Molner and I have both been really committed to our workout regimens lately. He’s dropped 10 pounds in a couple of weeks, and I… have not. What’s the deal with that? I asked my trainer Larysa DiDio for her take on the great gender weight debate: Do men really lose weight faster than women and, if so, why? Read our conversation below…
Katie Couric: Is it really true that men lose weight faster than women (or are women just imagining this phenomenon)? ?
Larysa DiDio: Yes! At least at first. In a British Journal of Nutrition Study, when men and women were put on the same weight loss program, the men lost twice as much weight and 3x as much body fat as the women, in 3 months. But the good news is if the women stuck to the program, the weight loss evened out at the 6 month mark (with men just slightly in the lead.)
What part does metabolism play? What can women do to boost theirs?
Huge! Men naturally have more lean muscle mass than women (thanks to testosterone), which boosts their metabolisms not only while they work out—but while they’re at rest as well. The best things that women can do (in this order) to increase their metabolism is:
- weight train (with challenging weights)
- interval train (burns crazy calories)
- eat lean protein (helps to increase muscle)
- eat small meals every 3-4 hours (keeps the blood sugar stable)
Some say that there’s an optical illusion at play and, because men tend to carry excess weight around their abdomen, it’s just more noticeable when they lose it — have you found that to be the case?
Hmmm…yes. And no. Actually they win in both ways here. They really do lose more weight…and when they do lose it (because they hold most of their weight in their bellies)— it’s much more immediately noticeable. This also serves as a huge plus because it boosts their motivation and confidence, causing them to want to keep going!
We all know we need to diet and exercise to lose weight — is there one that’s more important than the other?
I’d say diet comes first then exercise—but a combination of both is optimal. You can exercise like crazy, but if you’re not eating well, you’ll never lose the weight. If you diet but don’t exercise, it may take you longer to lose weight (than with the combo), but you’ll still lose it (you just won’t look as good because the exercise also builds muscle, make you look less flabby, and lowers body fat.)
There are so many fitness trends that cycle through in popularity – what have you found to be the most effective and, more importantly, healthiest approach to losing weight?
For fitness, I love cross training. I believe the more varied your exercise routine is, the stronger and healthier your body is. This is what I normally recommend for my clients.
- 2 days of strength training (with 10 mins of cardio)
- 3 days of cardio (20-45 mins)..change up the activity
- 1 day of extracurricular (workout class, martial arts, Pilates, yoga, etc)
- And a day of rest
What do you consistently see women doing in terms of exercise that just isn’t productive for healthy weight loss in your mind?
- Starving themselves
- Taking weight loss pills
- Doing too much heavy HIIT [high impact interval training]
- Training with too light of weights
- Relying on mind/body exercises
- Doing too much LISS [low intensity steady state] cardio
What’s your advice for frustrated women watching their partners lose weight faster than they are?
Advice for women: Move out for 3 months!!
Just kidding, honestly they need to make sure that they keep their emotional eating in check. It’s actually helpful to check in with their partner and watch how the guys focus on their tasks and don’t “overthink” the diet process. I often coach my female clients to “diet like a guy.” A woman will come home and complain that she ate half of a pecan pie for lunch because she was stressed at work. When guys go into “diet mode”, they bunker down and just do it—without overthinking. There’s no wiggle room for them. Also I think that just being kind to yourself and knowing that the guy might lose it a little faster (at first), is helpful.
If that doesn’t work, a little competition along with some friendly sabotage (have your partner’s fave pizza delivered to his office) should get you back on even footing ?