Weight training alone can be an effective mechanism for weight loss and does not need to be accompanied by aerobic exercise, a new study suggests. According to research, exercises like weight lifting, combined with a calorie deficit, help to reduce body fat.
In a systematic review of 116 different studies, scientists from Edith Cowen University in Australia and the University of Caxias do Sul in Brazil found that combining strength training and calorie reduction was an effective weight loss strategy.
Debunking some myths
The findings help demystify that aerobic exercise, such as running and cycling, is the only way to lose weight. “Usually, when we talk about obesity, body composition or weight loss, we only hear about aerobic exercise,” said Pedro Lopes, lead author of the study.
According to Lopez, research may present alternatives to aerobic exercise, which can be harmful to knees and other joints, especially for people with obesity. Only weight training, combined with a caloric deficit, may be a safer option for this audience.
Cutting calories is extremely necessary
However, the researchers consider that only weight training may not help with weight loss and needs to be combined with adequate nutrition. The weight loss observed in the study was linked to a calorie deficit, that is, the intake of fewer calories than those burned with exercise.
It is commonplace within nutrition that a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss and fat burning, however, the methods for this can vary. Strategies for lowering calories may involve decreasing portions, lowering carbs, or intermittent fasting, for example.
The study also found that the main reason for doing weight training, which is to build muscle, can also be a path to weight loss. The more muscle a person has, the more calories they burn, as weight lifting increases athletic ability, it can also be effective for improving metabolic health.
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