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Workout For Womens


The Female Training
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. Even if a man is at the low end of the men's normal testosterone range (200 ng/dl), he still has more than twice the amount of testosterone as a woman at the high end of the women's normal testosterone range (70 ng/dl).
If we look at the median or mid-range testosterone levels in men and women, men = 700 and women = 42.5. So on an average, men have 16.47 times more testosterone than women!
It is clear that women do not have the hormonal support (testosterone) to gain muscle mass like men. Therefore, the fear of becoming big and bulky and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a ponytail is unwarranted.
Now you may be saying, "I have seen some women bodybuilders who are very muscular and look similar to men in their build." The real reason they look like that is they are most-likely using exogenous testosterone injections and/or other anabolic steroids.


When women use exogenous testosterone/steroids they may show signs of hair growth on the face and chest, increased muscle mass, a redistribution of body fat from a female pattern of storage to a male pattern of storage, deepening of the voice, and other effects.
The point of saying this is that unless you are on exogenous testosterone or other anabolic steroids, you will not become big and bulky from lifting weights. This is not to say that you will not gain any muscle, you will, but you will not gain muscle like a man. Instead, you will become toned and shapely.
Studies have shown that men and women do not need to train differently. If you are a woman and want to gain muscle and improve your shape and curves, then you are going to have to lift heavy weights.
This means that instead doing endless reps with light weights, as the media often prescribes women to do, you need to lift some heavy weights and really challenge yourself! While performing high rep sets (15-20 reps) does have some benefit, it is not optimal to adding muscle mass. Here is a very vague overview of rep ranges:
  • 1-5 reps for strength
  • 6-12 reps for hypertrophy
  • 12+ reps for endurance
That is very superficial overview of rep ranges as there is a lot of crossover of adaptations between rep ranges. For example, many people grow lifting solely in the 1-5 rep range and 12+ rep range. But it gives you an idea of the weight you need to lift to grow; a weight that you can complete for at least 6 reps but not more than 12 reps.


Men and women do not need to train differently to see results, but what about diet? Should women eat differently than men? Not really. Men's and women's metabolisms are very similar except that women burn a greater ratio of fat to carbs than men. This may be one of the reasons women do well on lower carb diets.
The main thing that needs to be adjusted is one's total caloric intake. Women need fewer calories than men because men have more muscle mass and less fat (relative to total bodyweight) than women. The amount of protein, carbs, and fat will be dictated by the amount of calories one eats.
We have shown that women do not need to train or diet much differently than men. Then why do we always see women in gym performing hours of cardio and lifting the lightest dumbbells in the gym for endless reps? This is most-likely due to not being informed, or even misinformed (by the media), about how women should train.
What about diet? One of the most common breakfast meals recommended to women is yogurt and a banana. Now there is nothing wrong with eating a yogurt and banana, but where is the protein and essential fatty acids?
If you are a woman trying to gain lean muscle, you will need to eat adequate protein and good fats (essential fatty acids). It is time to stop listening to the media and misinformed individuals and time to become educated and get results.
In this article, we will go over some basic diet and training information and then direct you to where you can get diet and training help and direction!

Dieting For Women: General Guidelines
Before we get into the recommended diets for women trying to lose fat and gain lean muscle, lets go over some general diet guidelines.
The biggest factor in a diet is calories in versus calories out. Your total calories will determine if you lose or gain weight. Eating too many calories will lead to fat gain. But if you don't eat enough calories you will not gain lean muscle.
Setting a target calorie intake and counting the amount of calories you eat each day is vital to losing fat and gaining lean muscle

The Testosterone Story
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. Even if a man is at the LOW end of the men's normal testosterone range (200 ng/dl), he still has more than twice the amount of testosterone as a woman at the HIGH end of the women's normal testosterone range (70 ng/dl). If we look at the median or mid-range testosterone levels in men and women, men = 700 and women = 42.5. So on an average, men have 16.47 times more testosterone than women! It is clear that women do not have the hormonal support (testosterone) to gain muscle mass like men. Therefore, the fear of becoming big and bulky and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a ponytail is unwarranted.

What about the female bodybuilders?
Now you may be saying, "I have seen some female bodybuilders who are very muscular and look similar to men in their build." The real reason they look like that is they are most-likely using exogenous testosterone injections and/or other anabolic steroids. When women use exogenous testosterone/steroids they may show signs of hair growth on the face and chest, increased muscle mass, a redistribution of body fat from a female pattern of storage to a male pattern of storage, deepening of the voice, and other effects. The point of saying this is that unless you are on exogenous testosterone or other anabolic steroids, you will not become big and bulky from lifting weights.
This is not to say that you will not gain any muscle, you will, but you will not gain muscle like a man. Instead, you will become toned and shapely.


Research & Studies
Studies have shown that men and women do not need to train differently.
If you are a woman and want to gain muscle and improve your shape and curves, then you are going to have to lift heavy weights. This means that instead doing endless reps with light weights, as the media often prescribes women to do, you need to lift some heavy weights and really challenge yourself! While performing high rep sets (15-20 reps) does have some benefit, it is not optimal to adding muscle mass.

Here is a very vague overview of rep ranges:
  • 1-5 reps = Strength
  • 6-12 = Hypertrophy
  • 12+ = Endurance
That is very superficial overview of rep ranges as there is a lot of crossover of adaptations between rep ranges. For example, many people grow lifting solely in the 1-5 rep range and 12+ rep range. But it gives you an idea of the weight you need to lift to grow; a weight that you can complete for at least 6 reps but not more than 12 reps.

