If you’re a woman, what does training like a man mean, exactly?
Here, we take a stab at the definition.
The topic of Men’s fitness was hard for me to figure out this month. Since I’m not a man, I had to think about how I wanted to approach this topic. Some women’s magazines talk about “How to train like a man”, but I’m still trying to figure out what that means. I know a lot of women who train super hard. Maybe harder than a man, although again, not really sure if there’s such a comparison.
Initially, a few stereotypical subjects came to mind. Women are notorious for being worried about lifting weights, which is what I think you’re supposed to think of when you hear “train like a man.” But weight training is great; it adds muscle, which will help you burn more calories in the course of a day, ramping up your metabolism, as well as helping to create a great toned look. Don’t worry ladies. You won’t get bulky, but you WILL gain strength, and maybe even feel more capable in accomplishing some everyday tasks. The other thought “training like a man” brings to mind is in intensity. Maybe men are thought to have harder, more intense workouts than women. I’ve worked out with both men and women and they are equally hard working, pushing themselves to the max.
So I thought about the phrase a bit more. I looked to my husband, who has been training for the last 20 weeks for an Ironman competition. I am impressed by his amazing dedication to this event every day. I’m not sure if I would have the same commitment to consistently stick to a specific plan for 20 weeks. There were days when it was snowing or raining and he’d go for a run. He’d have to ride inside on the bike trainer for hours. Even on those days that you just didn’t feel like doing anything, he’d be out there getting in the workout to prepare.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s impressed by his dedication and maybe a little jealous of his unwavering focus. I think of people who set a goal to change a habit or accomplish something, or maybe just to eat healthy consistently and how that can become a struggle to stay focused. You can always find an excuse or reason to derail and give in. The ability to put your goals first and feel there is no excuse big enough to keep you from accomplishing what you set out to do is admirable and impressive.
In order to help maintain his commitment, he decided to do the Ironman for a cause and also created a support system. He wanted to have something to keep him going on those days that he was tired, sore or just didn’t feel like getting out there. Picking a cause that gives back to Veterans and knowing he is helping support something has definitely helped him maintain his focus. He’s also created a network of people to join him while he trains. Having people rally around him as he prepares and to be there to push him has been valuable. Getting support from friends and family while giving purpose to his event has helped him maintain his intensity and enthusiasm.
Accomplishing any goal comes with a lot of focus, determination and commitment. So I guess when I think about what “train like a man” means, I think it means having unwavering dedication to a goal. However, I know a lot of women who have accomplished marathons and other incredible fitness and non-fitness goals. Therefore, I’ve decided that “How to train like a man” should be changed to “How to train with steadfast focus and commitment.”
This article appears in the June 2014 issue of Berks County Living