Should Women Lift Like Men?
Women often find that they can keep their weight about the same over many years by just eating sensibly and light cardio. But often, in their mid thirties or forties, they start getting “soft”. By only looking at the scale they don’t notice it. But what has happened is that they have slowly lost muscle and slowly gained fat. Their shirts and pants still fit (for the most part) but their body composition is far less attractive. And equally (or more) importantly, they are on a track to become helpless in their older age. Muscle loss is equated to functional loss – and functional loss is a loss in quality of life. Muscle loss in your 30s and 40s is slow enough to not be noticed but once you get to your 60s and 70s and 80s, you may be no longer to lift a milk gallon over your head. Let’s make sure you never get that weak ok?
Should Women Lift Like Men?
This site is geared towards men. After all, I am one.
But we all have women in our lives – wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, etc.
So whether you are a woman, or know one, or just play one on TV, this post is for you.
Part 1 of 4
So Should Women Really Workout Like Men?
For the past few years, all the “experts” keep saying how a woman should lift like a man. But is it true?
The answer is yes and no. I’ll boil it down to one (long) sentence for you:
Women can and should do nearly the same exercises as men, but because women have different goals and different chemistry, the ideal program will usually be different than what a man would use.
I’m going to break this series down into 4 parts. And if you post an intelligent comment to any of these, then afterward shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you an example workout for an average women with typical goals. I’m working on my own ebook for women but that won’t be out until I finish several other projects.
Why Do Some Experts Say a Woman Should Lift Like A Man?
I may insult some people with this statement, but those experts (despite their real talent and experience) aren’t really saying what they think they are saying. Huh?
Let’s take a very fine book, probably the leading modern example of lifting for women and appropriately titled, “New Rules Of Lifting For Women”. The subtitle says “Lift Like A Man, Look Like A Goddess.” Outstanding marketing, that’s for sure!
But the truth is, the workouts they put together look almost nothing like the workouts they put together in their first book “New Rules Of Lifting” which was for men.
Is the contradiction obvious?
I hate to say it, but even talented people get caught up in their own hype.
So which should we believe, their marketing slogans or their actual routines?
The answer is that it depends on your goals. I could argue that for some women, the workouts in the “book for men” would be ideal. And conversely, there are some men who might be better off following the workouts in the “book for women”.
It All Begins With Goals
Designing a great exercise program starts with your goals. While no two people have the exact same mix of goals in their lives, there are common buckets we talk about when it comes to fitness:
1) Lose Fat
2) Improve Endurance
3) Gain Strength
4) Increase Muscle Mass [hypertrophy]
5) Feel Better, Be Overall “Healthy” (subjective)
6) Maintain everything at your current level
7) Recover From Injury
8) “Look Better” [body proportions, composition] (subjective)
For the average guy and gal, there’s a lot of overlap in which goals matter. But what are your top 2 or 3 goals? Your Ultimate Fitness Goals (UFGs).
Most guys will have different UFGs than most women.
An obvious example: For most men, muscle size will rank much higher than it would for most women.
Plus, within each of those UFCs, there are many possible targets (for example, “how much muscle?” “how much fat?” “how do you define feeling better?”). The result is an infinite range of UFGs.
The LeanLifters annual periodized program hits on all of these (aside from major injury recovery) and works for the majority of people, whether male or female. But they were indeed designed for men.
But here’s the killer point…
Most women and men should be doing similar lifting: heavy weights, compound movements, 45 to 60 minutes of intense lifting, 3 to 4 days a week. That really doesn’t change for most people, male or female. So maybe a good take-away for you is that women should change their attitudes about how heavy is heavy, and how weight training fits into their life, and think “more like a man” in that regard. I’ll explain more about what that means in the next article…
Next Time: The Myth Of Muscle Tone