Arcane Fire

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Women Are From Venus

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The New York Times has an interesting article up on how women might not reap the same benefits after ingesting high amounts of protein post-workout or carb-loading before a marathon as men.  The findings are interesting, yes, but what’s more shocking  is that these effects were not studied on women until now.   Sort of disturbing once you realize most magazines that you’ve read have probably advised you to eat a high protein meal for your muscles after a work-out, or when you remember most of your girlfriends who run marathons  have probably carb-loaded before the big race – all because a sports study that only tested men said that both men and women alike should do this.   Hmm.   Didn’t they teach those people running the studies that men and women were different creatures, and that their bodies behaved differently, and would probably require different training tactics?

The findings show that while men who had ingested high amounts of protein after a hard workout showed a 4% gain in overall performance, the women who participated in the study “showed no clear benefit” from it and even claimed that “their legs felt more tired and sore.”  And why doesn’t protein have the same effects on both genders?  Though the results are still a mystery, The New York Times suggests the hormone estrogen is at work here. 

Why women respond differently seems obvious. Women are, after all, awash in the hormone estrogen, which, some new science suggests, has greater effects on metabolism and muscle health than was once imagined. Some studies have found that postmenopausal women who take estrogen replacement have healthier muscles than postmenopausal women who do not. Even more striking, in several experiments, researchers from McMaster University in Canada gave estrogen to male athletes and then had them complete strenuous bicycling sessions. The men seemed to have developed entirely new metabolisms. They burned more fat and a smaller percentage of protein or carbohydrates to fuel their exertions, just as women do.

The whole article is worth a read, and ladies, as it aptly concludes: 

In the meantime, female athletes should view with skepticism the results from exercise studies that use only male subjects. As Dr. Rowlands says — echoing a chorus of men before him — when it comes to women, there’s a great deal that sports scientists “just don’t understand.”


Written by doorr

July 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in New York Times

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