Friday, October 1, 2010

Is it harder for women to burn fat?

There is a lot of research out there trying to prove that it is harder for women to lose fat or lose weight... whatever you want to call it. The research mostly tries to find genetic and hormonal reasons for why this is true. I am not denying that women store fat more easily than men. I am not denying that existence of chemical reasons for it or practical reasons for it (such as the undeniable fact that women bear children).

However, I think a focus on this sort of research is doing women a disservice. Why give people more excuses for not making positive lifestyle changes. Instead of researching 100 reasons why women are worse at burning fat than men, why not research 100 ways women can burn just as much fat as men? Why focus on the negative and ignore the positive? I have known plenty of women who have lost plenty of weight and who look absolutely fantastic now.

I think the most important reason why women can't lose as much weight as men is because they aren't as strong as men. Please read my post on strength if you don't understand why this is.

Because women aren't as naturally strong as men, it is even MORE important for women to strength train. Otherwise, they will just end up spinning their wheels with the same old diet and exercise routines that don't get them the results they want.

This leads me to another point. Strength training does not cause women to "bulk up" or look like a man. I don't know how or why this myth got started, but think about it logically with me for a second. After that, think about it practically (much more important to do!)

Women do not have nearly as much testosterone as men. Testosterone is one of those anabolic hormones that allows for men to put on mass with proper training. Even with this, a lot of guys have trouble putting on mass because they train incorrectly. The key to putting on mass is diet and specifically programmed hypertrophy training. Without these two things, men can only put on mass with luck or steroids. Women do not have a lot of testosterone making it extremely difficult to put on a lot of size. So, even with a great diet and a great hypertrophy program, women will simply never look like one of those meat-head guys... that is... unless they take steroids. That is the logical argument. What about the practical argument?

Transformations don't occur overnight (no matter what the lies on the late night infomercials tell you). Transformations take a long time of dedicated training. Women aren't simply going to wake up one day and be full of muscle. If they do, I want to know what they did to do it because that would make me a multi-billionaire. What I am saying is that change is gradual. If a woman is training and decides she is putting on more muscle than she wants, she can always stop training, right? Of course, that NEVER happens, so it will never come up.

Anyway, if you are a woman and want to get going on a strength training program, I recommend The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess.

Moral of the story for women: Strength train, blast fat, look good.

And if you want to learn all the secrets to fat loss, check back regularly for updates on the release of my book The Theory of Fat Loss or simply sign up for your FREE fat loss report below!


  1. What do you think about "fat loss" training for youth? We do not believe kids should be subjected to dedicated "fat loss" training. We think the focus should be on enjoying movement. Focus on the positives, not the negatives.

    Athletic Revolution Mobile

  2. I am actually including in the appendix of this book a short passage specifically for youth training. This book is definitely not for children and isn't a solution to youth obesity. For those interested in youth training, I suggest checking out the International Youth Conditioning Association.


  3. Tim,
    Will you talk about gender differences explicitly in any of the chapters of your book? Seems like an important topic.

  4. So, how do I strength train if I don't know how to lift? Trainers are expensive.

  5. @SwingKidPhys
    Yes. I have a special topic chapter devoted to women.

    @Sam Cain
    One option is to buy a book and teach yourself. That's how I did it. Go here

    Of course, you can always just find a friend who knows something (but be careful because this can backfire). I'm sure you can always go to your gym and ask for a free lesson on lifting from a trainer as well.


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