Health & Fitness
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It’s a law as reliable as gravity. Man embarks on a diet and invariably loses more weight in one week than his wife lost in a month. 

Within a few weeks, he has lost as much, if not more, weight than her. She is both excited for her spouse and thoroughly pissed off, shaking her fists at the inequality. “Why is it so much easier for him?!”

There is nothing more frustrating than having to work harder to get the same results as someone else who barely had to try (especially when it’s your husband). While this is wildly unfair, does it mean women are doomed to work twice as hard to lose the same amount of weight as men? Fortunately, no. In fact, I’m going to show you how you can harness this advantage yourself. But first, we have to understand why they have this advantage in the first place.

While there may be some immutable biological characteristics that give men an advantage for weight loss (one being more testosterone), much of this advantage is due to two reasons: 1.) Men tend to have more muscle. (This is a matter of body composition, not gender), and 2.) 90% of what is sold to women with regards to fitness/diet/weight-loss decreases muscle, thus widening the gender-muscle gap.

Let me explain. Men carry more muscle on their bodies. Their arms, pecs, back, and legs all tend to have more mass on them than women. Much of it is genetic. Muscle is expensive. It requires calories just to exist. Even at rest, muscle requires energy. Hypothetically, two people who do the exact same activity all day, all else being equal, the person with more muscle will burn more calories than the other. To put it simply, they have a higher metabolism, mostly because they have more lean muscle, not necessarily because they are men.

Moreover, when men workout, they generally gravitate towards the weight room. A workout that stimulates strength and/or muscle growth expends much more energy than cardio and does so for days after the workout is over. This additional weightlifting builds even more muscle and in turn, increases their metabolism further.

Women, on the other hand, tend to carry more fat than men. I’m not an expert, but I’d assume the primary reason is that it’s ideal for childbirth. And contrary to men, perhaps by societal conditioning, women are told they’re “supposed to do” cardio, cycle classes, aerobics, very low-weight/high-rep activity coupled with some variation of extreme calorie restriction and/or low-carb diets. Additionally, all manner of weight-loss teas, drinks, shakes, and detoxes are generally targeted towards women. All of these typical approaches do not build muscle; instead they actively – and quite effectively – decrease it. 

Low-calorie diets in tandem with cardio-heavy workout programs, while temporarily lowering the weight on the scale, lower your metabolism, making every pound very difficult to keep off.

Think of it like this: muscle is like money in the bank earning interest. A million dollars just sitting in your 401k earning 10% will yield $100,000 a year and compound. If you build muscle, it’ll work just like that, burning calories and fat. If you deplete all the money in the bank, you’ll deplete the earned interest. Crash diets and excessive cardio empty the muscle bank account.

This is why men, who tend to have more muscle, can tighten up their diet just a little bit and see a huge difference. And this is why people, regardless of gender, who constantly diet and yo-yo on the scale, tend to struggle perpetually because they’ve lost most of their muscle.

And if you’re thinking, Wait, but don’t weights make women bulky?! This is absolutely wrong. Cupcakes make you bulky. Mediocre diets make you bulky. Lifting weights makes you lean and strong. Dial-in your diet, lift weights, and the fat will melt off.

The silver lining is that while most men may start with an advantage, one simply needs to build muscle to reap the same benefits. So, get out there and out lift your husband. spt

photo of san pedro today author Ricky Magana

Ricky Magana

Ricky Magana is co-owner of Heyday Elite Fitness. Heyday offers a two-minute scan that provides a full one-page body fat analysis to help you tailor your fitness goals. For more info, email ricky@heydaytraining.com.

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