Moderate Muscle Strength May Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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Moderate Muscle Strength and Diabetes

There may be a connection between type 2 diabetes and muscle strength. Iowa State University produced the study. An estimated 30 million Americans have the disease and  type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95%. This is according to data gathered from the CDC. Building muscle strength  could lower risk of the disease to 32%. Diseases such as this are preventable with proper diet and exercise. The challenge is changing eating habits. The western diet consisted of fast food, high sugar, and meals of low nutritional value.  Lack of self control and self care has harmed the health of the US population. People generally do not understand the basics of health maintenance or make the decision to engage in detrimental behavior. There now is at least some evidence that the body can be protected if people take responsibility for their health. Lifting weights and building muscle may have more health benefits than previously realized. To understand this study one must have a general idea of what diabetes is. The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings 

           Diabetes ( diabetes mellitus)  is a disease in which blood glucose levels are too high. There are two types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes effects the way the body processes glucose. Type 1 diabetes a autoimmune  disease in which pancreas does not produce insulin. The cause is unknown, but normally appears during childhood or adolescence. There is another type of diabetes as well known as gestational diabetes. This effects pregnant women, which is a concern for women’s health. Hormones produced by the placenta can have an anti-insulin effect.   Women who are overweight and pregnant are at higher risk. If it is not treated it may effect the birth.  Insulin enables cells in the human body (muscles, fat and liver) to absorb glucose present in the blood. The glucose remains as a vital source of energy. When required, it can be converted into fat. It also aids in metabolic function relative to breakdown of fat and protein. Diabetes has no cure and there are multiple methods used to treat it. Changes in diet and the use of insulin injection can be utilized.  

Colette Nelson discusses how to manage diabetes with diet and nutrition

 Insulin therapy attempts to make up for the amount that the body cannot produce. Short acting insulin is taken before meals. It will produce high amounts to handle the glucose coming into the body. Longer acting insulin is taken either once or twice a day. This requires that insulin be maintained at a certain level. Gaining large amounts of fat  and excessive sugar consumption can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Sometimes people are born with the disease . More must be learned to find a cure or better treatments. For, now prevention seems to be  the most effective method for confronting type 2 diabetes. It has been theorized that type 1 diabetes is rooted in viral infection or inflammation in the pancreas.        

 The study is unique, because other focused on cardiorespiratory fitness in relation to diabetes. The sample size was 4,500 adults. The mystery is how much muscle strength is required to be protected from type 2 diabetes. The claim was that higher levels of muscle strength does not provide protection. Professor Duck-chul Lee explained it would be difficult to determine a recommended level. The reason is that there is no single standard for measuring muscle strength. Professor Lee delineates this further ” naturally, people will want to know how often to lift weights or how much muscle mass they need, but it’s not that simple.” There are many ways to measure strength some more precise than others. Grip strength and bench press totals are just two examples. 

Just how much muscle strength does a person need for health ? It is not a simple answer.
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Grip strength

researchers admitted this could vary among populations and health outcome. The subjects did chest and leg presses as a way to measure strength. Adjustments had to be made in relation to certain attributes. Age, sex, and body weight were confounding factors. Making a general recommendation becomes more complicated by these elements that influence the dependent and independent variable.

Participants ranged from ages 20 to 100 and did follow up examinations. Angelique Brellenthin who is an ISU postdoctoral researcher made a claim that training reduced diabetes risk despite negative lifestyle health habits. Smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, and obesity he insists still did not have an impact of the preventative nature resistance training. This seems strange, because obesity could increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Excessive weight gain happens with high caloric intake of sugar and fat combined with little or no physical activity. If a person was obese and did not have diabetes it is dubious that their outcome for prevention would be the same. Smoking and drinking can create other health problems. The study just may indirectly indicate it would not contribute to getting type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure does indicate that the circulatory system is strained. Yet, does not predict diabetes risk.

A person does not need to train to this level to be protected from type 2 diabetes. There is a possibility any amount could be effective.
Excessive weight can cause strain on the muscle, skeletal, and circulatory system
If this is true, then the people who engage in the most resistance training should not have type 2 diabetes.This study may require further investigation

This can be very confusing and complex. Science is a long term investigation requiring clues to finish the puzzle. Another consideration to this is related to genetic inheritance of the disease. This was never discussed in the findings.

What can be stated with factual confidence is that resistance training has multiple benefits. The study cited that resistance training reduced waist circumference and controlled glucose levels.  Brellenthin  expressed “you’re not necessarily going to see the results of resistance training on your bathroom scale, but there are several health benefits. ” The scale can be misleading especially when gain weight from resistance training. The fat to muscle ratio in the human body should be an indicator not total weight itself. A person can build muscle and gain weight, which will not harm their health. Using body mass index will only cause more confusion. If you are gaining muscle then it means the body is burning fat. Weight gain from poor diet is different from building muscle mass.

If a person is gaining weight from building muscle, this should not be a sign they are doing something wrong. Obsessing over weight and the scale measure may be counterproductive. Eating the correct amounts of food, having quality nutrition, and exercise can help weigh management.

There are conclusions that can be made with the information provided. Exercise can be a form of disease prevention. The extent and degree still is under debate. According to the study based on self reporting, Only 20% of Americans meet the recommendation of two days a week resistance training. Seeing as it is self reported the answers may not be reliable considering some may not be entirely honest about their exercise routine. The amount of resistance exercise has not been determined. The general suggestion is to start off with what is comfortable. Body weight exercises can be enough. A gradual progression can be made to weights or possibly machines. The intensity level does not need to be similar to a professional athlete. So far, the data shows basic health maintenance can be very effective against tpye 2 diabetes.

Moderate Muscle Strength May Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Daniel J. Noon: Weight Training Helps Women (2006)

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Weight Training Helps Women

Daniel J.Noon wrote an article back in 2006, which in many ways was forward thinking in its health suggestion. Weight training helps women in multiple ways. Women had been lifting weight prior to the study, but there was very limited information at the time about the impact on women’s health. Detractors claim that the risk of injury, alteration in endocrine function, and the change in women’s bodies makes lifting weights bad for women’s health. The data proves this wrong. Weight training can strengthen bones and muscles in women. Doing this type of exercise was found to increase growth hormone in women who consistently engaged in weight training exercises. The study that was conducted was by William J. Kraemer a professor at the University of Connecticut. The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism  . Many researchers participated across various US cities. The women that underwent the study engaged in both weight training regimens and aerobic exercise. The training was both high or moderate. The experiment lasted for six months. A half a year study does have credibility, but certain factors can effect the experiment.

             The amount of time was the best way to see changes. Increasing physical fitness levels can take a long period of time depending on an individual. Doing this experiment within a week or one month would have not provided concrete evidence of physical change to the muscular or skeletal structure. Seeing physical changes in women would take longer compared to men. Men can attain physical fitness faster due to differences in physiology, anatomy, and endocrinology. Although it may be harder and longer for women, the results can be immense. It takes years to improve performance as many professional athletes demonstrate. High performing competitors honed their talents through specific regimens and diets.  The neophyte starting off should not be frustrated that results are not happening automatically. Realistic goals are important, but that is no reason to limit objectives. Reaching a health maintenance objective is easier than a sports performance objective. Even at some point an athlete will reach their physical fitness peak. That is the stage in which their body has attained the maximum amount of strength, speed, stamina, and endurance that can be enhanced through training. Reaching that level takes years for an athlete. For the average person health maintenance goals are in reach. Being patient is imperative. Seeing results also requires an amount of experimentation.

         There also was the question of the women selected for the study. Using only women who have a high degree of fitness would have distorted the experiment. Their bodies would already have adjusted to exercise stimuli and may produce results that are exaggerated. A woman with low fitness, but good health condition would be needed to see the full extent of weight training’s effect. Women of a high fitness level bodies have been effected already. The idea is to see the progression. Women erroneously believe cardio can reduce excess weight faster, but this may just be a fitness myth. Weight training may be more effective, yet the degree is not entirely certain. There is also the question of exercise experience. If women who participated in the study had weight training experience, this will only cause more confusion in results.

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The more experienced lifters may see better results in relation to growth hormone production compared to the women just starting. Then what must be accounted for is individual variation. Somatotype may play a role in relation to how much a person can benefit from consistent weight training. The biggest factor here is that training was consistent. The problem with some novices is that they may not be as consistent with a training regimen. The problem is that there is much information in regards to exercise science and sometimes fitness advice is not always correct. The women in the study were on average 23 years old and five and half feet tall. Their body weight range was 141 lbs. The sample was a total of 74 women, although more could have been helpful. The changes in women’s growth hormone variation provided this conclusion : women need heavy lifting load cycle in their resistance training to strengthen bones as well as muscles.

Human growth hormone is important for the human body. The pituitary gland produces HGH. It has the ability to transform into 100 variations. Seeing as women produce lower levels of testosterone, HGH fills the role of building muscle and bone during resistance training exercise. Women may not be at a disadvantage in terms of endocrine function, when building muscle. HGH promotes cell growth, reproduction, and regeneration. Some athletes may use HGH to improve performance. There is little evidence to prove that HGH is an effective performance enhancing drug. Despite this the IOC and NCAA have banned the use of HGH. Animals also produce growth hormone, but it is different from the human version.

The role of Hgh in the human body.
Women have a hormonal response to exercise stimuli.
Understanding women’s physiological and endocrine system can allow for better training methods.

Human growth hormone is at its highest levels in the body in youth. When children develop and puberty occurs, HGH cause the growth spurts. Some have suggested that it could be used in anti-aging methods. This is merely theoretical and requires more investigation. Women’s health will be radically changed by the relation between hormones and exercise. As more information is uncovered, it adds to the argument that weight training is good for women. This is not just beneficial to one organ system, but multiple ones. Women should seriously consider incorporating strength training exercise into their daily routine.

Daniel J. Noon: Weight Training Helps Women (2006)

The Vegan Vanguard:What if Men Weren’t Physically Dominant? (2018)

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What If Men Were Not Physically Dominant

The Vegan Vanguard is a website that features podcasts by two Youtube personalities Marine and Mexie. Marine’s background is in political science and gender studies. Mexie holds a P.h.D in human geography.  These two hosts present a more far-left progressive  perspective on human history, civilization, sociology, sex politics, and international affairs. While it is important to expose ones self to multiple sources of information and views there needs to be criticism of content. Progressives and the third wave as well as fourth wave feminists in particular seem to deny certain biological facts. There is a narrative that a majority of  circumstances are environmental or social constructions. This applied to almost every element of academia, even when facts state otherwise. The thesis they present in the podcast does have some forceful arguments, but most are distortions. The description states ”  Mexie and Marine discuss the ways in which sexual dimorphism, which has been exaggerated by millennia of social oppression, is at the root of patriarchy and rape culture, and informs our other oppressive systems like capitalism, colonialism,  imperialism, and white supremacy.” It cannot be denied that women have been oppressed and are more so disadvantaged in certain parts of the world, but sexual dimorphism is not a social construction. They extend the argument ” drawing on anthropological theory and literary works, we argue that the physical dominance of men is not something purely natural, although as a global society we’ve come to understand it as such. ” They the pose the question what if women were encouraged to increase their physical strength and ask what would human civilization look like. There are multiple problems with the questions posed and their conclusions. First the question “what if men were not physically dominant ?” has a flaw, because every man is not physical strong. Men are on average stronger, so that does mean every single man stronger than every single woman. Physical power does not correlate directly with power of society.

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Physically weak men can reach positions of authority. The root of women’s oppression is based in sex discrimination in income, education, and the law. All men are not oppressors as many feminists like to believe. Women do face physical threat, but to a degree this can be negated by personal actions and activism. Some women actually contribute to their own oppression. The denial of both historical and biological information only helps to condemn progressive movements to the fringe classification, while pushing people to the far-right. Men are not physically dominant; they are just more willing to use brute force against women. Ultimately, human civilization would not change even if women were physically stronger than men. Strength means nothing if one does not have control of a power structure.

           The inequality that is present in society stems from the rise of property and permanent settlement. The only time in human history in which there was more equality was during the hunter-gatherer stage of  development. The rise of agriculture and farming made it so that it was difficult for the hunter- gatherers to continue to their way of life. This also created a system in which people who had the most property would be the most powerful. Women disadvantage began with the fact they did not own or inherit property to the same degree as men. This had nothing to do with physical advantage. When states and empires emerged more oppression followed. Ancient imperialism differed from modern imperialism in one major regard. It has not based around the idea that one race was biologically superior and had the right to dominate the world. Women during the periods of human history were not even considered citizens rather property of their husbands or male guardians. This did not have to do with physical strength, rather the enforcement of law. The limited access to education and employment severely reduced women’s freedom.

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Thorough out human history there has never been instances of a Matriarchy. There could be a possibility that one existed, but there is no archaeological evidence to support such a claim. Civilization was not built by physical strength; it was done by science and technology.
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Physically strong women do not go out seeking the domination of men.  If women had the physical strength, but behaved in the same way it seems unlikely that civilization and society would change that much.
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There are women who are stronger than men. The question remains why do they not show the same violent tendencies as males.

There are instances in which women had more freedom such as ancient Egypt were they could own property. The rise of monotheistic religion reduced women’s status . Many arguments that justify women’s continued discrimination are normally based on religious grounds. Colonialism operated on the basis of population transfer and the theft of land. Afrikaners of South Africa did not dominate the Africans because they were physically stronger or biologically superior, rather they were able to create a system in which enabled their rule. Apartheid was designed to control movement, social status, and exclude the black majority from power. This was a combination of force and legal manipulation that kept the racial segregation system going .  Marine and Mexie’s argument only works if sexual dimorphism is a mark of  inferiority which prevents women from advancing in the wider society. Discrimination, sexism, misogyny, or any other type of oppression is man made not biological. It also should be noted that all women are not oppressed to the same degree. Our two hosts are obviously advocates of white feminism, but are attempting intersectionality by only making a minor mention of racism. They are two white middle class females who benefit from the white privilege they claim to condemn. The problem with third wave feminists progressives is that when something does not fit into their narrative it repudiated as being untruthful. Two white women can not fully comprehend, nor are qualified to discuss racism.

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When the Old World came into contact with the New World it resulted in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the Amerindian genocide in the Americas. Mesoamerican civilization would be destroyed by European invasion.

As time passes social mobility erodes even more. Even with liberal democratic systems, the elite still dominate. The pyramid structure of society has never been replaced even though systems of government have.

Biology is not a social construction. Sexual dimophism is the result of millions of years of human evolution. Sex differences are evidence of the biological changes humanity has gone through. The first differences noticed between the sexes are physical features. There are distinct attributes that are present between male and female bodies. Men’s bodies are on average stronger and have more muscle mass. Women’s bodies have more fat and are smaller in comparison. These differences are related to sex selection. The reason that some women might select taller and stronger men is the idea they would be better protectors of offspring. Smaller women may have been preferred because it would mean be easier to manage food among a family of hominids.

Sexual dimorphism: marked differences in male and female biology besides the primary and secondary sexual feature; reduction in sexual dimorphism during human evolution. Differences in height, weight, strength, and longevity. Height – men tend. to be taller. Weight – men tend. to weigh more. Strength – men tend. to be stronger. Considerable overlap. between the sexes in. height, weight, and strength. Longevity – women tend to live longer. Sex differences are biological. Gender refers to the cultural construction. of whether someone is male, female, or. something else.
A study examining the bones of Neolithic women found they were 30% stronger than non-athletic women of today.
The erroneous connection between social condition and biology, ignore the reality of discrimination . The sexual division of labor was imposed by civilization and assigned groups to certain classes and professions.

This is not patriarchy it is based on genetics. Gender however is a social construction. The idea that all women should be homemakers or mothers is an example of this. That is a traditional gender role script developed by society. It did not have basis in biology. One theory was that men’s physicality developed from hunting in which their bodies needed more calories. The hosts state this was the case during the Neolithic period. Overtime women were getting less calories, which meant they grew smaller. The problem with this theory was that sexual dimorphism actually decreased compared to early hominids. Metabolism also dictates how food is converted. Girls can grow more if given enough calories, but it would not convert into muscle. Changes in nutrition and environment have the ability to alter the body. The truth is sexual dimorphism can be flexible. The idea that some how men intentionally designed women to be smaller is false. It cannot be ignored in times of famine or crisis women were fed less. This practice was even done during periods of stability. This was dependent on societies having a system of farming and emerging towns. Natural selection does not believe in equality.

Skin color, sex, or race is not an indicator of ability
Through training some aspects of sexual dimorphism become flexible.
Extreme dimorphism which shows a really large man and a small woman. Delicate and small have been attributes tied to traditional concepts of femininity.

Genetic and hormonal characteristics made men physically stronger. A misogynist would say men’s greater physical strength justifies unequal treatment in society. This lacks credibility seeing as civilization is becoming more technologically advanced strength lacks significance. Mexie and Marine change a proposal of their thesis. They state that sexual dimorphism is exaggerated. To an extent gender and sex differences can be exaggerated in a number of ways. Make-up, changes in the body from exercise, and clothing are a few examples. Mexie then tries to explain this with a common stereotype of black people being stronger or superior athletes. This is a poor analogy. The black physical superiority myth was developed by slave owners to justify abuse. The notion was that a black person could be worked harder and in horrible conditions was based on pseudo scientific concepts of race. Some ideas were so extreme it defied known medical knowledge. Blacks were thought to feel less pain so whippings were considered okay. The enslaved that worked in the estates of slave owners rarely did manual labor. Slave owners did attempt to have a eugenic breeding system, but this did would not produce a super athlete. So, there is no indication that African American bodies evolved a certain way. The life expectancy of an enslaved person was not very long. This analogy applies better to the weaker sex stereotype. It assumes women are helpless weaklings and are physically inferior. Anything that involves physical prowess women will fail at. This also extends to women’s health in which some doctors believed that that women being ill was natural. Women were discouraged from the active use of their bodies in Victorian Age medical literature. While the hosts point to sizeism, the emphasis on thinness is really an extension of the weaker sex stereotype. Smaller, thinner, and weaker women are considered the ideal of femininity. There are women who reject this and decide to develop their bodies physically.

Physical differences are aspects of both anatomy and physiology. To say that these were socially constructed through thousands of years ignores basic science. Men and women have both arms, legs, a thorax, and head. Organ systems are similar, with the exception of the reproductive system. The skeleton and the muscular system are where strength differences become more pronounced after puberty. The changes that come with androgens in the male body enable a strength spurt which, girls do not get. Women grow faster and the process is slower in boys. The advantage is that men have more height and musculoskeletal mass. Upper body strength and biacrimonial width increases. Mexie and Marine do not seem to understand that is why their are women’s divisions. Some feminists state why have separate the sexes. The reason has to do with weight, rather than skill. Men outweigh women, which means the majority of women would struggle to compete physically. The reason mixed sports for children end at a certain age is due to the changes in boys. Boys surpass girls in strength by age 13. The difference in VO2max also alters physical fitness capacity. Heart and lung size change. This is not evidence of patriarchy.

Women face a lugubrious reality of male violence directed at them. Domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault are too common in women’s lives. One does not need to be physically strong to commit such acts. Rape on college campuses tend to have alcohol involved. the difference in physical strength does put women at a disadvantage. Some women choose to remain with abusive partners. It almost seems self defeating that women normally select men who are bigger than them thinking that will ensure safety. Women are more likely to be abused by an acquaintance or partner than a criminal on the street. The solution is that women need self-defense, which the hosts are correct about. Women are taught not to defend themselves, which needs to change. The wrong approach Mexie and Marine have is promoting the idea of rape culture. Boys are not taught to rape. The idea that all men are potential rapists is just as ludicrous as saying all people are potential criminals. This passive approach assumes actual criminals or offenders will be rehabilitated with a change in perspective. Rape culture does not exist, because it crime and antisocial behavior. Women being stronger than men would not end rape. Men, children, and the elderly can victims of sex crimes. Women must take a more assertive approach.

Men’s greater strength puts women at a disadvantage, but learning self-defense can even the odds.
Learning from a experienced instructor can help ensure women safety.
Physical strength is important to defense, but skill is also critical

Women need to tap into their aggression and express it physically. They need to stop being afraid of men. No matter how large a man is, they still can be harmed. There should be no fear to hit, bite, and kick when attacked. What also needs to be addressed is prevention. This does not only mean being aware of your surroundings, but be selective about the men women associate with. Too many women fall into abusive relationships out of their own choice, because they mistake dominant behavior as confidence in men. For all the vituperation of toxic masculinity, women flock to men who exhibit these negative traits. Women to a degree enable their own oppression.

It should be explained how physical dominance fits into this narrative. Physical dominance would mean that men have ability to inflict brute force on women to ensure subordination. That only works for men who are strong, it is not a choice for smaller and weaker men. There are men who physically abuse women or bully them with the threat of violence. Yet, this can only go so far. Domestic abuse laws are helpful at stopping men from harming or even killing women. Some women have even murdered their husbands or partners in response to abuse. Power in society does not come from muscular strength; it comes from money. Most corporations and the majority of CEOs are men. They have more power and influence over the world than anyone. Politics is another avenue of power. Affairs of geopolitics and economics are controlled by a few people. Women were cut off from these avenues of power, but that is changing. Physically strong person saying “I will beat you” would be destroyed by these people of great social power. Making laws and controlling the economy is the greatest power. Certain men are fearful or object to this change. Seeing that this change cannot be stopped some men retreat to other activities. Some think physical strength is the only thing men have left. That is why the negative reaction to the physically strong woman is so vitriolic. The women are upsetting an imaginary caste system in which men are on top and women are at the bottom.

Pinar Coban was shot by her boyfriend in 2018. The murder shows that even strong women who can defend themselves can still fall victim to male violence.
The existence of the strong woman demonstrates that women are not physically inferior. That makes some men nervous or vexed
It is doubtful that if women did attain higher physical strength than men they would be dominant

Women are proving they are not physical or biological inferiors. That disturbs men who want to preserve some idea of being better. This explains why female athletes like Serena Williams are either ostracized or condemned by men who think womanhood should be policed. The physically strong woman could not be bullied by the threat of male violence.

If men were not physically dominant ultimately civilization would not change. There could be slight differences. Domestic violence could be equal among the sexes. While women can be domestic abusers, the added strength may see that number increase. Warfare would still continue,mostly with women fighting one another. Racial, religious, and ethnic hatreds remain a fixture in much of the world.The idea that women are more peace loving is shattered by the number of female policy makers who support it. Seeing as the workforce will be changed by automation, physically demanding jobs may just disappear. Society would not be a matriarchy of amazons. The dynamic of relationships and families would be interesting. Girls and boys could be raised in the same way. The idea of moving beyond power is not possible. Society and civilization has created a pyramid structure, which has left the majority unsatisfied. Every revolution has attempted to overthrow it with limited success. Society under the vision of Mexie and Marine probably would not be a feminist utopia. White western women have attempted to monopolize it excluding other voices. Radical feminism has become more mainstream and absorbing bizarre ideas. The denial of biology, the rape culture concept, and the accusation of patriarchal conspiracy have caused many to repudiate feminism as a whole. While this scenario is fascinating to ponder, hopefully the future will produce a better condition for women.

The Vegan Vanguard:What if Men Weren’t Physically Dominant? (2018)

Annakeara Stinson: Are Men’s Bodies Stronger Than Women’s? Science Says Women Are More Athletic (2017)

There is a tendency for some to misinterpret scientific studies. Some men and women use them to justify a battle of the sexes attitude. There are some who want to see it proven scientifically that one sex is better than the other. It should be obvious to anyone that biological superiority does not exist. Annakeara Stinson makes the mistake of falling into this trap. The generation of girl power and feminist empowerment seems to be at odds with biology and sex differences. They should not be. Sex differences and sexual dimorphism does not indicate a superior or inferior sex. To make such a claim would be an egregious falsehood. The world of sports demonstrates that male and female physiques have differences in physical fitness capacity. Stinson disputes this by stating ” the common conceptions that men’s bodies are stronger than women’s bodies, that male bodies are better built for exercise, and as a result, they’re more competent athletes.” She was explaining this in the context of a man who gave her unsolicited exercise advise while running on a treadmill. No matter what setting there are always wannabe experts giving incorrect information. The man giving the advice is best ignored. The scientific fact is that male bodies do have more physical strength on average. Stinson is correct that both male and female bodies are designed for exercise. Men and women can do the same exercises and still see a change in fitness.

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Are Men’s Bodies Stronger ?

The processing of oxygen does not mean that women are more athletic than men. Rather, this indicates a physiological advantage. Exercise science has the predilection to think that men have all the advantages in physical prowess. Women’s entry into professional sport has been recent in comparison, so there is still much to learn about their physical capabilities.  Olympic records show that males out perform women. There are small cases of overlap.  Performance is not the only element that makes a great athlete. They have to be great entertainers during competition. Skill and experience also are valuable components to success. There are certain myths and misconceptions about the bodies of men and women that must be addressed.

          To answer the question about male and female body strength we must examine bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and weight. The nervous system also plays role in physical strength in relation to the motor neurons in the human body.The bones act as a frame for which other organ systems rest. Bone density and mass differs between men and women. Women have less bone mass and density. Even though at the cellular level bones are the same for men and women amount can make a difference in strength. The skeletal system is the base in which muscle works from. Type I and type II muscle fibers also account for strength ranges. Type II muscle fibers are better suited for brute strength. Nutrition and diet cannot be underestimated. The tendons and ligaments differ in size. This explains why women have more ACL injuries in comparison to men in sports. The upper body of men is more pronounced.This becomes noticeable with the tanner stages of puberty. Shoulders broaden, bones become denser, and muscle mass increases. The muscle fibers get thicker in the male body during between the ages 14 and 18 in the male body. Boys may be slower to grow than girls at first, but at the end of puberty they have more height. Between these two major growth spurts boys have a strength spurt. At this period their natural strength is higher than girls.

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Boys and girls have the same strength level between the age of 1 to 13.
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The testis and ovaries produce different levels of sex  hormones.
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Training can increase a woman’s physical strength level. However their physical fitness capacity does not reach the same level as a man on a similar exercise regimen.
Puberty
When men reach adulthood their bodies carry more muscle.

Androgens make the bones and muscles bigger in boys bodies. Oestrogens allow for more fat storage in the female body. Ligaments and tendons also have more strength in a male physique. Both sexes can experience muscular hypertrophy. The final results are no equal when on a training program. Men tend to gain more muscular mass compared to women. When examining the upper and lower body there is also a disparity in strength. Men have more upper body strength compared to women. The lower body women are much closer, yet men are still stronger in the legs. The pectoralis major, biceps brachii, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi are very pronounced in male bodies. There is the factor of genetics, diet, and somatotype which play a role in how much muscle a person can build on their body. Biological sex is not the only factor in physical strength.

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Based on what is known about myology and the physiology of the human body it is true the male body is physically stronger. Women’s bodies may have another strength. Muscle endurance could give women an edge. Type I muscle fibers, which women have more of are useful in endurance based sports. Health wise women are the survivors. Durational strength can be seen in women’s longer life expectancy. Knowing this information is not evidence that one sex is biologically superior. Women are not the weaker sex as so many believe. Myogenesis and muscular hypertrophy functions the same way in relation to exercise stimuli  Through exercise and varying degrees of intensity anyone can improve their physical fitness. The extent depends on multiple factors.

          Athletic must be defined as a term to make definite statements. The  word simply means ” physically active and strong or good at athletics.”  There is a problem with this word in relation to Stinson’s argument. Being good at athletics can be ambiguous. An athlete could be a great player on a failing team for example. Any person could be physically active, yet not a professional athlete. Many people take up recreational sports for a hobby. The only applicable measure here would be strength. That is an element of physical fitness. However, it is only one part of it. Strength, endurance, speed, and aerobic capacity constitute physical fitness. The study only mentions one element which relates to oxygen. This would mean it falls under aerobic capacity. The proper term measuring full sports performance potential would be physical fitness capacity. Using just the word athletic does not describe the full physiological process of sports competition.

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Power
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An Iraqi weightlifter shouts as she lifts a loaded barbell during training session at a gym in Sadr city in Baghdad
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Both men and women can be athletic. The difference is in degree. Physical fitness capacity varies among the sexes. This can also vary among individuals. That explains why everyone may not see the same results even when doing a similar exercise and training program. Some of these elements of physical fitness are more important than others depending on which sport is played. Strength would be more useful to a sprinter. Endurance would be more useful to a marathon runner. Men and women can play all the same sports. One sex does not have a monopoly on athletic ability or talent.

           One common myth is that the female body was not designed for exercise. Anyone can exercise depending on their health condition. The basic definition of exercise is “activity requiring physical effort with the intent to improve health or fitness.” The weaker sex stereotype has influenced exercise science and medicine. There was a time in which it was thought physical activity was too much for women to handle. During the Victorian Age women were discouraged from doing physical activity on the basis it would harm their chances for childbirth. This was not random medical quackery promoted by charlatans, it was a perspective held by the medical establishment. It is now known that women can handle exercise and a varying range of intensity.  However, doing too much exercise and having little rest could be potentially dangerous. Seeing as the body is being worked physically and during competition injuries could occur.Sexual dimorphism does not mean the female body is biologically inferior, rather it has a different range of physical fitness capacity. At the highest levels of fitness women would not have the same level of strength and speed. The female body experiences responses to exercise stimuli similar to that of men. The difference is in the final result.

Prior to puberty male and female bodies have the same level of physical strength. The difference in upper body strength gradually changes between ages 12 to 15.

The male body gets stronger and faster from exercise stimuli. This is due to the fact males have a larger base to work from. What that means is women will have a harder time reaching their peak physical fitness level. It does not mean they are incapable of doing exercises. Anyone can do it. It is even advised that people who are physically disabled engage in some modest activity. Age is not a barrier either. The elderly should remain active to protect health. Not all exercise has to be intense. Short walks can even have long term benefits. Women can do push-ups, pull-ups,jumping jacks, sit-ups, or other exercises. The challenge related to sex would be exercises that involve upper body strength. A woman who trains can certainly be stronger than an average man. A man of the same fitness level would be difficult to match. Although men have the higher physical fitness capacity, women should not be under estimated.

Each sex has a physical advantage. This is a physical fitness indicator that is natural to the body prior to the introduction of exercise stimuli. Some erroneously think that men have all the physical advantages. The truth is women have according to the study demonstrate women process oxygen faster. The sample size was small, but it does hint to a physical advantage women have. The measure was 30% faster compared to males in the study. It is not so much that one sex is more athletic, rather the have different physical advantages. Men have more natural strength and women contain a higher muscular endurance. This means training has to be adjusted in relation to these physical characteristics. This does not mean women are more athletic or that their bodies are better designed for exercise. Anyone can exercise,becoming a champion athlete is a whole different investment. If women had the same physical fitness capacity Olympic records would probably be identical. Athleticism, physical fitness capacity, and physical advantage are three different factors. Stinson like many others seems to blur these terms. What can be concluded is that male bodies do have more physical strength, however not all the physical advantages. Women should not be discouraged, because despite sexual dimorphism training, nutrition, and diet can immensely strengthen the female body. When examining individuals regardless of sex, strength levels could vary immensely. The study demonstrated that there is more to learn about women’s physical advantages and how they can be used to improve performance.

Annakeara Stinson: Are Men’s Bodies Stronger Than Women’s? Science Says Women Are More Athletic (2017)

Brian Maher : Women Can Build Muscle Without Bulking Up (2015)

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Bulking

Many women have a constant fear when they lift weights, that they will become “bulky.” This is an irrational assumption and being bulky should not be taken as a pejorative. An individual’s response to exercise can vary depending on nutrition, diet, training regimen, genetics, and the total period in which the process was undertaken. Brian Maher wants to assure women that weightlifting can be beneficial to them. Before, he even went on to say that women can gain benefits from more muscle. Strength training and the building of muscle mass can contribute to the prevention of chronic illness. The protection of bone, muscles, and the cardiovascular system can be achieved . The his explanations are valid ones. However, Maher uses incorrect terminology. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy, which bulking up refers to. There is the persistent idea that muscle is male only and women cannot build it. Women with muscles detractors say “look like men.” Lifting weights does not cause virilization. That can occur with huge doses of anabolic androgenic steroid use. Women who use those substances may not experience such side effects depending on the type, dose, and total period of use.Women can build muscle mass without drugs. The biggest factors in hypertrophy are related to training and diet, rather than pharmaceutical assistance Muscles are just a natural part of a woman’s body. Certainly, women are capable of building muscle.

When a woman lifts weights the bones and muscle respond to exercise stimuli. Bulking is not a term of exercise physiology rather colloquial vernacular. Muscle growth can be induced by progressive overload. If a person is participating in bodybuilding they are reducing fat levels to present a certain aesthetic. Maher contradicts himself saying “even with heavy weights women won’t bulk up because the produce 20 to 30 times less testosterone than men do.” Women do produce less testosterone, but that is not the only factor in building muscle. Body type, myostatin levels, body size, IGF-1, and caloric intake contribute. Women do not get as muscular, because their starting point consists of lower muscle mass. The women considered “bulky” weigh less than the average man in some cases. The women relative to total weight would then not be bulky.

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Depending on the woman’s height and size she may not even weigh as much as a thinner man. The average American man according to CDC data weighs 197.9 pounds. Vickie Gates competed at 155 lbs, while Dawn Riehl was 132 lbs. Yaz Bouym competed at 145 lbs. The biggest women are not as big as their male counterparts. The pictures make them look bigger than they really are. Combined with lower body fat levels it exaggerates the muscle groups of the body. Tans on stage only exaggerate vascularity more. During the off season, fat levels increase and the conditioning changes. It should be noted that it takes years for women to build a body like that. Decades could pass before a serious bodybuilder begins winning major contests. Others take breaks in between competitions to build size. The response to long term training can be slow. Adjustments in supplementation and nutrition can aid the process. Women have a harder time with upper body development seeing as their is less muscle mass in that area to start with. Men have more androgen receptors in that region and larger biacrimonial width. This means it takes women longer to build the upper body and it will be more difficult.

The advantage is that women can build lower body strength much faster. What can be concluded is that women can see strength and muscle gains from a long term strength training program. The final result can vary depending on how consistent training is. Then the level of intensity used during exercise session.

Some women may question why would they need muscle. Brawn work is for men, they may have been taught. There are health related and daily activities that strength can help with. Even though we live in a world of modern technology, there are still tasks we have to do our selves. Picking up groceries, shoveling snow, and moving items are just a few things. Women may ask men to do this for them, but a man may not always come to your aid. Seeing as more people are living alone, it becomes more critical to have self sufficiency. Women should be at least able to open their own jars without male assistance. One cannot preach a new age of woman power if there is no attempt at independence. The stereotype that women do not like doing anything physical must be challenged. Women and girls need to develop a physical literacy for the sake of their health.

It might also aid in women’s physical security. Combined with learning self-defense women can ensure their own protection. The rampant cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are a lugubrious reminder of the threat of male violence directed at women. Domestic abuse and relationship violence also seems to be a danger too many women face. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed that even in emergency situations women are not safe. Cases of domestic violence have increased in France, the UK, and US under lockdown. Statistically, women are more likely to face violence from a man they know or intimately involved with. Building strength and learning self-defense could act as deterrent. The average man can be stronger, but women can at least build enough strength and fighting skills to stop an attacker. A third benefit of muscle is that it can prevent injuries during intense exercise. The reason athletes or casual exercisers may get injuries is they may not have trained their body for such strain. Building enough msuculoskeletal mass can stop stress fractures or ligament injuries. Maher note joints can be protected. However, it should be noted that lifting too heavy could cause joint injuries. If done under proper instructional guidance it will not be a concern.

