The primary concern women have when it comes to weight training is, “I don’t want to get big or bulky.” We are here to tell you that you won’t! The hormone testosterone is responsible for the large increases in muscle mass seen when men lift weights. Women’s testosterone levels are a fraction of men’s testosterone levels.
Normal testosterone levels in men are 200-1200 ng/dl while 15-70 ng/dl are normal in women. As you can see, men’s testosterone levels are SIGNIFICANTLY higher than women’s.So on an average, men have 16.47 times more testosterone than women! It is clear that women do not have the hormonal support (higher enough testosterone levels) to gain muscle mass like men.
Now you may remember that you’ve seen women with big, shaped muscles much like the men once the truth is one and it is very simple, these women use anabolic steroids by which they increase their testosterone levels.
Studies have shown that men and women do not need to train differently. If you are a woman and want to gain muscle,lose fat and improve your shape and sexy curves, then you are going to have to lift heavy weights. Most media sources proclaim that women should train light in the rep range 15-25; when you do that you will tone up your muscles but that’s all, you won’t get the sexy curves that you desire. And, of course, the rep range for men and women are same
1 to 5– Strength
6-12 – Hypertrophy
12+ – Endurance
Of course, these criteria are common; there is a different approach for every single exercise and rep range, I won’t go into detail why we use these approaches- that is another subject, which is too vast. In order to completely stimulate all types of fibers (Type I, Type II, Type IIa) I have mixed the things up for total stimulation.
Regarding the nutrition differences between the men and women, there are no significant differences; the most important one is that women need fewer calories than men because of their lower muscle mass compared to the other sex.
Also, women’s metabolism is slightly different when they cut down on the carbohydrates intake their fat burning process is faster than men. Our best and worst information source is the mass media; for people who have invested years of studying and played almost all the variations of the ‘’trial-error game’’ it’s easy to pick the right info and make the right decisions but the rest will fall prey to the marketing serpent, unfortunately. So some people say that women’s nutrition has to be different from nutrition sources (yogurt and fruits for meal number 1 for example). You have read magazines and even some popular books spread totally incorrect information and approaches that are utterly wrong.
That was only one example I can give you; you may know more: things like ‘’Short term diet’’, ‘’ 3-Day Diet’’, ‘’Avocado diet’’ etc. this kind of diets is just telling you what to eat, not how to build consistent nutrition habits. They do not work in the long term and what we want is a great body and a sharp mind forever, if it’s possible. OK, you have tried this stuff you will get bored and get your old habits back on the line, not much harm done right? But some of them may teach you really bad thing like:
>Eating veggies and salads only – yes, greens are awesome but not as a standalone tool for success. They will give you many things I will not list; I am going to tell you what they can’t give you- enough protein and many vital minerals. There is no balance in this diet and we just are look for him in everything.
>Zero carbs per day – Overall that will deliver lots of stress to you, since your mind and memory will be highly weakened in addition to the feeling of nervousness that will be your comrade all along. Your kidneys will be under a great pressure trying to manage the entire water balance of the body; should I go forth…?
>Skipping meals or eating once a day- I know many females who have experience in this field, the result is that you will lower your sugar levels, and you will have a craving for sugary products. We are speaking here about high GI carbs which will drive our insulin levels high at random times of the day. We do not want that! I think I will stop here, but you can probably read what I really want to tell you between the lines.
We need to take this old school, fairy tale diets and trash them! Just as men need protein at their first meal as a source of amino acids, a modern active woman’s needs are not any different; the key is the quantity of the food, not the source.
Also, when you workout, you break down muscle tissue. In order to repair that muscle tissue and gain lean mass and become stronger, you must give the body protein to supply the amino acids needed for recovery. So stop listening to the mass media and dive into the real information which will help you achieve your desirable goals. Do not get me wrong, I am not against the commercial policies of some companies, but I just cannot agree with people being fooled and used only for one purpose – the personal benefit of individuals, corporations, and even entire industries.
Some women choose the way of the brutal food cut reduction regime, they cut down on the calories and in the same time they do not cover the essential minimum of the required nutrients for a healthy living. Yes, they do lose weight, but at the cost of great stress for the body and mind, the result – damaged metabolism, bad mood, lack of energy and what is most important- this way they speed up the aging process because of the horrible stress they deliver to their bodies while believing what they are doing is right.
You should start to deliver good stress to your system. You may ask “Is there a good kind of stress?” Of course there is- for example what happens when you’re studying mathematics? You pressure your brain for 30 minutes or for an hour per day or maybe more, after which you feel tired and you may have a headache. Yet we all know that if we are consistent in this pursuit the result will be greater abilities all of which are positive: improved reasoning, memory etc. so this is the good kind of stress.
If you use this diet- 75% carbs, 10% protein, 25% fats in total a of 1500 calories, you will have completely different results from the ones achieved by using for example this plan – 49% carbs, 49% protein, 20% fat in a total of 1500 calories.
When you train and eat you experience good stress, increased muscle mass, fat reduction, metabolism stimulation, balanced hormonal levels instead of going starvation and self-destruction mode. But there is no doubt that if you keep your nutrition clean and perform the training strictly the victory in the battle against fat is guaranteed. Women’s problematic areas are tights, glutes (butt) and the triceps (back of the hand) and let’s do not forget ‘’the love handles’’. Simply, some areas of the body have more receptors that block fat breakdown than receptors that increase fat breakdown. It’s natural, but when you fallow my advice you will soon get rid of fat for sure and eventually things will fall into place.
What is the most common thing you see women do in the gym? Running, rope jumping with one word only – cardio. And if they do lift weights they pick up a 5 pound dumbbell and do endless reps. As we have discussed, women need to lift heavy, challenging weights just like men in order to gain muscle and, of course, burn the fat. The muscle gains will not be significant, let’s say the result will be an aesthetically pleasing look (do not imagine a power lifter please, heavy means heavy for you not for somebody else, perception of ‘’heavy’’ is very relative).
While machines do provide sufficient stimulation to gain muscle, nothing can beat free-weight/compound exercises. Now, we will go over a few free-weight and compound exercises that we will incorporate into the weight training presented.
• If you train at home, you have to get a pair of adjustable dumbbells or sets of 2kg, 3kg, 4kg, and 5kg.
• An exercise bike (optional*)
• A stability ball [use this for exercises that require a flat bench, dumbbell bench press, you can use it for crunches etc]
If you do not have an exercise bike or any kind of cardio machines you will stick to rope jumping.
Till our next meet, I’ll present you, training routine special for women.