When you say it, it’s pretty obvious the difference between Men & Women all comes down to Hormones but what we need to understand is how these hormones affect both sexes differently when it comes to weight loss.
When it comes to wanting to lose weight the formula we normally think about is reducing calories and exercising more and this is a really good starting place but it’s also really helpful to understand our Biochemistry.
Estrogen in the female body helps to store fat in certain areas of the body, breasts, hips, bottom and thighs and in the right quantities it helps women to build muscle which gives them a lean and toned physique. If Estrogen levels drop then this is when the body shape changes and more fat appears around the waist area.
Progesterone opposes the impact of Estrogen and makes the female more likely to store fat and lose muscles, however it does help to stop the actions of Cortisol and helps to keep the waist slim.
During the menstrual cycle these hormones levels changes dramatically and Estrogen levels both during the week of the period and week after dominates over Progesterone and then Progesterone takes over and becomes more dominant.
During other periods of a females life
Pregnancy: High Estrogen / High Progesterone
Peri-menopause: High Estrogen / Lower Progesterone ( waists tend to get bigger )
Menopause: Lower Estrogen and Progesterone ( hence why a women’s shape changes a lot after menopause to become more masculine ).
The other thing that can impact these hormones is extreme stress as this will lower both hormones and relatively speaking will give the female body a higher level of Testosterone and therefore belly fat!
For men it’s all about Testosterone, this make men more likely to burn fat and build muscle and is the main reason why men’s waists are thicker than females. In healthy levels it also helps men avoid the dreaded ‘man-boobs’.
Again stress can have a big impact as this causes a rise in Estrogen and a reduction in Testosterone leading to bigger bellies and fat on the chest. By doing things that release Testosterone naturally and decreasing stress this is the trick to staying lean.
So how does this effect how we should work out differently?
There are 4 main areas to focus on during your workouts and using the principle of Metabolic Effect training ( which we here at Fit For Moore believe firmly in ) these are:
For ladies you need to focus on the first 2 of these so when you are working out you should get your body to the point of feeling out of breath as well as feeling a burning sensation in your muscles. It’s important not to make the weight ‘ too ‘ heavy so that you can only manage a small number of repetitions but you should be getting to a point where you get to between 12 / 15 repetitions there is a real burning feeling in your muscles. If the weight is too light then you’ll just keep going and so will never reach this feeling.
Another really important part is to focus on the ‘ chill ‘ factor. By this we mean, relaxing, stretching. walking (or should I say ambling!) So if you come for your 30 minute workout have a gentle amble around the shops after or in the park and incorporate some Yoga / Pilates / Tai chi / massage into your routine. Also a tip for Menopausal females is to focus on a lower Carb diet, not a lower calorie diet whilst incorporating dome weight training and chill out activities.
For the men then the focus needs to be on Heavy and burning as this will release the most amount of Testosterone. Going for a workout where you lift heavy and then add in a superset ( burn -out ) exercise at the end will give you the heavy and then the burn.