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April 12, 2012 at 1:13 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Battle of the Sexes: Different Ways Men and Women Exercise

By Matthew More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Extreme Existence Blog Series

When it comes to working out, everyone has similar goals. We all want to look attractive, feel fit, and live healthy. However, men and women have very different ways of exercising in order to look good, to build muscle, and to be social.

Looking Good

Let’s face it. We all go to the gym so that we can look good. Sure, exercise has lots of health benefits, but those are just perks. We want people to look at us and like what they see. Men and women do this in very different ways.

When men go to the gym, they most often worry about how they look at the gym. A man likes the experience of going to the gym, working really hard, and getting sweaty. As a guy, I know better than to work out my spaghetti noodle arms and instead focus on my less embarrassing abs and legs. I rarely focus on my weaknesses at the gym for fear that another guy might happen upon me and my wimpy little 45lb bench press.

Women, according to Web MD, often go to the gym to look good everywhere else. While a woman is often self conscious about how she looks at the gym, she usually cares more about how she looks when she leaves it. She isn’t thinking about the experience; she’s thinking about afterward.

Building Muscle

News flash: if you work out, you build muscle. Everyone goes to the gym to look fit, but men and women look at muscle gain very differently.

Men like to bulk up as much as they can. It’s better to be big and more toned. A man wants to look good, which he does through defined abs, bulbous biceps, and muscular thighs.

Many women, on the other hand, live in constant fear of becoming muscular. They want small, fit bodies- not muscular arms and thick legs. For this reason, many women will avoid muscular workouts or lift lighter weights. This is a mistake. Because women have less muscle mass than men, they can lift heavier weights and not bulk up. In fact, they may even slim down, as they make their muscles leaner and better for burning calories.

Social Exercise

When men and women go to the gym, they get very different experiences.

Men compete at the gym. For this reason, a man will often work out alone. He prefers to compare himself to others, but certainly not others who may outdo him. There are fewer things that are more embarrassing than doing squats with a buddy, and having to add 90lbs every time it’s his turn.

A woman, however, generally likes to be more social when she exercises. She is more likely to do a greater variety of exercises, and to do them as part of a group. Working out in a group setting makes the experience more enjoyable and fun, and prevents her from standing out.

Learning from Each Other

Men and women can improve their workout experiences by learning from each other.

Men should try to be safer in workouts. It isn’t uncommon for a man to get hurt because he pushed himself too hard. He should learn how to safely push his body. A man can also try to have more fun. Workouts can be strong social experiences, ones that can be enjoyed without constant competition.

On the other hand, a woman will often hold back more, not realizing just how far she can go. She often doesn’t realize it but, she can lift more weight, run farther, and work longer than she thinks. If she does this, she will have a more beneficial and rewarding workout.

As men and women, we all exercise in different ways, but we are all the same in that we want to have a good experience and become fit, healthy people. If we embrace this, exercise can be a satisfying experience.


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  • FASCINATING! This all makes a lot of sense, but I had never thought of it. Great blog, Matt! :)

  • Awesome blog, Matt!

    Totally agree about women tending to be social during exercise! I tend to do better when I exercise in a group vs. by myself. Maybe it's because I feel better knowing others are working out all around me! Or it's cause I am a bit lazy and need to have other people help motivate me... ;)

  • Thanks for the comments! Yeah, I'm pretty much the typical guy, too. I am always subconsciously competing in the weight room, and I usually lose.

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