Is weight loss harder for women? Maybe it feels like it if it’s always like a mirage on the horizon for you.
Maybe you hit the gym 4-6 times a week, eat barely anything and still nothing! No inch-loss, no toning, no nothing.
Do you ever wonder, ‘is it this hard for everyone?’. Or whether weight loss is actually harder for women? Well, maybe its just not fair, maybe weight loss is harder for women!
Before I begin please check out the 6 mistakes keeping you fat, because this will explain what to actually do in the gym.
Now, assuming you have your training sorted, you periodise it, you perform HIIT intervals and resistance with compound exercises and you don’t shy away from the weights room, all backed up with nutrition fit for (weight loss) queens, then maybe there is a reason you’re struggling to lose weight and shift the stomach fat, blast away the bingo wings, and get your body back!
Gender Differences In Response To Exercise
In the modern world women and men are treated as equals. But is nature treating us equally? Is nature making it harder for women to lose inches around their posteriors when compared to men?
Well, actually maybe we’re on to something.
Is Weight Loss Harder For Women?
So, is weight loss harder for women? You might have heard of the apple and pear analogy of body types, and generally men being android, holding their body fat around their mid section, and women being gynoid, or pear shaped, having slim upper body with excess body fat being held in the lower body.
This storage of fat is down to our hormones, and it appears that in fact, it is easier for men to lose fat deposited around the stomach (android) than it is for (women) to lose fat around their lower body (gynoid).
According to Katch et al (2007) a study of 53 research papers on this topic concluded that men generally respond more favourably than women to the effects of exercise on weight loss.
Why? Because of this difference in body fat distribution between android and gynoid morphology.
Android fat, or upper body fat, displays active characteristics of lipolysis in response to sympathetic nervous system stimulation. As a result of this, it is easier to mobilise for energy during exercise.
The result of this, in a nut shell, and probably not what you want to hear if you are female and gynoid, is that males respond more favourably and have increased sensitivity to losing stomach fat in response to exercise – men lose fat more easily.
In addition to this, women are more effective at preserving body fat stores of energy in response to exercise or energy balance (calories out exceeds calories in).
Eating behaviour has also been shown to be affected by exercise, with men generally having greater appetite suppression than women post exercise.
How Can Women Lose Weight More Easily?
Estrogen levels are higher in women than in men so that is why body fat is distributed in the differently. Alpha-andrenergic receptor density increases in response to this and makes it extremely challenging to lose fat around the bottom, hips and thigh.
So what to do about it?
Ignite your fat burning with catecholamines.
Alpha-adrenergic receptors hinder fat loss, and are found in high density in the areas mentioned, but increasing your beta-adrenergic density will mobilize and burn fat. Unfortunately the beta-adrenergic receptors are normally found in much lower levels so hindering weight loss.
What You Can Do To Lose Weight
Increase the beta, and reduce the alpha!
By adjusting your nutrition to avoid high GI carbohydrates, the alphas can be reduced.
High intensity interval training or HIIT can increase the production of catecholamines, and assuming you are on a ‘slow carb’ nutrition plan alphas will be blocked and betas can do the fat melting work more easily.
Foods That Help Female Specific Fat Loss
You can work with your catecholamines and beta-adrenergic receptors to aid fat loss with the following foods:
- Green tea, or extract
- Caffeine – organic and ground fresh coffee, not instant!
General nutrition tips would be to increase your thermal effect of food TEF, by increasing protein intake and including lean protein at every meal.
Eat every 3-4 hours, and no processed food as all. What ever you do don’t cut your calories too much. Calculate your calorie needs, and reduce in order to create a negative calorie balance.
Take it slow.
Be careful not to rush, and try not to lose more than 2lb fat weekly because the leptin hormone will ensure that you rebound back to your initial weight, and beyond.
Don’t diet because diets don’t work. If you starve yourself you will lower your metabolism (BMR) and store fat. This is how to lose weight without dieting.
Perform short, HIIT and weight sessions 4-6x weekly, 20mins as a main set. Sessions need be no longer than 40minutes with warm up an cool down.
If you’re serious about fat loss, an effective way to train is to work hard in the start stop nature that interval training allows.
If you have a hard time with exercise, consider this:
What would you resist doing more?
A long slow hour long plod of a jog or walk on a treadmill. Or 10 x 30 second harder efforts with 60 seconds rest between each.
While interval training isn’t suitable for everyone, in my experience if you are able to do it, it is very effective.
I hope this is helpful. Back to the original question – is weight loss harder for women? – well yes possibly, but don’t let that be a reason not to try.
You can lose weight. Yes it may be challenging, but if you take a methodical and consistent approach to it you will achieve your goal.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start, taking one small action that you can ‘win’ is a great start. To help you with this, I have put together a ‘weight loss cheat sheet’ that can be found below. This will help you to build the foundation skills needed to achieve improved health, body composition and performance.
Have fun and let me know how you get on,