Posts Tagged ‘women’

JohanneDeadlift

When I got my Bachelor’s in Kinesiology in the summer of 2013, I initially wanted to work with athletes. That was my dream. My background was in athletics, so it was a no-brainer.¬†It’s funny how things work out though because here I am now in a completely different situation ‚ÄĒ majority of my clients primarily consists of women.

The whole process was a bit fortuitous because I unexpectedly developed an affinity for training females.  I saw that the vast majority of women were sorely misinformed. Granted there are a growing number of women who are steering in the right direction with regards to their health and fitness, there was a gaping hole that needed to be addressed.

Here are some of things I’ve learned from training women.

1. Prioritize stability and motor control work

 

This is one major detail I feel gets lost in the details of designing a training program. You have to appreciate the role of congenital laxity and joint hypermobility. And what I mean by that is women are more flexible than men ‚ÄĒ and have excessive range of motion ‚ÄĒ¬†which makes them more¬†susceptible to joint pathologies and injuries. ¬†The ability to move in large ranges of motion requires adequate stability to control it.

Elbow Hyperextension

Elbow Hyperextension in Push-ups

Photo Credit: EricCressey.com

Knee Hyperextension

Knee Hyperextension

Photo Credit: thePTDC.com

So rather than lengthy stretching and mobility drills (still important, by the way), their warm-ups should consist of stabilization and motor control work (planks, bridges, turkish get-ups, farmer carries). Moreover,¬†I strongly advise that you don’t go past joint end range. You’re really just asking for it when you hang out there in the presence of load and fatigue.

2. They don’t eat enough protein to fuel¬†their progress

 

We want to be able to enjoy food for what it is. ¬†Freedom to eat what ever you want is a pretty big deal if you want to stay consistent. Fried chicken wings, and a juicy burger with fries sounds delicious, but you have to be diligent with your nutrition ‚ÄĒ there is a trade-off if you’re looking to attain a slender and toned physique. ¬†All of that considered, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with someone who just doesn’t eat enough to fuel their progress.¬†Yes ‚ÄĒ I said it. ¬†You don’t eat enough to fuel your progress¬†(specifically protein).

Exercise is just a stimulus to set you up for a positive adaptation. That adaptation will only occur if¬†your eating the “appropriate” amount.

3. “Lifting heavy will make you look bulky”

 

This never gets old, and unfortunately, this will never die out. We can thank the media and Tracy Anderson for this one. To this day, a lot of women out there are still reluctant to pick up heavy weights. Stop the stigma. Dismiss the idea that ¬†you’ll get big and bulky from lifting anything more than ten pounds. Moderate carbohydrate consumption, increase dietary protein, get in the weight room, and sprinkle in your cardiovascular work. Watch what happens.

It’s also worthwhile to note that packing on some muscle automatically ramps up your metabolic rate, which helps in the¬†reduction of body fat.

4. They’re way more disciplined than men

 

Regardless of the training principles¬†they follow¬†or nutrition protocol they’re adhering to,¬†when they buy into it, I’ve found women to be¬†way¬†more disciplined than men. ¬†They’ll train more and sacrifice more to get the job done.

Teach them how to deadlift properly, and they’ll love it. ¬†When they finally do their first push-up or chin-up, they’ll go berserk. Mix that in with a high-five and a compliment, and their eyes light up. Strength training empowers them.

*Slow clap*

Feminist

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 crossfit

 


Here’s what you need to know:

  • The weight scale will deter you from reaching your goals.
  • Not eating a sufficient amount of quality food will dampen your progress.
  • Hours and hours of cardiovascular activity (elliptical, treadmill, zumba) will elevate the amount of cortisol in your body‚ÄĒexcessive amounts will breakdown muscle tissue.
  • Progressive overload is key in building muscle.

It’s been an awful long time since you’ve stepped foot in the gym, about four months to be exact. ¬†Within those four months you’ve developed some bad habits that inevitably took a toll on your health‚ÄĒ you’ve put on some weight, you wake up every morning feeling like you want to go back to sleep, and you always crave sugar. Now all of sudden,¬†you get motivated again¬†to reclaim the figure you once had because let’s face it…we are all, to some degree a bit narcissistic‚ÄĒwe want to look good. If you look good, you feel good!

Two weeks have passed and you’ve lost five pounds through¬†dieting¬†and¬†training. ¬†You’re so elated that you turn it up a notch‚ÄĒstrict dieting and countless hours at the gym. ¬†A month has passed and it’s time to step on the scale. ¬†Your weight didn’t change at all. ¬†You get discouraged and lose all your “motivation.”

Sound familiar?

Let me tell you that I have trained and interacted with a lot of women, and this is not uncommon.

Here are four mistakes women make with their training.

1. Fixation on the scale

weightscale

 

When the goal is primarily fat loss, there are two factors that are ultimately going to determine how successful you are going to be‚ÄĒweight and body fat. Unfortunately, rather than using a more direct and accurate¬†approach‚ÄĒchecking body fat‚ÄĒwomen tend to gravitate towards the former. ¬†If left unchecked, this can be a recipe for disaster because it can deter you from any progress you’re fully capable of attaining.

Now, there is a distinction between weight loss and fat loss. ¬†Losing weight is not indicative of how well you’re doing and a gain of 1.5 lbs¬†does not mean “work harder¬†and eat less” (this happens a¬†lot) ‚ÄĒwhile under-exercising can contribute to becoming fat and sluggish, over-exercising can cause immune system suppression.

If you see your weight drop it doesn’t mean you’ve lost a reasonable amount of fat. ¬†Conversely,¬†when you see your weight go up it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve added fat. ¬†Fluctuations are a part of the process. Keep things in perspective, don’t allow the little things to get in the way of your goal, and toss your scale!

2. Not eating enough

caltheory

Don’t be entirely consumed¬†with where your caloric intake should be, specifically regarding cutting back calories. While there is some merit to the “calories-in, calories-out” method, it’s not the be-all end-all approach for fat loss.¬†My issue with it is that your basically starving yourself and while it may work short-term, you will inevitably gain back what you have worked so hard to lose. ¬†Reason being¬†is because your thyroid function will start to diminish, as a result of decreased energy (caloric intake) coupled with higher frequency (training). Simply put, this will turn down your metabolism further suppressing your body’s ability to breakdown fat. Focus on the quality of the food rather than the quantity.

3. Relying heavily on cardio

 

jogger.jpgNothing makes me cringe more than seeing a person ride the elliptical or run on the treadmill for hours. While there is nothing inherently wrong with cardio, there are some implications that can arise and could become problematic in the future.

Cardiovascular activity (aerobic)¬†is a vital component for¬†fat loss, but¬†it’s not the most efficient. ¬†You don’t need to beat yourself up by running everyday or going to cycling class five times a week. Long bouts of an aerobic based workout on a day-to-day basis causes the release of excess amount of cortisol, which will cause muscle breakdown and storage of fat, in addition to, prohibiting formation of additional muscle. ¬†15 – 30 minutes of aerobic training a day will do the trick on resistance training days. ¬†Circuit weight training has also been shown to be more beneficial with regard to fat loss as well.

4. Lightweight

female

You see, muscle is very expensive in the body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’re able to burn (increased metabolism). That is why I’m still dumbfounded by the fact that there are still a lot of women out there who think that lifting weights is going to make you “bulky and muscular.” You don’t get glutes like this by participating in zumba or spin class three times a week.

glutes.jpg

You get glutes like this by progressive overload¬†‚ÄĒ heavier weights and an accumulation of volume.¬†To a certain extent, how I train my female clients is no different than how I train my male clients. ¬†I still have them perform the deadlift and squat a reasonable amount of weight that provides enough stimulus for the body to adapt and grow. ¬†I mean come on, who doesn’t want to get stronger? The confidence that comes with increased strength is advantageous to your overall health.

Here’s one of my clients deadlifting 192lbs for a double.

Remember: your body won’t change if you don’t challenge yourself.