Should men train the same as woman
The answer, in my opinion, is yes and no. There is nothing wrong with giving male and female clients the same exercises, reps and sets, depending on their goals but there is some differences that you need to pay attention to.
Men carry more muscle than women and so burn calories easier. Men also tend to be bigger naturally than women. Let’s say both of you go out for food. If both of you eat the same amount the guy will burn it off quicker. If you train together, lift for lift, the girl would possibly need an extra 30-45mins of hard training after the guy leaves to get the same calorie burn off. Women naturally carry more fat than men (sorry girls). This is in preparation for childbirth, so if you are a female in between the ages of 12 and 50, your fat % will be naturally higher than a guy of the same age. So ladies, stop worrying about that little squeeze on your thighs or sides, its nature doing its job.
Women also shouldn’t train as much reps as men and can take slightly longer to recover from a workout due to having less male hormones in their systems.
Now on top of all that we have hormones. Women’s strength fluctuates depending on their menstrual cycle. Mid cycle (about 14 days after period ends) a woman will be at her strongest. She will probably burn more calories and here is where you look for PB’s and biggest gains. However, a week before her period is due and at the start of her period is most certainly NOT the time to look for PB’s. You’re lucky to even get her into the gym at this time. She will feel heavy, lethargic and in the mood for nothing. Maybe scrap the barbell squats this week for leg press. No records will be smashed but she will find it less taxing and will thank you for it. Cravings will also be big here so probably not a good time to set a calorie deficit with a new female client. Give her 2 weeks of getting used to the gym and focus on food changes instead of calorie cutbacks. This makes it much more do-able.
Now, basically we have 3 ways that we burn calories.
• BMR (basal metabolic rate)
• NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)
• EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis)
Your BMR is the calories needed to just survive. These are the calories that make your heart pump, pushing your blood through your body, the calories needed to move in bed etc. These are about 60% of your daily calories. Then you have EAT, the calories you burn in the gym and just after and then we come to NEAT. During the week leading up to her period is when her NEAT is at its lowest. NEAT is the movements you do when you are not in the gym. It’s the walking to and from work, going up the stairs, fidgeting of hands and feet etc. You normally burn more calories doing NEAT then actually in the gym. In the week leading up to a period, females sometimes tend to catch a taxi or the bus, instead of walking. They might take the lift instead of stairs and not even realise why they are doing it. Because of this, her calorie output is lower than at other times of the month. Add to this her cravings for chocolate etc and you could have a recipe for disaster.
So how do you combat this? There is no 100% right answer as some women just power through and some just can’t. One way would be to weigh a female client every week for 2 months and then measure week 1 in month 1 versus week 1 in month 2. Week 2 in month 1 versus week 2 in month 2 and so on. Also look at her numbers on the gym floor in the same way over a 2 month period. This way you get a better understanding on how she works. You can then work out an eating plan to suit her moods and strengths. Maybe only have her in a calorie deficit for 2-3 weeks of the month to start off with. It’s not 100% ideal but if you have a female client that really struggles in that pre-period week then it might be the difference in her sticking with you or leaving the gym.