Do Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women?


I have spent many years working in health care, with physical fitness, exercise, proper nutrition and personal trainers. You hear and see it all when you spend time around gyms and around athletes exercising and training.

I have seen the empty, used packets of human growth hormone in gym bathrooms. I have seen the gym bunny who wears makeup to work out and then spends most of her exercise time talking and being social.

I have seen people sabotage themselves unconsciously when trying to lose weight. I see people who work out on a treadmill for 30 minutes and burn about 200 calories, then go reward themselves afterwards with fried chicken from a local gas station down the street (500 to 600 calories), eliminating most of the health benefits they may have gotten from exercise.

Let me say that I believe it is more important to exercise to feel better then it is to focus on losing weight. I have heard so many excuses as to why someone is not able to exercise and get into shape or lose weight. Everyone always has an excuse as to why they are not able to exercise and lose weight. That is why I found it interesting when I read a recent news story that has been making the rounds.

This story addresses the myth that men lose weight faster and more easily than women do. A man can do the same work out at the same intensity as a woman, and the man will still burn more calories during that work out.

Men usually weigh more than women, and have more lean muscle mass. Therefore when they exercise, the man will burn more calories proportionally, than a woman who weighs less. The man won’t lose any more weight than the woman. The man and woman are losing the same amount of weight proportionally compared to their overall weight.

I saw a great example of this when I worked on the Steelers during their training camps in the summer. It is normal for professional football players to be 300 to 350 pounds, if they play on the line. When a 300 pound guy is in full pads and running around for a few hours, twice a day, in 80 to 90 degree heat, they will sweat a lot and lose a lot of water.

It is normal for someone to lose a certain percentage of their body weight (usually from water weight) when doing intense exercise. It is normal and usual for people to lose roughly 1% to 2% of their body weight, if not more, during a workout like this.

If someone weighs 200 pounds and does a 2 hour intense cardio-vascular work out in the heat, they can easily lose 2 to 4 pounds of water weight. They will put that weight back on pretty quickly, usually by the next day or two. But they will lose weight initially after exercise.

I remember working on this one offensive lineman at the Steelers Training Camp who had lost ten pounds in one day of exercising. He put it back on by the next day. Overall he did lose some weight from going through six weeks of professional football training camp. But not ten pounds every day. Otherwise he would have wasted away to nothing.

My point is that for me to lose ten pounds of even just water weight, I would have to do some pretty extreme and intense exercising. It would be almost impossible for me to do that. But for someone who weighs more than double of what I do, it is possible, and usual.

Weight loss is all relative. If you are a woman who weighs 150, you can’t compare how many calories you burned during a workout to a male who is 250 pounds. If these two types of people do the same workout at the same intensity, the heavier male will burn more calories. Proportionally though, compared to their own body weight, they will be burning about the same.

Information is coming out about how men tend to lose weight faster than women do, at first. But this effect is short term.

In a study out of England, men and women were put on commercial weight loss programs such as Atkins, Slim-fast and Weight Watchers. After 2 months the men had lost twice as much body weight as the women did, and 3 times as much body fat. By 6 months however, the weight loss had evened out.

Men have the advantage of extra testosterone and less estrogen. Men on average tend to have more lean muscle mass. From puberty to menopause, women hold more body fat then men do, an assumed evolutionary adaption to help with pregnancy. Women on average have between 6% and 11% more body fat then men.

This doesn’t mean that women are less healthy than men. Just because someone has more body fat on them doesn’t make them less healthy. A perfectly fit woman will still have 6% to 11% more body fat than a healthy man.

A person who is overweight and exercising and watching what they eat will be healthier than someone of normal weight who doesn’t exercise and isn’t careful about what they eat.

Men and women tend to hold their weight in different parts of their bodies. Men tend to gain and hold weight around their midsection. Women tend to carry weight around their thighs and hips, thus giving them the classic pear shape. Since women’s weight is more spread out, it is theorized that this makes it harder to lose the weight.

Weight around the mid section is easier to lose, and easier to notice when weight is lost. But the weight around the mid section is associated with greater health risks than the weight that women carry around their hips and thighs. Health risks include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Since women carry more fat on their body, they tend to burn more of it during exercise. Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale – Griffin Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine, said that “the fat women find it hardest to lose, is generally the least harmful to health.”

Regardless of your gender or size, or your state of physical fitness, it is possible, probable, and easier than you think to get into shape, feel better, and reshape your body.

I feel that it is important to focus on exercising to feel better rather than to look better. If you focus on  exercising and eating right, rather than focusing on losing 10 to 20 pounds, you will stick with exercise and end up losing weight without focusing on it. A watched pot never boils. Getting into shape can be easy to do. All it takes is consistency, rather than intensity.

The Pain Free Lifestyle program is set up to take you from not exercising at all to getting into an appropriate exercise routine. It also takes you from not watching what you eat to eating a healthy, well  balanced diet. It takes you through small, easy to follow steps that are slowly and gradually added on throughout weeks to months to make it as easy as possible to stick with.

Exercise and eat right to feel better, not just to look better. It is the Pain Free Way.



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