, show, develop muscle easier than others, that mezzo-morph and it has more to do with how your muscles are connected, where they're connected across your joint.

If you're listening, put your hand up on your shoulder. Those deltoids that we've all got on the shoulder, maybe have more, maybe have less. Then if you reach down to your upper arm, some of us are connected right there, right away just below the shoulder joint. Some of us are connected a couple more inches further down.

The further down you are connected, the more likely you're going to have ease of showing that muscle, developing that muscle and you're somebody who could be a figure competitor or a body builder easier than another person would who might struggle with it.

Part of what you need to do is not just here's the protocol for getting longer, sleeker, slimmer muscles, but it's also a matter for that protocol does work, but let's look at specifically what's your body type?

The other two are ecto-morph having a hard time defining or putting muscle on at all no matter what you do or the endo-morph, the Marylyn Monroe, more curvy, more round figure. That gets a little harder to find muscle definition period.

Dave: I can almost imagine Tracy or the listeners saying, "Debra, I don't like this Debra. She's basically saying I'm stuck with whatever my body gives me." Is that what you're saying?

Debra: No, it's not at all. It's just that to complete the puzzle, your puzzle is you want to take what's your body type, and then what's the goal with the desire that you have. We know that part right now. Then we can come up with what's the best protocol to get where you want to get.

Dave: What do you do with women who come in and say ... We'll start with you're talking, I liked how you brought up the different body types. Let's start with someone who is that mezzo-morph and they're able to put on muscle quite quickly. For a woman who is that body type, what sort of exercise routine do you suggest?

Debra: Let me make sure I've got this. You're saying if she wants to be longer and sleeker, not really see the muscle?

Dave: Yeah totally, for Tracy saying basically long and lean. When I read Tracy's question, I actually thought of a client that I worked with. She kept using a comparison to a ballerina. Ballerina's they look strong, but they are anything from ... They are not bulky at all.

Debra: No, teenie, tiny.

Dave: That sort of body type, what sort of exercise would translate into that?

Effective Exercises: More Weight vs. More Repetitions

Debra: First of all, how about if we do this. From the back-door standpoint, this is what I would avoid, what we've all been taught, if you learned weight training 20 years ago or more, was three sets of ten. That is a bulk creating protocol. No wonder many women have a negative feeling about exercise because what they did and were taught, they were doing correctly, but it does provide more bulk. You can go one of two ways.

The way I would suggest starting is with slightly lighter weights and more repetitions. I'm a lover of lifting heavy. That is the other way to go, but what you want to do is kind of jump that fence. You don't want to be doing that three times ten protocol. You might be doing start with 15, 20, and even 25 repetitions.

Really exciting, and I don't think we talked about this last time, Dave. A recent study came out really showing that what I've been saying for so long, lifting heavy is really the way to go. We can see results lifting lighter weights. If that's either your preference out of fear for bulking, or you have an injury and a condition that requires you to lift a little bit lighter so that you don't injure.

As long as you reach fatigue, that means don't cap your workout off at 15 if you're truly not at fatigue. Keep going. I like to think don't do more than 30 repetitions. That's really going to be time consuming for you and probably you need to pick up a slightly lighter weight and still you'll be safe. If you can do that many that would be that stopping point, but reach fatigue and do say two sets of 25-30 repetitions.

If you fatigue a little sooner than that, that's still okay. Anything over 15-20 reps, you're doing that more lengthening toning kind of conditioning. We see it a lot in people who do Pilates.

Dave: I agree with you. I think that's eye opening to hear you talk about that huge volume. I think that most people would say, or most people who have read about strength training would say more reps is not going to lead me to bulk, but when you're talking about 20, 25, even up to 30 reps, that's a huge volume. I think that might be surprising to most women.

Debra: Yeah, I think it was a huge surprise to me. Yet a little reconciliation because I am turning off a lot of women with what I've said for years in that really going heavy is the quickest way to get results without burnout and potentially better for your hormones.

I'm probably always going to lean on that side of the gate that you can spend a lot less time and get a lot better results if you can go heavier safely and yet you if you're listening and you're a little leery of using heavy weights and or starting out ... Dave, you and I know that you've got to have progression, even if we ultimately want to get to heavy weight, we don't start somebody there.

We want to start with a little bit lighter weight, give your body chance and your mind time to recruit the right muscles in the right pattern and then whittle down to less and less repetitions as you increase the weight in order to do that.

Start small with your exercise. Fitness is not a race. You have no deadline. Think longterm.

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Dave: I love the fact that you talk about progression because that can be the next challenge is someone might hear what you just proscribed and might say to themselves, "Debra said 20-30 reps, three sets. I'm going to go do that lightweights and that's going to be my program for lean, long muscles." Then they do that for the next 30 years.

What is "Interval Weight Lifting"?

Debra: We so don't want ... Even I think if you're out there, you need to shake things up. You're lifting consistently but you're not seeing the results you want, even let's go back to your marathon training. You did interval one day, tempo one day, long and slow another day. With weight training, you can do something very similar.

Let's say you're lifting three times a week. Not that you have to, but as an example twice a week is fine. If you're lifting three times a week, you might want to do lighter weight, more repetitions on one day. You might want to do heavy weights, fewer repetitions on another day.

Maybe on your third day, we haven't really talked about this, more of a functional workout. Unilateral work with one arm and then the other, one leg and then the other, more body weight types of things to really focus on balance, core exercise, moving. It's easier to recover. If you're working three times a week, it's nice to have that little bit easier on the body although really good for the body and the connections workout.

Dave: I totally agree. Even personally speaking, I've talked about this on the podcast recently, but I started going to a yoga studio that has some classes. It's called Power Yoga. It's body weight training. We're doing headstands and hand stands and all these different movements that require a lot of strength. I come out of there and I'm wrecked.

I just feel that all I want to do is go have a nap, drink a protein shake and have a nap, but the cool thing is the next day I feel great. Whereas when I go into the gym and lift heavy and really push myself, not that I don't feel great the next day, but my body is saying, "Hey, I need time off. I need to recover."

Throwing in all that functional movement training, I'm all with you. It gives you the benefits, but doesn't require the down time.

In order to see positive results, you must allow your body to rest. Proper rest is just as important as proper exercise.

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Debra: Totally. It's great for ... Say you workout Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You do your strength training, clarifying, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. If you're doing more of an intense workout money and again on Friday, whether it's similar or it's different like we discussed, lighter weight one day, heavier another, Wednesday I think is a great day to put that functional work in. It ensures, yup, I'm stimulating the muscles, but also yes, I'm still also recovering and giving my body the best break before I really go at it again hard.

Dave: Totally. Debra, right now I'm on your website. I'm checking you out. Right on the home page, there's a picture of you on a bridge sort of holding onto the railing. Listeners, you can go check this out. Flippingfifty.com

Debra: That's my titanic stretch, Dave.

Dave: That's a perfect name for it. Honestly, I don't mean to sound creepy like I'm hitting on you here, but you look great. Your body ... As a personal trainer, I always look at musculature. Your glutes are defined. I can see your quads. Your calves are defined. It's not bulky defined. You look very feminine, but very fit. You're telling us you're big into lifting heavy. Talk to us about this. What does your actual workout routine look like to get the body that you've got?

Know the Difference Between Reaching Fatigue vs. Being Tired

Debra: We'll have to send everybody listening back to our prior podcast. We talked about this a little bit. I think I might have called myself a bitch. My boss, who is me, these last few years, I really left other people’s businesses where I was building them and started building my own. I had a real sense of urgency.

What I love, long distance, endurance training, became 20 minutes most days. That means I got really focused really fast. Twice a week to do ten, even 20 minutes of strength training. If you go heavy, you fatigue faster, so you're done sooner. You've got to realize, I had been doing weight training for 20 years. So progression, I had that down. I was there. Don't jump into heavy right away.

I always start with the core. I think of it, if you'll imagine a target, like if you're shooting bow and arrows at a target, I think of the very middle as what I'm always going to do first. If I only have ten minutes, I'm going to do my highest priority stuff. Then when I have 15 or 20 minutes, then I start going out to the outer circle.

