Before delving into any specifics allow me to preface this with the important caveat that not all women desire the same things. Everyone has their own goals and ideal image for their bodies and the qualities they deem admirable. Throughout the years, the body types that we seek to resemble fluctuate in trends; the views addressed in this writing aim to encompass the majority of current popularizations.
Breaking The Stereotype
Are we all able to agree by now that it is cliché for a woman to stick with the treadmill, elliptical and a group fitness dance class? In other words, go to the gym to do cardio and nothing else? Sure, these are effective and beneficial forms of exercise. Should everyone perform these types of exercise? Yes, but not as their sole form of activity.
While it may be a stereotype, there are countless gym-goers out there that spend long hours every week on the treadmill with the same hopes of a better body. It is reasonably safe to assume that females make up the majority that steer clear of lifting weights, and a large reason for this may very well be males’ faults. In attempts to avoid making this a gender war, lets take a look at what results are typically desired from an exercise program and then see what types of exercise contribute to those goals and how.
Increasing Muscle and Losing Fat
When asked “what improvements would you like to make to your body?” Or, “what would you like to look like?” Assuming the individual is an average, healthy woman, her response may be for a flatter stomach with some definition, “toned” arms, legs with definition and no loose skin, and a firmer butt. To keep things simple, a direct approach to these goals would require the coordination of a proper exercise and nutrition program.
In order for these results to come to fruition, this woman must not only increase the amount of muscle mass on her body, but lower total body fat in order for that muscle to show. The only way that muscle is going to grow is to provide it with stimulus that will induce growth. That stimulus is not to keep on the arc trainer for 45 minutes while moving 2 pound dumbbells through every upper body exercise possible.
It will require weights that tax the muscle appropriately in a repetition range that will provide ample volume for development. In order to achieve that firm look for the muscles they will be targeted with compound and isolated exercises to hypertropy the muscle.
Align The Diet
With this in place, it will then be essential to make sure her diet is in check with her goals. There are many things to look out for with diet, but essentially a proper macronutrient profile must be implemented. Then, she may decide to focus on eating an excess of calories so that the body will have sufficient supplies to maintain as well as construct more muscle. Or, she may reduce caloric intake by a marginal amount to lower body fat and reveal the underlying muscles for the look she wants.
While there are many biological differences we do and do not understand between men and woman, when it comes down to it there should not be an enormous difference in the way we train our bodies. Muscle tissue (for the most part) is muscle tissue, and responds largely the same. There has always been a lot of talk about women “looking like men” or “getting too bulky.”
Here’s the thing: when men train with heavy weights for many years, they still do not become behemoths most of the time. Everyone has a starting point and their genetic potential. When women train with heavy weights for many years they will most likely not become behemoths either. A small framed woman will not grow into what she might view as un-ladylike.
Not only does such a drastic body transformation take years of dedication and grind, but muscle atrophy is very easy and quick to achieve. Therefore, there’s nothing to lose to give weights a try. Most women seem to find that when they get comfortable with weights they enjoy their workouts more, care about the numbers on the scale less and more about the numbers on the ends of their barbell.
Lifting weights will also bring out other positive qualities that come unexpectedly. Predominantly is the sense of confidence that being able to lift something heavier than you brings. This may sound silly, but when a woman, or any person, is able to manipulate their body and objects that weigh even more something empowering happens.