Know the Difference: The Physiology of Female Athletes



Not many personal trainers (and female trainees) are aware of the difference between women’s and men’s physiology. It’s important, however, for professionals to know them. This will allow them to design training programs that suit females’ needs and requirements.

Here are the most important characteristics:

Women store body fat more readily

Nature has not created things in favor of women as it comes to body fat accumulation. Women are prone to store fat more easily than men. The main reason for that is the female sex hormone estrogen.

Both men and women produce estrogen but in men, this hormone is much less than in women. Estrogen possesses fat accumulating properties, which, due to the larger quantities in women are a lot stronger.

Women produce very little testosterone

Another important difference is the fact that women produce very little of the male sex hormone – testosterone.

Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, which means it promotes muscle mass gain. Why is this important? It is important because muscle mass is the primary tissue that uses fat for fuel. In other words, more muscle mass means more calories burned during the day.

Women undergo physiological changes caused by their menstrual cycle

Yet another factor in female physiology is the fact that women experience hormonal fluctuations due to their menstrual cycle.

That is the reason why sometimes female athlete may not be able to train with the necessary intensity. It’s because of some or all of the following: abdominal cramps, nausea, bloating, irritability, depression.

Women go through significant body-altering changes during pregnancy

Women experience major biological changes during pregnancy. This is the period when the female body produces large amounts of the hormone progesterone. One of the main properties of this hormone is increased appetite, which is the main reason for the increased weight gain.

Another characteristic of pregnancy is impaired thyroid function. Weakened thyroid function means slowed metabolism.

These two effects of pregnancy usually continue to exhibit their properties even postpartum, which makes it difficult for some women to get back in the shape they were beforehand.

These were the major differences between women and men. As I said earlier being aware of the characteristics in the female’s physiology is essential for proper training administration. So long as these important facts are taken into consideration everything else is equally valid for both genders.

Stay fabu-LAUS,



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