Fit Day is a website that provides general information about fitness and health. Seeing as it is for novices the information will not be so complicated. Their writers have experience and credentials. Andrew Peloquin is a fitness trainer with NFPT certification as well as martial artist. Erin Coleman is a dietitian and health educator. They provide an introduction into men and women’s sports performance and fitness. The general public has a limited understanding of health science and physiology, which is why they may have a difficult time getting started on a training program. While these two experts are knowledgeable in their fields, it should be noted even they can be prone to error. There are multiple debates about women’s physical fitness and bodies. For too long women’s bodies were considered the biological inferior or not designed for physical activity. Obviously, the sexes are physically different in relation to primary and secondary sex characteristics. Sexual dimorphism makes men and women different in terms of size. body composition, and physical fitness. Biological sex is not a limitation, rather training should be adjusted to fit these physiological and biological differences. The intersections of biology, physiology, and exercise science leave an observer with two questions. Does fitness between men and women differ ? Do these differences have an impact on strength training? Peloquin and Coleman provide answers, however some can be debated.
To answer these question a general definition of physical fitness must be provided. Physical fitness can be defined simply as the ability to perform physical activity. The aspects of it can be either skill, health, or physiologically based. This requires exercise. The result of a training program will see the body respond to such stimuli. The components of physical fitness include cardio vascular endurance, flexibility, physical strength , and muscular endurance. Fitness can be measured . This would be referred to as physical fitness capacity. This describes how fast, strong, or the total endurance a person has. This is where Peloquin makes a minor error : “women can be just as fit as men, but that level of “fitness” will never quite be the same.” That statement is not using the correct terminology or science. Women can attain fitness and have their bodies changed through training, but the physical fitness capacity differs. This is not women having different fitness, rather about measurement and performance. When discussing measurement it can either be accurate or precise. The goal is to be as precise as possible when doing an experiment. Take for example measuring physical strength. Hand grip measurement may be accurate, but not as precise as weightlifting records.
arm wrestling would not be too useful, because that can be distorted by technique and using body mass against an opponent. Knowing this, Andrew Peloquin’s assessment and explanation is off when discussing the general idea of fitness. Fitness capacity can vary among individuals depending on diet, training, health condition, genetics, somatotype, sex hormones, and the years spent doing an exercise regimen. Sex is a factor, but not the only one. This further complicates beginning an training program, because everyone has their own unique physiology. Prior to training the fitness level among a person could fall in various ranges. Men have the advantage of more muscle mass and natural strength. Women depending on their body type have to work harder to attain a certain physical fitness capacity.
Andrew Peloquin mentions the body mass index. The BMI is used to determine the healthy weight for a person based on their height. The problem with this measurement is that it can classify people as obese when they are not overweight. A muscular person could easily fall into the overweight or obese classification. Men and women of significant size in terms of musculature are not at risk for weight issues. Muscle burns fat so their health is not at risk. The BMI is not a useful measuring body fat’s risk to health. New proposals of a replacement methods of using waist size as a measure have been proposed. The BMI is adjusted to account for women’s body composition, but this still does not provide a precise measurement or level of excessive weight. Using weightlifters or bodybuilders in the calculations poses errors in the charts. Seeing as off season weight differs from contest weight it would mean according to BMI women are going to an unhealthy weight range. Doing the calculations demonstrates the BMI chart or its measurement is not as precise as desired. Using Lesa Lewis, Betty Pariso, and Iris Kyle ‘s total off season weight reveals the equation may not be useful. Looking at the images of the women both in contest and during their off season, it should be clear they do not have a weight management health issue. Betty Pariso when she competed was 226 lbs (103 kg) during her off season. The metric version of the equation is dividing the amount of kilograms and in relation to to the squared value in meters. This gives Betty a BMI of 36.5. Even with out using the metric equation, Betty Pariso would fall into the obese range.
Using the same equation also produces a technical inaccuracy. Lesa Lewis is taller than both Iris Kyle and Betty Parsio, but her BMI would be 31.0 in relation to the metric calculation of BMI. Lesa when she competed had an off season weight of 98 kg. Theoretically, the chart may even classify incorrectly thinner individuals as being underweight. The body mass index does not take into account different somatotypes. Iris Kyle a bodybuilding champion would be in the overweight range with a BMI of 28.3, when following the chart. The women used in these calculations are not out of shape or struggle with weight management. Seeing as they are female, they are just carrying more fat, but they are physically active enough to prevent unhealthy weight gain. One major difference in how fitness is presented to women is that the focus is on weight loss. There has been limited emphasis on improving overall physical fitness or health. Women make the mistake of either going on diets or doing one type of exercise to reduce weight. It does not help that BMI is used as guideline, which can be misleading. There are other methods that are simple that could ensure determining healthy weight.
