Weight and Resistance Training - Why is it...




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ShannonM
12-12-2005, 08:09 PM
...that men and women lose weight differently? A couple of the mods have mentioned this and I'm curious as to how that works.


LovesBassets
12-12-2005, 08:17 PM
I have NO idea, but it sure is annoying, huh? :D

Actually, I think it may have something to do with way-back-in-the-day women needed to retain extra stored energy for childbearing. Or something. Maybe. ;)

Ahem. Someone smart pleez post next ;) .

MrsJim
12-12-2005, 08:35 PM
The book Body for Life for Women goes into some detail on that - definitely worth a read (I don't have the book here at work though, so can't refer to it at this point!).

I did find this snippet though (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8519), that basically sounds right:

There are many reasons why women have more body fat than men. One is biological. Body fat content is 25% for women at normal size compared to 15% for men. All other things being equal, such as age and exercise levels, women require fewer calories per pound of body weight daily than do men. Female hormones make it easier to convert fat into food. Women more often do the cooking in the households. Finally, in fat-prone women, birth control pills cause the body to produce increased amounts of fat and water. Estrogen alone will cause increased deposition of fat. Anyone on the pill needs to decrease caloric intake by at least 10% in order to maintain the same weight.

So that talks about WHY women have more BF, but not why it takes us longer to lose it - I think it goes hand-in-hand though. Us gals were made to nurture life before and after birth, so nature made darn sure that we would have enough 'food' (i.e. fat) stored to do so.

(BTW I see this in other animals too...my two cats for example - they both eat EXACTLY the same food and the same amounts...they are both indoor cats and spend the same amount of time sleeping and playing - but our girl kitty significantly outweighs our boy cat! I've seen this happen in horses too, lots of chubby mares around while stallions tend to be lean.)

This was discussed quite a bit during this past season of The Biggest Loser (as the show started by pitting women against men). O Magazine had a pretty decent article on this titled "The Biggest Loser: What's Sex Got to Do With It?" that you can find here (http://www.simplyfit.com/o%202005-11.HTM) (I remember the actual article being longer, but I could be wrong...).


icedragon6669
12-13-2005, 06:30 AM
I think that the reason may be that us women are stronger (mentally) and are able to do the hard yards! maybe god thought to make it a little easier on the guys.
(after childbirth and raising children we could do anything)

Only joking all you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sure it is only body composition, guys are built to do physical labour (hunt and fight) we are built to gather and raise children and COMFORT children, (my DD(6) complains that i am too bony to cuddle anymore... LOL)

Although some guys do make fabulous "mums" !

RobertW
12-13-2005, 10:08 AM
We don't really. Either way it takes a deficit of 3,500 cal to lose a pound of fat. Sure I can drop a pound a day for weeks at a time but i also am bigger and have more weight to lose than most.

LovesBassets
12-13-2005, 10:48 AM
I wonder if a female's ability to "hold on" to body fat better than men has anything to do with longevity. Women have always had longer life expectancies than men -- usually by a good 8 - 10 years. I wonder if (historically at least) it meant women could survive longer under not-so-nice conditions or something...?

My father was always able to drop about 30 lbs in two weeks. He'd just start jogging, cut out butter and junk food -- and suddenly he was Mr. Slender.

RobertW
12-13-2005, 12:18 PM
I wonder if a female's ability to "hold on" to body fat better than men has anything to do with longevity. Women have always had longer life expectancies than men -- usually by a good 8 - 10 years. I wonder if (historically at least) it meant women could survive longer under not-so-nice conditions or something...?

There is no evolutionary pressure to live longer than it takes to rear your children. The "holding onto bodyfat" is probably important so that women can still bring babies to term and then nurse them during hard times. Men are free to waste away.

The longevity is just a side effect. Cleaner arteries and a slower metabolism. Not to mentiion a significantly smaller chance of violent death. Or getting killed doing something really stupid.



My father was always able to drop about 30 lbs in two weeks. He'd just start jogging, cut out butter and junk food -- and suddenly he was Mr. Slender.

Unless he ran a calorie deficit of more than 7,000 Cal/day, he probably dropped a lot of water and muscle. Your body only generates ~450 Cal from burning a pound of muscle...

Strict diet+lots of Cardio=Skinny Fat, unless you lift as well.

Tealeaf
12-13-2005, 01:38 PM
Strict diet+lots of Cardio=Skinny Fat, unless you lift as well.

Interesting. I assume that by "Skinny Fat" you mean a person has more or less the same amount of fat, but less muscle tissue?

I don't know that I believe this, fully. Admittly, I haven't done alot of research into it. So, what does everyone think? Is the only way to lose fat during a diet is by including lifting?

Just for referance, I do lift, but not alot. I do a brief, but fairly intense, workout of about 6 different lifts, 3 sets of 15 reps, that takes me about 15 minutes. I do this 3 times a week. I don't exactly consider myself to be a body builder because of it, but it is doing some good because I am now up to two handed lifting of 50 pounds, when I started at I think 20, maybe 30.

So, is one doomed to being "skinny Fat" unless one also lifts as well?

Ilene
12-13-2005, 01:38 PM
I always thought that men lost weight faster/easier than women because they just have more muscle mass and more muscle burns more fat....:dunno:

LovesBassets
12-13-2005, 01:46 PM
Strict diet+lots of Cardio=Skinny Fat, unless you lift as well.

My Mom was on a "strict diet" (1 grapefruit, 1 square of tofu, 1 chicken breast) for 15 anorexic years. She also jogged about 2 hours a day. She had not an OUNCE of fat on her. She was "skinny muscle."

