Men and women generally train the same way when it comes to strength training. If you think about it, how many different ways are there to lift weights? Not many. So if men and women strength training routines are the same, do their diets have to be that much different? Yes, and here’s why.
Many females not only lift weights as part of their exercise routine, but also do a lot of cardio training in an effort to lose body fat and thus weight. And while cardio training does burn calories, the female body can sometimes react differently by actually holding onto body fat instead of getting rid of it. When it comes to weight loss, what you eat is far more important than how much you exercise.
Think about what you eat as being the responsible agent for weight loss; cardio on the other hand is good for your heart and helps direct more calories toward muscle cells and fewer to fat cells.
So what should a female diet look like? Not that much different from men, but typically women tend to gravitate having more sugar in their diet than men. This generally means women are not getting as much protein as they should. A diet that is 80% carbs, 10% protein and 20% fat, will create entirely different results than one that is 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat.
Protein is the building blocks of the body. It is protein (in adequate amounts) that is responsible for repairing the damage done to muscles when you lift weight. Don’t worry – the damage is only temporary and necessary for good toning. However, without enough protein in your diet, muscles won’t repair as fast and it will take longer to get that sleek lean look. Also without adequate protein, your body could see muscle as a source of calories if you are not eating enough, thus consuming muscle mass instead of increasing it slightly.
When thinking about diet, choose fresh wholesome foods over the prepackaged ones. Many of these are loaded with added sugar and high in saturated fats. When on a weight-lifting diet, counting the types of calories (carbs, protein and fats) is more important than the total number, although it is important that you get enough each day. To tone muscles eat 500 more calories per day than what is recommended for maintenance at your age and activity level; to lose weight then go 500 calories less and make sure your diet has at least 1.7 to 1.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Keep in mind that weight is mainly controlled by diet; strength and muscle mass by weight lifting. Controlling these two variables will get you the results you seek.