Characteristics in the physiology of female athletes
Not many personal trainers and female trainees as well are aware of the difference between women’s and men’s physiology. It’s important, however, for professionals to know them. This way they will be able to design training programs that suit better the female athletes’s needs and requrements. Here are the most important characteristics:
Women store body fat more readily
The 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 possess fat accumulating properties, which, due to the larger quantities in women are a lot stronger pronounced. Also due to the specific fat receptor distribution women tend to store fat mainly in the lower body.
Women produce very little testosterone
Another physiological difference of great importance 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’s important because muscle mass is the primary tissue that uses fat for fuel. With other words more muscle mass means more calories burned during the day.
Also as opposed to estrogen testosterone is known to suppress body fat accumulation.
Women undergo physiological changes caused by their menstrual cycle
Yet another factor in the female athlete’s phisiology 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 alterations 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 that period is the impaired thyroid function. Attenuated 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 in consideration everything else is equally valid for both genders.