Fitness can in reality be a very intimidating subject. Every able person wishes to have a body like a gymnast which is impractical considering the busy lives we all have. It is also amusing to notice well-meaning folks hitting the gyms religiously to get into a shape that may sometimes be beyond their best efforts.
However, staying fit and remaining that way is a hard task that cannot be accomplished easily. That goes for women too, especially those who are hitting their 30s and 40s and no longer feel lithe and athletic. All is not lost; there are many ways to put that ‘spring’ back into their step!
Exercise workouts and regimen are by and large suitable for both genders, unless they are specialized in nature to suit particular requirements and environments. For example, it is obvious that trimming the body of extra fat and getting into shape is a common area of concern for both men and women and they can be assigned a particular set or combination of exercises spread over a period of time to achieve the desired results.
Compare this with an exercise regimen where men compulsively train to achieve bulkiness and fitness to their muscles by burning away all fat and building up muscle mass transforming them into ‘hulks’! There is no need for women to do that unless they are specifically training for a sport like boxing or weight-lifting.
A majority of women are under the impression that they will be somehow transformed into ‘male look-alikes’ of themselves if they under weight training. Perhaps that is the reason why most of them spend long hours performing cardio exercise regimens to keep in touch with their femininity. The logical truth, however, is that women’s hormonal makeup does not support the increase in muscle mass as in men. The hormone, testosterone, is responsible for increased bulk in muscle mass for men; in comparison, women have very little levels of this hormone which means that they can indulge in weight training to a certain extent without fear of losing their ‘soft looks’.
However, there is no denying the fact that there are professional women bodybuilders who tend to look like their male counterparts. However, this takes many years of dedication, professional practice and a particular lifestyle to achieve the kind of muscularity that is often associated with men.
Workouts for women
By and large, women fall into four body types – athletic, apple, hourglass and pear – largely dictated by genetic factors. Fitness experts advise that while women cannot alter their body shapes to their liking, the best option would be to find body-type specific workouts that help tone the body and achieve faster results.
There is no magic bullet or fancy workout routine; there are many regimens and programs and each one of them have their pros and cons. Hence, it makes for common sense to find one that suits with more pros and less cons. Finding a routine that has a balanced workout routine in terms of types of exercise and volume is better.
Such a balance would include ‘compound’ exercises and ‘isolation’ movements.
Compound exercises is the category that includes exercises targeted at more than one muscle group as in dumbbell presses that produces a whole range of muscle activity to perform. Isolation exercises on the other hand, are the ones that target a specific muscle, like the leg or thigh.
Fitness trainers and experts are of the opinion that women should not exercise with the sole intention of adding mass by performing weight lifts or heavy squats. There are other weight-free options to choose from to gain muscle strength and good physique.