Yes, women must workout harder than men to get equal results! That doesn't seem fair! Men and women store and burn fat differently. It is important for you to know this difference. Men have more testosterone than women (no big surprise!). This allows men to produce more human growth hormone as well as stimulate more muscle and bone growth.
And, other factors combine to allow men’s cells to take in more oxygen than women’s cells. This means that when a man is working at 50% of his physical capacity, a woman would need to work at 70% of her physical capacity to stay even. Don’t shoot me! I’m just the messenger!
How does this affect fat loss and weight loss? The differences in how hormones and fat cells work in men and women determine the effects on fat loss and weight loss. Because of genetics, women’s fat cells are 5 times larger than men’s fat cells. Women need more body fat to be healthy. Take a look at this body fat table:
Necessary Body Fat: Women 10-13%, Men 2-5%
Athletes: Women 14-20%, Men 6-13%
Fit: Women 21-24%, Men 14-17%
Acceptable: Women 25-31%, Men 18-25%
Unhealthy: Women 32%+, Men 26%+
Also, women’s bodies have twice the amount lipogenic (fat storing) enzymes and half the amount of lipolytic (fat releasing) enzymes as men’s bodies. This has to be taken into account when exercise programs are designed.
Women tend to store stubborn fat in the buttocks, hips (saddle bags), thighs and the back of the upper arms (grandmother arms). Men tend to store stubborn fat in the abdominal area (pot belly and spare tire) and low back area. Excess abdominal fat has been shown to be a pre-curser to diseases such as cancer.
Subcutaneous Fat - Subcutaneous fat is found just underneath the skin and may cause dimpling and cellulite.
Visceral Fat - Visceral fat is located in the abdomen and vital organs (such as the liver). It can also infiltrate your muscles and heart. Even if you are skinny, you can have visceral fat. A “skinny fat” person is one who is skinny with high body fat. Studies have shown that frequent yo-yo dieting increases visceral fat.