Should Women Train Differently Than Men?

Today’s Ask Lee question comes from Elaine Smith of Portland Oregon.

QUESTION: “Lee, I’ve been hearing a lot about gluten lately, and some friends have told me I should cut it out of my diet. What is gluten and why should we avoid it?”

Watch The Video To See Lee’s Answer


Although there are obvious hormonal differences between men and women, from a physiological standpoint men and women’s muscles function pretty much the same way.

Many women who are starting an exercise program, turn to doing aerobic exercise exclusively. They avoid weight training for fear that it will make their muscles too big.

In doing so, they cheat themselves out of one of the most productive forms of exercise in existence. Weight training is unique in that it stimulates muscle tissue and has a profound effect on the metabolism.

Lifting weights is not going to turn you into me or Arnold Shwarzenegger for that matter. The fact is that women develop muscle at about half the rate that men do, due to the fact that they have much lower testosterone levels. Any muscle increase that a woman is going to see from weight training is going to be gradual.

So if you’re a woman and you’re interested in changing your body as fast as possible, you need to get your head wrapped around the use of weight training to accomplish this. Sure, aerobics or cardio is great for keeping your heart in shape. But as far as body composition goes, nothing beats weight training.

That doesn’t mean lifting light weights. That means using weights that provide enough resistance to tire your muscles out. Combining a good weight training program with a well-balanced diet containing sufficient protein, along with adequate amounts of carbohydrates and fat for fuel is the way to go. Your diet should do most of the fat loss work for you, and you shouldn’t have to overly rely on cardio to burn fat. If you overdo cardio, it can have negative consequences in terms of raising cortisol, which ironically makes it more difficult to lose weight.

So the short answer to your question is that women SHOULD train in the same manner as men. That means using weight training as the foundation of your exercise program, and using cardio in an intelligent manner. Add coupling a well-balanced diet, and there’s no stopping you from getting leaner.

Speaking of leaner, If you want to get leaner and tone muscle be sure to get a copy of my book, THE LEAN BODY PROMISE, available here.

I’m Lee Labrada, your lean body coach.

Yours for a Lean Body,

Your Lean Body Coach™
Houston, Texas

About the Author: One of the world’s most well-known and celebrated bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 professional bodybuilding titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. He is one of few pro bodybuilders in history to consistently place in the top four at the Mr. Olympia competition (the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding) for seven consecutive years—a feat he shares with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 bodybuilding and fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert.

Lee was also inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, is an Internationally known best selling fitness authos and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. For more about Lee please visit his page here: Lee Labrada’s page.