During a human life span metabolism can change. Women burn fewer calories during exercise due to sex hormones and body composition. Carrying a higher body fat percentage this makes it more difficult to lose weight. Building muscle can help increase metabolism and contribute to weight management. Starvation diets are not healthy. While consuming healthy food is required dramatically dropping weight is not. Being thin is not an indication of health. Extreme weight loss can be referred to as cachexia. This can be a result of an underlining health issue such as cancer, HIV, renal failure, or multiple sclerosis. That is an extreme case, but losing to much weight could effect musculoskeletal mass. Building muscle with allow for women to increase their metabolic rate.

This means building muscle can be an effective method of weight loss and management. A simple change in diet may not be enough. What needs to be protected is also the skeletal system.

As people age skeletal mass decreases. This change can result in osteoporosis and possible fractures. Falling become more fatal for elders and a broken hip can be lethal. According to Maher women experience a loss of bone mass beginning at age thirty. The best method to combat this is exercise that is load bearing. There is considerable debate on whether women experience the same level of strength gain in terms of connective tissue.Keeping the skeletal system healthy requires the proper amount of calcium and exercise. Excessive dieting not only decreases fat, but reduces healthy musculoskeletal mass. The fact that muscle can atrophy and bone mass decreases is prof it needs to be exercised. Depending on the fitness goal a plan should be established. These intentions range from health maintenance, athletic performance improvement, or recreation.

Brian Maher tells women do not fear bulk. That is a message that can be supported. Women do not get as muscular or as strong as men on the same training regimen. However, they can build considerable muscle on their frame. As noted before the “bulky” female bodybuilders are really not as large as they appear. The image is a product of low body fat and strict dieting. When fat levels comeback during the off season, their bodies are not as exaggerated. To maintain such a body requires consistent training and a high protein diet. This could take years or decades. It is biologically possible for women to get muscular, yet some still regard it as unnatural. This is an irrational argument, because many activities people do are not natural. The consumption of GMOs or supplements is not either. The fact is that humans have figured out through anatomy, physiology, and medicine to manipulate their own biology. Women developing their strength and muscle is not a biological anomaly. It merely demonstrates how flexible the human body can be.

There is no such thing as “biologically appropriate.” As human evolution has demonstrated people have changed physically over millions of years. These claims from The Human Sexes can be debated. The most muscular women still have a higher body fat percentage compared to a man of similar fitness.

Muscular women are accused of being masculine, but this makes no sense either. Masculinity is a social construction related to culture and gender role identity. The women shown in The Human Sexes (1997) are not masculine or male like. If one assumes they are that goes off the notion that sports and fitness is a male only activity. This idea is not biological rather a dated cultural belief. Human sexuality can be flexible in relation to how people express their gender. The female bodybuilders are still expressing their gender by putting on make up, wearing bikinis, and doing their hair. Even though the closed minded dispute it, they are still women. Women building strength and muscle does not cause harm to health. Their are possible changes in menstruation. Some believe that women missing one period is dangerous. This is not true. The only reason women’s bodies do this is to remove eggs that are not candidates for fertilization. Simply put, the body is letting women know they are not pregnant. Although amenorrhea can be caused by large amounts of exercise,it has other causes. Polycystic ovary syndrome, premature menopause, pituitary tumor, and thyroid malfunction can cause it. The body changes with age, environment, diet, and activity level so the concept of what is biologically appropriate lacks scientific credibility.

Bulking really does not exist in a biological sense. Women do experience muscular hypertrophy and build muscle. If someone calls you bulky then that just means you are reaching your goal. Do not consider it a pejorative, rather embrace it. Understand, when a muscular woman is shown she has been training for sometime. Just picking up a weight a few months does not make you a powerlifting champion or bodybuilder. That is a significant investment.

Brian Maher did not mention this, but there is a difference between training for aesthetics and building strength . Both methods use weights with other objectives in mind. Building strength is about making the type II muscle fibers be a durable as possible. A bodybuilder is molding human flesh to for presentation. This is just a general summery of what happens to women’s bodies when they lift weights. Muscular hypertrophy can be induced if exercise stimuli is intense enough. Metabolic function can be improved with more muscle mass burning calories. Bones can be made stronger, which can be good for osteologic health. Strength gains can be immense for women compared to initial starting point. Women may not be able to match a man of the same physical fitness capacity, but could surpass or equal in strength of an untrained man. To women who want to lift, but do not want more muscle there is a solution. You can either stop increase the amount you lift and adjust caloric intake. Seeing as there are many benefits, there is very little reason to stop. Lifting can be a fun hobby and an effective method of preserving health.

Brian Maher : Women Can Build Muscle Without Bulking Up (2015)

Women the Weaker Sex? Not When it Comes to Working Out! Females Around the World Burn More Calories a Day According to Nike (2013)

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Females Around the World Burn More Calories

Dailymail has the tendency to over sensationalize, when reporting. When discussing science and exercise physiology it is simple to have miscommunication. According to the data gathered by Nike Fuel Bands, it appears that more women are earning more points and therefore burning more calories than men. Nike Fuel Bands are fitness devices worn on the wrist that track movement of the person. The person wearing this device earns points for distances and total calories burned. It was in 2013 that this article was written and there are some points that could be debated. One question that should be asked is how precise is the data. A margin of error can always be present in statistical analysis. When conducting an experiment the goal should be aiming for precision. The accuracy and precision should as be questioned with the device or  technology being used. The Nike Fuel Band was introduced in 2012 and were discontinued in 2018. There attempts at developing new software for tracking was also terminated. Fitness devices seem to be another business venture and may not actually help as much as one thinks in athletic performance. Consideration must be made in regards to the environmental and biological factors of male and female exercise habits. Some nations would not have access to certain fitness technology due to a number of circumstances, so to say women all over the world are burning more calories may not be correct.

       The report almost seems shocked that women do engage in physical activity. The frailty myth that was born out of 19th century Victorian medicine still seems are part of the fitness and medical community. It is clear that there are biological differences that effect men and women’s physical fitness capacity.  Wendy Douglas  articulated in the report  :  “there’s no doubt that in most cases men are stronger than women. ” Sexual dimorphism is a biological fact and she goes ob further : “They run faster, can lift heavier weights and can hit harder, but does that mean they’re ‘better’ at working out than women? ” Douglas discredited the notion men work out better than women by saying the Nike Fuel Band  has reliable data. One does need a fitness device to see that women have made significant progress in sports and fitness. The data does come from devoted fitness enthusiasts and casual exercisers. Women now compete in a variety different sports in the local and international level. Even women participate in nations that are extremely conservative about gender roles.For so long women have been seen as physical inferiors it is assumed that athletic ability is something they cannot attain. Physiology and sports science have demonstrated that women can improve their fitness levels.

The reason for such shock is that for a long period of history were excluded from physical activity, fitness, or sports. Gradually, more women are participants. Physical activity and workout is for everyone regardless of sex. However, women still in comparison exercise less than men. Even physical education courses in school have different standards for girls.

         The claim some one is better at working out is an odd one. Exercise or workouts  can be done either correctly or incorrectly. Techniques and training methods vary depending on what the fitness objective is. Motivation to exercise can also be a factor. Both men and women could be using efficient workout methods. The only explanation of higher points on the trackers could mean that women are more dedicated to a fitness goal. it should be noted that sports performance is not just physical; it is psychological. Maintaining a routine requires a level of self-discipline and resilience. Some may change their behavior and revert to a previous condition. Others may have doubt they can be successful or confidence related issues. This is why sports psychologist work hard to keep athletes motivated and techniques for dealing with pressure. Making exercise a fun activity rather than a chore allows a person to remain focused. Doing it with another person also can be encouraging. This may be why there is a sudden surge in fitness groups among women. They like the positive reinforcement. There is a difference in socialization patterns, however the text expresses it in gender stereotypes. Men may seem more competitive, yet some rather a more solitary in their approach. Professional athletes both male and female are more competitive than the average gym goer. Women may just like a strong support system compared to the individual drive model. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

       The data must be questioned. The first has to do with sample size. Every country did not have the Nike brand fitness tracker. Some the assumption is it was only collected from a select number of nations.  Women who have limited access to fitness facilities or exercise would not be included. Iran, the DRC, and Afghanistan are places in which women’s mobility is limited. The data Nike gathered most likely in 2013 can from mostly the US and Europe. North America and the EU are not the entire world. So, a significant part of our female population is missing. It should also be questioned just how precise the fitness trackers are. Tools of measurement can sometimes be misleading. Even when data is collected there still can be a margin of error. Then comes the question of calorie burning. It would be hard for a woman to burn as much calories as a man of a similar level of fitness. The reason has to do with body composition and sex hormones. Women do not burn as much calories during a workout seeing as their bodies contain more fat tissue. Estrogen and progesterone production means that even basal metabolic rate is lower. Androgens produced at higher levels in a male body enable more muscle mass.