Body composition has an influence on fitness between the sexes. Men have the ability to lose weight much easier compared to women. There is also a correlation with metabolism. Women’s basal metabolic rate is lower. Seeing as women have less muscle to start off with, building it will take a longer time. The approach for women is to focus on muscle mass gain and building bone density. Being overweight can pose health risks, but being underweight also poses a danger. Age can cause muscle and bone mass decline. If a woman is not active enough this means osteoporosis or sarcopenia could effect her worse compared to a man. Obesity could effect women worse due to the difference in body composition. An obese woman would have more difficulty getting back to a normal weight seeing as no matter what somatotype, women have a higher fat percentage. The reason is due to reproductive function of women’s bodies. Nutrition and diet are critical combined with the correct amount of exercise. Weight can also be altered by a change in sleeping patterns. Rest is as important as training itself to aid in recovery from strenuous work on the body. It should be noted that carrying a few extra pounds may not harm a person. The health issues occur when their is a negative impact on the circulatory and skeletal system. Heart disease and joint concerns can become serious risks to health if a person reaches a high level of body fat mass. Being active can prevent such conditions or diseases. When women gain muscle mass they may go to the scale and realized they gained weight. This should not be a grave concern. It is the body adding muscle mass. The scale may be telling a person about weight, but not precise body composition.
A woman with significant muscle mass could have high weight, but it is not harmful to her health. What should also be noted is that weight is not the same as mass. Weight refers to the amount of gravitation that pulls down on an object. Mass is the amount of matter in an object. So when someone is reducing the amount of pounds or kilograms it is the elimination of fat mass. Women should not equate thinness with health. having little weight could be doing harm to the muscular and skeletal system. What should be the concern for healthy weight is fat to muscle mass ratio.
Women may have an physical advantage in flexibility. There could be one disadvantage of having possible injuries. Shoulder and knee injuries are something that women in sports must be conscious of. High amounts of flexibility can be useful in sports like gymnastics. There are other factors that determine flexibility such as genetics, age, and exercise habits. Yoga for example can improve flexibility. It is a myth that large muscles means less flexibility. The only way to attain it is to train for such a physical fitness indicator. The reason women may be more flexible could be due to childbirth. The pelvic region requires it when the baby develops. Organs must shift in order to support the developing child. This enables women to still be able to walk without toppling over. Peloquin is incorrect by saying ” women are naturally more flexible than men, as their bones are shorter and have less pronounced corners. ” Depending on a woman’s height her bones could be longer. Compared to a shorter man, her bones would be larger. The skeletal structure between men and women does differ. Women have lower bone mass, a wider pelvis, and narrow shoulders. The female body be more rounded would be more so related to body composition than it is to bone mass. Connective tissue and ligaments also relate to flexibility. Andrew Peloquin makes a minor error discussing his statements on flexibility. There still is more to learn about what is the best and efficient exercises for the increase in flexibility.
Muscular strength is another element of physical fitness in which men and women differ. When measuring pure brute strength men surpass women. The explain nation is related to body size, body composition, and the function of the endocrine system. Once more Andrew Peloquin uses an inaccurate measure to describe the strength difference between the sexes : “if you measured the body mass index of the average man against an average woman of the same weight, the man will usually have a lower body mass index (indicating greater muscle mass).” The men would not have a a lower BMI if the weight were the same. A man and woman of 68 kg would have a body mass index of 23.5, ,meaning many BMI charts do not account for morphological differences in the body between the sexes. Prior to puberty there is very little difference in muscular strength between boys and girls. Testosterone enables a higher rate of protein synthesis. Women produce more estrogen compared to testosterone, which means they do not experience a strength spurt. Girls can reach their adult height by age 15, while boys could continue to grow possibly until they are 20. Height is determined mostly by diet and genetics. Males have more natural strength, however women can gain strength through weight training.
