The Best Way to Lose Body Fat — According to Science

Woman running

Comparing both cardio and weight training

Most people are at a loss of how to utilise time best to achieve their weight loss and maintenance goals. There are several theories both for and against cardio and weight training. I have personally experienced both sides of the story and can find points to support each. Both weight training and cardio have attained a slim and toned physique — especially during my bodybuilding days. My goals and life purpose have changed as I’m older and wiser. Perhaps you have gone through a similar transition throughout the years. Staying lean and fitting into your clothes was probably the ultimate strategy during your youth. The Duke University researcher’s conducted an extensive and randomised trial that analysed changes in body composition from three modes of exercise in those who are overweight or obese — without diabetes. Aerobic exercise such as running, walking and swimming — has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight. However, recent guidelines have suggested that resistance training, including lifting weight to build and maintain muscle mass, may also help weight loss. Your weight loss magnifies because of the increase in your resting metabolic rate. In addition, other benefits of resistant training (proven by research) have improved glucose control. However, when it comes to fat mass, research is inconclusive at that given time (This research was conducted in 2012). Researchers enrolled 234 overweight or obese adults in this study. They were randomly assigned to one of three exercise training groups. Resistance training, aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training. The participants exercised three times per week. The effectiveness of each group was analysed through body composition. Aerobic exercise was a more efficient way to lose body fat. Those who performed resistant training didn’t lose any weight (but did they put on muscle — we’ll never know this) The combination group had a mixed result. Both cardio and resistance helped the participants lose weight and fat mass, although it did not reduce body fat mass or fat mass over aerobic training alone. It’s important to note that this group saw the most significant decrease in waist circumference. But they also spent more time exercising than the other two groups. Resting metabolic rate was not monitored during this study, which would have been an exciting find. The suggestion is that weight training helps improve resting metabolic rate, which eventually aids in overall weight loss. This study didn’t significantly decrease fat mass or body weight irrespective of any resting metabolic rate changes. While no single exercise provides the best of every health benefit, you should consider your goals first to determine the best exercise solution. For instance, older individuals experiencing loss of muscle mass should focus on resistant training. On the other hand, those who want to lose a great deal of body fat may start with aerobic exercise to get the ball rolling. In my own experience, I found that cardio did help me get a lot leaner, but it also wore me out a lot physically and mentally. Weight training provided the metabolic changes, muscle-building and strength I could not get with cardio alone. I have used both methods to strengthen and tone my body and provide me with cardiovascular health befits — plus keeping me lean. Therefore, I highly recommend doing cardio and weight training whilst spending more time on either or depending on your goals. For example, if you want to lose that stubborn belly fat — HIIT might be used in your fat loss strategy. Although this is an older study, there is still wisdom within the results. Please feel free to view the paper here for more in-depth details. If you would like to read more articles like this or start writing your own, please sign up via my link. I’d love to see you on the other side. ????????Sign up here for your medium subscription. I get a portion of your monthly fee at no extra cost to you, and it will go a long way in supporting me as a writer. 

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