Many women tend to avoid cycling in the belief that this will give them monster quads, such as VMOs (vastus medialis oblique).
What’s more, the idea of having this teardrop-like above in their kneecaps leads to the picture of bodybuilding women having bulked-up physiques, which others think as not lady-like.
Sure, many bodybuilding women tend to have leaner and stronger muscles than other women. However, there some still look very feminine; they even look way hotter. Anyway, bear in mind that the primary goal and health benefit of bodybuilding is to promote muscular development and support overall fitness and health.
In bodybuilding, cardio conditioning is necessary to lose excess fat and stimulate metabolism work better, even when you’re inactive. One of the most all-around cardiovascular exercises is cycling. In this article, we will provide you with information on how cycling benefits female bodybuilders and whether women should have the same training plan as men.
Why Women Should Do A Different Training Plan
The workout routines of women and men need to have a slight distinction due to each hormonal differences. There are four specific reasons for this, specifically: women tend to have lower testosterone levels, higher estrogen levels, more body fat, and monthly menstrual period.
First, women tend to have a hard time to build muscles due to lesser amounts of testosterone, which is the male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid that promotes muscle building. This anabolic hormone is responsible for regulating and stimulating protein synthesis, which process to muscles to be bigger. That’s why men are more muscular than women because they have a higher testosterone level.
Second, in addition to sex hormones, women have more estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone. This hormone is the main cause of women’s quick weight gain when stop exercising, which is related to the next reason.
Third, women have more body fat compared to men, causing women to have less muscle defined body. In contrast, men’s body is a bit flexible. They can stay leaner even they’re throwing nutrition out their window and be inactive at the same time. This is because men tend to ‘slowly’ add fat due to testosterone, which also acts as a fat-burning hormone.
Ultimately, it’s deemed necessary to point out the monthly menstruation that women encounter. Some training might be too overwhelming for a few women, which can lead to inconsistencies in their plans. Worse is, other training plans might be detrimental and can be possibly linked to women’s irregular menstruation cycles.
Cycling for Female Bodybuilders
As stated, women tend to have a higher fat mass in their body. This is the last thing that a female bodybuilder needs. However, women can get rid of those unwanted fats and add leaner muscles through a proper diet and training plan.
Cardiovascular exercises, to be specific, are one the ways to lose excess fat effectively while building up leaner muscles. These activities keep one’s heart elevated, which leads to burning off calories and fats.
In bodybuilding, our goal of muscle development focuses on losing fat, becoming leaner, building up muscle, and increasing muscle endurance. All of these can be easily achieved through cycling. Here’s how cycling helps you as a female bodybuilder:
Promotes muscle mass
Cycling is an excellent way to build and tone muscles, especially in the lower half of your body, including your thighs, calves, and rear end. If you’re suffering from joint conditions on hips taken from body lifting training, cycling is the best low-impact exercise for you.
Take note: it does ‘tone,’ not make your legs huge. As it is an aerobic exercise, cycling improves your leg muscles by training the endurance of your leg muscle fiber. This process will cause your legs to be resistant against fatigue, not to bulk up.
What about those cyclists with super high thigh circumference? In addition to time spent on cycling, they are likely to spend more time in the gym lifting more weights, while wearing lifting belts (compare lifting belts here). Mass with an increase in power results from regular training with additional weights, not on cycling.
Rebuilds heart and lung strength, making you leaner
High-intensity cycling tends to exceed one’s heart and lung capacity. As a result, you’ll be burning more calories. It’s recommended that you get a high-intensity cycling session with an interval training of 20 minutes, which is typically 85% of one’s maximum heart rate. Do two sessions of this in a week.
Improves metabolism and burn more calories
Have you heard that cycling is good for your waistline? The higher the intensity of cycling, the more chances that your weight will go down. This is because cycling is a cardio exercise, which tends to expand your lungs and increase your heart rate that can lead to calorie burn.
Every time you work out in your fat-burning heart rate zone (that moment you’re out of your breath while exercising), your body naturally taps into your fat store for more energy. As an increased heart rate meeds more energy production, it also stimulates the metabolic process. Furthermore, resistance training is also one of the also factors for weight loss.
Prevents many health disorders
Of course, female bodybuilders aim to retain good health, as well. As it is linked with improved cardiovascular fitness, studies also show that cycling may decrease the risk of osteoporosis, which is very common to many women. Further, the following are the other health disorders that cycling may prevent:
- Coronary heart disease
- Bone injuries and arthritis
- Obesity and weight control
- Mental illness
Despite having longer lives than men, women are still prone to bone and mass loss as they age. Bodybuilding and cycling have been found out to reduce the risks of these two disorders. Recent research also shows that regular cycling is linked to life longevity due to the health benefits it offers. Hence, taking these all of these into consideration, integrating bodybuilding and cycling is to women.