Female Personal Training

Even after all of this time as a personal trainer, I still love my job and nothing gives me a greater buzz than seeing my clients transform their lives, whether it be weight loss, improved strength and mobility or just a general increased feeling of wellness. This is even more special when they didn’t believe that transformation was possible.

Although I love working with both males and females and every single person that I see has their unique issues, concerns or obstacles, my experience as a female personal trainer and of course as a female, made me realise that there are a number of concerns or questions that are predominantly raised by women. I thought, therefore, that it might be useful to create a space covering female and exercise specific issues that tend to be raised by my clients. Hopefully it will be of interest.

So i just wanted to cover some of the basic questions that I am often asked by female clients

Are there any exercises that women should avoid ?

No, there are no male or female specific exercises, just exercises. Specific exercises or training plans tend to be either strength or cardio focused so when I select exercises they will be based on a client’s goals and abilities rather than their gender.

Having said that, there are some difference to be aware of which may influence some of my choices. I’ve listed a couple below.

Generally females tend to be more quadricep dominant therefore it is important to focus developing and strengthening the posterior muscles like glutes and hamstrings to ensure muscular balance.

Females also carry much less lean muscle on their upper bodies which is why males generally are stronger at press ups and pull ups. (Studies have suggested that on average, females generally have 30% less upper body muscle mass than men) Again, therefore , I would tend to focus on this weaker area to again ensure muscular balance.

Women also tend to rely on their aerobic metabolism and men their anaerobic metabolism. This is just a complicated way of saying that females are generally better at endurance activities, resisting fatigue and recovering quickly between sets. This difference is something that again I will take into account when creating a plan for males vs females.

If I start lifting heavy weights won’t I get bulky?

Basically hormones affect your muscle growth rate. Generally men have higher levels of testosterone than women. Testosterone promotes muscle growth. This makes it easier for men to gain muscle and burn fat. Women have higher levels of oestrogen then men which makes it harder for them to gain muscle and lose fat.

If you are strength training and starting to look bulky it is probably because you have a high percentage of body fat, therefore you are eating more calories than you need to.

When training clients with high levels of body fat, the focus would be reduction of body fat which is then replaced with muscle , via a protein rich diet and appropriate strength and cardio training.

In short, if you want to be toned or lean, you need to be strong and so you need to strength train and eat well.

So I have the potential to be as strong as a man?

We have already covered how hormones affect the potential to gain muscle and lose fat. When looking at performance or strength potential, the differences will mainly be due to size and body composition rather than gender. Basically this means that the difference in strength between males and females is almost entirely down to muscle mass differences. As has already been said, females generally have less muscle mass than men especially upper body but if a male and female have the same size muscles then they should have more or less the same strength.

But why do I need to strength train? I just want to lose weight and get toned...

Strength training improves fat loss . Lifting weights builds lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will work and the faster your metabolic rate, the more calories you will burn, even at rest. Burning more calories will reduce your body fat and improve weight loss.

For each pound of muscle you gain, you will burn anything from 30 - 50 calories a day.

When we aspire to a “toned” look, what we are actually aspiring to is to be lean, and in order to be lean one needs to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.

In addition, strength training increases bone density which in turn reduces the risks of fractures and broken bones. Strength training also improves the strength of connective tissues which in turn improves joint stability. Strength training can also improve spinal bone density and this coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, vitamins K and D, will help protect against osteoporosis.

I am menopausal now, so surely it’s too late to start exercising

On the contrary, during menopause, there is a decline in oestrogen, progesterone and androgens which will cause muscle and bone mass loss over time. On top of this, changes in oestrogen and stress hormones will cause our bodies to start storing fat in our abdominal area.

So your body is losing muscle and bone mass plus increasing the storage of abdominal fat.

Strength training particularly can slow down muscle and bone mass loss and as we know , training alongside a healthy diet, helps with weight management.

In addition regular strength training may help with some of the common issues experienced by menopausal women. Training can help with managing weight gain, lifting your mood, improving self esteem, improving energy levels helping you sleep and reducing anxiety.


* The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only. We cannot guarantee any weight loss or fitness results.