That's going to be the new motto for my blog. Or, you know, maybe not. I'll seriously consider it, though.
The other day I wrote out my advice for what men can do in the gym to be more attractive. I stand by what I wrote, but I also promised in that post to do the same thing for my female readers (of which there are at least two)... So here it is.
In case you didn't read the previous post, let me reiterate a few things. A lot of factors go into attractiveness that have nothing to do with physique. A great smile, a good laugh, hygiene, personality, fashion sense, genetics, skin tone, and so on. Some of these are universal (attract nearly all men) and some are very individual (like enjoying the infliction of pain - a big turn on for some, a turn off for others). I'm not even saying that physique is the largest or most important part of attractiveness for any given individual - only that it plays some role (whether you approve of that fact or not) and can be affected positively or negatively by what you do in the gym and at the dinner table.
Let's get to some specifics:
Add some muscle. Yes, I'm talking to you. No, don't look over your shoulder and pretend I'm addressing the woman standing behind you. You need more muscle. I know what you might be thinking - "no, I'm already too bulky, I have too much muscle already." You're wrong. Okay, to be fair, there might be some woman reading this blog who already has an ideal amount of lean muscle mass, but most women who think they have too much muscle on, say, their legs, or their butts, have too little muscle and too much fat in those areas. Sorry, but it's true.
Before you start arguing with me about this, I'm not a guy who worships female bodybuilders and I'm not a closeted homosexual who wants women to look like men. I'm just a guy who has seen what women can look like after engaging in serious strength training - go over to http://www.crossfit.com/ and check out the top performing athletes. They don't look masculine and they don't look like female bodybuilders. They just look hot.
How do you get to look like that? Lift heavy weights - deadlifts, squats, olympic lifts like squats or snatches, pushups, rows, pullups, some core training, swings, whatever. Do exercises that limit you to 5-8 reps before you have to give up. Lift heavy, twice a week, and don't get on a scale. Ever. That's very important - you can't be afraid of gaining or maintaining weight while building muscle. Judge your program based solely on how good you look and how your clothes fit - that's the only criterion you can use! Focus on adding muscle to your shoulders, upper back, butt, and upper leg areas. You don't need to do a lot of work on the arms, neck, traps, or calves - you can, but it shouldn't be your focus. Build up your pecs, too - this will enhance the effects of cleavage, which generally isn't a bad thing!
One last point on building muscle: don't take excessive amounts of exogeneous male hormones. Meaning don't take a bunch of steroids to help you get muscley. We can debate the ethics of anabolic steroids some other time, but they have a ton of side effects that make women less attractive, including but not limited to allowing some women to build up unattractive amounts of muscle. That's why some women shy away from the heavy weights - they're afraid of looking like someone who lifts heavy and shoots up a gram of test a week. If you keep away from the needles you won't get massive or ugly from weightlifting.
Get a flat stomach. Lean out enough that your stomach is flat, possibly showing a little definition. You don't want to get too lean - some guys like women ripped and vascular, but that's not the norm. Plus, if you burn off too much subcutaneous fat you'll lose all the good fat - the stuff padding your chest and buttocks - and most men like a little padding in those areas. How does one get a flat stomach? Read the rest of this blog - I have lots of posts on diet. Cut out grains, legumes, and dairy. Cut back on alcohol (sorry). Cut way back on sugar and slightly back on fruit. Eat more meat, more fat, and more tubers. Sleep more. Have less stress. Get off your birth controll pills (yes, they make you fat. Sorry.)
Fix your posture. If you have a rounded upper back (slouching shoulders), fix it! Focus on heavy rowing movements in the gym. Do a ton of thoracic mobility exercises - lie on the floor with a foam roller under your shoulderblades and let your body and head hang to the floor. Do some soft tissue work (massage, foam rolling) on your chest and anterior deltoids (the fronts of your shoulders), then stretch them out a lot. Many women - especially those with larger breasts - get pulled forward by their bodies and get adaptive shortening in the pecs and delts. You need to lengthen those tissues or you won't be able to stand up straight.
If you're a woman with posterior pelvic tilt (your butt flattens out from the back), fix it! Stretch your hip flexors and work your glutes. If you have anterior pelvic tilt (your butt sticks out), well... I don't want you to have any back pain, but a little anterior pelvic tilt is not the worst looking thing in the world.
Move better. You need to do something that involves athletic movement - crossfit, martial arts, dance, even yoga. Moving well is sexy, and it requires three things: strength, mobility, and correct practice. If you spend all day on the couch you'll move like someone who spends all day on the couch. Practive moving with strength and with good posture. Good karateka move very well - few things are sexier!
If this list seems very similar to the list I generated for the male readers, that's because it is. Other than a couple of differences in where you want muscle added (to create a pleasing shape appropriate to your gender) and degree of leanness you want (generally leaner for men, less so but still lean for women), everybody should be chasing the same goals in the gym if their goal is to look better. Women should lift like men. They might generally use lighter weights, but they should use similar intensity - that is, if a given woman can only deadlift 180 lbs. while her husband can deadlift 500 lbs, when he uses 90% of his 1RM so should she - though 90% of her 1RM will only be 162 lbs, while his will be 450. This will not result in women actually looking like men - only people with the hormonal profile of a man can get to look like a man, and women don't get that hormonal profile unless they inject it. So... don't use steroid, ladies!
If this list seems very consistent with my general advice about training for performance, that's because it is. There's a whole evolutionary reason why training to perform athletically also makes you look sexy, but I'm not going to go into it here (it's kind of obvious, I think). So if you just want to get really, really good at karate, you should be glad that becoming more attractive is a very probable side effect of your training.
Remember - being attractive is about a lot more than just your physique, but I don't know squat about most of those other things. I'm the last person on earth to give you fashion advice or tell you how to get a better sense of humor or put on makeup. I do know a little about physical development, however, so give these things a try and see how it works out.
If you're successful, feel free to send me photographic evidence. If I get enough of it I'll do a "friends of Karate Conditioning after photo" blog post or something.