Hanz and Franz vs. Harriet and Francine

July 11th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Do you remember these two guys from SNL in the early 90s?  They were SO FUN.  I just had a fun moment with my husband when I went to him and said “what were their names?” as I hunched forward, said “PUMP [clap] YOU UP!”  He said “Hanz and Franz” right away.

I guess we’ve been together a long time.

Anyway, I thought of these two and their stuffed sweatshirts as I thought about what to write about today.  I also thought about the roughly seven thousand and three conversations I have each year with women who say their husbands can lose weight just by thinking about it for an afternoon.

It begs the question: are men and women different when it comes to muscle mass?

The first and most obvious answer to that question is to say “yes” that men and women differ.  The various reasons for that number in the thousands; the critical differences when it comes to exercise are body size and composition.

When scientists look closer at muscle tissue itself, though, the differences between men and women do not exist! 

While men in general have more muscle MASS, the makeup and strength in muscle tissues of men and of women are equal. (Women’s values in muscle strength, pulmonary ventilation, and cardiac output are generally 60-75% of those values recorded in men due to the variances in body size, body composition, and levels of testosterone.)

So are there exercises that men should do and women shouldn’t do?  NOPE.

Are there “female” exercises and “male” exercises?  NOPE.

Is there a biological reason for “boy pushups” and “girl pushups”?  NOT ON MY WATCH.  EVER. (This is one of the very few things I will actually yell at you for saying during a workout.)

Seriously; your body isn’t as different from your brother or sister’s body as you may want to believe.  You can both train the same and both perform the same exercises and achieve most of the same results.  Sure, the improvements by the numbers will never be identical due to the basic differences above in size, composition, and testosterone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after what you want.

Male or female, muscle is muscle.  Use it or lose it.

I vote “USE IT!”

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