We all know that trying to change body shape by adding a little muscle and losing body fat sounds easy in principle but the reality is never quite as simple.
When we were younger getting in shape seemed so easy.
Just cut back on the eating, watch the drinking and do some exercise if possible.
But as we age this approach just doesn´t seem to work as well if at all and the older we get the harder it feels.
I don’t like to say this but women do generally have a more difficult time trying to losing fat and change body shape than men.
This is really down too a few distinct differences between men and women that most people are unaware of so don’t take it into consideration.
This is what I want to reveal to you in this article
So that you can take this information and then apply it too your own fitness and diet programs and start seeing results that may be taking longer then expected.
One of the big reasons why women are getting it wrong is that the vast majority of advice available is based on research done on men.
Not only that but women are bombarded with myths and misconceptions about training and nutrition that hold them back from really understanding how to improve their physiques.
Therefore following the standard fat loss advice can lead to untold negative consequences for women.
So if you are woman struggling with fat loss, building muscle or just trying to improve your health and appearance then knowing what I have to tell you today should really help you break out of this rut and start getting real and lasting results.
Fact 1: Women burn fat differently than men
What recent studies are showing is that there is a difference between men and women in terms of how fat is used in the body for energy.
Two of the most significant differences between the sexes was that when resting women are using more glucose for energy and less fat than men do.
However when active women tend to burn more fat than men.
So what does this mean?
Well both these points highlight how exercise is absolutely essential for women to lose fat.
1. Because if you do more exercise you will burn more fat
2. The metabolic boost and energy burn from exercise will deplete carb stores and allow you to burn more fat at rest as well.
This explains why women who just follow diet after diet without doing very little exercise in general are struggling to make a real and significant progress.
Unless you are extremely disciplined with what and how much you eat which most of us are not then results will be slow and frustrating
What You Can Do About It.
Obviously more exercise is the answer but not just any type. Studies have shown that weight training and high intensity activities such as sprinting are best for women.
This type of training will not only demand more fat to be used for energy during your workout when women are more inclined to burn fat but also for elevating your metabolism for long periods after the workout has finished.
This means when you are resting you are burning more calories which will force your body to keep burning fat for longer.
Fact 2 Women store body fat differently than men
Nature dictates that in general women need more body fat because of pregnancy.
Once a woman is able to conceive their bodies begin to store fat especially around the hips and thighs in preparation for them getting pregnant.
You may have noticed this over the years.
The fat in the lower body is known as gluteofemoral and is high in an omega fat called DHA.
This fat is in theory used to produce breast milk to help the development of your babys brain.
The fat around the hips and thighs (called gluteofemoral fat) has a particularly high concentration of DHA,one of the three omega-3 fats. The theory is that gluteofemoral DHA fat is used to make breast milk, for the development of a baby’s brain.
If DHA levels get too low the body tries replenish the stores by sending out hunger signals so to increase eating
If that wasn´t enough lower body fat in females has a larger number of what are called alpha receptors that in simple terms make it harder to lose body fat.
This is why you may have experienced losing upper body fat first quite easily then having a lot harder time shifting the lower body fat.
What You Can Do About it
To get rid of stubborn lower body fat, research shows women must perform anaerobic training. This means workouts focusing on multi-joint exercises, with total body lifts such as squats, deadlifts, step ups, and lunges.
Do high-intensity interval training using various activities to target the alpha receptors and enhance fat loss from the lower body.
From a nutrition perspective get adequate DHA in your diet. Shoot for a balanced ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats by limiting your intake of vegetable fats and oils. By the way this is easy to do when you switch to a Paleo focused diet as you naturally will be eating more omega 3 fats.
Fact 3 Stress affects women’s metabolism, inhibiting fat loss.
This is not just a female problem because stress can be damaging to fat loss for everybody.
But studies are showing that certain types of stress cause bigger problems for women than men.
When you get stressed the body secrete the hormone cortisol. The main function of cortisol is increasing blood sugar (via an insulin spike) to provide the body with enough energy to deal with the stressful situation it faces.
When experiencing high levels of stress the body produces more cortisol by turning the hormone pregnenolone (used to produce estrogen and testosterone) into cortisol and aldosterone.
These hormones combined result in more fat storage and retention of fluids.
And because less testosterone is being produced via pregnenolone the less chance your body will be burning fat effectively.
Stress can also cause excessive eating.
Studies like this have shown that on days when we are experiencing high levels of stress our appetite increases and we eat more then normal which of course will make it harder to manage body composition.
What To Do About It:
First off is to find strategies that can limit or manage your stress levels better.
