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 and how completely unfair that is.

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, really, comparing results can make you feel like you're not making progress, so why bother?

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 works to keep the fat on a woman's body so it's easier for her to get pregnant. That means women have to work harder to lose weight at the same rate as men.
  3. Men's bodies respond more quickly to exercise. Women's bodies, meanwhile, actually go into a sort of starvation mode, slowing the metabolism to hang onto more fat.
  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.

This doesn't mean it's impossible for women to lose weight. When you think about it, there are excellent reasons behind a woman's tendency to store fat. After all, creating and nurturing a new life is nothing to sneeze at.

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. 

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Article Sources
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  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. Published August 21, 2019.

  4. University of Rochester Medical Center. What does estrogen have to do with belly fat? Published May 2015.

  5. Harms CA, Rosenkranz S. Sex differences in pulmonary function during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(4):664-8. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181621325