Many women find their upper body getting lean dramatically faster than their lower body, even though they stay consistent and motivated with a fitness regime.
So, they add more cardio and cut extra carbs until their back and abs are shredded – yet, despite their best efforts, a thick layer of fat still lingers around the thighs. No matter how intense their workouts or strict their nutrition, those thighs and lower body just don’t shrink.
What causes this phenomenon? As we age, muscularity and hormones naturally change but it’s not just women past menopause struggling with this issue. It seems so many young women stress their minds and bodies in an effort to improve their lower half, faithfully dieting and hitting the cardio deck like it’s a job.
Two factors are strongly influencing this response your body is having to attempts at fat loss: physiological health and calorie deficit.
Hormones could have already dictated where your body is struggling even before your very first efforts at calorie restriction. One of the smartest things to do before ever starting your plans for leaning out is getting a full hormone panel done. You, your doctor and a very smart coach will take this information into consideration.
Being someone who stores more of your fat in your lower body is indicative of higher estrogen and progesterone and lower levels of insulin and cortisol. If your adrenals and sex hormones are out of whack before you start, not only are you going to have a harder time leaning out the way you want, but any extreme methods used will only make your hormonal profile worse.
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Secondly, by training and eating in a fashion where your calorie deficit remains too high, your body will respond in an effort to preserve itself.
It’s unfortunately common in the fitness world to see women’s carbs cut too low for an extended period of time. On top of that, cardio frequently consistently of too much steady state training for long workout periods with overall too many total hours in a week.
This is your perfect recipe for ending up with stubborn fat distribution on your lower half.
It’s typically not something that happens right away – and some women never encounter this problem – but for those who do, it can be a very long process to see their body return to healthy fat distribution.
The most effective tools for changing this is often (but not always) a reverse diet: cutting to minimal or no cardio and shortening workouts while increasing intensity.
Regardless of your starting point, or where you may be now, women and men just carry body fat differently on a genetic and physiological level.
Men carry a higher number of Beta-receptors in the mid-section while women carry more adrenoreceptors in the lower body.
This dense collection of receptor sites are found to best respond to a less-aggressive, steady approach to change in body composition. It’s also been found that the more regulated, balanced and consistent you are with your nutrition, the more balanced their receptor distribution becomes.