Are men and women the same when it comes to fat loss?

There aren’t physiologically like in terms of how the body responds.  A woman’s body will respond the exact same way as a man’s body would respond to the same training program.

Now, when I have worked with women, there are some mental differences.  Obviously, women are very, very worried about gaining muscle mass, which is difficult – it’s possible, but it’s difficult for women. So what I tend to do is reduce the volume of sets in a workout so instead of doing 3 sets for certain exercises, I might only do one set of the exercise, still maintaining a very high intensity, the same repetition range, and still challenging the woman. But as bodybuilder’s know, you gain muscle based on intensity and volume.

What we’re doing there is we’re just cutting out the volume part of the equation and keeping the intensity up and that way the woman will still sculpt her body and still boost her metabolism as well as improve her bone density. But she won’t have to have that mental worry about gaining as much muscle mass.

Whether or not she actually would gain the actual muscle mass or not, that’s entirely beside the point, but if eases her mindset.

The second thing I do is I switch out some of the dumbbell exercises and use more body weight exercises, because no woman will ever freak out about how many push-ups she can do, but she will get a little worried about how much weight she’s using on a dumbbell press, you know, you hand them the 30-pounds for the dumbbell presses, and they’ll look at you funny because they think are my arms going to get bigger.

Again, it comes down to intensity and volume and the truth of the matter is, it’s not just intensity and volume in the gym, it’s the volume of food consumed outside the training session that is one of the key components of whether or not a person will get bigger or smaller. So the client needs to be educated on this as well.

Those are the two changes I make that don’t reduce the effectiveness of the workout, you just end up using more variety of exercises in that same workout. So we might do fewer sets of an exercise, but we might do 6 or 8 exercises instead of just 4 exercises of three sets each. We might do 6 or 8 exercises of one set each, so you still get a great workout in, and we might use a few more body weight exercises and dumbbell sets.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at

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