Why Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women

Woman & man working out on crosscycle at gym
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If you're a woman, you're probably aware of the fact that men tend to lose weight faster than women do. This can seem pretty unfair when the pounds just won't budge.

There are some very good reasons that there's such a difference between men and women when it comes to weight loss, and most of them are physiological reasons that we simply have no control over.

Once you know what these factors are, you can go on your own weight loss journey because comparing results can make you feel like you're not making progress.

Well, you are making progress...it just isn't the same kind of progress that many men may experience.

Why Men Lose It Faster

  1. Men often have more muscle. One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that among 468 men and women, men had significantly more muscle, about 36% more. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you're at rest. So it stands to reason that some men will lose weight faster simply because they have more metabolically active muscle.
  2. Many women are predisposed to store and retain fat. Women typically have higher levels of estrogen, a hormone that increases fat deposits in the pelvis, buttocks, thighs, and breasts. Paradoxically, the loss of estrogen in menopause, when combined with the typical decrease in physical activity and energy expenditure in this stage of life, leads to weight gain for most women.
  3. Men are more likely to do resistance training. Resistance training is important for both men and women who want to shed pounds. The increased muscle mass will optimize how many calories you burn, both inside and outside of the gym.
  4. Some women may have a lower tolerance for exercise. The average woman has a smaller lung capacity than the average man, which can make women feel as though they are working harder than men even if the women are working at the same level. This can also make exercise feel harder in the heat or high humidity. The great news is that the more that you exercise, your lungs will grow stronger and you will be less likely to feel short of breath while performing physical activity.

Although it's easy to get discouraged when the numbers on the scale aren't going down as quickly as you'd like, it's important to remember all of the positive effects that weight loss is having on your body and mind. Even though men often lose weight more quickly than women at the beginning of a new diet and exercise plan, these changes tend to even out over time. Because of women's body size in comparison to men, portion control is especially important.

A Word From Verywell

It's always best to avoid comparing yourself to others, whether male or female, when it comes to weight loss. Everyone loses weight differently, and genes, along with hormones, play a large role in how quickly some people lose weight. 

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Christensen P, Meinert Larsen T, Westerterp-Plantenga M, et al. Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi-centre intervention study after a low-energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre-diabetes (PREVIEW). Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018;20(12):2840-2851. doi:10.1111/dom.13466

  2. Janssen I, Heymsfield, Wang ZM, Ross R. Skeletal muscle mass and distribution in 468 men and women aged 18-88 yr. J Appl Physiol. 2000;89(1):81-8. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.zdg-1052-corr.2014 

  3. National Academy of Sports Medicine. Resting metabolic rate: How to calculate and improve yours.

  4. University of Rochester Medical Center. What does estrogen have to do with belly fat?

  5. Cleveland Clinic. Why it really is harder for women to lose weight and what to do!

  6. American Lung Association. Exercise and lung health.

  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. Weight loss and women.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."