When it comes to exercise, we’re huge fans of a shortcut. Basically, whatever gives us the most bang for our buck is our new favorite workout. That’s where this handy study from the folks at Duke University comes in.
Researchers compared aerobic training, resistance training and a combination of both to find out which had more fat-burning power. In the study, 234 overweight volunteers were randomly assigned one of three exercise programs. The resistance training group used weights for three days a week, with three sets per day of eight to 12 repetitions. The aerobic training group racked up about 12 miles per week doing cardio. The last group did a combination of both workout plans.
At the end of the study, both the aerobic and combination groups lost weight, while the resistance group actually gained weight because they increased their lean body mass. Now, while you would think that the combination training would be the best plan, the researchers found that it didn’t reduce as much body mass and fat mass as the group that only did aerobic training. However, the combination group did have the biggest reduction in waist circumference—most likely because they spent the most time exercising.
So if you want to burn more fat, the most time efficient way to do so is by focusing on aerobic exercise. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate resistance training into your workouts. “Balancing time commitments against health benefits, our study suggests that aerobic exercise is the best option for reducing fat mass and body mass,” says study co-author Dr. Cris A. Slentz. “It’s not that resistance training isn’t good for you; it’s just not very good at burning fat.”
The study also revealed that exercise recommendations should be age-specific. Older men and women would benefit from resistance training if they experience muscle loss. On the other hand, younger individuals who want to lose weight should pick a workout that is mostly aerobic exercises. Checkout these fitness trends for 2013.
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