Have you ever noticed how the men in your life seem to drop body fat the second they even think about it? While you may have spent every second day since Christmas stomping away on the stairmaster after a heavy weightlifting session and seeing slow, slowwwww results, the men around us can lazily turn down their fourth helping of spaghetti bolognese and somehow drop 5lb by Tuesday.
Endocrinologist Gregory Henderson described three main differences in the way exercise affects the metabolic rate of women:
- The fat cells of women release less fat into the bloodstream during exercise than men.
- Exercise affects resting fuel (fat) oxidation to a greater degree in men than in women.
- Exercise will inhibit the triglyceride response to food to a greater degree in men than in women.
So, women are at a metabolic disadvantage when it comes to exercise and fat loss. However, you can just ignore this, because it doesn't much matter.
The truth is, when it comes to fat loss, male or female, exercise is technically an ineffective way to do it. Sounds weird, right? Just hear me out.
Some women (and men) try to lose weight by lifting weights, or lifting weights and taking really brief rest periods, or pounding away on a treadmill during their lunch breaks. You have to remember that the highest recorded energy expenditure during a weight lifting workout is about 8 kcal per minute, which isn't much different than what you'd burn if you walked to your local shop.
Doing a single rep of most weight lifting exercises doesn't burn any more calories than sitting in a chair, just breathing. Of course, we're not suggesting you don't exercise!
So what are we suggesting?
- If you want to lose fat, eat fewer calories. It's the only thing that works.
- Lift weights to shape your body.
- Do cardio to improve energy levels, endurance, and the health of your heart.
- To lose weight, diet. If you just do something as simple as replacing your normal lunch with a high protein meal and water, you'll get much more significant fat loss effects than you would spending your lunch hour flailing away on a stairmaster.