Activities such as meditation, yoga, are great for coping with stress. Also reducing caffeine and alcohol intake will also help reduce the potential for stress arising.
But one of the best things you can do is get better quality sleep and stick to a sleeping pattern that is in line with your personal chronotype.
In basic terms your chrontype is ” the propensity for the individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period” meaning we either perform best in the morning or the evening.
You are either a lark, a night owl or somewhere inbetween with an emphasis on one or the other.
When your sleep patterns are in line with your personal chronotype, you will have better health and feel more balanced to cope with everyday life, plus your body functions will be working at a much higher level.
When you go against your own natural clock, the innate rhythms are disturbed.
This increases the chance for stress to occur and create that hormonal environment that makes burning fat harder to achieve.
From an exercise perspective keep workouts between 30-60 minutes because after an hour cortisol levels are known to rise to assist the body with extra energy.
The good news is that training a certain way also produces other hormones which offset or counteract the effects of cortisol.
Among those is Growth Hormone (GH) which is known to blunt the effects of cortisol while helping you burn fat and build muscle.
The more growth hormone you produce the more potential for burning fat.
In fact if you suffer with fat storage around the top of the knees and calves this can be an indicator of low growth hormone levels so any exercise that stimulates GH regularly will help you get rid of this problem area.
Resistance workouts and high intensity training have been proven to illicit a strong GH response so make sure to do this type of training on a regular basis.
Stress will always be there and we can´t stop this but what we can do is make sure that we train and recover properly to counteract any negative effects that cortisol can cause.
Fact 4 Calorie restriction tends to be harmful for women
Following low calorie diets or restricting calories completely may actually be damaging to women´s metabolism.
For men both these activities are beneficial resulting in fat loss, reduced inflammation and improved resistance against disease.
However for women research is reporting that very low calorie diets such as fasting are not having the desired effect when it comes to losing weight.
Has this happened to you?
The mechanism behind this discrepancy could be how the female body responds to lack of calories.
Scientists believe that calorie restriction, even sporadic restriction, is too stressful for women and can result in hormonal dysregulation, and excess cortisol secretion with the body holding onto its fat stores.
Remember by nature women are predisposed to store fat for nurturing so any time that food intake for certain time periods a “protective response” can occur with a woman´s body storing the fat for future survival.
What To Do About It:
Stop cutting calories especially when you are performing higher intensity workouts on a regular basis. This may work in the short term but over time you will find that results will slow and in fact stop completely.
I know eating regularly can feel strange when trying to lose weight but as long as you are under your daily calorie allowance with a diet program balanced in carbs, fats and protein, your hormones are far better regulated, stress will be lower, and your body will be more willing to give up your fat stores.
Fact 5: As women get older they may have a harder time building muscle.
A common belief you will hear in the fitness world is that women can’t build as much muscle as men because they don’t have as much testosterone.
This disadvantage is accelerated with aging as the processes involved in building muscle such as protein synthesis tend to respond less to resistance training.
What To Do About It:
The main thing here is to make sure keep doing regular resistance training to increase the chance of building and maintaining as much muscle as possible.
Having more muscle will help you stay healthy look younger and make it easier to manage your weight.
Any increases in muscle mass will boost your metabolism significantly so you burn exponentially more calories at rest.
For the best results follow periodized muscle and strength building training program that uses rep ranges of (8 to 12) with a high level of sets per workout.
Make sure to keep increasing your weights on a regular basis. Not using progressively heavier loads is one of the most common reason women don’t get results from training.
What to do next
Now you can see why women have such a harder time when it comes to transforming their bodies.
This is especially true when trying to lose lower body fat which can be up to 9X harder to lose than men’s…
You have probably experienced this yourself when no matter how much you diet, you never seem to get rid of your personal “trouble spot” fat?
If so, you’re not alone. About 91% of women struggle with some combination of thigh, bum, hip or upper arm fat…
A lot of this issue is caused by women having more “alpha receptors” in these areas that are cells programmed to store fat as I mentioned earlier in the article.
Only by suppressing these Alpha switches, and activating your fat-burning BETA receptors, will you finally release your most stubborn trapped fat…
To find out more about this problem, Sue Heintze a Australian weight loss author and female fat loss expert explains exactly how to turn this cellular switch to your advantage.
This is a very comprehensive program designed specifically for women who really struggle with the difficult fat on thighs, bum, hips and even the backs of your arms and I highly recommend you take a few minutes to check it out.
Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to read this article, I hope you got some value from it. If you have any questions about this or another topic please leave a comment below.