Sex hormones are not the only factors in muscular strength. The function of the nervous system contributes to physical strength. The motor neurons that are in the body help it generate force during physical activity. The nervous system is responsible for both voluntary and involuntary movement. The size and durability of tendons, ligaments, and bones also are a factor in strength. Muscle fiber type specifically type two muscle fibers have more explosive power. Andrew Peloquin articulates this difference ” men can build muscle more easily, which will in turn help them to lose weight and get in shape. Men depending on their somatotype and health condition may not build muscle to the same degree as a bodybuilder or weightlifter. Women will struggle to reach a particular fitness level, yet it must be realized everyone responds to training differently. The difference with women is that either there is little reliable information of approach in regards to sports science. The majority of studies focus on men and it has only been recently that their has been serious academic investigation. What is known is that women can build muscle, but not experience muscular hypertrophy to the same degree as a man on the same fitness program. Peloquin is correct to say women can get in shape. It can be argued that peak physical fitness differs from just being in shape. Being in shape can be done with basic exercise for health maintenance. A casual gym goer is exercising for the sake of keep their body in stable health condition. Peak physical fitness is intended to train the body to its highest degree and improve performance. It is clear that many female athletes have reached a high level of peak physical fitness. This is where Andrew Peloquin’s thought becomes questionable : “…. they need to find a workout program that plays to their strengths, and they shouldn’t try to compete with their fellow man. ” Women entering sports or fitness are not trying to dethrone men. It appears that image of the strong woman or physically skilled woman generates negative reactions. It may be difficult for a fit woman to compete with the strongest men, but most surpass the average man or ones that are out of shape.
The female body may be more durable than fully realized. Then it is possible that there are exceptions in which women could reach the same level of strength as a man in terms of physical fitness capacity. Muscular strength is essential in many sports, but also muscular endurance. Women may have an advantage in this regard seeing as they can possess a higher amount of type I muscle fibers. There are sports that require muscular endurance such as marathon running. Sports like weightlifting require more brute strength.
The one element of fitness that Andrew Peloquin does not discuss aerobic capacity. That is a difference in physical fitness capacity. The Vo2 max is lower in women. Women have smaller hearts and lungs compared to men, which can effect running speed. Oxygen is important in providing energy to the muscles of the human body. A recent study suggested that women process oxygen possibly more efficiently, but more data is required to make that definite conclusion . Hemoglobin must transport oxygen through the body. Women have lower levels, which effects total energy output. The role is critical to the production of adensoine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is an organic chemical that provides energy to numerous cells. It must provide energy during muscular contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis in the human body. Cardiovascular fitness, seems to important to be ignore when discussing the definition of physical fitness can its attributes.
It seems almost curious that Andrew Peloquin does not mention cardiovascular fitness. That element of fitness does have a biological and physiological difference between the sexes. Although this is meant to be just a general overview, some pivotal information is omitted. Then he writes a contradictory statement : ” If you’re not seeing the same amounts of gain as your boyfriend/husband/male friend, don’t worry about it! Your bodies are designed differently, and what is “fit” to you is not the same as his definition of “fitness”. The amount of total physical fitness capacity acquired can vary among individuals regardless of sex. With multiple factors involved it would presumptuous to assume women would be worse at attaining physical skills. Human biological morphology is not a “design.” That implies a creator, rather than human body is a product of millions of years of human evolution, which resulted in sexual dimorphism. The definition of Physical fitness has been established, so saying it changes in relation to biological sex would be incorrect. Women can attain a physical fitness level, but the physical fitness capacity differs due to physiological, biological, and anatomical factors. Although Peloquin’s claims are minor errors, he is correct that women can get in shape and improve health .
Erin Coleman delineates how strength training differs for women. Her article has more research to provide support to her claims. When examining Coleman’s statements, strength training may not be as radically different from that of men. What both Coleman and Peloquin fail to mention is that before embarking on training or exercise, a fitness goal needs to be established. This way progress can be measured and documented. Training for aesthetics differs from training for functional fitness. Bodybuilding focuses on sculpting the physique to look a certain way not to get stronger. Crossfit or weightlifting puts emphasis on increasing muscular strength to the highest degree.
The only differences that come are with the final results of training. There will be slight differences in which sections of the body change from training. Women should not neglect to do exercise or train wit weight at certain volumes. Physical activity can be beneficial to overall health. It is only now that biomedical science understands its importance.
