Ladies, does this scenario sound for familiar? You go on a diet, eating nothing but vegetables and grilled chicken, work out everyday, and only lose a couple of pounds. Your man, on the other hand, keeps to his couch potato ways, but cuts out beer for 2 weeks and drops 10 like it's nothing. Frustrating? You betcha! Something wrong with you? Nope, just another hardship we women must endure. You've always suspected it and it is true...Men DO have an easier time losing weight. Here's why:
MEN HAVE MORE MUSCLE MASS
The more muscle mass a person has, the more calories burned in a 24 hour period. Because women have less muscle, they have to work harder to lose fat. A man could be working at 50% of his capacity during physical activity, but a woman would have to be working at 70% of her capacity to burn the same amount. Not fair. Since a woman has less muscle, that means she has more fat cells. And those fat cells are also 5x lager than men's. Women are also programmed to store and hold on to fat more. (You know, that whole baby making and housing thing)
WOMEN CRASH DIET MORE
Too many women (practically never men, right?) will starve themselves to get into their skinny jeans. Well, this just makes matters worse. When a woman eats too few calories per day (under 1200 calories) her body thinks there is a famine and thus holds onto fat for dear life by activating and multiplying fat-storing enzymes. Even worse, her fat cells become less efficient at releasing fat. Some studies have shown that severe dieting can reduce fat releasing enzymes by 50%!!! Most of the weight loss on a crash diet comes from muscle and water. Thus, your metabolism slows even more and you end up gaining even more weight after the crash. Alas, the vicious cycle.
THE ESTROGEN FACTOR
Estrogen, the female sex hormone, has been found to multiply those good old fat-storing enzymes. That's why the two periods in a woman's life when estrogen floods her system (puberty and pregnancy) are the times when a woman is more likely to store fat. Also, hormone fluctuations make women more susceptible to injuries, especially knee problems. Therefore, they end up taking more time off from exercise. Oh and just in case you were wondering, Testosterone, on the hand, encourages the production of fat-releasing enzymes. Errr.....
THE FIRST FEW WEEKS OF EXERCISE
Now here's one I didn't even know. During the first few weeks of exercise a woman's body (again) thinks it's going into starvation mode and her metabolism slows to preserve her weight. (A man's metabolism on the other hand kicks up to high gear) The good news is this metabolism slowing for women only lasts 2-3 weeks. The bad news is a woman needs to start an exercise program and stick with it! Starting and stopping is not a good idea.
HOW TO BEAT THE SYSTEM
So what is a frustrated gal to do?
*As just mentioned you need to work out a minimum of 3 times per week, period. No stopping and starting. Take your rest days, not rest weeks.
*Make sure you do 2-3 strength training sessions per week to gain lean muscle mass. No, running on the treadmill is not enough. (As a side note, when I started adding weights to my workout that's when my body transformed)
*And speaking of the treadmill, switch it up. Since women are prone to injury, doing the same thing over and over is not a good idea. It's important to cross-train.
* DON'T STARVE YOURSELF! Yes, you still need to pay attention to calories, carbs and portions. But going under 1200 calories is a recipe for disaster. If you're working out you should aim for 1400 to 1700 per day.
So the next time your boyfriend, brother, father or male co-worker complains that he's got it rough, just smile politely knowing that you know the real truth. And if that doesn't make you feel better go ahead and hide his Doritos. Hey if you can't have them, why should he?