In my previous article, Female Bodybuilders: Fit, Strong And Yet Feminine, I told you about the caricatured image of female bodybuilders years ago and how it changed when the federations understood that muscularity in competition was casting a poor image and when they decided to attract desperate housewives 😉 mainly by showing athletes who were fit and strong without sacrificing their feminity.
You Won’t Look Like Arnold
How do you achieve such fitness results without losing your feminity? What are the main differences between men and women in bodybuilding? This is the primary concern of women who hesitate lifting weights: will I get big, will the size of my thighs increase with this training?
The answer is clearly no: depending on your workout routine, you will not increase your muscle size but your muscle’s strength. Even if you train « like a man », you will not gain muscle like men because it is their famous hormone called testosterone which allows this impressive increase in muscle mass. Women have only a small fraction of men’s testosterone levels and their muscle mass will become stronger, not bigger.
So how come that the first female bodybuilders managed to achieve these muscle mass like men? Well, guess what? They probably had hormonal treatments which made them look like men…
But this time is over, now you will gain just a bit of muscle but in a feminine way, toned, dense, nicely shaped.
Do women need to workout like men by the way? What are the physiological differences?
In fact men and women workout in the same way. Contrary to the popular belief, women do not need to spend their time in cardiovascular exercise while men lift weights, it’s a cliché.
The truth is that women and men have different body composition and metabolism, thus their training will vary a bit and the results will be different.
For instance, men bodybuilders will target 4 or 5% body fat when women having naturally a higher percentage will set a reasonable goal at 10 to 12%.
Body fat distribution is different, women will have more on the thighs, glutes and triceps while men will bear their fat mostly in the abdomen (the famous « beer belly » or « tire »), in the chest also and upper arms. This fat distribution is called gynoid for women and android for men, and commonly named « pear or apple » fat distribution. This is a global approach of course, there is no strict line between gynoid and android fat, for instance men and women have often « love handles » in common 😉
Another big difference is the muscle mass, more developed by men, and as a result men’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is higher. This will allow them to have greater food intake for the same stable weight or to lose fat easier than women — I know, it’s unfair 😉 Remember that your weight equation is mostly determined by calories in versus calories out!
A Different Diet For Female Bodybuilders
What about diet? Should it be different between women and men bodybuilders?
Women metabolize more fatty acids but fewer carbohydrates and proteins than men. This is important since fat is so devaluated in women’s eyes, being the first enemy in their diet. In fact, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are more important for women than for men, and EFAs don’t necessarily finish in your fat storage, they even promote the fat burning process and they represent a source of energy which stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels. Men have a different energy profile, they require more carbohydrates and proteins than lipids.
Except the difference in this metabolization of lipids and carbohydrates, men and women should have the same diets, with a recommendation for low carbohydrates cycling diets for better fat burning results for women.
Which Type Of Workout For Women?
What is a typical exercising program for female bodybuilders?
Let’s start with a very common mistake: most of the time women overestimate cardio exercises and avoid lifting weights, probably due to the fear of gaining too much muscle mass. A typical training plan will run over 12 weeks, 5 days a week, varying repetitions, exercises and intensity for the main muscle groups (legs, chest and back). I know many female bodybuilders who follow these programs quite religiously. No pain, no gain 😉
It’s hard to recommend one of these programs, you have so many of them! It depends on your starting point and your goals. Just do a quick search online and select a serious one, preferably with videos — careful though if you search Youtube, it is often loaded with crap. And these stupid comments…
Here is a good piece of advice by Jamie Eason:
As you will see, many of these fitness programs include High Interval Intensity Training: you know there is no quicker way to lose fat 😉
Ladies, if you really want to lose weight, you could learn many lessons from bodybuilders in most key factors: the right mindset, motivation, goal setting, time management, hard work, nutrition, coaching, etc…
Eat less, move more and get support: well, female bodybuilders have it all right 😉
What about ephedrine for female bodybuilders? Nothing special, it works as fine as for male bodybuilders because we all have the same CNS 😉
By the same effects, I mean: energy booster, appetite suppression, lean muscle mass is preserved and lipolysis (fat burn) is increased. But you also have the same risk of side effects if you don’t know the basic rules: make sure to drink a lot of water, avoid heat — this should be easy at this period of the year 😉 and of course no HIIT sessions when having ephedrine, ephedra or EC stacks.
If you live in the USA don’t even think of ephedrine HCL delivered to your place: you know it is no more available from reputable sites. From time to time I see one or two sites that pretend to ship pure ephedrine HCL from Canada to the U.S. but personally I wouldn’t buy from them. Stay on the safe (legal) side and get one of the time-tested ephedra products from our recommended websites.