5 Key Considerations for Females training for a better physique
At BSPT we have helped countless woman to achieve their body shape goals. I wanted to share with you a few of what I believe to be the key considerations when training female clients to achieve a healthy, defined and strong physique.
1. Health comes first. At no stage should how you look become more important than how you feel. With that I mean health is the priority, extreme measures should be avoided at all costs. Digestion, sleep and stress should all be managed. Goals need to be realistic, time frames need to be flexible and your approach should fit your lifestyle.
2. Lowering calories is not always the answer. If you are new to training with already quite a slim build and your goal is to ‘tone’ in other words build muscle, starting by lowering your calories and adding in lots of training is only going to result in lower energy, poorer recovery from training and zero shape to your muscles. Not really what you signed up for. Accept that there will be periods where increasing your food intake both through volume and calories will be necessary from time to time. Of course lowering calories and spending time in a deficit will be required to reduce body fat eventually but if you are already at a low starting place calorie wise and struggling to make improvements to your physique going lower is a dangerous and counterproductive place to start. Slowly building food into your diet is a better approach and promotes a healthy metabolism, compliments your training and can boost your overall health. It also makes the ‘dieting’ part a whole lot easier. Those that come with the ‘quick fix’ mentality usually fail. On the flip side if you have a lot of weight to lose then the approach would be different. Its largely assumed you are most likely already consuming a high amount of calories (more than you need) and so adjusting your diet into a small deficit while addressing any lifestyle red flags would be a safe and effective place to start.
3. Prioritise Strength Training. I always try to encourage people to do the exercise they enjoy the most. Whether that is weights, running, cardio, HIIT classes or something else. Health comes first both physical and mental and there is no point in spending large parts of your week doing something you don’t enjoy. That said if your goal is to have defined arms, leaner legs, a more defined stomach and a shapely butt lifting weights is your go to method. Try to prioritise your training around strength work that is complimented by cardio not the other way about. You don’t need to become a body builder or a powerlifter but you should be looking to slowly increase the amount of weight you work with. Strength training is also a low impact form of training that is likely going to be kinder to your joints and muscles than endless amounts of HIIT or cardio.
4. Shorter Recovery Times. I’ve found that female clients recover quicker than males both within a session and after the session. Because of this there is 2 key differences between my female and male programmes that I feel works well. The first is that rest periods are shorter within the session and the second is that key muscle groups such as the glutes and hamstrings (key areas most woman want to see improvements) are programmed more frequently.
5. Educate throughout the process. This could be said for all clients female and male but we are different and as a PT I try to emphasis certain things more when working with females than I do males. An example of this would be how we track progress. We don’t just measure progress via the scales. We have other forms of measurement that we use to track progress that are just as if not more important than scale weight. Woman love to see the scale weight drop and when it doesn’t it can be disheartening and give them a feeling of failure for all the efforts they have been putting in. The reality is often that they have progressed and that the scale weight is the same or up due to something really simple that they weren’t currently considering.