The answer is yes, within limits, experts say. Everyone’s body shape and size is different, says JJ Flizanes, a personal trainer based in Los Angeles and director of Invisible Fitness. There are aspects of your body that you can’t change, such as the length of your legs and the width of your hips and shoulders, she says. Another important factor is genetics. “There are certain genetic factors that will determine one’s ability to gain girth or mass in the lower body,” Flizanes says.
A personal trainer can develop an individualized workout regimen based on your goals, show you how to follow through on the program and monitor your progress, Flizanes says. “A trainer can provide structure and a specific program design,” she says. In addition to devising the right workout regimen for your goals, personal trainers can demonstrate the proper form for each exercise. “Most people don’t know how to exercise,” she says. “That can lead to frustration.” You don’t have to join or go to a gym to work with a trainer, Flizanes says. Many trainers, like herself, provide training online; Flizanes works with some clients on Skype and FaceTime. Singer goes to the homes of many clients.
Follow your workout regimen consistently, Flizanes says. That doesn’t mean you have to work out to the point of exhaustion every day. In fact, it’s important to take at least two days off from your workout routine every week, to allow your body to heal, rest and rejuvenate, she says.
You should start to see and feel results from working out within three weeks, Jordan says. But keep in mind, no two people will see the same results in the same amount of time. “Don’t feel bad if you don’t see drastic results in three to four months,” Jordan says. “It can take some bodies longer to change in composition depending on one’s genetics, injuries, lifestyle and other factors.”
At a certain point, you’ll reach a fitness plateau in which you won’t get the same results from your usual workout routine, Singer says. That’s a good time to adjust your regimen, maybe by doing a different number of repetitions of squats or lunges or trying new exercises. And always keep in mind the importance of the right form. “If you can’t do a specific exercise with good form, decrease the reps’ intensity so that (you) can perform each rep with great form and slowly build up strength,” Singer says. “The whole point is to do it with good form.”
Whatever type of changes they hope to achieve, working out can help trans women reach their fitness goals, Flizanes says. That includes developing a more traditionally feminine shape, if that’s their goal, Flizanes says. “You can build muscle in your hips and glutes to have a more well-rounded look,” she says. “The best way to achieve that is through proper resistance training.” That means devising a workout regimen of exercises like squats and lunges that will help develop the lower half of your body. Dani Singer, a certified personal trainer in Baltimore and chief executive officer and director of Fit2Go Personal Training, agrees. Exercises like glute bridges – in which you lay on your back on the floor and push off your heels to raise your hips so your body is in a straight plane from your shoulders to your knees – can help you build muscle mass in your glutes, Singer says.
In an essay posted on the online magazine Wussy, a trans woman wrote that almost five months of “disciplined, rigorous, transition-oriented workouts have changed my body so much more than I thought was possible.” The woman, who wrote under the byline Farrah Lirises, posted photos of her lower body three weeks into her workout regimen and after 18 weeks, showcasing a notable difference.