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3 Things You Need To Know About Training For the Female Physiology

Each month, the Tonal community takes on a book aimed to help crush our goals. This month, the book club dives into Roar, by Stacy Sims, PhD. 

If you want to maximize training, nutrition, and performance, all the signs tell you to find a plan that works uniquely for you. That includes your training—specifically for women

That’s what exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims, PhD., aimed at with her book, Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness To Your Female Physiology For Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body For Life. It’s also the March pick for Tonal’s book club, Read Between the Reps.

“This conversation is important because equity is important,” Sims says. “When it comes to training and sports performance, women and men are not the same. We have unique needs, and our bodies don’t react to all training protocols in the same way. This is a book that explains women’s physiology across her lifespan and how to maximize her training and performance potential by working with her unique physiology.”

Her approach gives women a framework to factor in their natural life cycles into their training program from menstruation through pregnancy and menopause. Sims has become a leading voice and advocate for women underrepresented in exercise science research, leaving a huge vacuum in knowledge specifically about women’s physiology and performance. As she said in her 2019 Ted Talk, Women Are Not Small Men, training under identical circumstances is not the most efficient or effective way to program your routine, whether the goal is general weight loss or peak athletic performance. 

“Basically most, if not all, training protocols are based on male data, which is why women find it hard to progress or make as many gains as men,” she says. “By understanding the nuances of her own physiology, it makes it easier to tweak training and nutrition to achieve her goals faster: better; more efficient, without so much of the negative self-talk that women encounter.”

Sims’ Key Takeaways from Roar:

  1. Every woman has her own unique hormone profile that can be used to enhance her training. 
  2. Trendy diets are most often based on young male data, or clinical populations, neither of which are transferable to active women. Understanding how to fuel for your body is critical to maximizing adaptations in fitness and health. 
  3. Women are not small men, and looking outside of the contemporary male lens, empowers women to take control and achieve their performance potential, whatever that performance might mean specifically to them. 

Why We Chose This Book:

We’ll continue offering the science on how to build muscle, how to unlock healthy eating strategies, and inspiring strength stories throughout the month, but in the March edition of Read Between the Reps, we’ll take a special look at women’s unique performance needs and how to optimize them.

“I feel as if I have unlocked the secret code to my body after reading Roar,” says Tonal community manager Kate Telge. “It is the manual to my body that I never knew I needed.”

About the Author:

Stacy Sims, PhD. is a female athlete health and performance specialist and Tonal advisory board member. She works as a senior research associate at Auckland University of Technology and advocates for empowering female athletes by normalizing conversations around menstruation and women’s lifecycles. 

About the Book:

Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness To Your Female Physiology For Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body For Life is a physiology-based nutrition and training guide for active women aimed to help you adapt to your unique female physiology to optimize fitness. 

3 Steps To Join Read Between the Reps: