Women should train like a man. Here is the reason why?
The reason is simple really. It has nothing to do with women being weaker or any sort of sexist reason.. It is simply because us women are told by the fitness industry these crazy lies (frankly) that this is how to train as a woman.
Learn to know what is a lie by the fitness industry, to save your money, health and mental health.
Truth is, we have to train just as hard, if not even harder. Our bodies might even be able to take on more volume than men's. when it comes to weight training.
But the difference is, that men generally speaking build muscle FASTER than us women! That's the only difference & we should still train exactly as hard as men. Here's the 3 reasons men are superior at building muscle FASTER.
1. Man's testosterone
It is like an extra drug men get to help them build muscle faster, hence why women often have to put in more time and effort into building the same amount of muscle mass. This does not mean you have to spend more time at the gym, lift heavier or do more sets. It means you have to train exactly the same, but you just don't have this magical enhancing substance to help you build muscle as fast. (testosterone is an anabolic steroid and a naturally occurring hormone in human body, in both men and women)
Men can build 1 kg of muscle per month, weheras for women it's often 0,5 kg or less. This does not mean we should not even bother to try. Weight lifting has great health benefits for women and their health. l encourage you to go on your journey and see how much your body can change. Being strong feels amazing. Aaaand... let's break the myth that lifting heavy makes you manly or bulky.
2. Muscle fibers from your parents?
What was your body build for? What did your parents gave you as a gift? Did they gift you with the ability to run far and long (away from the tigers) or did they gave you the super power and strength to tear down the wall of china.
These are the type of muscle fibers we possess through our individual make (DNA) - Type 1 and Type 2. Through specific training we can slightly alter the type of fiber that is superior in our body.
Type 1 is called the slow twitch muscle fiber, that allows exercising in lower intensities for extended period of time. Using oxygen (aerobic) when producing ATP for energy. You might wonder why people with good endurance always have skinnier looking muscles? It is exactly because of this. They have Type 1 as more dominant fiber in their muscles (%), giving them this sleek look on their muscle.
Type 2 is called the fast twitch muscle fiber, that allows you to train in short bursts of high intensity, like lifting heavy or for elite athletes sprint 100 meters without taking a breath. You can do it too if you can run 100m under 10 seconds. This type of exercising does not require oxygen (anaerobic) for energy production. Glycogen and phosphate are the source of energy for this kind of training.
Simply, phosphate produces energy when combined with creatine (Creatine phosphate) and this is why many weightlifters supplement on creatine. Creatine also holds more water in your body. Glycogen can produce energy without oxygen as well but produces lactate as a side product. Through these 2 energy production systems, high bursts of energy can be released to make skeletal muscle contract fast, hence called fast muscle fiber. Fast muscle fibers contract fast and fatigue fast. That is why we become tired during weight lifting between sets.
Often why men are stronger is because they are naturally prone to possess more of Type 2 muscle fibers (on average) and therefore have better basis for building muscle and getting strong. It does not mean that many of us women don't naturally obtain more of this type of fibers. It just depends what your parents blessed you with.
Through training we can fluctuate between Type 1 and 2, to a certain extend. How much room is there to fluctuate between these two muscle fibers? it depends of our genetic make. The type of training we do decides which type of fiber becomes more dominant. Both, can be trained at gym.
The biggest problem that girls face at the gym and reason why we struggle on our fitness journey?
I see a lot of girls trying to build muscle with reps higher than 12 and with somewhat low weight. What does this type of training do ? it makes the type 1 more dominant and giving you that 'skinnier look of muscle'. This requires even more work to be done at the gym to build muscle that shows. Whereas lifting heavy 6-10 reps (optimal for building muscle) only requires 3-4 exercises (max 5), and makes already the hard work of building muscle a bit easier.
So often when women (or men) do their workout with 12 or higher reps, they are not training type 2 muscle fibers, which was the type of muscle you want to train to build muscle. Type 2 muscle fibers needs to be trained in short bursts and powerful strokes / lifts (WITH HEAVY WEIGHT). This allows type 2 muscles fibers to grow in size.
3. Body Fat Percentage
What does your body fat percentage has to do with anything? Well it hides all the muscles mass under fatty tissue. Dah.. Women store fat as energy more easily but as it is energy, we also naturally use fat as energy. Women's natural and healthy percentage of body fat could be anything between 20-30%, whereas for men it is significantly easier to be in the range of 10-20% in body fat. That lower body fat percentage for men, is just naturally more easy and healthier to maintain, than what it is for a women.
In a nutshell:
Even between us women there are lots of differences within these 3 factors and beyond, which determine the rate you can build muscle. Some people build muscle faster than others. That's just how it is. You can only do your best.
If you compare yourself to someone who is naturally skinny, you are not doing yourself any favours and you have to realise that your healthy weight is different to theirs.
If you compare yourself to someone who builds muscle the way you want, yes you can learn from them, but don't expect to make the same results.
Accept, that by being the healthiest you can be is enough and a little bit of fat is very very very very normal. There's nothing wrong with that, focus on what your body can do & go from there.
There is so much more in you than just your looks, be confident in who you are !
At the end of the day, we are all individuals and these rules between men and women don't always apply. You are you and you can figure out what works for you and how does your body work. You can and you will !