Women ‘s bodies can see an increase in muscle mass and strength. While sex is a factor in the strength level a person can gain, It is not the only one. Body size and the skeleton are factors. Height and skeleton size can vary among individuals. A large skeletal frame would allow for larger support of bigger musculature. Genetics, nutrition, and type of exercise are essential. If a woman wants to build muscle she will have to lift weights. The mistake that women who engage in an exercise program is that doing cardio or just being on an elliptical they can attain particular fitness goals. Another notion that is not correct is that the female body is naturally frail. Women can handle strenuous exercise. However, pseudoscientific convictions still remain present in sports medicine and exercise physiology. Women’s bodies were thought to be biologically and physically inferior. The reality is that women’s bodies are just different due to sexual dimorphism. The approach to training and exercise must be modified. First understanding the amount of exercise required should be established. The recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine states ” adults should strength train two times weekly.” This may good enough to have a health maintenance goal in mind, but it will not drastically increase physical fitness capacity. Depending on the goal it would have to be increased for training sessions. The American College of Sports Medicine states ” Advanced lifters should strength train up to six times each week.” The problem with this is that it would be best to have two rest days in which the body recovers. Not getting enough recovery or rest could sabotage fitness goals. The fitness recommendations have changed over the years, so it is important to be knowledgeable and updated. Finding the right personal trainer or fitness expert can help a person get started on an athletic endeavor.
The degree in which women can gain strength and muscle depends. The average woman may not have as much strength as the average man, but a woman who trains seriously can reach range close or equal to a man with no weight training experience. Then this also depends on somatotype. Ectomorphic and endomorphic bodies may have more difficulty building muscle. Every man is not going to easily build muscle. A man of an ectomorphic body type would be weaker than a woman of higher fitness.
The biggest difference in strength can be seen in the upper body. Women are closer to men in lower body strength, which means in the legs it would be easier for them to build mass. Genetics, specifically explain why male and female bodies have a different morphology. The SRY gene provides directs for producing sex-determining y region protein. This type of protein plays a role in male development. There are 46 chromosomes in each cell, however there are also sex chromosomes. Women have a XX karyotype and men an XY karyotype. The sex-determining Y region protein causes the development of male gonads known as the testes. The testes produce more testosterone compared to the ovaries. Androgens that are produced in higher amounts in men’s bodies allow for more protein synthesis. This means men would have higher natural strength prior to embarking on a training regimen. Women’s starting point for muscular hypertrophy may be lower, however their bodies may react better to a consistent training regimen over a number of years. It is very possible that woman with a body type with more muscle prior to training can make significant gains. When discussing strength it should be noted that big muscles do not automatically mean a person is physically stronger. The ratio of type II muscle fibers makes the determination. A bodybuilder could have large muscles, but not be able to lift as much as a powerlifter. Men tend to have more type II muscle fibers, while women have more of type I. The ratio can vary among individuals depending on genetic factors. While genetic advantage is helpful, nothing will advance with out proper training.
The question of exercise is mentioned. Too often fitness divides exercise into “women’s workouts” or “men’s workouts.” This seems both condescending and insulting to women. Women’s bodies can do various exercises and there should be emphasis beyond just mere weight loss. Weights have been considered a male sport activity, while women are either regulated to either cardio or elliptical exercise. Some women fear getting “too muscular.” Notions such as these are ludicrous for multiple reasons. Being “bulky” or “too big” is a relative term with no basis in actual exercise physiology. Women who have some musculature could be considered huge to others. Weight training can be done by anyone at any age. You are never too old to exercise or improve fitness to some degree. Old fashioned ideas about women’s appearance and physical capabilities still linger. Women should not be afraid to add muscle to their frame no matter what degree. The results could be wide ranging. Others may get bigger some may see little change. Erin Coleman writes ” men and women should both perform a variety of upper- and lower-body exercises on a weekly basis.” Having a basic understanding of anatomy and the body can help navigate the expansive world of various exercises.
There are major muscle groups in the human body. This includes the biceps, triceps, pectoralis major, quadriceps femoris, hamstrings, the gluteus maximus, the rectus addominis, and the soleus muscle. The calf muscle generally refers to the back section of lower leg anatomy. The hamstrings are are a collection of muscles along with their tendons at the rear of the upper section of the leg. These muscles of the hamstring section include biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. The calf muscle consists of the The gastrocnemius , soleus and the tibialis posterior. This also includes the triceps surae muscle. Seeing as the human body has multiple muscles, there are multiple exercises form them. Both men and women have the same muscular anatomy. Muscles can either be built through bicep curls, bench press, leg extensions, sit-ups, pull-ups, or calf raises. These exercises can be done by women. There still id debate on whether machines or free weights are the most effective.
