This article is for every female fitness trainee or athlete, every female casual gym-goer, hell, every female! Unless you are otherwise aware, you are likely the victim of gender based marketing and misinformation regarding your training and nutrition plans. You could be needlessly struggling with your fat loss goals.
There is a huge market in the fitness sector focusing exclusively on female fitness routines, most prominently for fat loss. I’m sure you’ll admit, there is an overwhelming majority of girls out there who want to improve some aspect of their body image.
Advertising female fitness and nutrition is a very particular industry. Fun and enjoyable activity that feels less like work and more like a social event is what tends to attract the majority of females. People sell programmes crammed into short time periods, hoping to convince you of their superior efficiency and promising results within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this is rarely ever the most effective course of action if your goal is to improve your physique or your fitness.
Dieting has been similarly manipulated and sensationalised in fitness media. Countless fad diets have come and gone, each one claiming to be the newest and most effective. Some of these take on extreme forms, such as the well-known Atkins diet, prescribing an incredibly high protein and fat intake whilst avoiding carbohydrates like the plague. These are neither healthy nor necessary to achieve your goals.
Diet plans and training regimes such as these are the result of deceptive propaganda spun to females so as to sell memberships to exercise classes and slimming groups.
They are sub optimal programmes designed to sell you a product and nothing more.
Why should you believe a word I say about female fitness?
I care only about logic and science, reason and empiricism. There is no agenda to get you to buy a years supply of a meal replacing milkshake here. Not only is it misleading to do this, I believe it is also irresponsible.
Instead, I offer to you only the scientific facts of the matter and will therefore allow you to reach you own conclusions regarding how or even if at all, females should train differently to their male counterpart
Why are all of these people wrong or misleading?
The simple fact of the matter is that there are no relevant or substantive anatomical or physiological differences between men and women when it comes to exercise. So why should any training programme aimed at losing fat and building muscle be gender specific?
In the exact same way as males, females will respond to progressive overload by mechanical tension with the expected muscular hypertrophy and strength increase. Simply put, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or a girl, lifting heavy things will make you strong and muscular. Female specificity is nonsense.
Dancercise classes, spin classes and other variants will do little more than make you sweat and raise your heart rate. This in itself is not a bad thing, however it is not the optimal course of action if your sole aim is to “tone up”. Cardiovascular exercise in effort to lose fat is in fact a pretty inefficient method. Hours of work a week will likely only burn a few hundred calories in total. This can equally be achieved by skipping that extra packet of crisps or chocolate bar! What I’m saying here is that the usefulness of cardiovascular exercise for fat loss is greatly over estimated. Its primary aim should only be the development of a strong cardiovascular system, and nothing more. Instead, fat loss should be controlled almost entirely by dieting.
The correct approach to training should always be to build or retain muscle mass. Those spin classes really only leave you spinning your wheels, getting no closer to your goal.
We need to break the misconception that females should exercise in a different way to males. Girls, you too need to lift those heavy weights in order to reach your goals.
But I don’t want to be big and bulky like those female bodybuilders!
You wont be!! This is one of the most irritating misconceptions around. Guys will literally spend years chasing after a muscular physique, grinding away at the gym and stuffing their faces with a huge caloric surplus and still not make the progress they want. Changes in their musculature will still be miniscule over the short term. Muscle mass takes lots of time and effort to develop, and that’s with all the extra testosterone inherent in males. I promise you 100%, lifting weights and training for strength WILL NOT result in an Accidental Arnold!
There’s a reason you’ll see female fitness models training with weights! Muscle mass is the foundation of every good looking physique, male or female. Those feminine curves you’re after aren’t made of fat, they are shaped by the musculature. Training for muscular hypertrophy will help develop these areas and create that hourglass figure whilst also increasing your capacity to burn fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn on average, therefore allowing you to drop fat levels far easier.
If a trainee was to diet heavily and undertake cardiovascular training in absence of any lifting programme, a large amount of the weight lost will be muscle mass. This is a bad idea as it will leave your frame looking frail and skeletal except those areas where fat tends to stick around longest, the stomach and thighs. I’m sure you can see the aesthetic issues with this!
Furthermore, training correctly for strength and hypertrophy has the advantage of developing a good posture, something that inherently makes a person look more confident and attractive.
Okay, so what should we be doing?
Like I say, nothing inherently different to the guys. Studies have shown that females aren’t quite as capable of handling the higher intensities and will burn out quicker, so we will exclude the reaaally heavy sets unless absolute strength is your goal.
For a girl looking to get that toned, curvy body, a simple programme of lifting combined with some cardiovascular work (for the sake of work capacity more than anything else) will be sufficient to illicit the muscular growth we are after.
If you have never set foot in a gym, never touched a weight, or simply want to start with a well rounded and strong foundation in training, I highly recommend that all trainees begin with our TEG Beginner’s Programme. This is uniquely devised to develop and solidify your technique and basic strength levels before you move onto a novice programme. At this point you are free to select a programme based on your specific goals.
Starting Strength or a basic Linear Progression are great openers since they will bring you up to a great level of overall strength, setting you up for whatever further training you wish to undertake. The TEG Ultimate Bikini Plan is a great option which takes you through both muscle building and fat loss.
You can do all the abdominal crunches in the world, but nothing will reveal that toned midriff unless you have your diet in check. By this I mean successfully tracking and controlling you macronutrient ratios and overall calorie intake. Dieting is a grossly over thought aspect of training. It’s all simple mathematics; if you put in more fuel than you use, that fuel will be stored as fat, if you put in less, fat stores will be used up.
Precisely how you go about this is a simple matter of knowing how many calories you burn on any given day, and controlling how many calories you take in. Our nutrition calculator or any of our training plans will help you to do just that.
But at its simplest, all precision and pedantries aside, the crucial elements to track are your overall caloric intake and your requisite protein intake.
Knowing how simple the mathematics should be, you might reconsider expensive memberships to dieting programmes and weight-loss groups.
What to take away from this?
To put it bluntly, the most important thing I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t be drawn in so easily by clever female fitness advertising and convention. We should, in all circumstances, base our decisions on established scientific fact and not fall into the trappings of popular culture surrounding the fitness industry. By all means go ahead and enjoy your group dancercise classes, but please do not be fooled into believing that they are optimal for helping you achieve you fat loss goals. Likewise, do not assume that because so many people sign up to certain dieting groups, that the information they give you is ideal for you.
The formula is simple, routed in science, and largely unequivocal. This is not to say there is only one method to use, but sticking to the established tenants of training and nutrition will allow you to cut through the plethora of misleading, consumer driven nonsense and make your own fitness decisions.