Diet & Nutrition
Men and women do not need to train differently to see results, but what about diet? Should women eat differently than men? Not really. Men's and women's metabolisms are very similar except that women burn a greater ratio of fat to carbs than men. This may be one of the reasons women do well on lower carb diets. The main thing that needs to be adjusted is one's total caloric intake. Women need fewer calories than men because men have more muscle mass and less fat (relative to total bodyweight) than women. The amount of protein, carbs, and fat will be dictated by the amount of calories one eats.

We have shown that women do not need to train or diet much differently than men. Then why do we always see women in gym performing hours of cardio and lifting the lightest dumbbells in the gym for endless reps?
This is most-likely due to not being informed, or even misinformed (by the media), about how women should train. What about diet? One of the most common breakfast meals recommended to women is yogurt and a banana. Now there is nothing wrong with eating a yogurt and banana, but where is the protein and essential fatty acids? If you are a woman trying to gain lean muscle, you will need to eat adequate protein and good fats (essential fatty acids). It is time to stop listening to the media and misinformed individuals and time to become educated and get results. In this article, we will go over some basic diet and training information and then direct you to where YOU can get diet and training help and direction!

Women and Exercise - A balanced fitness plan
Introduction
There's a lot of misinformation out there in the general population about exercise and women (e.g. Nonsense like, "Don't train with weights you'll get too bulky", etc.). Here at Guy Leech Fitness we thought it was about time we set the record straight on some of this nonsense. Women in elite sport are pushing their bodies further and harder than ever before. Just recently British triathlete Chrissie Wellington completed an IM distance triathlon in 8 hours and 19 minutes placing seventh outright in the elite men's field. To put this performance into perspective she has dropped the world's best time for this distance race by about half an hour in less than five years! In short women can exercise and they can exercise hard. They do however need to do things a little differently than their male counterparts. Men and women are wired differently - physiologically, biomechanically, nutritionally and even psychologically. As such exercise and nutrition programs need to reflect these differences. Whether we're talking about elite sport or general fitness the principals remain similar. For example, with endurance athletes to reach their potential they need to do voluminous amounts of training in that specific sport. Generally speaking, for men (barring injury), this isn't a problem. For women however high training volumes and significant weight loss can have long term health implications - particularly if the woman looses her menses (i.e. Stops menstruating) which can lead to long term losses of bone mineral density and resultant osteoporosis in later life.


It therefore becomes a little more of a balancing act for women to:
  1. Be aware of the potential pitfalls and implications of exercise
  2. Structuring appropriate exercise and nutrition programs to meet these gender specific needs.
To complicate things further every person (male or female) is an individual who can cope with differing exercise loads. Being involved in elite sport most of my life I've known some women who, at least in the short term, have been able to complete enormous training loads, while others have been debilitated by what would be considered at most to be a modest workload.
There are however some common themes that all women who are exercising or contemplating undertaking an exercise regimen should consider.

Iron requirements Women are at a higher risk than men of developing iron deficiency, and as such should be very wary of misguided dietary practices where energy intake is cut to extraordinarily low levels in an attempt to drop body fat. In fact, restrictive dietary practices are more likely to chew through valuable muscle mass lowering metabolic rates and making it harder to tap into fat stores. That is why here at Guy Leech Fitness we ensure that our nutritional programs are balanced in meet (and exceed) the RDI (recommended daily intake) of all micro-nutrients while matching the exercise and body composition needs of our clients.
So why is iron so important?
The human body needs iron to transport oxygen around the body to service the demands of working muscles. Iron is lost to the body through via a number of different processes including; (i) perspiration, (ii) urine and faeces, (iii) heel strike haemolysis of red blood cells (i.e. Destroying red blood cells via the impact of the heel against the ground when running), i(v) micro-trauma to the GI tract, and (v) menstrual blood loss in women. The symptoms of iron deficiency include impaired physical performance, tiredness/lethargy, headaches, cramps and shortness of breath.
Women who are exercising regularly should have blood tests every six to 12 months to check their iron status.
What can you do to offset such iron losses?
The best way to prevent iron deficiency is to ensure an adequate iron rich diet, particularly "haem" iron, which is found from animal sources, as it is far better absorbed by the body. Guy Leech Fitness nutrition plans are based around this premise.

Amenorrhoea and women.
Women who suffer from amenorrhoea, or the absence of regular menstrual cycles (often due to low body weight) are at risk of long-term health implications. The hormonal changes that accompany amenorrhoea increase the risk of osteoporosis or thinning of the bones. Although exercise has been touted as a means of strengthening bones, there appears to be a certain threshold beyond which there are detrimental effects on the skeleton. A hypo-estrogenic state (low estrogen levels) has been shown to offset the beneficial effects of exercise on bone mineral density (BMD) in amenorrheic (non-menstruating) women.
A resumption of menstruation has been shown to improve BMD in adversely affected women. The ideal training program to optimise health of the skeleton has yet to be determined but all indications are that it requires a blend of aerobic and strength training whilst maintaining a certain body weight accompanied by a diet adequate in calcium.

Other Considerations for Women.


Women are generally smaller than their men with a smaller muscle mass (~ 20% less in the legs and up to 40% less in the upper body).
The quality of female muscle tissue and how it responds to strength training however is identical to that of men. Women don't develop muscle mass in the same manner as men because they have less of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone is largely responsible for the development of muscle following heavy strength training.
Like anything in life the key is moderation and consistency. Our programs (exercise and nutrition wise) here at Guy Leech Fitness recognize the gender specific requirements of women and we program accordingly.