What a question eh? So many avenues you can take this question, and as always it will only be my opinion, and their will be plenty of exceptions to the rule. I would like to hear the opinions of trainers and general public in the comment below!
About 12 years ago a friend “dared” me to partake in an aerobics class. I was unable to love myself enough to turn down challenges like this and needed to feed my ego so I accepted.
The 60 minute class was generally mortifying for me. I was the only male in a class of 20. The music was not the indie rock and roll I enjoy but a cheese fest of smiley music with a considerable beat. I struggled to coordinate myself to understand the movements, and even if I could I was too embarrassed to express myself in such a way with movement. The rare times that I did get a sequence and was not afraid to move, I secretly enjoyed it but quickly would get embarrassed and in general the class was torture.
I returned to the weights room, glad to find my familiar friend the Bench, and the gorillas I would train alongside. They lifted heavy weights, you could see the muscles contracting, this was training, not badly wriggling your hips from side to side.
This was 12 years ago . . . .
Natural physical characteristics simply mean Men have more muscle mass, and are stronger in maximal force generation. As young boys we push ourselves around in tests of strength, the strongest boys will always have a status and popularity. With girls they generally have more range of motion yet less strength. Gracefulness and beauty through movement is a popular trait in young girls and this influences training preferences.
We don’t like being out of our comfort zones, men will always dominate the free weights area and Women will dominate the Zumba class.
Who trains better though? I think the answer is always the person that allows themselves to love themself the most.
When training a male, they have less desire for quality of the movement. They want to lift the weight, no matter how ugly. As long as they complete the rep they feel they have accomplished the goal and the ego is satisfied. Men will always cheat more. When a quality level of training is delivered, the man that does not love himself enough to learn through his limitations will quickly get frustrated. They know they can squat 80kgs with the ugliest squat ever seen, but with depth, grace and quality of movement they will struggle, and the ego won’t like it. It takes a real man to accept where they need to improve and not sweep the breadcrumbs under the carpet.
Women are often (not always!) more coordinated and cat-like. I show a lady a complex movement pattern and they pick it up in general faster (cat) whereas the man will need more guidance (salamander). Men will rush through he movement not listening to their body pointing out their weakness whereas a woman will listen carefully.
Women often have a misguided fear of weight training, but I have yet to meet a female in 15 years of Personal Training that does not love weight training when coached properly.
Form matters much more to women. They check themselves out in the mirror more, form is the king yet for men completion of the rep is king.
Who is tougher? The person that looks after themselves the best so they have energy to train. Those that create a balance in their lives so they are healthy enough to train. This is a close call, men in general train with more intensity but often at the expense of quality. Women are generally more health conscious, but often they listen to advice that is health destroying like low fat foods or soys for example.
Women, especially mothers are tough beyond belief. They accumulate enormous stressors in their life and often this is at the expense of their own health. Men save that toughness for training, they still in this modern age have crazy lives but I feel as a generalisation they save their toughness for the gym.
Women are more open to new gym trends. Whether it be core platforms, gravity training, Zumba etc women get sucked into the trends easier than men, who tend to stick to the weights.
Many of the fitness trends are just like fashions, often they are poor training modalities in comparison to old school weightlifting and movement in general, no body owns movement and no body taught my little nephew to squat perfectly, no guru owns the squat, except nature.
Men will adapt quicker to training, they store less fat and lose fat easier, but they also injure themselves more with poor training despite naturally being more injury resistant. Women will always have to work harder to get the same results.
Who are the best trainers?
Women are certainly the best to work with regarding movement and health. Men for intensity but the person that loves themself the most completely will always be the best trainer in my opinion.
What are your thoughts?