The difference between men and women when it comes to exercising and/or losing weight
We all know that there are many differences between men and women. When it comes to exercising and wanting to lose body fat, we have to start at the beginning and look at these differences.
The big difference is where we store body fat. For men, it is the chest, midsection, love handles, upper back and lower back. For women, it is the arms (especially the triceps), hips (muffin top), thighs, calves, upper back and buttocks.
One of the main reasons why we struggle to get rid of excess body fat is our hormones. Both men and women carry oestrogen and testosterone in their bodies. It is the ratio of these hormones that will impact what happens as we age and where we store our body fat. Women are made to bear children, thus that area will be more prone to excess body fat than their back. However, both men and women can carry excess weight in areas where the other would normally not have it (especially when we look at eating habits and exercise/non-exercise routines). Due to the higher levels of testosterone in men, they carry more visceral fat (this is fat that is deeper inside the abdominal cavity) This is a very dangerous fat and again, women can also carry it around.
Women, on the other hand, has higher oestrogen-levels, thus their fat is subcutaneous (it is just underneath the skin), giving it a dimpled (orange peel) appearance.
Visceral fat is more easily visible because of the receptors in the adipose tissue that bind to the fat (think of men’s bellies), whereas subcutaneous fat is stored in different areas, due to the levels of oestrogen (as mentioned earlier, it can be the triceps, thighs, buttocks, and so forth).
So…how do we fix it? Is there a quick fix, a quick diet, or a quick plan? The answer is…no.
Don’t despair as there is hope! Nutrition is key, as well as a good exercise-plan / routine. Women and men will both benefit from strength training / weight-bearing exercises. Resistance training and/or high intensity interval training is another good routine. Stretching, swimming, cycling, walking or running should be done in-between.
Jeff Cavaliere, an American Fitness and Rehabilitation Specialist, who trains international athletes, said the following on his YouTube-channel Athlean-X: “There is no such thing as a quick fix. Ladies, if you’re worried that you’re going to build bulky muscles with strength-training; you won’t because you’ll lose the stubborn fat while building lean muscles. And men; you cannot only train without a good eating plan. Nutrition plays a huge role in whether or not you lose the excess body fat or not.”
Here is an example of Jeff’s nutritional plan – and the key is balance!
40 % fibrous carbs of vegetables and fruits;
20% starchy carbs (sweet potato, wholegrains, etc).
Adding the “good fats” like olive oil and butter, to your diet, is important, as long as it is in moderation.
Other foods that can aid the body to balance the hormonal-changes / fluctuations, according to Jeff, are Ginger, Red grapes, Mushrooms, Oysters and Cruciferous vegetables.
Another very important factor to look at is your stress-levels. Staying balanced also includes being emotionally balanced. Stress can and will play havoc on your health, your hormones and your general well-being. Many people eat when they are under stress, which just adds to the already-existing problem. Thus, it is vital to maintain an inner and outer balance. Stretching, being out in nature, meditating, reading and listening to relaxing music, are all ways to destress.
Overall, one must remember that the chemicals (hormones) and family genetics play a big role in how your body burns and stores fat. Nutrition is the most important thing to look at, not just training. In the end, it is best to build lean muscle progressively and to maintain balance, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
And remember – balance, just like drinking enough water, is key!