Is There Such A Thing As A “Best Exercise Program For Women”? – Part 2

By on January 1, 2013

By Jonathan and Nancy Risworth –

If you read Part One of this article you will remember that exercise for women is no different to that for men.

Instead Of Thinking About Performing Special Exercises Because You Are A Woman, Think About Performing Specific Workouts For Specific Goals

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Let’s assume you want to drop a few pounds of flab. Getting rid of that unwanted fat will require you to exercise and eat in a particular way. You won’t be exercising like someone whose goal is to get stronger, go faster, or become more flexible.

Here’s an Example Training Plan for Fat Loss you can do in 30 minutes or less

I’ll use walking, about the most basic exercise there is – and also highly effective – to illustrate what I mean…

So, you want to lose some fat and you enjoy walking, and have decided to walk in a way that will shed fat. In which case, your walking routine would follow a type of training known as interval training and would look something like this:

  • A warm up for 3 to 5  minutes – which could involve a few easy stretches, walking at an easy pace, well within your comfort zone
  • You would then commence the interval training routine, looking to start with a moderate set of 3 minutes walking at 50% of your heart rate
  • After 3 minutes you would increase your walking pace to bring your heart rate up into the 80 – 85% of maximum heart rate level for a  3 minute intensity set
  • To calculate what your maximum heart rate would be you can use this formula: 220 – your age = maximum heart rate.
  •  Say you are 50, then your maximum heart rate would be 220 – 50 = 170, and 50% of 170 is 85
  • So, using a heart monitor and following your warm up you would walk at a moderate pace for 3 minutes getting your heart up to 85 beats per minute.
  • At the end of the 3 minutes, you would increase your walking pace to bring your heart rate up to 85% of your maximum heart rate, which in this case would be (220 – 50) x 80 to 85% = 136 to 145 beats per minute
  • You would, after 3 minutes of walking at this pace, reduce your walking pace back down to the 50% heart rate range, and continue to repeat this cycle of 3 minute moderate and intensity sets
  • Depending on your level of fitness, you would start off with maybe one cycle which following your warm up, would be one moderate 50% heart rate pace for 3 minutes, then one fast 85% heart rate pace for another 3 minutes
  • As your fitness improved you would gradually introduce more interval training sets, for up to around 30 minutes

This style of interval training will ensure your body is getting its energy from burning its fat stores.

But I Don’t Have A Heart Monitor!

If you don’t own a heart monitor, or don’t want to buy one, you can use this method to help you know whether you are exercising in the 50% maximum heart rate zone and the 80 – 85% maximum heart rate zone.

This method of monitoring your heart rate is known as PRE or Perceived Rate of Exertion, and in another article I’ll go more into it.

 To attain a 50% of maximum heart rate:

Attain the feeling that you would have while walking outside at a relatively easy moderate pace. You can tell you are doing work, but it is still quite easy.

For 80 to 85% maximum heart rate:

At this level you would be walking at a pace as if you are walking to an appointment and are very late. So you are walking vigorously. You are feeling like you are really getting a good workout. If you asked yourself if you could continue at this pace for the rest of your allotted exercise time you would reply you think so but not 100% sure. Your breathing is deep, you could still carry on a conversation but you probably would prefer not to. You are now in the TRAINING ZONE!

Exercising To Go Faster

We’ll now look at your exercise routine based on an entirely different goal. Your goal is not about shedding fat, it is to prepare yourself for a five mile walking race. That means you are aiming to increase your walking speed as much as possible before the race.

You are therefore, wanting to condition your body to walk as rapidly as possible over 5 miles. Your workout may well include interval training, but it will also include sustained fast walking. This is where you build up speed over greater distances so on race day your body is conditioned to rapid walking over the entire race. By walking quickly and increasing your speed over time your body will be burning sugar taken from your muscles. With this style of exercising you are getting energy more from your muscles and less from your fat stores. You would be getting faster, but not necessarily losing fat as fast as you could, but in this instance that’s not your goal!

Remember – Exercise Protocols Depends On Your Goals!

Now, the above example isn’t what you would call entirely scientifically accurate, but I’m not trying to write a thesis for a medical journal and I don’t want you falling asleep reading boring miniscule detail. The point is that you need to exercise in different ways depending on what your goal is.

For all you women looking to increase their energy, health and vitality, don’t look for “woman specific exercise routines”. First – decide what your goals are, think about your current level of fitness, seek medical advice as appropriate, then find guidance that is based on sound fitness principles. Learn what style of exercise routines will allow you to achieve your goals in a fun, fast and effective manner.

May you find the source of lasting vitality that works for you!

Nancy Rishworth

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Is There Such A Thing As A “Best Exercise Program For Women”? – Part 2