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The difference in sex hormones and muscle mass means that men burn higher amounts of calories. The Nike Fuel Brand states the opposite. There can be an logical explanation for this. The men who were exercising were not in optimum shape compared to their female counterparts. The women who were using the fitness trackers may have had physical fitness training for some time before using  Nike Fuel Brand. The men in the sample could have been novices. Another contradiction is that obesity rates have climbed  higher in recent decades. Large sections of the population are getting less physical activity compared to past generations. Women could disproportionately effected by a rise of obesity seeing as it would be harder for them to lose weight. What becomes clear is that the Nike was  trying to sell fitness trackers, by making a false claim . Women are an expanding demographic that the company obviously wanted to sell more products to. A reader should always be suspicious of a study or claim produce by the corporation itself.

         There is a difference in exercise habits between the sexes. This could be biological and sociological. Sports may be an outlet that satisfies a male biological wiring for competitiveness. The human male in the evolutionary past was probably a more physical animal. Larger and stronger bodies were most likely needed for hunting. Another theory was that sexual dimorphism was an indication for the level of competitiveness for mates. The bigger hominid males probably got access to more mates in comparison to the smaller ones. Natural selection made the trait of  bigger size  a male attribute. Sex selection worked in that traits favor with females selecting bigger and stronger males. Aggression was part of this evolutionary march and it can be seen in sports competition. Although it is a mere leisure activity, aggression is part of the playing style of sports. The problem with the theory is that all of the early primates are extinct, which means most of this is speculation based on fossil records. Boys at an early age are more rambunctious  compared  to girls. There are biological roots to this as human evolution demonstrates. The environmental factors are also important. Boys are encouraged to play sports and be active. Girls were not provided access to team sports. Too many still see physical skill or talent as a male only attribute. Even in the wider fitness industry that idea somewhat remains. Women are told to use smaller weights or tone. Instead of improving fitness, most literature encourages only  weight loss. Gender lines are drawn,which are not to be crossed. Despite this, women have challenged them yet marketing has not caught up. Nike Fuel Brand at the time wanted to make a feminized version of its fitness tracker. It would be smaller and pink.  Kimble was correct stating in Daily Mail  that making a feminine version would not be necessary. The assumption is that women just are not interested in technology or exercise in general. The result of this is some patronizing feminine version of a product. Multiple factors contribute to women and girls not getting enough exercise. Hostile environments may be one of them.

         Fitness trackers may not be as precise as suggested. Nike’s attempted at being a successful fitness tracker giant may have failed, but other companies will surely try. What is known now is that women are not burning more calories or exercise more than men as a whole. The difference in metabolism and the questionable point system makes this known. A  consumer should always research the product. Honesty by the seller is not the intent. Over the years their have been various exercise equipment that promised results that were impossible. The shake weight, thigh master, and the exercise suit were well selling products which did not produce fitness results. The power of advertising is that it can manipulate a person into buying anything regardless whether or not it works. The article seems like one large advertisement. Newspapers and websites are dependent on advertising for production costs. Nike Fuel Band claimed to have a no cheating algorithm. This meant that just putting it on and waving your arm would not log it as points. Then there was the question of tagging sessions. The men and women in the data set did not say what exercises they were doing. Yoga or weightlifting can burn different amounts of  calories. Unless users shared that information, it would be hard to say which sex was burning the most calories. Women are not the weaker sex, but the argument for the Nike Fuel Band was. Over time, fitness trackers will become more precise. The technology was still in a state of infancy in 2013, which was why this questionable conclusion was reached.

 

Women the Weaker Sex? Not When it Comes to Working Out! Females Around the World Burn More Calories a Day According to Nike (2013)

Muscle Growth in Girls

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Muscle Growth in Girls

The human body as it ages goes through many biological and physical changes. The human life cycle sees growth of the body, the process of senescence, and eventually death.  Exercising and having a healthy diet has been proven to prevent some medical issues that are related to longer life span. Seeing as anatomy, physiology, and biology are complex subjects discussing life it is simple to see why there is a misunderstanding of the human body. Women’s bodies are very misunderstood. One myth is that women do not have muscle. This is not anatomically  correct. Women do have muscle. The body  requires it for movement. Another falsehood is that the female body is not equipped for physical activity. Women can build strength through exercise and a consistent strength training regimen. When girls grow they do experience a level of muscular growth. The reason it may not be as noticeable is that the total amount in boys is far greater in comparison. Girls grow faster, however boys are slower to achieve full adult growth. Sex hormones also influence physical strength levels as well as genes. Weight training can be beneficial to teenage girls. This can be beneficial to general musculoskeletal health.

      Children do not have the same strength level as full grown adults. Their bodies are still growing. The skeleton and muscles are developing. These organ systems change dramatically with puberty. Contrary to popular belief boys are not stronger than girls. Between birth to age 13, boys and girls are equal in physical strength. Body composition is not that different either. This is why it seems pointless to give girls a lower standard of physical education. Separating boys and girls on sports teams would also be unnecessary if physiological difference is not a factor. Sexual size dimorphism becomes noticeable with the increase in sex hormones and growth hormones in the human body. At first girls may grow faster than boys. The Tanner scale describes the physical changes that occur when a child matures into adulthood. This consist of both primary and secondary sex characteristics.  This is the point where physical and biological differences become more pronounced. Puberty can occur at different times depending on the person. The Tanner scale just tells the average age. Only precocious or delayed puberty are considered medical conditions. Changes can start as early as nine or twelve. Girls do see increased size in the skeleton and muscle fibers. Muscle fibers thicken in girls. Boys see a higher level of muscle mass increase related to the increase in testosterone. Tanner stage 4 sees male muscles get bigger and denser.

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There is no difference in strength between the ages 1 to 13.

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Men have higher levels of muscle mass compared to women.

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Muscle and bone mass changes with age. A child’s body has to go through various stages of development.

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Training can increase a woman’s strength, but the extent of muscular hypertrophy is not as pronounced as a man.

Girls see a change in body composition. Muscle development for women slows by age sixteen, while boys continue growth in Tanner stage 5. The process is slower in terms of bone and muscle growth. At the end men will have broader shoulders and more upper body strength. Puberty does not increase a woman’s physical fitness capacity. However knowing the differences can contribute to making a training program for girls and women who are serious athletes. ACL tears are a serious concern as well as other injuries. Weight training can be helpful in preventing them. The upper body will be the hardest area for women to increase strength. Overall, it will be difficult for women to reach a higher fitness level, but it can be done. Consistent training, diet, and rest will induce muscular hypertrophy. A question remains about children and weight training. There is not enough studies to say that it unsafe or safe for children. What is advised Hannah Wahling  is to wait for children to do it past the age of nine. The idea is to wait for the child to reach adolescence so the muscles and bone mature on their own. There is no evidence that lifting as child will stunt growth. The only concern is that a child could easily hurt themselves moving heavy weights. Teens and children need adult supervision, if they are to embark on a training program.

     Training programs should not limit women. Young girls have the most to benefit from becoming experienced in physical literacy. Although as Wahing explains many young girls may not want to increase muscle bulk, rather tone.  These two terms are basically the same. When lifting weights one is building muscle. There is no such thing as bulky or tone muscle in terms of histology. These terms have more relevance to description of body image. Even when used in that context, it can be confusing.

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This is what a person would consider to be a “toned” woman. The reality is that she still has muscle.

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The image of a “bulky” woman is associated with female bodybuilders. They do not weigh as much as they appear.

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Some women could be an in between of bulky and toned. What would you call them ?

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It takes years of training, a specific diet, a certain body type and genetics to build a particular amount of muscle.

Such terms are more so general descriptions of aesthetics. Women should not be concerned about getting muscular.  Any form of exercise can be effective for anyone regardless of sex. The biggest factors are consistency, diet, and correct nutrition. The training advice given by Hannah Wahling can be debated. She states “instead of free weight exercises, consider strength training classes such as Pilates that focus on muscle toning as well as elongation, flexibility and balance. ” Pilates can be a fun and calorie burning exercise. Yet, it may not be enough to ensure enough protection of the musculoskeletal system. The use of free weights should be an important part of a training program. Targeting muscle groups as Wahling expresses is a sound method. Resting is important to seeing progress and recovery for exercise. The emphasis on Pilates is not the best method for inducing muscular hypertrophy. Flexibility and balance is important , but adding muscle and bone mass has health benefits. Bone and muscle mass decrease with age. The use of free weights could prevent osteoporosis and sacropenia. Having children active can mean a healthier life later on.

           The approach to developing a training program should take into account women’s anatomy. Girls should not have a lower level of physical education standards, considering the changes of puberty have not effected their bodies. Fat mass and pelvic size has not changed effecting physical fitness capacity. The heart and lungs are smaller in adult women, but in boys and girls it does not exist. Designing a special girls only physical education course would seem pointless. Keeping them off boys sports teams would be the same way, seeing as boys do not have greater strength yet. The first stage of puberty with girls is thelarche , which is the beginning of breast  development. Public hair later develops. When menarche occurs girls have their first period. The menstrual cycle means women have to adjust their training. If body fat gets too low, then periods could be missed. When this happens frequently amenorrhea may be a problem for a female athlete.

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Changes in fat and muscle mass percentage  between the sexes.

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Some have high degrees of natural strength prior to an exercise program. When they train it just adds to it.

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Women’s physical development during puberty.

Teenage girls can benefit from lifting weights just like teenage boys. The basic rule of progressive overload is to start with a lower weight. When it is easier to lift the weight increase volume to challenge the muscle. One should not start off with the heaviest weight first. Training should also be mindful of preventing injuries. Ligaments should be protected, especially seeing as female athletes have a higher rate of Anterior cruiciate ligament injuries. Diet and nutrition should also be taken into consideration. Seeing as estrogen and progesterone allow for more fat on the female body, food will be metabolized differently. Eating less would be sabotaging muscular gain. Consumption must be adjusted in relation to total activity level. More girls are participating in sports so it is pivotal that coaches have an understanding of the female body. Teenage girls who are recreational lifters or doing it for health maintenance should seek out the proper adult supervision.

   Women and girls do have a muscular system. It is important that it is exercised. the problem is that sports, fitness, and exercise are still seen as an activity for men or boys. With time, this can change. There is a positive benefit to women gaining physical literacy. Body image confidence comes from what the body can do, rather than how it looks. Too many young girls and teen girls are having self-esteem issue regarding their appearance. At the most extreme this can result in eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia. The psychological benefit from physical activity could prevent this. Besides mental health, people are living much longer than ever. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are possible threats that could strike in old age. By getting children to love exercise and physical activity it can be enormously beneficial to public health. Girls have the potential to outlive boys. This means there is a need to ensure proper health habits. It also should be a goal in the future to increase male life expectancy and life span. The increase in childhood obesity shows the need for physical education and recess in public schools.  Boys and girls do not have to be playing sports to maintain health. Walking or the simple act of playing can be just as good. Women and girls have muscles, they just need to be more active.

Muscle Growth in Girls

Diet Quality Improves Fitness Among The Fittest (2017)

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Fitness and Diet Quality

Training is important to athletic performance, but diet is essential. A study from Skidmore Collage showed that diet quality and have a major impact on sports performance. Exercise scientists found that consuming moderate amount protein throughout the day combine with multi-dimensional exercise regimen can increase physical fitness capacity among the most physically fit. This technique is called protein pacing. The term multi-dimensional exercise refers to resistance training, interval sprinting , stretching, and endurance exercise. The paper was peer reviewed and published by  Nutrients and Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Research in 2017. The data shows there is more to learn about sports nutrition and diet. The method which exercise scientist advocates is called PRISE. The system he describes as eating the right food at a certain time and incorporating various exercises. He suggests that it could have wider uses such as improving health. Athletes and casual exercisers can benefit from this information. People who are also trying to maintain good health may have an effective means of doing so.

         The subjects included 30 women and 20 men. This is actually unique in an exercise physiology study. Women outnumbered men as test subjects. These men and women were considered physically fit. The age demographic was diverse ranging from 30 to 65. The problem is their physical fitness was not  specifically prior to the study. The exact physical fitness capacity of 50 subjects was not known prior to change in exercise stimuli. The only information on that was self reporting. The subjects stated that they exercised for 4 days a week, 45 minutes a session , and done so for at least three years. They did both weight training and aerobic exercise. Self reporting may not be as reliable. Assuming no one embellished or fabricated their training routine , it should be correct. Using the body mass index as an indicator of fitness is incorrect. The problem is that it does not account for the variation in somatotype. People of muscular builds could be classified as obese. Those with slimmer bodies could easily be classified as being under weight. Larger women  may not be at a high body fat percentage to an degree which could be harmful, but still could be under the overweight classification. Measuring body fat would be more precise than using BMI.

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The examples of mesomorphic and ectomorphic body types which are difficult to classify on a BIM chart. Clearly neither of these women have a weight problem.

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Muscle does not weigh more than fat. Weight is just the measure of how much the force of gravity is acting on an object. Larger women may not be at an unhealthy weight. As long as the skeletal and circulatory system are not effected, the health will be fine.

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The fruits, vegetables, whole grains, carbohydrates, and proteins of a diet. There is still considerable debate about what constitutes a healthy diet.

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Training is not the only factor in physical fitness progression. Diet and nutrition are a factor. A strong body requires a high amount of calories to fuel physical activity.

These factors could have influenced or effected the outcome  the experiment. The physical fitness capacity most likely varied among individuals in the group. What would be interesting to see is if this experiment was done on professional athletes. If a response to exercise stimuli happens to that group then it can be guaranteed that diet quality is pivotal. The subjects may not be as fit as their self reporting indicated, but it was close enough for the experiment.

       The procedure involved dividing subjects into two random groups. Then the trial involved consuming the same amount of calories and using the multi-dimensional exercise method. This was done for a period of 12 weeks. The first group consumed the recommended protein intake combined with sports nutrition products. The second group’s diet consisted of antioxidant supplements and a higher amount of protein intake. Antioxidants are compounds that stop oxidation. During the process of oxidation, free radicals are produced which could gradually put strain on cells. Consumption of antioxidant rich foods can reduce the amount of oxidation in the human body. It was important to make sure the exercise regimen was identical to prevent distortion of results.

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Examples of some foods that contain antioxidants

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interval training

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Stretching

Both groups did witness an increase in physical fitness. The group that saw the most benefit was the one that was using antioxidant supplements and protein pacing. The improvement was in upper body power and endurance, core strength, as well as blood vessel health. This effected men and women differently. Men gained more aerobic power and flexibility. Women saw a vast improvement in muscular strength compared to their starting point. Other studies have suggested that  Arciero’s experiment may be correct. If so this could radically change the way athletes train and how people improve health.

Protein pacing and using the PRISE system may be a way to improve or prevent heart related diseases. The manipulation of whey or whole food sources combined with the right exercise could protect the blood vessels of the body. Allegedly. there can be a reduction in blood glucose, insulin, and cholesterol levels. Heart disease and diabetes are becoming too common. Lack of exercise and unhealthy diets have become culprits. Fast food and sugar have become the staple of the Western diet. However, Obesity is not just regulated to the West. As more developing nations increase their standard of living access to different foods from around the world become easily available. Globalization has allowed fast food franchises to have an international presence. The result of this is the rise in weight among the world’s population and more chronic illness. The PRISE system may be a means to improve public health internationally. It should be assumed that one day average life expectancy will increase around the world. Encouraging exercise and healthy diets can improve public health and quality of life for senior citizens.

     Paul Arciero has spent 30 years doing research into protein pacing and exercise. This could vastly improve the performance of athletes in the future. Women have more to benefit from this information. The difference in metabolism in relation to sex makes fitness more difficult. Seeing as women metabolize most of the food they consume into fat it becomes complicated for the female athlete to know what is the right amount of caloric intake. If the fitness regimen of PRISE is effective, women have a simple fitness plan they can utilize. One reason why some athletes may see erratic performance is due to the fact they are not getting proper nutrition. The citric acid cycle explains how the human body  releases stored energy from proteins, fats, carbohydrates, ATP, and carbon dioxide. What this approach does is considers the factors of biology, exercise physiology, and nutrition to increase physical fitness. There is one aspect that can be debated. Stretching may not be a good idea before or  after workouts. Some have thought it could make a person susceptible to injury. There is very little data to say whether stretching before or after training is harmful or necessary. There still remains more to learn about nutrition and its relation to exercise science.

Diet Quality Improves Fitness Among The Fittest (2017)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed. Sports fans and athletes will have to wait until next year for the Olympics. Prior to this announcement it was speculated that the pandemic would effect international sports competition ( Coronavirus May Effect the 2020 Olympics). The IOC and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thought it would be best to postpone seeing as large groups only increases the chance of people getting infected with the viral disease. So far, it will still be called the 2020 Olympics even though it will be held in 2021. The only time the Olympics were cancelled was in 1940. At that time the World War II was engulfing Europe, Africa, and Asia. Athletes were also put in a difficult position. Training facilities had to be closed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cancellation was not an option considering how many sponsors are involved in the games. This would be the second time Japan has hosted the Olympics. The last time was back in 1964. The pandemic has exposed how vulnerable humanity is to new diseases. The need for universal healthcare and public health protection is dire. Hopefully, governments around the world will invest in that just as much as the Olympic Games.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed

Chis Chew: Can Women Build Big Muscles and Won’t My Muscles Grow ?

