Women, Fitness and Weight Training
As an observer of the aging process, I have noticed that women seem to take it differently than men. Particularly, men seem more attentive to their bodies, while women (big generality here) seem to attend more to their faces. I note that men spend a whole lot less money on makeup. Another generality; men are more concerned with muscle structure, women appear more concerned with weight. They focus on diet and aerobics as ways to stay lean. If you go past the cardio class it will be largely women, if you go to the advanced weight room – the one with the free weights and big plates – you will see largely men.
Let me site an example of one notable exception. The gym I attend is graced by a women trainer, mid 40s, mother of four, I admiringly call ‘The Glutemeister’ because she can squat about the same weight I can. From the back, and the waist down, she looks like a 25 year old dancer. But from the waist up she looks like a 25 year old gymnast. She has no loss of femininity, in my book, because she has real shoulders and a V-shaped back, and she has zero love handles, with NO fat hanging over the elastic band of her tights.
She looks this way month after month, year after year. You will never see her in the aerobics room, and she does lat-pulls with more weight, and more, shall we say, purposefulness (looks more like rage sometimes) than I do. I’ve never asked her what sort of diet she keeps, because I think she can eat pretty much anything she wants within reason and burn it off in the next few days.
She carries enough muscle to probably need 4000 calories a day just to maintain it. She does all the ‘big’ exercises, mostly the same stuff the really big men do, but trust me, she doesn’t look like a man. She has grace and stature, and I’m sure would look stunning in an evening gown. She has been doing this most of her adult life, and it hasn’t crashed her femininity at all.
When I get the chance to speak with senior women about how to stay attractive, lean and strong, I tell them they need to weight train with high intensity, using a three day split (split the body into three zones, and work each zone once per week to allow full recovery) and work out like the big guys in the gym. They look at me like I’m fully crazed and disregard anything else I say. The problem is that is exactly what they need to stay looking good into their 90s.
Now the professional bodybuilding women are, in discussions with other men and women, largely regarded as freaks, and are thought to be steroid users for the most part. If women look at their posing routine pictures, the common response is shear disgust. Opposite this, the Women’s Fitness Contest scene is growing by leaps and bounds. What you see at these are athletic women with strong, shapely bodies doing really impressive, near-dance routines, with amazing demonstrations of flexibility, strength and balance. The trend just got started about 1999, and the contestants are fairly young at this point. But you will see, as time goes on, the senior and master categories develop.
My firm conviction is that you will see some women competing in these contests well into their 60s and 70s after 30 years of living this lifestyle, and even the young men will think they’re hot! They won’t have brittle bones or failing joints. They will be capable of physical feats that 12 year-olds do now, and they will maintain their health and fitness into their 9th and 10th decades. By the way, nearly all of these contestants train with weights, hard, a lot like men.
Good Living, Frank
Frank Wilhelmi – Retired/consultant electronic engineer researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.