Female Training Article on Healthista

Take a look at our recent ‘Five training tips to steal form the Boys’ article on female training featured on www.healthista.com:

“Jean-Claude Vacassin, personal trainer and founder of results-based boutique gym W10 Performance on the five things we need to steal from the grunting side of the gym to look like goddesses.

It’s probably fair to say that women would be better avoiding some of the common things that men do in the gym but here are a few ‘manly’ training tips that women should embrace:

Men prioritise their training time, whereas when women are under pressure, they have a harder time prioritising their own wellbeing…

1. DON’T BE SCARED OF STRENGTH TRAINING

Whilst this message does seem to be gradually getting through to the mainstream, as a general rule, many women still haven’t embraced strength training.  Perhaps it’s the assumption that strength equates to a ‘bulky’ looking physique?  It doesn’t.

Adding muscle while stripping back fat will make you look toned, shapely and lean. Not only that, a strong body is a balanced body. You’ll have better posture and less health issues, like back pain.

In my experience, it’s difficult for women to gain more that two to three kilos of muscle. They simply don’t have the natural raw materials. To build muscle you need significant testosterone and growth hormone for example, which women don’t have in abundance.

It’s worth noting also that weight training alone doesn’t build muscle, you need an excess of calories also; something that most women starting out on a gym programme are actually cutting back on.

Women who complain about looking ‘bulky’ are picking up on the layer of fat that’s covering their muscle. To get that lean look, you need to strip back on body fat, while increasing or at the very least maintaining the lean muscle tissue you do have.

TRAINING TIP Add strength training to your programme. Aim for two or three sessions per week, preferably on non-consecutive days.

Young Adults Lifting Weights at the Gym

2. EAT ENOUGH CALORIES

Most women I see are under muscled and are in a calorie deficit.  Many also have a high body fat percentage, often as a result of serial dieting.  The answer is not always to cut calories, especially if you’re exercising hard.

If for example your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you need for maintenance) is 1200 calories and you cut your daily intake by 400 calories, you will lose weight in the short term.  If you do this for a prolonged period however your body will adapt and try to stop you losing too much fat, especially if you’re already reasonably lean.

When you restrict calories too extremely and do not exercise your body will switch from using fat for fuel to using lean tissue for energy.  This is one reason why many women on an overly strict diet lose relatively little fat but lose significant amount of metabolically active muscle mass.  Weight loss might be significant, but fat loss is minimal.

The more times you go through this cycle the more muscle mass you lose over time and the harder it becomes to lose fat.  Maintaining lean mass whilst losing fat is the key to long-term success.  The challenge is to combine resistance training with enough calories so that you can add or maintain lean mass whilst losing body fat.

TRAINING TIP Include protein with every meal initially. A palm-sized portion is enough for most women. Stop yo-yo dieting and eat enough calories to cover your basal metabolic rate.  At W10 we use the InBody machine to calculate this, but there are lots of online calculators you can use that do this more crudely.

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3. TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT…

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