By JOHN BOBALIK
Exercise physiologist John Bobalik is coordinator of Purdue University Calumet’s Fitness Center, a comprehensive exercise and workout facility for students, faculty, staff and community members. It also serves as a laboratory setting for fitness management students.
Q. While strength training exercises are normally prescribed to develop muscular strength, size, power and endurance, is there any evidence that strength training assists with fat loss and weight reduction?
A. The answer is an emphatic “Yes.” Research suggests the process has to do with adding muscle mass or increasing lean weight and elevating one’s metabolism. Doing so leads to burning more calories, resulting in (fat) weight loss.
Several studies published over the last two decades highlight the role strength training exercises play in reducing body fat.
Wayne Westcott, PhD, in his health and fitness column published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Certified News, January-March 2010 issue, describes a carefully controlled study looking at the effects of strength training on resting metabolic rate and fat loss.
According to Westcott, “Campbell et al (1) at Tufts University put a small group of volunteers through a 12-week strength training program consisting of three sets of four resistance exercises three days per week. All subjects ate measured meals and performed no physical training except for the strength exercises. At the end of the study, the participants increased their muscle mass by three pounds and their resting metabolic rate by about 7 percent.”
Westcott, who teaches exercise science courses and directs fitness research programs at Quincy (MA) College further explained, “If strength training exercises can induce a 7 percent increase in resting metabolic rate on a person needing 1500 calories per day, this would result in burning an extra 110 calories per day or 36,000 calories per year, which could possibly result in a 10-pound fat loss over the course of one year.”
Campbell WW, Crim MC, Young UR & Evans WJ. Increased Energy Requirements and Changes in Body Composition with Resistance Training in Older Adults. AM J Clin Nutr 1994:60:167-175.
Filed under Fit Tip.