By Lauren Denos: 2/11/2015 (Fitness)

No matter how much you want it, we are not the same. But there is a reason behind it.

Have you ever noticed how a man and a woman can start the exact same exercise regimen at the exact same time, and the man will get in shape much faster? Yes, it sucks and it seems unfair, but that is because we are not all created equal, at least not when it comes to leaning down and building muscle mass. Here are some of the differences.

#1 Women carry more body fat. Women, on average, carry at least 6-11% more body fat than men. When we look at the roles of our ancestors, women were traditionally the ones who are the nurturers. They needed to carry more fat on them to be able to carry a child and give birth, as well as be able to have enough energy in the body to be able to produce milk to feed the baby. Men, on the other hand, were traditionally the hunters. They needed to be light, agile and strong to provide.

#2 Our hormones levels vary. One very large difference we see between men and women is the different levels of hormones. Men tend to have a much higher level of testosterone, which correlates to a higher percentage of muscle mass compared to body fat. The more muscle mass you have, the more your body will burn even while at rest. Women, on the other hand, tend to be estrogen dominate, which can help them hold onto body fat. Women were built this way so that they could survive famine and carry children successfully.

#3 Men may lose it faster, but women do catch up. Some studies suggest that while men tend to lose plenty of weight pretty quickly, by month 6 into a routine the weight loss between men and women has generally equalized. We also tend to notice the inches on a man dropping faster, suggesting that this is because we hold weight differently and, therefore, take it off differently. Men tend to predominately carry weight in the midsection, where as many women carry weight in the hips, thighs and butt. This means that men are losing more inches on their abdomen, which is much more noticeable.

#4 The female body may be more efficient. The interesting thing is some studies show that many women eat less calories than men, and their bodies tend to prefer to burn a higher ratio of fat verses other fuel sources while working out. Yet, they seem to hold onto body fat more. They speculate this is because the female body is more efficient with its energy expenditure. Again due to the hormones that program our bodies. It is a survival mechanism. If you are holding onto body fat, it may not please you, but in many cases it means your body is working the way it is supposed to. So, while it is frustrating, at least be thankful that your body is doing what nature intend it to do.

#5 What is your food preference? When we look at other issues that tend to be different between men and women, it is their food preferences differ. Now this is not pointing out the differences in body fat loss when we are eating the exact same meals and doing the exact same routines at the same intensity, but it is something good to look at. While average women tend to be drawn more to carbohydrate intensive meals, men are more attracted to proteins and fats. This could be an important factor since the more refined carbs we tend to eat, the higher insulin response we have. Along those same lines, this could have a correlation to the weight gain and weight retention in some women.

#6 Attitude makes a difference. Men and women also tend to differ in attitude towards weight loss. Many men, when they notice they have put on an extra 10 lbs., they will simply decide to stop eating as much junk food and go on more walks. Women, on the flip side, tend to obsess about every single pound coming and going. This may have no bearing on the difference of body fat loss success between the two groups, but maybe it does. The way this could make a little bit of a difference is that the men will generally be less stressed out about the extra pounds verses women. Stress can help your body hold onto extra weight.

Stop comparing yourself to others!

So, yes it can seem very unfair that men have a natural advantage when it comes to leaning down and building muscle mass. But you can still have the results you want, it just may take a little bit longer. Stop comparing yourself to your husband, boyfriend or any males around you. This will only drive you crazy. Focus on eating a clean diet full of plenty of lean healthy protein, keep the carbs in check, don't stress about it and make your workouts count. If you have been at this for many months and are seeing no results, then you may need to work with a professional to see what could be changed or see a doctor to make sure there is not something else getting in the way of you accomplishing the goal you have. We may not have been created equal in body fat to muscle mass ratios, but we can still kick just as much butt!



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