I’m a personal trainer myself and would like to know if you, as a personal trainer, would you say there are differences in the way you train men and women?
Here’s the short answer: No – and Yes!
Muscle cells are the same, whether they come from a man or a woman. Pound for pound, cell for cell, there’s no difference. (Is An Exercise Ball The Best Way To Exercise Your Abs?).
You can expect that a man and woman’s nervous system will function similarly, as well as their endocrine systems, respiratory systems, etc.
The only difference: In most cases, the man will have larger muscles than the woman, and the weight loads are changed accordingly.
Both men and women share the same muscle-joint function – it’s not like males use their biceps to bend their elbows and women use their triceps!
So, it stands to reason that for fat loss purposes you should train men and women the same: short, but intense work bouts to build their muscles and challenge their metabolic systems.
Training Male and Female Clients Differently
Here’s the kicker: I do end up training male and female clients differently, but that’s only because their stated goals tend to be different.
90% of my male clients want to build more muscle, particularly upper body, and get lean (ripped, even).
90% of my female clients could care less if they didn’t have a muscle in their entire bodies, and would sacrifice their second-born children to fit into their high school jeans.
If I had to turn Rachael Ray into Rachael Leigh Cook, you can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn’t use the same program Brad Pitt followed during the filming of Troy.
Same human blueprint, but completely different goals. They just happen to be different sexes.
To summarize: Do men and women both need to train hard with weights, eat properly, and ensure recovery to achieve results?
Absolutely. But are there differences between individuals and their specific goals (irrespective of their sex) that warrant dissimilar programs?
-Eugene Thong CSCS