Can Women Build Big Muscles  and Why My Muscle Won’t Grow

Women and sports performance is an unexplored topic in exercise science. There is debate about women’s physical capabilities. Chris Chew answers some of these questions for Health Guidance. Two questioned asked is can women build big muscles and why won’t my muscles grow?  The first question discussed the extent of women’s muscular development. Women do find it harder to build muscle. It certainly is not a simple process.Much of it involves training, diet, and long term dedication. Women who lift may have an irrational fear of getting “big.” This term is relative. What may be large to one person could be small to another. Few women could reach the size of a Jeff Steid, which some women think they can. There seems to be an overestimation of potential. The female bodybuilders that are on stage if one compares their weight are not big. They would weigh less than the average man and definitely less than the largest male bodybuilder. Women can build muscle and not be large. Some bodybuilders are smaller than what an observer would think. Building muscle does have benefits to women’s health. What really hinders women’s embrace of strength and fitness is the attitudes directed at the female body. The idea that women should be weak and delicate should be discarded. Female athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts are embracing this by attempting to gain size. There are certain steps that must be followed to ensure progress in fitness goals. Chris Chew has good insights, yet some of his exercise science claims can be challenged.

        The first question ponders the extent of female muscular hypertrophy from weight training. Chris Chew states ” there is no way women will build big huge muscles unless you are on special supplementation and specially designed training system. ” He then goes on to state some women could also add to this anabolic androgenic steroids. There is performance enhancing drug use in sports, but muscular women are accused with out evidence of using them. Not all women who compete are on steroids. The appearance that is produced is mostly a product of hours of weightlifting and nutrition. Steroids do not create superhumans or champions.  The majority of women have lower muscle mass, yet there are some women that do have higher potential. Somatotypes and genetics can determine muscular growth not just sex or hormones. Women with more muscular bodies prior to training could see a higher degree of  growth compared to women with thinner structures. Seeing as women can differ in size, height, weight, and body type what training does to their body can vary. The same training regimen will not work for every individual. That means starting off it could be constant trial and error attempting to create a certain look. Many women who enter bodybuilding take years or decades to sculpt a particular physique.

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It would be incorrect to say the testosterone is required to build a muscular body. The difference with men and women is that males have more natural strength. When testosterone levels increase in boys body composition changes during puberty. Women do grow in terms of bone and muscle mass, but do not have a strength spurt. The male body has more muscle. Women can still increase size through training due to other hormones produced during exercise. Insulin like growth factor 1 and growth hormone are active in women which aid in muscular hypertrophy. Genetically the MSTN gene dictates myostatin function, which control how large the muscles will become. Testosterone levels can vary among men and women. Yet,men’s higher production of free testosterone allows for a greater base t start from. This explains why the the most muscular women are not as muscular as the biggest men. A woman seeking to build muscle must remain consistent with training, diet, and do the regimen for certain period of time. What a person body looks like for training depends on several factors.

          Women will experience muscular growth from lifting weights. Depending on the goal in mind this could lead to numerous directions. What Chis Chew mentions as myth is only half true. No one automatically looks like a bodybuilder from just some training. He poses this question :   So will women who lift weights in their workouts build more muscle tissue? Women’s bodies are capable of that. He insists that it will result in a “toned” body. Toning is still building muscle. It is nothing more than a gendered term to make weightlifting more appealing to women. From an exercise science perspective no such thing exists. The distinction is in aesthetics. The way the muscle is shaped and conditioned produces certain looks. Terms like toned or bulky just describe an appearance not an anatomical fact. The toned appearance is the lowest level of muscle on a female body. The female bodybuilder body has a low level of body fat with more definition.

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There are women who fall in between the bulk and toned definition. They are  not muscular enough to be considered bulky, but too big to be toned. Their bodies resemble that of figure and physique competitors. Lightweight to middleweight female bodybuilders have this appearance. At this point the terms are just arbitrary and imprecise. There really is not bulky or toned muscle at the cellular level. The reason why some women are afraid of lifting weights is that they believe muscle and strength is not feminine. Women no matter what they look like should not have to be subjected to insults about their body. There is nothing wrong with a muscular or strong woman. Sadly,some women have internalized body image conformity. Muscle can enhance the female form. It may not be the mainstream idea of the female aesthetic. The hardcore fitness and sports woman does not care about the status quo in regards to women’s capabilities.

          Building muscle requires a high caloric intake. Women have to balance this with care. Seeing as metabolism works differently in their bodies food can be converted mostly into fat. Basal metabolism in the female body is lower. Estrogen production allows for greater fat storage. This means women’s activity level must be high enough to burn calories. Restricting calories would be a mistake,because it is not providing the body enough energy for the intensity of exercise. Diets may work for a certain period. Some may find that the weight comes back either because they were not consistent or they did not exercise enough. Muscle has the ability to burn calories. A woman seeking to manage her weight can benefit from a regular weight training schedule. If a woman is seeking to build muscle protein consumption is necessary.

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There are some food that cannot be consumed. High sugar and fructose corn syrup based sustenance can cause weight gain gain. Too much fat consumption can also be an obstacle to diets. Women may notice they gain weight when lifting. This is normal. The body mass that is being acquired is muscle tissue. The scale can be misleading considering it does not tell you fat to muscle ratio. The body mass index is not the best way to indicate healthy weight.   According to calculations, many bodybuilders would be classified as obese. Obviously this is incorrect. Weight refers to the amount of gravitation pulling on the body, while mass is the the amount of matter in an object. A person who is in  Outer Space would technically be weightless, but would not have lost mass. The “large” women are stage are really not as large as they appear. The biggest female bodybuilders could either be between the 165 or a little more. Male bodybuilders can easily exceed 200 lbs. The fear of becoming “big like a man” is misplaced. Women’s bodies on stage are exaggerated by tans, low body fat, and a particular type of conditioning. This makes the body look bigger from the perspective of an observer. Eating becomes essential to maintaining muscle size.

          There are benefits to a weight training regimen Chris Chew explains. He claims that muscle can burn calories even while you are asleep. Women who theoretically have more muscle would be able to burn more calories while being awake or sleeping. Fat does not burn as many calories as muscle tissue. The reason why women have a harder time losing weight or managing it is related to sex hormones and muscle to fat ratio. Regular weight training can solve this problem. Musculoskeletal mass decreases with age. One benefit Chew forgot to mention is that weight training can also combat sacropenia. Muscle loss happens as we age and this could effect women disproportionately. If women have less muscle to start off with, this would be more devastating. Being active throughout life can build enough muscle mass so that mobility is not hindered.  Bone health can be preserved by increasing density from exercise.Osteoporosis is a health threat to women that is too costly to ignore. Besides bones and muscles, the  circulatory system can also benefit. High cholesterol and heart disease are being endemic to countries with high fat and sugar based diets. The Western diet as it is referred to could be responsible for the increase in diabetes. Exercise and a change in nutrition can prevent many forms of chronic illness. It would be a wise investment for women to take up lifting or other forms of exercise to maintain health.

          Women who are not afraid of being strong or building muscle need some guidelines for fitness. Others who are progressing may reach a road block. Chris Chew reveals some may stop seeing progress after just a few months. The reason is that a novice may be doing something wrong. Chis Chew lists seven common mistakes. Over training can reverse progress and possibly harm health. The muscle tissue needs some damage from lifting to grow. Being too intense can cause rhabdomyolysis. Muscle tissue can get so damaged it breaks down and then releases protein in the blood stream. Having too long of a training session can also be counterproductive . A sufficient amount of rest should part of the process. Drinking can also do more than just effect the liver and the dendrites of the brain. It may have a negative impact on muscle growth. This should be avoided. Getting enough sleep is not only good for  your mental and physical health it contributes to athletic performance. Muscular hypertrophy requires rest to ensure recovery so that the muscles can grow stronger. There also must be a variation in workout routine. The muscles must be challenged to ensure a change from exercise stimuli. Progressive overload has to be done increase muscular development. When a novice can easily lift a certain amount of weight, then it needs to be increased. Protein consumption must be emphasized. It has been debated what is the correct amount among nutritionists and exercise physiologists. These are just a few problems that a novice could confront when attempting to build muscle.

       Building muscle is not simple. This requires knowledge of anatomy, exercise science, diet, nutrition, and physiology. The best method has been difficult to determine. What is known is that the same regimen may not work for every single person. Women’s bodies may actually have more capabilities than realized. It is just that exercise physiology is rushing to catch up. Women should not be discouraged from being active or getting bigger. Thinness has been presented as the image of health to women. Being thin does not indicate good health. Lower amounts of bone and muscle mass could make a person more susceptible to osteoporosis or sacropenia. Muscle may actually useful in preserving women’s health. One does not need to train to the levels of professional athlete to see benefits. Daily moderate levels of exercise can be enough to combat illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and morbid obesity.  For the women who are afraid to build muscle or lift there is nothing to worry about. It can be good for your health and it can enhance your appearance. Women who are serious about their fitness should also realize that training takes time. Results do not happen overnight. Chris Chew gives just a general guideline. Be sure to consult personal trainers, coaches, and academic fitness journals for the best approach.

Chis Chew: Can Women Build Big Muscles and Won’t My Muscles Grow ?