Training Differs for Men and Women

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Question: My husband and I began a training program several weeks ago and while I experienced some changes he has made remarkable improvements. I’ve become so frustrated with myself that I feel like just stopping. Why do guys change more quickly than women?
Answer: Yours is a difficult and yet common situation. While you both may be training as hard as you possibly can you see fewer changes in yourself than you see in him during the same time period. Ladies, I know it’s hard to accept and frustrating but guys do change more quickly from training than women do and there are some simple and unfair reasons for it.
Men generally possess a higher percentage of lean body mass than women. What that means is men are calorie burning machines because muscle mass drives our metabolic rates. Muscle in action consumes a ridiculous amount of calories and the more you possess the more calories you can burn. If you take a sedentary guy and get him moving all the muscle that was inactive wakes up and fires up the metabolic machine. The fat melts off of his frame and muscles appear where none seemed to exist.
The hormone difference is another major factor between men and women. Men possess and produce testosterone in much higher amounts than women. This hormone activity is enhanced by training. What that means is the more intensely a guy trains the more testosterone is generally produced. For women the culprit is the amount of estrogen that they have. Higher amounts of estrogen tend to contribute to higher fat levels and water retention which keeps the scales from moving down as rapidly as men see them move. However the situation is not as hopeless as it seems.
Ladies need to weight train to tone their muscle. Intense training will not build large bulky muscles as it can do in men and intense doesn’t necessarily mean heavy weights. Intense means to push yourself so that you feel your muscles working against the weight you’re using and the muscles burn at the end of a set. This is the work that produces results. I tell clients a little discomfort three to five hours a week results in an easier lifestyle the other 163 hours that are in a week.
Sweating is a good thing. If clients tell me that they don’t sweat during training then I tell them that they aren’t training. Make the cardio that you do difficult. Forget that you’re on level 12 on the elliptical and push the levels up to the point that you actually are challenged. If you tend to hold weight more on your lower body, which a lot of women do, then focus on that by using the Stepmill and elevated treadmills by climbing without holding on to the handrails. If you gym has Spinning, then spin. That’s a great choice. Just make your lower body work.
The final piece of the puzzle is what you’re putting in your mouth. You have to eliminate trash food and drinks including diet drinks. Clean up your food and stick to the 80/20 rule. At least 80% of the time eat and drink healthy food choices. The other 20% you can loosen up a bit. For those who try to skip meals in the hopes of losing weight you’re only setting yourselves up for failure. Eating regular meals and healthy snacks is essential to having a strong metabolic rate. Once you get into the habit of preparing food and eating healthy your body will become a fat-burning machine. You’ll wake up hungry in the morning and need to get a good breakfast before anything else. You also have to rid yourself of the notion that you need sweets or heavy carbs daily. The carbohydrates you do consume need to be high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. It’s not as easy to get rid of the fat but if you persevere it will pay off big dividends both in your appearance and especially for your long term health.
God bless and keep training.
Daryl

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