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TRAINING TIPS FOR OUR TRANS & ENBY FRIENDS

Everyone's journey is unique.  This is a short guide for our Trans and Non-Binary friends who are working on their Health & Fitness.

Included in this are tips for both the physical & mental aspects of exercise.  This guide is intended to help you customize your workout programs to get better results.

This guide will be expanded as time goes on. Contact us if you want to help us add to it or if you have more specific questions for your training.

CLEARLY DEFINING YOUR TRAINING OUTCOME GOALS

If like many other trans and nonbinary individuals you are wanting to change your appearance to affirm your gender, fitness training can be an accessible option.  Before starting any routine you should clearly define your goals because that will determine which style of programming would be best at getting the results you want.

What type of body are you wanting to create?  Do you want to build a hard-body or more gentle curves?  Do you want bigger arms or juicy thighs (or both)?  Do you want a more traditional* masculine or feminine appearance, or even a balance of both?  Be concious of what you are trying to create and keep realistic outcomes in mind when choosing your programming.

 

Whatever your goals, there are several factors within your control that will determine your outcomes. 

What you get out of your exercise program is based on several factors.  Here are a few important ones you are in control of:

  • -Your exercise routine stimulates your body and tells it what muscles to grow and how fit you will be.  You can choose to build muscle in strategic ways to emphasize certain proportions giving you more of the appearance you are looking for.

  • Your Nutrition determines whether or not you will gain or lose lean tissue and body fat. Finding the appropriate nutrition for your goals takes time and experimentation.  Key thing to remember is small changes can have big, long-lasting results while BIG changes can lead to quick rebounds and unsustainability.

  • Your Rest is when your body will grow and recover from the workouts.  Neglecting your rest can & will result in injury, mental stress, and hormonal issues.

A fourth factor that some people have access to is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT).  Your hormones are a key factor in determining how fast or slow your body builds muscle and loses fat. They also determine how bodyfat is distributed on the body. 

 

For those who have access to hormones, it is recommended that you use them while under supervision of a medical professional. Be sure to pay close attention to any changes in your health or mood while on them as these may be warning signs of some other health conditions.

 

For those who do not have access to HRT, know that while hormones are important they are not the end-all-be-all.  Training consistently over time will change your body in positive ways.  Do not lose hope and stay the course.  

PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS WHEN TRANSITIONING

Every human body is unique and your workout routine should reflect that.  The following are some common issues that while not unique to people who are trans, they are more prevalent and need to be considered.  

Joint Hypermobility (Shoulders, Knees & Elbows): 

Whether due to bone structure or hormones, some of us have issues with connective tissues, joint laxity and hypermobility.  If this is the case, extra consideration should go into exercise selection and accessory work.  We want to make the joints as stable as possible so that we remain injury-free as we lift heavy stuff!
 

Hormonal Fluctuations: 

We all have hormones and some of us have to deal with them fluctuating heavily each month. Whether it’s our natural or store-bought hormones, it is important to understand and time our monthly lifting cycles with those so during our low-times of the month we focus more on the accessory work and reduce the work-load, and during our high times of the month we can give our all!

 

Do I need to train [insert bodypart]? I don’t want that any bigger!:  

The programming can easily be adjusted to not add bulk to specific areas.  Not everyone wants their legs or arms to get bigger, so we can focus more on strengthening that area rather than training for size.  Also, training for size requires not only the stimulation, but the nutrition (caloric intake) to put on that size. What we don’t want to do is neglect body parts because any weakness in the chain can result in injuries later.

Another thing to consider is how the entire package looks.  Sometimes we want to train certain body-parts so that other body-parts look smaller in comparision.  

 

Chest Augmentation: 

Whether you have had a reduction, chest growth, or implants there are specific accommodations depending on your situation.  Scar tissue may be a limiter, especially if relatively recent.  Implants can also cause limitations in shoulder movement and stability.  Proceed with caution with overhead movements and shoulder exercises.  

WHAT IS YOUR
MASCULINE VS FEMININE?

Every society and culture have different definitions of what Masculinity and Femininity looks like, so this guide is written not to assume what your transition goals are.  You should ask yourself what looks masculine or feminine, and let that guide your fitness program.

Below are some tips to get you started with modifying your workout program to suit your goals.

Skip to - Tips for Trans-Mascs

Skip to - Tips for Trans-Fems

TRANS MASC
WORKOUT TIPS

 

For many people, masculinizing means focusing on some key areas and increasing the muscle mass; specifically the Shoulders, Back, and Arms.  

Not everyone's idea of masculinity is the same.  Many people associate it with hard edges and lines while feminine means soft curves. 

 

As several of my trans-masc clients have put it over the years, they want to be "Yoked", "Jacked", and just plain "Big".  I've had clients range from those who wanted to be "Soft-Boy" to "Thick like a Strongman" to "built like a superhero".  

Regardless of your goals this program will make you stronger; however, the shape your body develops is primarily going to come from the amount of accessory workouts you complete for a body-part, and the type of nutrition you take in.

If you are chasing the "traditional" masculine look, let's look at your starting point. By focusing on certain areas of development we can create more manly lines and edges.

 

Slim- For a skinny build, you will want to develop the arms, chest, shoulders, and back...  good thing that this program has 2 upper body focused day by default.  Remember that if you have any joint instability issues with your shoulders to take that into account.  Nutrition is going to be key to putting on muscle mass, so adjust your calories and protein intake a little at a time until you start putting on mass.

Thick

If you are starting off with a larger build, some of the key ways of shaping your body to be more "Masc" is to max out the shoulders, arms, and upper back in comparison to your hips.  Most traditional powerlifting programs like this one is already set up perfectly for you.  

TRANS FEM
WORKOUT TIPS

Not everyone's idea of femininity is the same.  Many people associate it with softer lines and curves in a person's silhouette while masculine means hard edges and lines. 

 

As several of my trans-fem clients have put it over the years, they want "Bigger butt & watermelon crushing thighs".  I've had clients range from those who wanted to be "slender & soft" to "thick & juicy" to "muscle mommy".  

Regardless of your goals this program will make you stronger; however, the shape your body develops is primarily going to come from the amount of accessory workouts you complete for a body-part, and the type of nutrition you take in.  Don't be afraid to lift heavy!

If you are chasing the "traditional" feminine look, let's look at your starting point. By focusing on certain areas of development we can create more feminine lines and curves.

 

Slim- Focus on legs and upper back development.  This will take a "Straight" body and give it some soft edges.  On workout 4 swap the default accessories (arms/shoulders) for either a core or cardio accessory workout. If you are lean and muscular, for a softer look adjust your calories a little at a time to add some bodyfat. 

Muscular-If you already have a well-developed upper body, and are looking to tone-down while maintaining strength you may consider swapping out the default accessory package on Workouts B & D (Arms/Shoulders focus) for either straight cardio or a HIIT conditioning circuit.  This will cut down on the Upper body volume overall and limit the amount of upper body muscular development you may get.  There is already a good amount of leg development exercises in the plan, so your 

Thick

If you are starting off with a larger build, some of the key ways of shaping your body to be more "fem" is to make the waist look narrower in comparison to the shoulders and hips.  One of the most effective ways to do this while on a weightlifting program is to build up the thighs, and glutes while focusing on "toning" up your core.  Depending on how developed your shoulders and arms are, you may adjust your programming to lessen the development. 

Regardless of your body shape, on average women hold 5-10% more bodyfat than men so keep that in mind if you are wanting a more "traditional" aesthetic.  Your nutrition is the key factor here.  

TALK TO YOUR COACH

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