The likelihood of injury is a concern to anyone who exercises. Women due to their size, biology, and physiology may have a higher risk of injury. Training may add more tendon strength to a male body compared to a female body. The tendon is an elastic tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Any injury to tendons can be very serious. Professional female athletes are at risk for anterior cruciate ligament tears. Ligaments should not be confused with tendons. The difference with ligaments is that they are bone to bone or cartilage to cartilage connections. The purpose of mentioning ACL injuries is to demonstrate the need to train safely and prevent injury. Tendons are a connective tissue, that consist of collogen fibres. Muscles have assistance in generating physical strength from tendons, bones, and ligaments.
The reason that tendons are structured in such a manner is that they must withstand muscular contraction. The tendon is composed of smaller units. The first is the collagen fibril forming the collagen fibre. The following order is the primary, secondary, and tertiary fascicles. There is both the endotendon and epitendon. Knowing this there are some safety precautions women should take before adjusting to a training regimen. Do not start off with the heaviest weight if you are a neophyte to weightlifting. Start with lower weight and gradually work your way to more. It is assumed that the male body can sustain more trauma and physical strain, it can even fall victim to injury. Over training, lifting too much than the body can handle, or using the incorrect lifting form. At the most extreme muscle or tendon injuries can happen. Rhabdomyolysis can occur when muscle tissue breaks down and proteins are released into the blood stream.
Muscular endurance may be an advantage women have in terms of physical fitness. If women have more type I muscle fibers, then it would mean they would have more muscular endurance. Building muscular endurance requires a different technique. Increasing endurance would require doing more repetitions with less weight.Women may have less muscle fatigue, even though they may not have as much physical strength as a man on the same training regimen. Erin Colman wrote ” The ACSM suggests men and women should complete two to four sets of 10 to 25 reps, with 30-second to 1-minute rest periods between sets, to increase muscular endurance.” Further investigation is require to determine that nature of women’s muscular endurance. What is known is that women do not require any adjustments different from men to see an increase in muscular endurance.
Nutrition and diet require adjustments based on individual physiology and sex. Metabolic rate could be different among individuals. Women will metabolize food into fat, which means they should be conscious about particular adjustments. Eating the right portion and getting enough exercise can prevent body composition from shifting to a fat ratio. Although Erin Coleman states the recommended amount of protein as listed in The Journal of Sports Sciences , it is still difficult to say exactly how much protein a person needs. She is correct when stating calorie needs are based on activity level. She then states strength trained men require more calories. That can be debated. Women who restrict calories to such a high degree could basically starve themselves. As mentioned previously, caloric restriction is not the best method for weight loss. Erin Coleman goes on to say ” men and women who want to gain muscle mass should add about 500 calories to their menus, and adults aiming for weight loss should reduce current intakes by about 500 calories daily.” A person seeking weight loss should select different foods to eat and exercise, not reduce caloric intake. If a proper balance is done weight can be lost and remain off. The key is remaining consistent with exercise and diet regimens.
The information that can be extrapolated from Peloquin’s and Colman’s assessments is basic for a beginner. Men’s and women’s fitness or strength training is not that radically different. There is a different response in relation to physical fitness capacity. The muscles and respiratory system do respond to exercise stimuli. The biggest error is using the body mass index to some how gauge fitness levels among men and women. The BMI is not useful in detecting weight issues or fitness. A better analysis comes from the ratio of fat to muscle in the human body. Women can perform the same exercises without causing extreme harm to their bodies. The challenge comes from tendon loading, which the anatomical structure does not get stronger for women during a training regimen. Although women differ in terms of body size, physiology. biology, and endocrine function that does not limit potential. Approaches in exercise need to be adjusted to suit their specific sports performance and fitness goals. What can said with scientific certainty is that women do not have a “different type of fitness.” There is one definition for physical fitness which includes its major attributes. Women can attain these with serious effort. There still is more to learn about how women’s bodies adapt to exercise and long term training. With more women involved in fitness and sports this will provide the perfect research opportunity.