For those short on time, aerobic, not resistance, exercise is best bet for weight, fat loss

January 2, 2013, American Physiological Society

A new study led by North Carolina researchers has found that when it comes to weight- and fat loss, aerobic training is better than resistance training. The study is believed to the largest randomized trial to directly compare changes in body composition induced by comparable amounts of time spent doing aerobic and resistant training, or both in combination, among previously inactive overweight or obese non-diabetic adults.

The study is entitled "Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults." It is published in the December 2012 edition of the published by the .

Methodology

A total of 234 previously sedentary overweight or obese males and females, age 18-70 years of age, were enrolled in one of three eight-month supervised protocols: aerobic training (AT), (RT), or a combination (AT/RT). Of the total, 119 participants completed the trials and had complete data for the variables of interest in the article.

Those assigned to aerobic training exercised vigorously, at about 70-85% of maximum heart rate. They exercise approximately 45 minutes three days per week throughout the study period.

Individuals assigned to resistance training also exercised three days a week, completing three sets of 8-12 reps on eight resistance machines that targeted all major muscle groups. Resistance was increased throughout the study to maintain a steady level of challenge as the participants gained strength.

Individuals who were assigned to AT/RT performed all the exercises assigned to both AT and RT groups. At the end of study each enrollee was assessed for weight, , , cardiopulmonary fitness and strength compared to their baseline.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The researchers found:

  • The groups assigned to aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training lost more weight than those that did resistance training only. In fact, those who did resistance training only actually gained weight due to an increase in lean body mass.
  • Fat mass and waist circumference significantly decreased in the AT and AT/RT groups, but were not altered in RT. However, measures of lean body mass significantly increased in RT and AT/RT, but not in AT. The finding suggest that aerobic exercise is more effective in reducing these measures.
  • Lean body mass increased with both RT and AT/RT, but not AT. Having the benefit to of both modes of exercise allowed AT/RT to decrease body fat percent significantly more than either AT or RT due to decreased fat mass combined with increased lean body mass.
Importance of the Findings

According to Leslie H. Willis, an exercise physiologist at Duke University Medical Center and the study's lead author, "Given our observations, it may be time to seriously reconsider the conventional wisdom that resistance training alone can lead to weight and fat loss."

Willis added, "If increasing muscle mass and strength is a goal, then resistance training is required. However, the majority of Americans could experience health benefits due to weight and fat loss. The best option in that case, given limited time for exercise, is to focus on . When you lose fat, it is likely you are losing visceral fat, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular and other health benefits."

Explore further: Aerobic exercise trumps resistance training for weight and fat loss

Related Stories

Aerobic exercise trumps resistance training for weight and fat loss

December 15, 2012
Aerobic training is the best mode of exercise for burning fat, according to Duke researchers who compared aerobic training, resistance training, and a combination of the two.

Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fat

August 25, 2011
Aerobic exercise is your best bet when it comes to losing that dreaded belly fat, a new study finds.

Resistance training improves some inflammatory markers

July 12, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Resistance training (RT) can reduce visceral fat and alter levels of certain inflammatory markers, according to research published in the July issue of Obesity Reviews.

Increased resistance training does not benefit cardiac rehabilitation patients: study

September 1, 2011
For patients undergoing rehabilitation following cardiac events, aerobic exercise training (AT) is widely recommended. Resistance training (RT) has also been shown to be beneficial because it enhances muscular strength and ...

Recommended for you

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

For heavy lifting, use exoskeletons with caution

April 20, 2018
You can wear an exoskeleton, but it won't turn you into a superhero.

Low total testosterone in men widespread, linked to chronic disease

April 19, 2018
A male's total testosterone level may be linked to more than just sexual health and muscle mass preservation, a new study finds. Low amounts of the hormone could also be associated with chronic disease, even among men 40 ...

New device to help patients with rare disease access life-saving treatment

April 19, 2018
Patients with a rare medical condition can receive life-saving treatment at the touch of a button thanks to a new device developed by scientists.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Age affects how we predict and respond to stress at home

April 19, 2018
A recent study finds that older adults are better than younger adults at anticipating stressful events at home - but older adults are not as good at using those predictions to reduce the adverse impacts of the stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.