Have you heard the rumor that men lose weight faster than women? Everyone has heard it, those stories about women who enter the gym with their boyfriend or husband, start a diet at the same time and do the same workouts, but their male counterpart winds up losing double the pounds that the woman does. It’s frustrating and a little crushing. You might be wondering what you’re during wrong.
Yes, men do lose weight faster than women, but only in the beginning.
Why Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women
Here are several factors why men burn fat at a greater rate than women:
1. Men Have More Muscle
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but men have more lean body mass than women do, especially in the upper body. A study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology found that, in a study of 468 men and women, men carried about 10- to 15-percent more muscle than women. Because muscle burns calories faster than fat, men tend to have faster metabolisms than women—about 5-10% faster. Pair that with testosterone, and you get rapid fat burning capabilities.
According to Chris Jordan, MS, CSCS, and director of Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Institute, “Testosterone is a powerful hormone…testosterone increases protein synthesis and lean body mass, which will then increase your resting metabolic rate. Meaning, guys will be burning more calories all day.” Meanwhile, research from the University of New South Wales, Australia reported that estrogen—the dominant hormone in the female sex—reduces women’s energy burn after eating.
2. Women Naturally Have More Body Fat
Now, while men have more muscle, women have more body fat—because of female physiology. Estrogen increases the amount of fat, boosts libido, and prepares the female body for childbearing and birth. Women naturally have 11-percent more body fat than males, but this doesn’t mean women are “fatter.” A fit woman will still have 6- to 11-percent fatter than their male counterparts, solely because of large fat stores.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to lose those stores. Without that healthy level of fat, health and wellness are sacrificed. Women might develop the female athletic triad, which is characterized by amenorrhea, disordered eating habits, and weakened bones.
3. Women Crave Sugar
Due to the menstrual cycle, many women find themselves craving sugar. Changes in blood glucose, hormones, and low levels of nutrients can cause a need for sugar. At the end of the menstrual cycle, when the period begins, estrogen and progesterone levels spike, causing increased appetite. Cortisol is also released, and the body struggles to regulate blood sugar. This rise in the stress hormone prompts a need for comfort food—in other words, fatty, salty, and sweet carbohydrates. Furthermore, a lack of nutrients, such as vitamin B12, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, trigger a craving for sugar.
Interestingly, research from the Brookhaven National Laboratory found that when men and women are primed for the sight and smell of foods like cake and pizza, men had the ability to switch off their cravings while women became fixated on their favorite foods, even after being instructed to think about something else. While the reason for this fixation has yet to be explained, researchers theorize that women are hard-wired to eat when food is available, because women need to support pregnancies.
4. Men Push Harding In The Beginning
Thanks to confidence, assertiveness, and a speedy metabolism, men tend to be overachievers in the beginning of their diet and exercise regimen. Healthy foods and workouts will accelerate male fat burning exponentially in the first few months.
Don’t worry, ladies. While men lose weight in the first few months because of their biological advantages, but women eventually catch up. In a study from the United Kingdom that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, 201 overweight women and 77 overweight men were asked to follow a selection of four diet programs, including Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, and the Rosemary Conley’s Diet and Fitness Plan, for 2-6 months. Although most men lost twice the amount of women within the first three months, by six months the rate of fat loss in both genders was equal.
5. Men Hold Body Fat Differently
Men tend to lose weight around the belly faster than women, which is why men trim down faster than women do. However, women tend to have less abdominal weight, meaning that even when you are losing that weight, it looks like you are losing less. The other contributor is how fat is distributed around the male and female body. Women have a tendency to gain weight around the hips and thighs, creating the pear shape. Men gain weight around the abdominal region first.
Men do have the genetic makeup to carry more muscle than fat, and their hormones give them an advantage, but that doesn’t mean men are superior with losing weight. Women can boost their metabolism through resistance training, clean eating, and more activity. Once you have a weight loss routine that works for you, stick with it. Though it might take some time, you will soon catch up in weight loss to the guys in the gym and will be able to sustain that for the long run.
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