Shreds for Women

One of the biggest challenges I face when speaking to women about shredding is the idea that you can eat well and train hard. Here's the proof that is possible!

One of the biggest challenges I face when speaking to women about shredding is the idea that you can eat well and train hard. Many of my own clients have found the transition into shredding a difficult journey and one of the main concerns they have is the way to eat. There seems to be a worry surrounding the amount of food one can intake during this phase and I am here to tell you that you can eat and train and combine to the two effectively in order to enjoy a great shredding phase.

When we look at diet we have to think about 3 main factors;

  • Eat little and often
  • Post workout re-fuelling
  • Continue to eat…cleanly!

Your diet is going to change quite drastically and your protein intake is going to increase massively whilst your carbohydrate intake needs to be reduced in order to have the correct balance. When thinking of meals you need to think of eating 3-6 meals a day and keep an eye on portion control. Each meal should consist of a high protein count with some complex carbohydrates and should be reasonably low in terms of added fats and sugars. When re-fuelling after a workout your carbohydrate intake can a little higher as your body will be using the extra carbs to fuel up after a stressful period. The more often you eat the less you should be feeling the hunger pans and you should find that your body responds to the increased intake in a positive manner.

When talking to female clients about training there can be a concerning emphasis on not eating through the day and dropping weight far too quickly in the incorrect manner. You have to remember that when you are working hard to drop excess fat your body will still need to be re-fuelled and to not eat will only hinder your progress in shredding. You can still eat effectively and enjoy a successful shredding period and this is done by following the little and often guideline. You need to know what fuels your body and that taking in high protein snacks or meals on a more regular basis can only be a good thing for your body and will contribute to a more successful shredding stage in your regime.

Hydration is always necessary to anybody’s workout regime and this should be high on your diet priorities during training. An intake of between 2-7 litres every day will keep you at your optimum level and ensure you can train hard and see some good results alongside your training.


As with all shredding phases cardiovascular training is a key element and it can consist of varying exercises. In your local gyms you can find rowers, bikes, cross trainers and steppers and away from the gym you can skip, jog, run and bike too so there should be a variety of different ways to keep your body working hard. Classes are also a good way to stay in shape and help your shredding with the social aspect a key for many female clients who maybe don’t want to train alone so grab a friend and make it a more enjoyable phase for your regime.

You can begin to delve a little deeper into your training and start to look at your BMI (body mass index levels) in order to figure out what kind of cardio training you need to be doing. For those who have a larger BMI the emphasis should be on interval or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as you will need to shock your body into a harder regime and keep it guessing with shorter bursts and maybe incorporate an overall body workout for that complete training feel.


So for example you could do 4-5 stations focusing on differing body parts with each station lasting 2-3 minutes at low and maximum capacity levels. This can also done over several rounds, again, considering your fitness levels.


For those who have a smaller BMI level you can maybe look at steady state as a way to increase the fat burn whilst not over doing it or dropping below a healthy BMI index during training. This would involve one or two exercises at a similar pace/speed over a 10-30minute time period.


So for example you could do 15 minutes at a steady pace on the cross trainer with a small rest period before doing 15 minutes on the treadmill at varied speeds, keeping your body’s output levels high.


When lifting during a shredding phase the key elements should always be;

  • Low weights
  • High reps

This is to allow your body to work harder during the phase and to steer away from adding muscle mass by not completing high weight compound moves. You should also try to have a focus on the muscle group you are training and really slow each repetition down in order to create a more intense burn, which should result in a definition becoming apparent over the weeks and months. You should be looking at keeping to machine/free weights for the majority of your training as the lower weight will allow for far more repetitions to be carried, which should be your ultimate focus.


Finally sleep is an underrated component of all types of training as without a sufficient rest period you will struggle to perform at high level and see any real results. So make sure that you are giving your body the best possible recovery time and aim for at least 6-8 quality hours per night.

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