If you're not already a member, the boards are a great place to learn anything and everything about the ever-growing sport of Women's Bodybuilding.
Some of the answers that peaked my interest are as follows:
"Annie" a trainer of both bodybuilders and figure competitors said:
It depends on the woman as to how they will respond to weight lifting and given that response where THEY personally want to take it. I looked like a bodybuilder the minute I started lifting years ago; I am a mesomorph. I train a woman, Rachael McMillan who is very similar in body type to myself and she responds just as well. She is a bodybuilder. I also train a woman who trains WITH Rachael and I and she trains just as hard as us. She does not build large amounts of muscle easily. She is a figure competitor.
The figure competitor (Sonya Garner) does the same exact workouts as Rachael and I but of course with lighter weights; however she is still lifting as heavy as she can personally lift. I adjust her workouts just weeks before contests, less sets...but that's just for a few weeks. She busts her ass with cardio...very high intensity...no low heartrates here. Rachael and I do the same. Sonya diets harder than us because she holds stubborn fat on the upper hamstrings.
In my opinion, it depends on the body type of the individual. Just because someone is 'smaller' does not mean that they do not train as hard to achieve their desired look. If some of the ladies do not train as hard because they will get 'too big' then maybe they should have chosen bodybuilding, who knows? If those 'figures' are easy for some women to attain and they do not have to train as hard, God bless them! I'll leave it at that.
"Babydoc" said her training has changed dramatically since she switched from figure to fitness:
For fitness, my workouts are specifically designed to help me with my routine; I need endurance and power to do quick, explosive movements as well as a very strong core to execute the strength moves/presses. In addition, I have on average 4-5 hours/week of gymnastics and routine practice per week.
With fitness, I also have to keep a very tight rein on my weight during the offseason--as I have to continue to tumble and work on new routine skills/elements. As you might imagine, it is very difficult to flip around and to hold your body weight up on your hands if you are carrying a lot of extra weight!
A competition diet for fitness requires more carbs and fats than a figure or bodybuilding diet since we need energy to perform a two minute routine. The weight loss must be very gradual in fitness since the routine practices get more intense as the weeks go by.
In fitness, our physiques are permitted to be a bit more muscular and harder than the figure girls. This is a result of the fitness routine training. It's darn near impossible to do a strong fitness routine and maintain the level of "softness" that the NPC/IFBB likes to see in figure.
Other folks said that the main differences for them, since switching, was diet. Most seemed to agree that other than a change in caloric-intake, they still lifted as much as they could year-round.
For more on the conversation visit the general discussion board of GeneX Magazine.
GeneX at work: