It’s no myth that men lose weight faster and seemingly easier than women. As unfair as it may be, if the average man and the average woman were put on a weight loss and workout program of similar intensity, the man would undoubtedly reach his goal weight sooner than his female counterpart.
It’s not a matter of lacking effort or willpower on the part of the woman; the reasons are actually sound and scientific. Thankfully the success or failure of our fat loss program doesn’t necessarily have to rely on our sex.
There are things both men and women can do to boost their natural fat burning potential and bring about a more satisfactory, level playing field.
While we may not have total control over our gender, our hormones, age or body type, we have complete reign over what we do with our bodies. We can control the food we fuel with and the workouts we perform.
A combination of Metabolic Resistance Training, Interval workouts and a balanced diet is certain to bring out the lean, ripped physique hiding under layers of fat no matter what your situation may be.
Hormonal Differences and the Fat Loss Connection
Men and women have the same hormones running through their bodies in drastically different amounts. This of course is what makes us different. Hormones control every aspect of our lives whether that’s weight loss, strength and muscle gains, emotions, reproduction or sleep patterns
While women produce small amounts of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are the predominant hormones in the female body. The amount found in the blood will fluctuate dramatically depending upon where a woman is in her cycle. This fluctuation will account for upset in mood, cravings and water retention, which can add a degree of difficulty during a fat loss program.
When estrogen levels decline, as in menopause for example, body fat tends to accumulate as the metabolism naturally slows and fat is stored more readily. This is why young women in their teens and twenties generally have an easier time staying lean without too much effort. While working out and following a balanced diet are always important, it becomes even more crucial as women age.
Paradoxically, if estrogen levels are too high, this will also lead to the accumulation of body fat. Excessive levels of estrogen can occur naturally in some women and may require medical intervention, however many people can help to alleviate estrogen dominance by following a balanced, high fibre diet, rich in whole foods and by being diligent and consistent with their workouts.
Men also produce estrogen but in significantly lower amounts than women. This is one of the reasons that fat loss appears to be a simpler process for them.
While female hormones can have a dramatic effect of fat accumulation, there are things that can be done to help balance out the effects.
Metabolic Resistance training, along with high intensity interval training will offer a huge advantage to both men and women. Both types of training elicit a massive calorie burn and leave the body in a fat burning state for up to 48 hours after a single workout. This can really help combat the effect of those fat storing hormones.
The combination of full body exercises, done back to back, such as you’ll find in an MRT workout, really spikes the heart rate while generating a growth response from the muscles. The interval training will leave your heart and lungs in a state of complete exhaustion, creating an oxygen debt that your body will be working hard to pay back for hours on end.
MRT workouts will shred through the calories while sculpting muscle simultaneously. Not only will this help strengthen, tone and increase musculature, it will also lead to an indirect, constant use of calories. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so by replacing fat with muscle tissue, your body will require the use of more calories while looking that much sleeker and sexier.
Testosterone and Growth Hormone
Testosterone is known as the muscle building male hormone. Women produce it as well, but in much, much smaller quantities. This is why most men are naturally bigger and stronger than most women. It’s also the reason men will have an easier time shedding fat. It’s not sexist; it’s science.
Think of a young man in his twenties and how energetic, strong and naturally muscular he may be. Often, young men can eat until they are almost sick and still keep a somewhat lean physique. This is thanks to an abundance of natural testosterone levels. As that same man ages, and testosterone levels naturally taper off, there will be a resulting decline in muscle mass and energy and a rise in body fat accumulation.
Nevertheless, no matter what stage a man is at in life, he will have a higher concentration of testosterone in his blood than a woman and that is what creates a more muscular physique.
This naturally occurring, higher ratio of muscle to fat is in part what makes men shed fat faster than women. As mentioned previously, muscle tissue uses a greater number of calories than that of fat. More calories burned translates to more fat burned. Simply being born with a greater capacity for lean tissue gives men the calorie burning advantage.
MRT and interval training have both been shown to have somewhat dramatic effects on both testosterone and human growth hormone levels. The intensity of the workout will cause both of these anabolic hormones to spike in men, creating the perfect muscle building, fat burning environment.
While a similar spike in anabolic hormones will be generated in the women that follow this type of training women, the amounts aren’t as significant. However, due to the small amount of testosterone and growth hormone that occur naturally in the female body, any increase may be of value. This makes MRT and interval training a very worthwhile and effective method of working out for both sexes.
Regardless of sex, the combination of metabolic resistance training and intervals will produce the most dramatic results when it comes to your physique. Although men may enjoy a natural advantage, women will reap similar rewards, albeit a little less rapidly.
To your success,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer