Female Nutrition: A Greater Reliance on Fat During Exercise
During exercise, women use fewer carbohydrates than men, yet burn more fat at the same exercise intensity.
Potential reasons for their greater fat oxidation, or burning capabilities are:
· Higher levels of the hormone Estrogen
· More sensitive to the effects of the hormone Epinephrine
· Increased amounts of intra-cellular fat (fat in the muscle cell)
· Higher average body fat percentage, meaning they have increased fat to oxidise and burn for fuel
Some research shows at exactly the same intensity, females can burn and utilise fat more efficiently than men. This is of course a good thing and it may suggest females can do better on a lower carbohydrate , higher fat diet.
In fact, a higher fat diet for females has plenty of positive data and results in the research. Women who ate a higher fat diet burned more calories during exercise, had higher bench press strength and had less body fat when compared to the low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet.
A question that I often get asked and that I must point out is that performing weight training and having more muscle mass or testosterone does not necessarily mean that women will become ‘bulky’ either.
Instead, it is more likely that they will burn more calories during the day, have greater strength and better body composition (meaning they are both lean and toned!).
Less Hunger with a Low Carb Diet?
Another benefit of a higher fat diet is reduced hunger and improved satiety. This is key for successful weight loss and long-term dieting. When it comes to female nutrition, a higher fat diet tends to be more satiating for some individuals. One study in women found that a high fat diet resulted in up to 15% less food intake compared to higher carbohydrate intake.
If you can diet with less hunger then you are more likely to enjoy the process, binge less, have fewer cravings and ultimately succeed in the long term!
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
As mentioned, when it comes to female nutrition, women tend to maintain higher insulin sensitivity levels (which is good for both health and fat loss!) when they consume higher fat diets.
Research shows that insulin sensitivity can play a role in weight loss success and compliance on a low fat and low carbohydrate diet. This research suggests the more insulin sensitive an individual is, the more likely they are to succeed on any type of diet, for example, low fat or low carbohydrate.
Insulin is key for carbohydrate metabolism, this would support the argument that women can also tolerate carbohydrates well and they shouldn’t be totally eliminated from the diet.
A mixture of carbohydrates and fats within a day or week, tailored to the workout and goals of the female can work amazingly. This is known as carb cycling.
I use carbohydrate cycling and nutrient periodisation in my nutrition plans, not only because people get to eat high carbohydrate foods such as pasta, potato, wraps, pizza and ice cream, but also their transformation results are amazing too.
If you are a female restricting yourself to chicken salads, you are doing it wrong and eliminating some of the tasty foods that I’m sure you love! Learn to achieve a balance and make sure you are providing adequate fuel for weight training and recovery!
Female Nutrition: Consider Body Weight & Size
This article has provided evidence that both a higher carbohydrate and higher fat diet can work well when it comes to female nutrition. Despite some data showing women can actually be more insulin sensitive than men, it does not necessarily mean they can be on a similar diet.
One of the biggest factors is body size, lean body mass and weight. These factors are key predictors of your Resting Metabolic Rate, or in other words how many calories you burn on a daily basis while you are resting.
Although it seems obvious, everything must be tailored proportionally to the individual. This includes the amount of total calories per day and the amount of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
Here are some of the differences you should consider:
· Women’s resting metabolic rate can be 20–40% less than men, meaning they need fewer calories.
· They require a lower dose of protein or lecuine to stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis.
· They likely have smaller glycogen stores, so even though they tolerate carbohydrates well, they probably need a smaller amount of carbohydrates daily or per meal .
As you can see, women should not follow the same diet plan as their male counterparts. Along with adjusting calories, the macro nutrient composition of their diet must be tailored and varied.
Female Specific Supplements
Just like diet, females respond best to specific supplements tailored to them.
Of course, some staple supplements work great for both genders, but there are other supplements that are perfect for females.
Here’s a list of a few key staples I love based on research, plus a few extra female specific ones:
· Fat Burn Juice — Research Proven Blend
· Vitamin D3
· Whey Protein
Use Metabolic Resistance Training
If your primary goal is to lose fat and tone up then metabolic resistance training is the perfect solution. By adding this type of training in to your routine you can burn 200–300% more fat, increase your metabolic rate post workout and tone up.
It allows you to get double the amount of volume (i.e. sets, reps or exercises) compared to the regular training you are doing. In addition, it’s going to help your heart, general fitness and cardiovascular fitness improve, just like a normal running or cardio session will.
Unless you want to train twice per day, everyday, Metabolic Resistance Training really gives you the BEST of both worlds.
This type of training is really suited for females in particular. This is because women tend to have more slow twitch muscle fibres, need less rest and have increased capacity to buffer waste products that accumulate during this type of training.
Master the Basics First!
Despite the important gender specific points raised in this article, you should NEVER forget the basics of female nutrition, or general nutrition for that matter!
If you are not mastering the basics everyday then it doesn’t matter how advanced your supplement regime is, how well you tailor your diet to your body type, etc. etc.
The basics still determine 80–90% of your success. Master these and THEN move onto more advanced techniques (like those discussed above) to really optimise the full 100%.
Use and master these 6 key fundamentals and you will transform your body better than 99% of people, guaranteed…
· 1. Calories: Control and tailor your calorie intake specific to YOUR GOALS! For example, if you want to lose weight you MUST be in a deficit. If you want to gain weight you MUST be in a surplus.
· 2. Protein: Eat a high protein diet, all day, every day. Split your protein down into 3–5 meals to maximise the muscle protein synthesis response. In general, you should be eating at least 1 gram of protein per 1lb of body weight. For example, a 150 lb individual should be eating 150 grams per day minimum.
· 3. Training: 99% of people do not maximise their training regime. Even if you do a typical weight training regime, there is still LARGE room for improvement.
· 4. Sleep: Many people overlook the importance of sleep, however, research has proven a bad night’s sleep can cause weight gain, hunger, decreased performance, fatigue, decreased energy and more.
· 5. Cycle Your Calories: Most people are unaware of the drastic metabolic adaption to weight loss. This can wreck your hormones, metabolism and health, making it virtually impossible to maintain the new weight. You MUST pay attention to this and master your hormones and metabolism for long-term success.
· 6. Consistency: Most important of all, even the WORLD’S best plan won’t get you great results if you do it for 2 weeks and then stop. You MUST stay consistent for weeks, months and years. If you have gained weight over 5 years, you can’t expect to lose it in 5 weeks, crash diets will just cause a stupid yo-yo dieting cycle! If you can’t see yourself on a training plan for 1, 3 or even 5 years then you will eventually fail, quit and rebound!
In summary, you can see that women are, in fact, different to men and the fact we should all eat the same is a big myth within the industry.
Of course, some (lucky) women may also do well on a higher carbohydrate, low fat approach at times but this should still be generally lower than the government guidelines and lower than that of men. Hopefully, you can now see there is no ONE best approach.
Your entire nutritional regime should be tailored to you and your metabolism, body weight and caloric needs. In other words, if you follow 99% of meal plans online you will likely fail as they are written FOR MEN!