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Train Like a Woman!
By Kristin Reisinger, MS RD
When I was asked to write a response article to an article entitled, 'Train Like A Man,' I envisioned myself writing a highly charged rebuttal piece to a sexist rant chock full of testosterone, andro and a bit of GH thrown in for good measure. After much thought about the topic at hand, I realized that a lot of the author's attitudes and beliefs towards training apply to everyone. Especially us women!
Let me explain. Through the years I have seen many women in the gym lifting these rinky-dink, pink and purple hand weights barely breaking a sweat. I see the same girls do three cardio classes in a row and spend countless hours on the treadmill like hamsters on a habitrail pondering why their bodies look exactly the same as they did six months ago. These are the same girls that come up to me and ask me repeatedly what I do to look the way I do or what do I eat or do I even eat. I even overheard a girl once say, "I'm doing so good today... I only had a bagel and a salad." The list is endless and it is endlessly frustrating.
I wish I had a megaphone right now. Ladies... you need to lift HEAVY to have a physique like the chick from Terminator! When you feel like you can't squeeze out any more reps... do two more! Get calluses on your hands... your man will love it. So many of you comment on how much you'd love to have a body like Madonna or Angela Bassett or Gabrielle Reece but most of you don't do anything to get it! Do you think these women work out with tiny little dumbbells and their bodies look like that by mistake? Do you even know how hard it is and how much meticulous planning and preparation (and testosterone!) it takes to put on muscle and "bulk up" like a professional bodybuilder? I've been lifting as hard and heavy as any guy I know for two years and I keep getting smaller and leaner! I look sexier and more feminine than ever before, too. By really lifting weights and stressing your muscles you will increase your lean mass, and since it is this lean mass (muscle tissue) that burns fat, you will have the capacity to burn more fat even at rest. Combining this with a moderate amount of cardiovascular activity (not three step classes in a row) will turn your body into a fat burning machine. Too much cardio works against you and will eventually begin to utilize your hard-earned lean muscle tissue for energy which is NOT the desired goal.
You also need to EAT. Your need to fuel your body with the appropriate foods for energy as well as protein for the build up and reparation of muscle tissue. Starving yourself is NOT the answer and is more detrimental than most of you realize. It will slow down your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and hang on to every last bit of bagel you consume as stored energy (fat). By eating small, low-fat meals throughout the day incorporating a protein source with good sources of fibrous and complex carbohydrates will stabilize your insulin levels and sustain your energy levels. This will prevent your body from going into starvation mode while giving you all the building blocks you need for developing and shaping your muscles. Plus, you actually get to eat more!
"It's all about ATTITUDE," says the author, and I agree wholeheartedly. I would even venture to say us women need to dish out even more of it than men. If I had a nickel for every time I witness some girl feeling intimidated in the gym because of the presence of a man or give up a machine or a bench because some dude is waiting for it, I'd have a bank account like Arnold. I have gone up to girls in the gym and yelled at them for doing that. Where's your damn backbone?! Self-esteem, confidence and an all-around, I don't give a s--t attitude are all part of the package that go along with my philosophies on training like a woman which is far more attractive than a whole heap of mascara, lip gloss and eye liner. And the gym is our domain as much as any man. Training like a woman is a synergistic framework allowing everything else in life to fall into place that much smoother including relationships, career or whatever you allow it to flow into. Having a great body is merely a fringe benefit. So ladies, to quote a very wise person, "Go hard or go home," especially if you're a woman.
Kristin Reisinger, MS RD, is a New York City-based nutritional consultant, fitness trainer, freelance health + fitness writer and musician. She holds a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology + Nutrition from Columbia University and is a Registered Dietitian through American Dietetic Association. She is also a competitive figure athlete, former Galaxy competitor, avid snowboarder, rock climber and surfer. She has been competing for over five years and will continue to do so until she is 80. She can be contacted at email@example.com.