Weightlifting for Women with World Renowned Evidence Based Training and Nutrition Expert Menno Henselmans, Episode 028

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Show Notes

This week on Food, Sex & Life for the Modern Woman…Living Primal Podcast, we are interviewing Menno Henselmans. We are talking all things weightlifting and nutrition for women. He’s super geeky (in a great way ;-)) and uses only evidence based data to backup his training and nutrition protocols for weightlifting, healthy eating plans, losing weight and burning belly fat.


Differences Between Men and Women in Weightlifting and Nutrition

Much of the discussion revolves around the differences and advantages women have on weightlifting over men, and some of the things we as ladies should know to fully take advantage of these evidence based data to fully reap the benefits, sculpt our bodies and achieve our full healthy living potential.

Differences aren’t huge between men and women in lifting weights. The fundamental principles still apply. But there are a a couple key metabolic and physiological ones to take into account:

  • Women have higher estrogen levels- making women a lot more resistant to muscle damage and are able to recover faster after training. Women can generally take stronger and more frequent weight training than men.
  • Women respond better with higher rep sets and can usually do 2 sessions per body part per week.
  • Cadence for optimal performance for women is lower than men. Women don’t really need to count their reps, but focus on intuition with a bit of explosive movement.


Weight vs. Cardio

Menno’s proposed protocol for ladies for weight training vs. cardio will depend highly on each individual women. Their existing level of training and how much time they’re willing to put into it will play a role. So there is no one size fits all protocol he follows.

He goes into some detail between steady state cardio vs. HIIT, and explains how most women’s bodies prefer steady state cardio (if any cardio is included at all) over HIIT because women have a more difficult time recovering from explosive movements.


Menno Henselman- Weightlifting for Women


His recommended steady state cardio exercises are either cycling, rowing or swimming because they are low impact. Although swimming in cold water increases appetite and when you’re trying to loose weight and burn fat that may not be ideal.

Runners tend to have high levels of cortisol which interferes with muscle building, so running and jogging is not recommended. You’ll notice that cyclers have a much different physique composition than runners. Many runners start their running career with weight loss in mind. But if you’re looking to look and feel great in a bikini and improve your physique, weight lifting will have the best effect on the body.

Cardio is highly overrated and used mainly for calorie expenditure. It is not necessary, unless you enjoy it. And if it’s the runners high you enjoy, weight lifting will also provide some of that feeling in addition to having a higher calorie expenditure than cardio.


Nutrition and Carb Tolerance

Menno goes over the nutrition protocol, and general macro nutrient breakdown he recommends for women. He also discusses how he tests for carb tolerance ( (the extent to which the body benefits from carbs) when he first begins working with women on a training and nutrition protocol.

General nutrition protocol for women on a 2,000 calorie diet:

  • 1.8 g/kg (0.82 g/lb) of protein per day
  • 40% of calories from fat
  • the balance of the calories if there are any left, should be from carbs.

Women react very well to high fat diets and their ability to build muscle mass. Ketogenic is a plus if your body can take it.

Working Out While Traveling- Tips for Success

  1. Planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
  2. Smart food choices can also mean not eating. You don’t have to eat if all there is available in that moment is junk. You can wait until a smarter food choice is available. Occasional fasting for up to 24 hours is fine.
  3. Us the hotel gym, or if there is no gym available, bodyweight exercises are very easy to do in a hotel room. Take resistance bands with you in your suitcase, do pushups and leg exercises.

Menno’s 3 Habits to Ensure His Health Journey

  1. Destress before going to bed.
  2. Plan to go to bed at the same time every day.
  3. Force yourself to schedule your strength training. Everything else that needs to happen, will happen around that.


Menno’s Bio:

Menno Henselmans is a physique coach, fitness model and scientific author. A former business consultant specialized in advanced statistical data analysis, he traded his company car to do what he’s truly passionate about: help serious trainees attain their ideal physique. His background in science and statistics led to his Bayesian Bodybuilding method.
You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter and check out his website for many free articles.


Links and Resources