I start with those major muscle groups, the biggest needle movers for metabolism, do squats, check press, bent over row, or maybe a bent arm pullover for some variety. If I'm doing it at home, and at a gym it changes a little bit because I've got access to a lat pull down, I don't at home. That's what I'm doing.

I might do those three exercises, rotate them three times, maybe throw in one core exercise between so I've got adequate rest before I come back to the same muscle group. I try to fatigue in ten or fewer repetitions.

Dave: That's pretty impressive. You are lifting. As a personal trainer, I know if you're fatiguing in fewer than ten reps, you're obviously lifting quite a heavy weight.

Debra: Yes, or I'm really using tempo. When I'm in my Facebook groups for programs doing these live videos with them, it's realistic that even at my house I don't have this whole complete set of weights. I have a few weights on the side in the living room just like you. I am in the boat with you. I totally get it.

When I can get to the gym, I do and that's where the racks of weights are, but at home, I might play with tempo. I have more time under tension. You know what that means, Dave. Just so everybody listening does, rather than just lift and lower and lift and lower, I might lift, two, three, four, hold, one, two, lower, two, three four, and hold.

Those hold at the end and taking the time in the movement to really slow it down, that lets you really focus on the muscle that you want to fatigue. That's another huge study.

Let's clarify. You really ... This is a big point for me. Fatigue versus tired. If we really want to see metabolism change, you need to fatigue the muscle, not just get tired. Those of you who are going to boot camp, I'm not throwing boot camp under the bus, because I designed a lot of boot camp programs back in the day and still like that format for comradery, but it's really important that you're moving quickly between exercises. If you're doing a strength exercise, you slow down, use the appropriate weight, and fatigue the muscle so you can benefit metabolism.

Dave: I could not agree more with everything you just said there. So often I'll get women who will talk about doing all their exercises and they'll say I'm checking the boxes for strength training and they're doing a boot camp class or some sort of group fitness class and that's been their routine for three years or five years or whatever it is.

Like you, I'm not saying that those aren't good forms of exercise, but they do have a problem from a progression standpoint. That's the fact, just like you described, most of them are designed to elevate your heart rate. The best way to elevate your heart rate is to reduce your rest and to speed up your tempo.

If those are the two things you're practicing along with light weights over and over and over again, there isn't that progression. Debra, you're speaking my language. I love what you're saying.

Focus On YOU

Debra: We could probably talk about this for another hour. Just very recently, this week had one of the gals in my group ... You know my virtual group, I'll have people who are wherever they are in the world working face to face with a personal trainer.

It's not a threat at all, and in fact, that's a big help to someone, but she was saying, "Do I have to do my cardio with my strength training because my trainer has me jumping on a bike right after doing these exercises really quickly and then jumping on a bike for so many minutes and doing this. I said, no. You don't have to.

In fact, I kind of like splitting them up, doing really high quality focus on your cardio. When you're doing cardio, do your cardio intervals. When you're doing your strength, let's focus on your strength.

It's okay to mix things up once in a while, but I tend to think 80% of the time splitting them up actually allows you to focus on really what you're doing and not just get busy and leave tired, but actually feel better because of what you've done. What are your thoughts on that Dave?

Dave: I agree with you. While you were speaking there, I was thinking about how I know personally what I like to do when I go to the gym. If I didn't have something written out and I would go, I can tell you, the exercise I would do, the weights I would use because I enjoy them. I'm good at them. That's so problematic because I think all of us, we want to do things that we feel successful at.

You will enjoy what you're good at. Give yourself some of that, sprinkled with some of the challenging stuff too

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For someone who is used to doing HIIT training for example, that's what they do and they're great at it. Fifteen minutes in and out, that's great. Go ahead and do that, but at some point, you're going to have to, like you said, change that up and maybe try something that you're not comfortable with.