Having said that, I'm a HUGE fan of weight training, and I agree building muscle is key to fat loss and maintenance; but it IS possible to lose substantial amounts of body fat via cardio. In fact...now that I really think about it, it was always my understanding that cardio was HOW you burn body fat. Weight training helps because your muscles will burn more calories and you tone up, but that's more about the calories you've taken IN recently, not about burning long-term fat that's been stored for years and years.

ShannonM
12-13-2005, 01:49 PM
I always thought that men lost weight faster/easier than women because they just have more muscle mass and more muscle burns more fat

My question is why it's a universally accepted truth that men lose weight more easily than women. Why is it considered by so many people here to be a given?

Tealeaf - stating it as generally as possible, Robert's right. You have to preserve as much muscle mass as possible when you're restricting calories, and weight training is the best way to do that. As a bonus, the more muscle mass you gain, the more fat you burn, not just during a workout but at rest as well. Kind of like what Ilene said.

LovesBassets - when I was losing weight, my body didn't distinguish between the long-term fat and that which was more recently acquired. And when I cut the cardio back and threw weight training into the mix, it all came off much faster. (I really am speaking for myself here, as I have no desire to revive the debate of a couple of weeks ago.)

If I read MrsJim's post correctly, the information she referenced explained why women have higher percentages of body fat than men. I don't disagree with that and I know why that's the case. It still doesn't make sense to me that women would be slower losing weight than men would - that's what I'm looking to understand.

Meg
12-13-2005, 02:06 PM
So, what does everyone think? Is the only way to lose fat during a diet is by including lifting?

Tea, skinny fat women are women at a normal weight (BMI) with high body fat percentages, sometimes even an obese level (32% or above). You run into this situation a lot with chronic dieters and older women who don't exercise.

As for your question about losing fat, the studies I've seen show that up to 40% of your weight loss can be lean body mass (LBM) if you diet without working to maintain/build muscle by weightlifting. But even with weights, no one's going to lose 100% fat, in my opinion. There's always going to be some loss of LBM, even if it's just water (keep in mind that LBM is a lot more than muscle - it's water, bone, hair, skin, muscle etc - everything in your body that isn't fat) The goal is to minimize your loss of LBM and maximize your loss of pure fat.

Losing some LBM really isn't the end of the world for those of us who were obese or very overweight. Most of us have or had an extraordinarily large amount of muscle due to the weight bearing exercise of simply existing with an extra 50 or 100+ pounds on us. When you're obese, every step you take and every flight of stairs you climb is weight bearing exercise. Few women need or want LBMs in the 150+ pound range, which is not uncommon in very heavy women.

The only way to determine how your unique body is losing weight is to have your body fat % checked at regular intervals. From that, you can tell how much of your weight loss is fat pounds and how muich is pounds of LBM. Have you ever had your BF % checked?

RobertW
12-13-2005, 02:14 PM
My Mom was on a "strict diet" (1 grapefruit, 1 square of tofu, 1 chicken breast) for 15 anorexic years. She also jogged about 2 hours a day. She had not an OUNCE of fat on her. She was "skinny muscle."


Of course it varies from individual to individual but most of us here have a natural tendency towards being fat. More androgens (for men and women) will shift that set point. I know guys that look like they seriously lift and they don't even exercise.

I think it is also true that when you are dieting there is a certain "use it or lose it" strategy to how the body cannabilizes itself. The only muscle I have lost during my diet is in areas I wasn't dilligent about training.

One thing I have been thinking about lately is whether or not the amount of cardio will influence how much you can restrict your diet before you go into "starvation" mode. Could there be a response based off the size of your caloric deficit? Might even women go into "starvation" mode at a smaller deficit then men? That could make sense from biological perspective.

LovesBassets
12-13-2005, 04:55 PM
Might even women go into "starvation" mode at a smaller deficit then men? That could make sense from biological perspective.

That's a really interesting question, Robert, and you're right -- it would make sense :) .

LovesBassets
12-13-2005, 05:04 PM
LovesBassets - when I was losing weight, my body didn't distinguish between the long-term fat and that which was more recently acquired.

What I mean by the energy recently taken in is the glucose levels in your blood -- the stuff that is floating around for the purpose of current usage, not the stuff that has already been converted into glycogen and stored in your liver or moved on to being body fat. The act of weight training burns what's in your blood stream at that moment, thus preventing recent calories (in the form of glucose) from being converted into glycogen and later stored as excess body fat. This is the concept behind many of our trainer-Mods' advice to weight train before cardio so your cardio session is more effective at burning off your actual fat stores. It's also (I believe) why a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio is what is recommended -- that's about how long it takes for the glucose in your blood to be burned off. It's only AFTER those 20 minutes that actual stored body fat is burned. That's my understanding anyway :) .

And when I cut the cardio back and threw weight training into the mix, it all came off much faster. (I really am speaking for myself here, as I have no desire to revive the debate of a couple of weeks ago.)

It actually happened backwards for me. I did a year of weight training with absolutely no cardio and lost about 20 lbs in 12 months. Since adding cardio in February, I've lost 30 lbs in a little over 10 months. So it obviously works both ways. And I think we can ALL agree that cardio + weights is without a doubt the best way to go! We all lose differently, but (in my opinion) the more ways you move your body -- and the more muscles you use while moving -- the quicker you'll lose. :)

Congrats on your weight loss, by the way! 136 lbs sounds VERY nice to me right about now :D ! We started at about the same place, too. Well done!

ShannonM
12-13-2005, 05:49 PM
Ah, I see what you mean. Thanks for explaining. And thanks for the compliment, but the sad truth is that my weight is 136 during the week and up to 139-140 on the weekends, because - well, chocolate. :moo: