Inspired by my boyfriend’s Men’s Health magazine I’ve decided to “masculinize” my way of training. Not that I wasn’t already lifting weights, but I realized there are many other things that men naturally do that could be good fitness tips for women.
Guys lift weight and think they’re strong
I won’t even begin with a paragraph about why women should lift weight. (There are many good articles on the subject on bodybuilding.com)
What amazes me is the difference between men and women weight-training at my gym.
Men tend to think they’re stronger than they actually are. Example: guy picking up heavy weights for biceps curls. He can’t keep up good form but he still doesn’t want to lower the weight so he’s doing his curls swinging his body and with very bad form.
Women tend to think they’re weaker than they actually are. Example: woman doing various arm exercises with 2 kilo dumbbells.
Men feel amazingly confident -sometimes too confident- about their strength. Women see themselves weak ‘by nature’.
According to Wikipedia, males are not stronger because of a greater strength of their muscles: they’re stronger because they just have a bigger muscle mass. They’re not stronger because they have “better” muscles, they’re stronger because they have more muscle fibers.
Females are about 52 percent as strong as males in the upper body (men have wider chest and back), and about 66 percent as strong as males in the lower body. Which means you could be lifting at least half of the weight guys lift at your gym. This also means that if you’re fit you can easily be lifting heavier weights than an untrained guy.
Guys attend kickboxing or bootcamp classes instead of steps or zumba
Ok, at my gym there are guys attending step lessons but they’re gay and I think they attend the class just because they enjoy the small choreographies they do jumping up and down the step. (They are actually very good at those; it’s quite impressive). You can also burn calories doing Zumba, but that’s about half of what you could burn doing a kickboxing or bootcamp class. Kickboxing or bootcamp classes add resistance training and plyometrics to cardio exercises which makes you sweat twice as much as other aerobic classes.
Guys eat more meat and less sweet stuff
Guys tend to crave things like red meat or chicken wings. These type of cravings are way more “muscle-building oriented” than the kinds of food our female hormones make us crave and believe we need and want…
Guys don’t waste any time in depreciative self-talk
A man’s self-esteem develops quite differently than a woman’s because he doesn’t give too much importance to what those around him think. Men early on begin to think of themselves as “independent agents”. Having grown up identifying themselves with superheroes, they have a higher self-esteem and self-confidence.
As Jamie Eason wrote in her column in Oxygen Magazine: “A man can look in the mirror, clearly sporting a belly and a fleeting head of hair, flex his biceps and think, “I’ve still got it!” while a stunning woman will scrutinize herself from head to toe, and rate herself no higher than a five on a scale of one to ten.”
Sometimes, it seems that some guys don’t experience any self-doubt, that the male ego knows no bounds. Women, on the other hand, excel in being self-critical. They have developed some kinds of ‘automatic inner voices’ reminding them regularly what’s wrong with them. Women regularly pinpoint other people’s flaws as well as their own. Guys have a more global vision and don’t notice unnecessary details, saving themselves of lot of time.
Guys see competition as fun
Men see competition as something natural and fun. That may explain whey they enjoy watching so much sport on tv. Women see being competitive as being insecure, envious and comparing themselves to others. I think there is nothing wrong in wanting to compete with someone else for fun. It may be a way to get that extra little push to go harder or faster. And even though I’m not into competitive gym sports, I am into anything that makes another person excel during their workout.
Do you lift heavier weights than some men at your gym? Do you agree that many women could benefit from “masculinizing” the way they train and think?