Thursday, September 01, 2011

To Lose Belly Fat: Jogging Better Than Lifting Weights

Researchers at Duke University recently reported that aerobic exercise was better than resistance training (e.g. exercising with weights) for reducing belly fat:

The Effects of Aerobic versus Resistance Training on Visceral and Liver Fat Stores, Liver Enzymes and HOMA from STRRIDE AT/RT: A Randomized Trial, American Journal of Physiology, August, 2011

Their study involved 249 subjects (155 completed). They were between 18 and 70 years old, overweight, sedentary, and with moderately high LDL (130-190 mg/dL) or moderately low HDL (≤40 mg/dL men, ≤45 mg/dL women).

Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups for 8 months:
  1. Resistance Training (RT) - 3 days/wk, 8 exercises, 3 sets/exercise, 8-12 repetitions/set.
  2. Aerobic Training (AT) - about 19.2 km/wk (12 miles/wk).
  3. Full Aerobic Training plus full Resistance Training (AT/RT).


Aerobic Training led to significant reductions in:
  • Liver fat
  • Visceral fat (fat between abdominal organs, called belly fat)
  • Liver enzymes (ALT)
  • Insulin resistance (HOMA)
  • Both total and subcutaneous abdominal fat
Resistance Training led to significant reductions in:
  • Subcutaneous abdominal fat
RT did not significantly improve the other variables.

When it came to using energy, aerobic training burned 67% more calories than resistance training.

Results of AT plus RT were not different from AT alone.

The authors concluded:
"For overweight and obese individuals who want to reduce measures of visceral fat and fatty liver infiltration and improve [insulin resistance] and [liver enzymes], a moderate amount of aerobic exercise is the most time efficient and effective exercise mode."
Lead author Cris Slentz, PhD, added:1
"When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have."

"Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass. But if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories."

"What really counts is how much exercise you do, how many miles you walk, and how many calories you burn. If you choose to work at a lower aerobic intensity, it will simply take longer to burn the same amount of unhealthy fat."

1 Want To Lose Belly Fat? Aerobic Exercise Beats Weights, Medical News Today, August 30, 2011