Why Do Men Lose Weight Faster than Women? Here's the Scoop

Man in gym on treadmill putting head phone in
Gary Burchell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you're a woman, you're probably aware of the fact that men seem to lose weight faster than women do and how completely unfair that is.

Take my husband (...please).  There was a time when it seemed like he could do 20 situps, run around the block five times and lose 10 pounds.  Meanwhile, I was eating so much salad, lettuce was growing out of my ears and working out like crazy, all for a measly one or two pounds.

As unfair as it is, this is a documented phenomenon...and not just by my husband, who's explanation was, "Na-nanny boo boo."  Very mature, dear.

Actually, there are some very good reasons that there's such a difference between men and women when it comes to weight loss, most of them physiological reasons that we simply have no control over.

Once you know what these factors are, you can go on your own weight loss journey because, really, comparing results may make you feel like you're not making progress, so why bother? 

Well, you are making progress...it just isn't the same kind of progress that men may experience.

Why Men Lost It Faster

  1. Men have more muscle. One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that, of 468 men and women, men had significantly more muscle, about 10-15% more.  The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you're at rest, so it stands to reason that men will lose weight faster simply because they have more metabolically active muscle.
  1. Women are predisposed to store and retain fat. Women have higher levels of estrogen, a hormone that works works to keep the fat on a woman's body so it's easier for her to get pregnant. That means women have to work harder to lose weight at the same rate as men.
  2. Men's bodies respond more quickly to exercise. Women's bodies, meanwhile, actually go into a sort of starvation mode, slowing the metabolism to hang onto more fat.
  1. Women may have a lower tolerance for exercise. Women have smaller lung capacity than men, which can make women feel as though they are working harder than men even if the women are working at the same level. This can also make exercise feel harder in the heat or high humidity.

This doesn't mean it's impossible for women to lose weight and, when you think about, there are excellent reasons behind a woman's tendency to store fat. After all, creating and nurturing a new life is nothing to sneeze at.

It's always best to avoid comparing yourself to others, whether male or female, when it comes to weight loss. Everyone loses weight differently, and genes, along with hormones, play a large role in how quickly some people lose weight. 

Sources:

Harms, Craig; Rosenkranz, Sara. Sex Differences in Pulmonary Function during Exercise. Med Sci Sports & Exerc. 40(4):664-668, April 2008.

Janssen I, Heymsfield S, and Wang Z. "Skeletal Muscle Mass and Distribution in 468 Men and Women Aged 18–88 Yr." Journal of Applied Physiology 89.1 (2000): 81-88. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. .

Tarnopolsky, Mark A. Sex Differences in Exercise Metabolism and the Role of 17-Beta Estradiol. Med Sci Sports & Exerc. 40(4):648-654, April 2008.

Continue Reading