Maybe, as you suggested, it will be on focusing on some slow tempo resistance training and just try that for a while and just see. I love experimentation. When Tracy wrote in, right away I thought experiment. Try a bunch of different things for four weeks at a time and you will see how your body responds.

Debra: Yeah, I think that's such great advice. I could just predict where you were going. It's totally true. We call into our defaults of, "This is easy. I know this routine. I feel good at this. I'm good at it." So we want to repeat. Then you miss your weak links sometimes.

Choosing a Tempo for Your Exercise

Dave: I do want to go back really quickly and talk a little bit more about tempo because I think that will probably be a new concept to a lot of listeners. Can you talk about ... I don't know how you do it. Usually I think about the three speeds, the negative, the positive and the break in between. Is that how you'd usually instruct tempo to someone?

Debra: Yes. I had to pause for a minute just because I don't use that terminology, but yeah, absolutely.

Dave: Go for it in your terminology then. How would you describe or teach someone tempo for their exercise.

Debra: It would be better described just as you did with positive, negative, but I might say to someone in my audience, lift and hold. Pause and the end point, lower and pause at the end point. I actually use four stops.

Dave: Can you give some examples? Let's use a common exercise that people would be familiar with. Let's say we were talking about squats. How could someone experiment with tempo for their squats?

Debra: Definitely in that lowering phase for the squat, when you're actually standing going to the squat position, say do four counts or four seconds depending on how you're thinking about it, holding at the bottom for two, coming back up in four, and then holding at the top for two which is going to be no problem in this case. That's one example, but we could also take it exactly the same on all of them. We could go four, four, four and one at the top.

Dave: Oh my gosh, four, four, four would be so hard.

Debra: I know, right? It sounds great if you're thinking I can do one with body weight, not a problem, but then let's load you up a little bit. That'll be not so fun after a few.

Dave: It's interesting when you start thinking about tempo. When I go to the gym, I'm always watching other people. I'm the biggest creep in the gym. I just watch everyone else exercise. Almost everyone would do a tempo, again using squats, they might do a two on the negative. Two on the way down.

So for the listeners, imagine you're standing up straight. Most people might go one, two as they squat down, and then immediately pop back up on a one count. Pretty much everyone does that. Where do you ever see someone who's counting four counts on the way down, holding at the bottom for two counts and four counts on the way up? No one does that.

Debra: Just to pat ourselves on the back, only if they're with a really good trainer.

Dave: Exactly. We're so smart.

Slow Down: Take The Time To Feel

Debra: Somebody is making them do it. It's not that. It's not even smart, but unless somebody's there making you accountable, somebody else I heard talk about this very thing or in an analogy. A dietician was giving a program between my program and the next Thursday night. She said she was doing savor the flavor during desserts. She said "Slow down.

Let's take five seconds. Hold the food in your mouth. Taste it." That was chocolate. It was really hard. She said, "I find myself doing this. We're always such in a hurry in our life that even when I'm not in a hurry, I find myself whipping through dinner, eating it as fast as possible to get on to the next thing." I think we do get that mentality in the gym even if we're not in a hurry.

Slow down. Feel. Enjoy every moment.

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Dave: I love that analogy. That's so true.

Debra: We've got to slow down and realize where can I hurry and then where do I need to slow down? Where does it matter that I spend a little bit more time? Really the reality of in an exercise set, you're talking about the difference between ... This is a country song coming to me right now, but 30 seconds is 60. It's really about that's not a ton of time difference, but in terms of your results, it can make a lot of difference.

Dave: Even just from an enjoyment factor or a difference factor, when you go into the gym and you have some of these other variables to play with aside from always putting on more weight or doing more reps, it gives some newness to exercise.

I know maybe two or three years ago, I was putting together this article for a fitness magazine and some associated videos. It was talking about how to spice up push-ups. One of the things that I showed, one of the protocols I personally used all the time is imagine you're in the top of a push up. I'll do a negative, count for ten and you lower down and then get to the bottom and hold for two in the lowest part of your pushup.

At this point, your arms are going to be trembling, your core is going to be trembling. Then do the positive. The push back up for another count of ten. Try to do that. Try and do it from your knees, try and do it from your toes. I do about four of them and then my body's totally done.

It's a nice reprieve from going in and saying, "I'm going to go and do 60 pushups. It's just something new.

Debra: Completely. Then the next time you do try to do 60 pushups, you're so much stronger.

Dave: It's completely true.

Debra: We forget. This is a reminder for me, for you, for everybody listening that in fitness, failure is success. There are a lot of different ways to get there.

In fitness, failure is success. Your success today is made of your failure of yesterday

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Dave: That's interesting. Can you explain that? What do you mean failure? What's failure?

Debra: If you're going to do your pushups with ten counts pushing up, ten counts lowering down, you're going to get to face plant pretty quickly, meaning failure. You can't do one more. That's really what I meant in terms of fatigue versus tired. You do want to get to the one where you can't do another one or you feel yourself cheating in order to get there.

Dave: Debra, I love how you're speaking about this because you're very clear, but you're also giving a bit of balance to some of the trends today. HIIT is all over the place. Everyone wants to do this high intensity intervals. Again, I'm a fan. I do use those myself, but it's nice to hear that there is another side of the coin that adds just as much value.

Debra: I think what we have to remember is this is such an old analogy. I feel like I'm dating myself. Your audience maybe hasn't heard me say it before, so I've got a new one. I like to think of it as an art gallery.

When you go into an art gallery, surprisingly, there may be in a big room with a huge wall with two big pieces of art, but there's a lot of white space between it because you can't appreciate the art without that white space. It's not a full wall.

When you're looking at a great workout, interval training is great, but if you fill your whole schedule with it, it stops being so great. Your body won't respond as positively to it if you're throwing that same thing at it all the time. It's that variety that really makes one workout work so well.

Dave: I absolutely love that. I'm stealing that analogy. I'll give you credit if I use it.

Debra: All right.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: We like to wrap up this show with what's called a make your body work takeaway. I'm thinking back to Tracy and her original question that got us onto this discussion about these long, lean muscles. You've given lots of great ideas of how she can experiment and try things out. What would you say is the first step for Tracy? Any women saying I don't want to bulk up but I do want a leaner, tighter physique. What can they do today?

Debra: I would start with selecting [ (weight) inaudible 00:35:15] that you can go through some of the very basic movements and think back to the center of my bullseye, your squat, your chest press, your bent over row. Choosing weights that you can fatigue somewhere between 20 and 30 repetitions. That gives you a lot of latitude.

As you're doing it, focus on your mindset. Focus on the muscles, really seeing the length that you want. We haven't even dove into that, but mindset and seeing the result that you want in your head is a big part of that result that you're going to get.

Focus on doing that, working say two sets of 15 and realize that your progression might be to make that two sets of 15, I'm sorry, 20-30. I'm so used to defaulting to that. Wow, I just caught myself. If I just confused you all, it's totally my fault. My confusion, not yours. Try two sets of between 20-30 repetitions and reaching fatigue within that.

As you progress, you may still stay within that repetition, range for a few weeks before you start to give yourself variety. You're letting your mind adapt to that pattern, that focus, then stretch really well.

What ballerinas do if you want that kind of a body is spend an awful lot of time stretching those muscles back out after you've worked them. Lengthen them and pay special attention to getting into the joins and breathing through after you've exercised them.

Dave: Man, Debra. You give such great advice. When you were talking about the mindset and really focusing on the muscle that you want to develop, I picture a woman standing, looking in the mirror, doing some bicep curls with some dumbbells. So many of us, it's so easy to do a curl, come to the top and immediately drop down and let our arm go part way back down whereas if you think about maybe everyone can do this right now.

Let your arms hand down by your sides and really focus on extending. Really straighten out your arms and you can feel what happens to your bicep. It gets longer. As you extend at the elbow, your bicep gets longer naturally.

Going for that curl and really thinking about squeezing your muscles and then on the way down really letting them fully extend and stretch out, that sort of mindfulness will get such a better result than just listening to your music and curling away and doing little partial curls like most of us do.

Debra: So true. We distract ourselves when truly going in and associating our mind with our body is such a great key. That was a great tip.

Debra’s Free Giveaway

Dave: You sparked the idea. Debra, you have a perfect free giveaway, a gift that's so related to this topic. Can you tell us a little bit about your giveaway?

Debra: Absolutely. A quick rundown, a quick at a glance checklist for if you're short on time, particularly are you doing the highest priority things first back to that bulls eye. These are the things that literally make the biggest difference for any age, particularly for middle aged if you're at that point or over and you're at flippingfifty all spelled out .com/exercise-50.

There's that checklist quick, and if you have the time, you want to take it with me, a 14 day flip. I'll send you a short 15-20 minute video every day for 14 days just to get yourself back into the habit if you're not in the habit right now, or to tweak. It's a great energy break in the middle of the day if you're already exercising. Me leading you through exercises, you would not necessarily default to will pattern your body in a different way. It'll feel great when somebody else gives you something versus you doing, "I'm really good at this." Again and again.

Dave: Isn't it awesome having a coach? Hearing you say that, talking about you leading us through exercises that we normally wouldn't do, it makes me want to sign up. Am I allowed to sign up?

Debra: Yeah. Of course you are.

Dave: Okay I will.

Debra: I'm watching you. I'm going to be watching you.

Dave: For the listeners, if you go to make your body work.com/95, I'll have links to Debra's giveaway as well as her website as well as our previous podcast on the show and anything else that we talked about in today's episode. That's make your body work.com/95.

Debra, aside from going to flippingfifty.com, are there other ways if people have questions for you about their own exercise routine, is that the best place for them to connect with you or is there somewhere else?

Debra: That is an amazing place, but I'm often ... My community is on Facebook. If you too are on Facebook, you're using that, jump in and ask a question because I'm there. I'm all over it. It's Facebook.com/flippingfiftytv is the URL.

Dave: Great. Again, I'll put the link in the show notes so everyone can access that as well. Debra, you're such a pleasure. I love chatting with you. I think you and I, we have a lot of similar ideas, but I learn stuff today from you. It's awesome to be able to talk to someone else who knows things that I don't and that the audience doesn't. So thanks for being here.

Debra: You're welcome. Thanks for having me. Right back at you. Love chatting with you.

Dave: Thanks again, Debra for being on the show today and sharing so much wisdom and just for encouraging us to experiment. I think to everyone who is listening, if you've listened to this podcast consistently over the last couple years, you've probably heard that as a recurring theme.

Experiment, experiment, experiment. What works perfectly for you and gives you this body that you're looking for and gives you the health you're looking for is not going to be the exact same solution as your friend or your sister or your brother or your parent, your co-worker, whoever it is. Everyone is a little bit unique. Therefore the perfect solution for each of us is going to be a little bit unique. There has to be some experimentation. Debra, I just really appreciate you giving those words of wisdom and explaining that because that is the truth.

Get a Copy of My Book, Can’t Lose!

For anyone who wants to know more about what they can do to develop this body that they've been looking for, I highly encourage that you check out my new book. It's called Can't Lose: 14 winning weightless secrets for women who think they can't lose weight. Debra is actually one of the contributors to this book. I interviewed Debra and we talked about many of these topics about losing weight, about exercising effectively, about changing our body. The suggestions that she has in the book, they're so relevant and they are so actionable.

You can actually get your free copy of can't lose. I purchased a bunch of copies and I'm giving them away to my listeners of this podcast. You can go to makeyourbodywork.com/book and you can order your free book right there. I'll ship it to you. All I ask is that you cover a couple bucks of my cost of shipping it to you, but the book is on me. Then read it. Read Debra's chapter. Read the other chapters. There are 14 experts who are featured in this book giving all kinds of amazing advice about improving our health, our wellness, and then most importantly losing that weight that you want to lose, but haven't been able to lose up until this point. Be sure to check that out.

Then of course, next week I'm going to be back with another great question, another great guest. I hope to see you here. Have a great week and I'll see you back here on the podcast.

Thanks for joining me today!