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It’s widely believed that it’s easier for men to shift a few pounds than it is for women, but how true is that belief? Is your weight loss wellness really so dependent on your sex? The short – and annoying – answer is; yes.
According to Mark Fenton, author of The Complete Guide to Walking, a study found that women lost more weight when they cut their caloric intake by 250 a day and walked off another 250 compared to women who tried to diet away the whole 500 calories every day. This is because walking tones and builds your muscles, and so muscles may be a key factor in efficient weight loss.
So if muscle mass is key in weight loss, it may shed some light on why men might lose weight more easily. Women have a greater percentage of body fat and about half the amount of muscle mass than a man of the same size. This is important in the wellbeing of your future kids, as the higher fat percentage, concentrated for women in the hips and thighs, plays a role in pregnancy and nursing. A man tends to gain more weight in the stomach area, which experts say it an easier area to lose fat from.
Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Mark A. Tarnopolsky led a study entitled “Sex Differences in Exercise Metabolism and the Role of 17-Beta Estradiol,” which found that oestrogen in women’s bodies predispose them to store and retain fat more readily than a man. The study also noted that, during exercise, women oxidise more lipids rather than carbohydrates and protein, meaning that they have to work harder to lose weight at the same rate as men.
A woman’s body is also designed to store fat and slow metabolism, as you need to preserve body fat for reproduction. Plus, because males tend to be taller and more broad-chested than females, men have a 25-20% greater lung capacity than women. Therefore, men have an extra endurance advantage in the exercise stakes, simply because they breathe in more oxygen. None of this is to say that women are incapable of losing weight, but rather that women need to condition themselves for exercise, and build lean muscles, to keep up with the boys in weight loss.