Monday, September 17, 2007

Effective Training Programs for Females

Sorry if I've been flooding your inbox with a few more newsletters than usual. If you don't have time now to read it, do save it for later as this tip will most definitely change the way you look.

If you're a guy don't just disregard this as for females as the principles explained below are the same for you.

Essentially males and females should train the same. Let see why. Tired of training with weights 3 days per week, walking 3 days per week, going to aerobic step class, etc and still looking the same month after month, year after year?

The answer - you are not training right.

You may disagree, but if you are still looking the same and are not happy with your results something in your program isn't working.

You have to understand that it is not how much you sweat or even how many calories you burn during the workout that is important, but rather how many calories you burn in the 24-48 hours after your workout, during the recovery period.

The principles outlined below by strength and conditioning coach Jason Ferruggia explain why.

The principles that make up an effective training program for a male are exactly the same as those that make up an effective training program for a female, and those are:

• Lift heavy – No matter what you have been brainwashed to believe from watching Oprah or reading US Magazine, girls should not be lifting soup cans and three pound dumbbells with the thought that it is actually going to do a thing. You need to challenge yourself and give your body a reason to actually change. Kickbacks with a couple cans of chicken soup aint gonna cut it. Lifting heavy weights in the ranges of 6-15 reps should be the basis of your training. Contrary to popular mainstream belief, high reps do not burn fat or help you improve muscle definition. Heavy weight training burns far more calories than high rep nonsense with light weights ever could. Like mentioned above you have to understand that it is not how much you sweat or even how many calories you burn during the workout that is important but rather how many calories you burn in the 24-48 hours after your workout, during the recovery period. Lifting heavy elevates your metabolism to a much higher degree and forces you to burn far more calories all day long than light, high rep training does.

• Use big compound exercises- Females should not be relegated to the butt blaster and the abductor/ adductor machine while avoiding squats and deadlifts at all costs. If you want to build muscle and lose fat you have to focus on the basics. These include military presses, bench presses, bent over rows, chin ups, dips, squats, deadlifts and all their variations. Isolation exercises like flyes, leg extensions and triceps kickbacks are a waste for most females and do very little to build muscle or burn fat.

• Follow the rule of progressive overload- Some people, both male and female, do the exact same workouts with the exact same weights over and over again for months or even years and never get anywhere. It’s no wonder why. Once you do something new, your body will do all that it can to adapt to the stimulus so that it is prepared for it the next time and does not suffer the same shock and trauma. So if you bench press 65 pounds for two sets of ten reps today, your body will rebuild itself bigger and stronger to prepare for that challenge again in the future. When you do it again next week you have not presented a new challenge for your body to adapt to and thus nothing will happen. You need to continually challenge your body. You can do this by adding more sets, decreasing your rest periods, or most importantly and most effectively; increasing the weight.

Females should not be afraid of getting stronger or increasing their training poundages. I never understood why more females didn’t have the desire to get stronger. What could be a better feeling than looking good and feminine yet being incredibly strong? A client of mine named Elaine possesses this attitude and is driven in her quest for strength and fat loss. Not only does she look great but she can lift some pretty heavy weights and she doesn't at all look like Hulk Hogan or a steriod using bodybuilder.

While many of the principles of effective weight training are exactly the same for males as they are for females, there are a few differences that need to be pointed out. These differences are not of major concern and the fact is that many females could get great results doing the exact same workouts as their male counterparts. But since I brought it up, here they are:

• Females seem to achieve better results with a slightly higher rep range than males - While most males build muscle most effectively in the range of 5-10 reps, females often tend to do better while working in the range of 8-15 reps. Notice I didn’t say 15-50 reps. Remember, that stuff is useless nonsense. Heavy sets of 8-15 reps to failure or near failure are the way to go for most females looking to build muscle and burn fat.

Females can tolerate a slightly higher training volume- Because they are usually weaker and have less overall muscle mass than males; females recover more easily and quickly and for this reason can tolerate a greater number of sets in their training. For males I usually recommend an average of 12-18 hard sets per workout but for females I prefer to stick with 16-28, sometimes even higher.

• Females require less rest between sets than males- This is very similar to the rule about training volume. Because they are weaker, less muscular and recover faster, females don’t need to rest as long between sets. While most males will need at least 3-5 minutes between a brutally heavy ten-rep set of squats before they will be able to repeat the effort, most females can do so in just a minute or two; sometimes even less. If they are extremely weak, they may actually be able to repeat the effort in as little as 30 seconds. If you give them a workout that calls for the same rest periods that males use they will be bored to tears.

I hope that helps your training. Remember its not about how much you sweat or how many calories you burn during the workout that determines whether it was a good workouts, but how many calories you burn in the next 24-48 hours.

Living in Divine health,
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