“Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” was a popular book released in the early ‘90’s about the differences, mostly in personality, between men and women. But does this saying need to be applied to the gym setting as well? Are there really big differences between the way men and women need to workout?
The simple answer is yes. Why? Mostly because of the reasons WHY women want and feel they need to exercise, and in particular strength train. The top 2 reasons giving by women who train at ActivEdge Fitness for working out are: 1) to lose weight and 2) to prevent osteoporosis. When you train for these reasons, the exercises that you choose, pairings, sets, reps, and intensity need to be seriously considered in order to get the most benefit from your time in the gym.
In starting a new exercise plan, I strongly suggest meeting with a trainer or coach to discuss your goals and properly evaluate your needs, even if you plan on implementing the routine by yourself. Trying to supplement your regular walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and/or other cardio routine, is a difficult task while trying to balance a full-time job (that includes child rearing!) and other life challenges. The best chance of success is a utilizing plan that is feasible, both in time and difficulty, and a good personal trainer has been educated and can help you formulate your plan.
Having said that, for the purpose of this article, I will provide some general guidelines to help kick-start your resistance routine and get you headed in the right direction:
* Start with lighter weight (if any) and higher repetitions of each exercise
* Use multi-joint movements that incorporate many muscle groups
* Allow for very little rest in between exercises by pairing different muscle movements together
* Need for change: always looking to mix in different exercises to keep the neuromuscular system challenged. Also, look to try different forms of strength training, like a power yoga or a Pilates class.
* Need for consistency: this is probably the most important feature. Even if you didn’t change the exercises for years but were consistent in your routine, you would still get benefits! Don’t quit on yourself. Take breaks and vacations when you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired and then get right back to exercising with renewed energy!