Have you ever wondered why it seems to be harder for women to reach their fitness goals relative to men? Perhaps you are a female gym goer struggling to lose weight, or maybe you are a woman trying to pack on some muscle, or maybe you are a male who wants to help a woman in your life be more successful in accomplishing your fitness goals? Whoever you are, I can tell you that I have heard many women observe that they are beating themselves up in the gym for every quarter pound of weight loss while their male counterparts seem to lose weight as easy as it is to turn on a treadmill (okay, maybe not that easy… but some treadmills are complicated). Well if you think that… YOU ARE RIGHT!
Men and women are built differently. It is just that simple. In terms of exercise physiology men have characteristics that women just don’t have (or have less of) that contribute to weight loss and lean muscle gain. There are a few factors that I will touch on in this article: Hormones and Psychology.
1. HORMONAL PROFILE
Men and women have differing hormone levels that lead to different characteristics. The big two here are Testosterone and Estrogen. Both of these hormones play a large role in bringing about male and female sex characteristics – but we will save that for biology and sex ed classrooms (don’t hold your breath for that blog post). We are more concerned with what impact they have on exercise.
Although both hormones are vital for overall health, testosterone is a major hormone in increasing muscle mass. Unfortunately for women, men have much more of it then women. Estrogen on the other hand plays a large role in fat storage. And guess who has more estrogen? You got it… women.
So hormones play a large role in your likelihood of burning fat as well as putting on muscle, which have huge implications for exercise.
It is likely no surprise that men and women think differently, and this is largely due to our psychological tendencies to attract a mate. Now, before you gasp and refuse to believe this, we should actually be thankful as it has allowed us to be (reasonably) successful as a species. Men tend to want to look bigger and workout in a way that reflects this (too many guys cringe at the thought of hopping on a treadmill) while women tend to want to look smaller (too many ladies cringe at the thought of lifting weights). Of course this is a gross over-generalization but speaking from experience in the exercise world, this plays out every day in your typical gym. Where women are concerned (don’t worry, we will get to men on another blog post), it would be very helpful to not be afraid to get bigger – I speak in the strict sense of putting on muscle.
One of the best things a woman can do to lose weight, is to LIFT weight! Don’t be afraid to bulk up! As mentioned above, women lack the hormones to truly bulk up, but they will put on lean and toned muscle when regularly resistance training. It takes calories to feed and maintain that muscle which has a huge affect on metabolism. Think about it… where would those calories be going if you did not have that muscle? Right to the stomach and hips… and not in the form of sleek abs or a shapely butt!
Now to address the virtual elephant in the electronic room… I am not a woman. I cannot truly know the struggles that women face when trying to lose weight compared to men. But I have trained enough women to know that these obstacles can be overcome. It is likely true that women have to work harder than men to accomplish their health/wellness goals, but with the proper guidance and motivation, it can be done! It does not matter if you are a man, woman, or something in between!
If you would like more information on this topic, I highly encourage you to check out our next workshop at Refine Fitness Studio, Fat Loss Secrets for Females on March 6th 7:00pm at the Women’s Only Club in Tecumseh, March 8th 6pm at Refine Fitness Studio in Walkerville, and March 9th 7pm at Anytime Fitness in Lasalle. This is a FREE workshop for both Members and Non-Members of Refine Fitness Studio. Participants will dive deeper into the challenges that women face when exercising as well as case studies of actual Refine clients who have had great success and what they did to achieve those results.
If interested, sign up by clicking the link below – Be sure to sign up right away as SPACE IS LIMITED!