Health

Fitness tips women can steal from men

Women can work it just as well as men. Here's how...

It's true that there are physical and physiological differences between men and women.

Men, for one, have more muscle and have higher base-level strength.

But that doesn't mean women should train any differently.

In fact, women nowadays are showing men a thing or two about being strong and fit, and can hit it just as hard as they do.

We speak to TripleFit personal trainer Cheryl Loh, who shares some fitness tips ladies can steal from the opposite sex.

TRY STRENGTH TRAINING

Most men gear towards strength training because they are keen to build muscle mass, but this is an area women traditionally shun because they are afraid to grow big or bulky.

The truth is, women have much lower levels of testosterone, which means bulking up is unlikely.

Looking like a bodybuilder also requires a specific training with a strict diet to match, so there isn't any reason why women should shy away from strength training, said Ms Loh.

In fact, the muscle mass gained can even help boost women's metabolic rates.

Resistance training also increases bone density and therefore decreases the chances of women developing osteoporosis later on in life.

So if you're looking to tone up, be healthy and lose some fat, give this a go.

BE ADVENTUROUS

Stop making a beeline for the treadmill and assault air bike every time you go to the gym, and start paying attention to the other equipment, such as the rowing machine, SkiErg (a demanding indoor skiing machine) or even barbells.

While barbells look intimidating, they are actually easy to use once you get over your fear of them.

In fact, they can help you work on your balance and take the load off your hands, wrists, and forearms so you can focus your weight-lifting efforts on the muscles you're trying to work.

EMBRACE PULL-UPS

The pull-up is no longer a 'guy thing'. Being able to lift your own body weight is a fundamental milestone of fitness.

While we know pull-ups are tougher for women than for men, mainly due to differences in upper-body strength, it's still a doable exercise with practice, so don't be daunted, said Ms Loh.

Plus, by engaging your back, arm and abdominal muscles and shoulders, you get to strengthen, sculpt and tone your upper body. Start with assisted pull-ups with the machine, resistance bands or get a partner to assist you.

TRY WHEY PROTEIN

Most women avoid protein shakes because they, once again, fear they'll end up bulking up.

But whey protein can actually be helpful in muscle growth, maintaining muscle mass when losing weight, post-workout recovery and even boosting metabolism - as long as you do not drink more than your body needs.

It can also fill nutritional gaps to ensure a complete diet.

Recommended intake is 1.6g to 2.2g of protein per kilogramme of body weight, depending on individuals' activity level and physique goals.

LOAD UP ON PROTEIN FOR BREAKFAST

A protein-packed breakfast is par for the course for gym rats, because this meal can fuel their workouts and ensure they start off the day right.

Getting a high-protein breakfast can also help keep appetites in check - it makes them feel more satisfied and less hungry later in the day compared to a carbohydrate-filled breakfast.

Take a leaf out of their book and go for a hearty meal that can include eggs, meat, oats and nuts. It can power your workout and help you lose weight too.

MEDICAL & HEALTH