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Train Like a Man!

Train Like a Man!

Vanessa Ocasio, CPT


For various reasons, including the fact that I own a personal training studio, I have not been a member of a gym for several years. With that being said, six months ago, I decided to join a small gym down the street from my house so I could have my own time away from work, clients, and employees. Interestingly, even though I haven’t been to a public gym for at least 8 years, I have realized that most things have stayed the same.

I still see the same dudes working out their chest and arms while neglecting every other part of their bodies. Not only that, but most of them only perform weight exercises to three quarters of range of motion--at best! Worst of all, is the women that come into the gym, “work out,” and then leave with their hair and makeup exactly the way it looked when they walked in!

Ok ladies, it’s time for some tough love! If you don’t look like you worked out, you probably didn’t! I’m tired of seeing the same women come in at the same time to do the same old moves, to the same old intensity. The worst part of it is that their level of intensity in my book is pretty much zero!

They pick up the light weights and do some reps, and don’t even make a face. I’m sorry, but I don’t care how relaxed and Zen you want to be, there has to be some kind of facial expression when you’re pushing yourself a little. And I said, a little! But when I watch these women train, there is no facial expression, no heavy breathing, no sweating… nothing!

The sad but true part of this is that I continue to see this very issue in many of the female clients at my studio--women that have been working out “hard” for several years and have nothing to show for it.

If you fall into the category of women who put in “hard” hours at the gym with no results, here are a few tips to get you REAL results:

  • Start sweating and even grunting! If you’re lifting weights and you don’t get to the point where you’re making a face or a noise, you’re definitely not pushing yourself hard enough. If anyone ever told you “that’s something only men do,” then they obviously did not know anything about the human body. Let’s put it this way-- your muscle and fat cells don’t really care whether you’re a man or a woman. You need to challenge your body in order for it to change!
  • No, you’re not going to look like a man if you lift heavy! Wow… how many times am I going to hear this one?! Ladies, unless you are a freak of nature, you do not produce enough testosterone to grow muscles like men do. The whole “getting bulky” myth has to go! Now and forever!
  • Stop wasting your time on those weight machines. I’m talking about those fixed-point machines that only work a single muscle group at a time. Unless you’re a bodybuilder and workout out for at least 2 hours per day, 6 days a week, these machines are a waste of your time. If you’re looking for overall fitness, leanness and fat burn look for compound and functional exercises such as squats, bench press, shoulder press, deadlifts and lat pull downs/pull-ups.
  • Get a personal trainer.  Yes, it is expensive… I guess. But not any more expensive than all the other junk you find essential to buy.  Think of a personal trainer as paying for tuition in a course that will not only extend your life, but will make you look better!  Make sure you research your trainer and ask him or her questions about their training philosophy. If any of them tell you that they train women differently than men, walk away! Fast! Yes, I understand that most women can’t lift heavier weights than men but that’s not my point. My point is about intensity and function. For instance, there is no reason a woman should not practice to the max on a bench press. There is nothing intrinsically “male” about pushing a weight away from your body.

In conclusion:

  • Push yourself so hard that your mascara will be all over your eyes. 
  • Sweat so much that you would be embarrassed to approach a guy (trust me, if you’re working really hard, they will be approaching you!  I know!)
  • Rest well for a day or two, and repeat!