Frustrated you're not getting the same results as your partner? Champion ironwoman and ocean athlete Karla Gilbert explains why guys have the upper hand in the weight-loss game:
As the sun begins to rise earlier and fill our mornings with warmth, many begin toying with the idea of kickstarting their fitness regime.
Actually committing to the routine can be the most challenging part, which is why it helps to call on the help of partners and friends to assist with accountability and company while we sweat it out. While this somewhat innocent act is all good to begin with, it can quickly lead to disgruntlement among the female ranks as there's a realisation that women have to work harder to achieve the same results as men.
Enter the male v. female weight-loss equation.
I don't mean to place any dampeners on females and their efforts to achieve their fitness goal. The point I am trying to make is that if females follow the same kind of sessions as their male counterparts, eat the same amounts of food and expect the same results, it just ain't gonna happen. And this is why:
1. Female resting metabolic rates are 5-10 per cent lower than men's. So even when not working out, they are burning more kilojoules just by doing nothing. Cruel!
2. Since a woman's body naturally produces lower levels of testosterone it has been proven in studies that we have to work a lot harder to get the same results in the gym as men as their bodies generally respond more dramatically to the increase in the workload ... hence why it can be difficult for women to build lean muscles like men.
3. Guys have a larger lung capacity which allows them to push harder and longer in conditions such as high altitude or harsh temperatures.
4. Females tend to associate getting fit with aerobic work like walking, dancing and swimming whereas males tend to head straight to the gym to pump iron. This, of course, leads to an increase in lean muscle mass for men, which actively turns up their metabolism furnace.
5. Women are an emotional bunch who tend to rely on food to solve the problems of the world. It's just how we evolved - women are meant to be the nurturers and protect the species.
6. In regards to goals and setting standards, women tend to be a little overzealous, which sometimes leads to feelings of failure. Guys, however, usually have a better body image and this gives them a massive head start.
Sounds unfair huh? Well yeah, it kinda is, but in saying that I am putting it out there that I think women are better able to deal with the management of stress, of showing up and training consistently harder than men because we are genetically programmed to do so.
So if you're a female, what can you learn from this? The first thing is to get yourself on a lifting and resistance routine. This will not only help define and sculpt, but increase lean muscle mass to boost your resting metabolic rate.
Next, begin understanding your emotional eating habits and how you can let go of destructive patterns. Regardless of how much exercise you're doing, if your eating patterns are out of kilter then weight loss will be an uphill battle.
Finally, decrease the amount of time spent on slow cardio and replace it with shorter, huffier puffier intensity. Funny things happen to women's bodies when they do too much cardio. Cortisol levels rise and adrenal glands kick in, turning on the "store fat” switch.
Bursts of exercise followed by short rests have been shown to be an effective way of tapping into stored body fat.