KIMOne of the many reasons I decided to become a personal trainer was because one of my first trainers was a man — a man who trained ALL of his clients like they were men. Now, you know I advocate training hard — following many of the rules men follow to get great results. However, the mistake that some fitness professional make is taking that basic program design approach and applying them to both their male and female clients.

The problem is that most women are not looking for large biceps, pronounced pectorals and bulky calves. The majority of women I have trained desire a smaller waist, capped deltoids, a nice back, and shapelier legs and glutes. Most women are not seeking the body of a strongman. They’re seeking the body of a fit, lean, strong woman and that’s quite different than a man’s body.

Lifestyle Differences

If someone asked me to sum up the conversation differences I have with male versus female clients, I would explain that an average male client works hard, trains hard and rests. A typical female client lives a lifestyle of constant demands and stress, and comes into a workout session and uses that time to vent. Most of my female clients juggle work, families, housework and so much more.

Today’s average female client lacks rest and recovery. Their adrenals are significantly overtaxed and they’re not adapting well to constant stress. Therefore, developing a program that is effective and efficient is the best approach. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to boost fat loss, but not always the best approach for all female clients. Weight training with compound moves and lighter weights can also do wonders to boost metabolism without taxing the body so that it requires days of rest. Most women are multitaskers. They do not have the time to be so sore that they cannot complete the many tasks that lie ahead of them.

Physiological Gender Variance

There are also physiological differences in the male and female body that should be considered in program design. Research shows that, on average, women have greater flexibility than men. Female clients also have the consideration of hormonal phases and cycles of their lifespan that men do not have.

Pregnancy, post-pregnancy, menstruation, pre-menstruation, menopause, pre-menopause and post-menopause all present hormonal shifts and extreme periods of decreased energy for consideration.

Putting it all together

Women are complex, definitely unique and varied. With all the physiological differences, they create a very specific puzzle that needs to be carefully pieced together by a professional trainer that understands and appreciates all the shifts and stresses that a female body undergoes month to month. Creating a program for a female requires time, patience and consistency on the part of the client and on the part of the trainer. Results are not guaranteed — they are earned!