It turns out that we women have some valuable lessons to learn from men when it comes to exercise and dieting. There are three specific areas where women should try thinking more like men – goal setting, type of exercise training, eating habits and mindset.
Let’s talk about goal setting first. Having a goal is a very important part motivating yourself to achieve change. In general, men and women set goals differently. When it come to weight loss and exercise, women tend to set goals based on weight. They want to see a specific number on the scale and that becomes the only goal. This goal is good in that it is measurable, but it can be very hard to attain and hard to assess how well you’re doing while you’re actually doing physical activity. Men, on the other hand, tend to set goals based on specific exercise performance. More reps of a certain weight training exercise or cutting down running time for example. These goals are still measurable, and they are also more attainable. Performance specific goals keep people more motivated while they are exercising and they keep workouts interesting. When you’re more motivated, you will train better and when you train better, you will get closer to that number you want to see on the scale.
Have you noticed how the cardio classes tend to be filled with women, while the weight room seems to be dominated by men? Well here’s another area where women might want to take a cue from the opposite gender. Cardio is great and it should be part of your workout, but you need to mix it up with strength training. Cardio doesn’t build muscle like strength training does and building muscle is necessary part of losing weight and maintaining your weight loss. Having more muscle causes your body’s energy expenditure to go up; in other words the more muscle your body has the more calories it has to burn on a daily basis. Burning more calories will help you achieve and maintain that weight you’re aiming for. Not to mention you’ll look more toned and fit than you would if you just did cardio alone.
Scared to try lifting weights? It can be intimidating to walk into that weight room; we have some tips for you.
- Go with a friend
It’s not as intimidating when someone is there with you. You can learn together and cheer each other on.
- Try a group class that includes strength training
There are tons of really fun classes these days in group settings that do things such as weight lifting routines to music. If you’re someone who enjoys these choreographed group classes you should really give this a try.
- Try functional fitness
Functional fitness uses mostly your own body weight and minimal equipment to get the same strength training workout.
- Buy free weights to use at home
Pick up some free weights to keep at home, there are lots of great online resources for simple weight lifting routines that can be done without a problem in the comfort of your own home.
- Check out pilates or yoga
These types of classes focus on strength training without the weights.
You’ll be surprised at how rewarding lifting weights can be. It’s a great feeling when you can add more weight on the bar or do that extra set of reps. You can really see your effort paying off; unlike cardio machines where results are harder to measure.
Remember what we said about goal setting for exercise? The same sort of thing can be applied to your eating habits. Instead of setting a general goal of eating healthier, set specific daily or weekly goals such packing your lunch for work instead of eating out, having an extra serving of veggies, or substituting fruit for bacon with your eggs. This will give you something to focus on and help keep you on the right track because you can see that you are making healthy changes and accomplishing something. Men, in general, don’t binge eat as much as women do. This is because of the way most men view food. Food is fuel. You need to start thinking like this. Don’t turn to food because you’re sad or to celebrate; food is only to fuel your body, so listen to what your body is telling you and eat when you’re hungry!
The last thing I want to touch on is mindset. Women tend to over-think, over-research and over-plan when it comes to exercise and dieting. Men tend to just jump in and act. Stop waiting for the perfect time to join the gym or start eating healthier, just do it! The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be seeing results.
Source: Dayton Daily News “Men, Women Have Different Diet, Exercise Goals”