Should Men and Women Train Differently?
So, what’s the verdict, should men and women train differently? PT Carly Yue shares her views on the topic…
My opinion is no, they shouldn’t, and I certainly don't treat men and women differently when training. In a general sense men and women should apply the same principles to training – heavy weights, cardio, a balanced diet and rest.
The only difference, perhaps, is the mind-set. Some women opt for more cardio based workout as they believe that cardio is the way to go, avoiding heavy weights, though this isn’t necessarily the best option. Cardio is great for health, but in terms of achieving an aesthetic look, fat loss and shaping your body, it's not the best option. To make real changes to body shape, weights are the way forward.
With this in mind, I do a full consultation with all of my clients to understand their goals, lifestyle and preferences, and design a training routine that's a best fit for them as an individual. This could involve circuit training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), a split body part weights routine or sports specific training. There really is no one size fits all, and gender rarely plays a part!
Do men have more bravado and try to ego lift?
I think that this is something that many gym goers do, regardless of their gender. More and more women are using weights in gyms these days, so it's not just a male issue.
What I would say about men though is that women tend to ask questions when they don't know how to use a piece of equipment, men on the other often train without seeking professional advice. I see the worst examples of lifting using sloppy form and some downright dangerous lifting from guys, who aren't necessarily ego lifting, but quite simply just don't know what they're doing.
Arguably, almost anyone can move a heavy weight, however moving it correctly and using the correct muscles, tempo and range of movement is another thing entirely.
What are the main differences when training men compared with women?
Honestly? I find that women tend to ask a lot more questions and perhaps aren't afraid to, given that training is still often not seen to be something ‘that women do’. Women want to know why they're doing things, and women also seem to have higher pain thresholds than most men. I don't know if that's just the women I train though, they're beasts!
In general, I don't think there are many differences between training men and women. Some women want to lift heavy and build muscles, and equally some men want to avoid heavy weights because they don't want to ‘get massive’. What I try to explain is that diet is more of a contributing factor to size gains, and that lifting heavy doesn’t mean you'll become Arnie overnight, or probably ever in fact!
What about food?
Diet is the area where men and women do vary quite massively. Men have slightly different dietary requirements than women, including a higher recommended daily calorie allowance for example, though most guys that I know don't eat enough. When it comes to women, they have a more emotional relationship with food, whereas men tend to view it more as something practical. Men are also more likely to be able to stick to a designed nutrition plan in comparison women.
I think a lot of men underestimate their nutritional needs and eat too little protein. A lot of men also don't snack, which is not necessarily a good thing for fat loss or muscle gain, given that a male body needs more calories than a female's!
A common complaint from men relates to fat in their abdominal area, which is largely down to diet. I'd suggest reducing consumption of simple carbs such as white bread, pasta and cereal, and limiting alcohol intake. Vitamins and minerals are just as important for men and women, so adding veg and salad to meals is not just for the ladies!
Simple advice for men AND women...
If you are looking to lose weight – reduce alcohol consumption and eat regular, balanced meals five to six times per day. Eating less is not more. And lift weights, because they're not just for bodybuilders, they're actually really effective for fat loss!
If you want to build muscle – ensure that you're fuelling your workouts correctly with the right nutrition. This includes eating the correct ratio of carbs, good fats and lean proteins to support goals. Also, change up your training every six weeks or so to continually challenge your body.
If you’re training for an event like a marathon or Ironman race – include some strength training to your training regime, as this will reduce risk of injury and enhance your performance. Also ensure that your nutrition pre, during and post training is adequate. These types of events are demanding and food and hydration play an essential role.[caption id="attachment_641" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Guest post by PT & Media Fitness Expert Carly Yue.[/caption]