In sum, the increases in fat oxidation that occurred from belly fat during resistance exercise. The increases in fat-burning hormones and increases in abdominal belly fat mobilization may play a role in reducing obesity. Although aerobic exercise is often recommended to lose body fat, this study demonstrates that resistance exercise combined with diet can be a powerful stimulator of belly fat loss.
FORGET CARDIO! DO THIS TO BURN BELLY FAT SUMMARY
- Resistance exercise led to an increase in fat-burning hormones in the belly area.
- Higher repetitions and lighter weight training resulted in greater fat loss over a 12-week training period compared to moderate weight.
- Similar increases in muscle mass and strength occurred between the groups.
During resistance training, how quickly should you move between exercises for muscle growth/fat loss is a common question. Short rest periods have been advocated to boost anabolic hormones, but this does not lead to greater increases in muscle.
One of the well-documented effects of resistance exercise is a reduction in waist size, often accompanied by a reduction in belly abdominal fat. It has been shown that when researchers use a technique called microdialysis in which they insert tiny needles into the stomach to measure fat oxidation or fat burning, there is an increase in subcutaneous adipose tissue fat burning.(1) Part of the fat-burning effects of resistance exercise can be attributed to hormones that increase during high-intensity exercise, which increases fat burning.(2) The research also suggests that losing belly fat is easier to accomplish than losing fat on the glutes.(3, 4) Adipocytes in the belly are 4 to 5 times more responsive to adrenaline (i.e., hormones produced during high-intensity exercise) than other fat depots. (5)
THE STUDY ON BURN BELLY FAT HORMONES
Researchers examined how a bout of high-intensity resistance exercise affected fat mobilization from adipose tissue. The resistance exercise protocol consisted of chest press, lat pull down, leg press, shoulder press, leg extension, and leg curl. Participants performed each exercise for three sets: they did two sets of 10 repetitions and a third set to muscular exhaustion with a load equaling 85% of their previously established 10RM. They maintained rest periods of 90 seconds between all sets and exercises. The resistance exercise session lasted for 40 minutes.
At the end of the study, there was an elevation in fat burning or lipolysis in subcutaneous abdominal adipose during resistance exercise. Peak levels of fat-burning reached a peak immediately post-exercise. The increases in GH and catecholamines (i.e., adrenaline hormones) were accompanied by an increase in fat burning, showing a greater demand for fat mobilization from belly fat. (6)
ADAPTED FROM:Ormsbee MJ, Choi MD, Medlin JK, Geyer GH, Trantham LH, Dubis GS, et al. