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 Journal of Applied Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.
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), resistance training (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, body composition, waist circumference, cardiopulmonary fitness and strength compared to their baseline.
Key Findings and Conclusions
The researchers found: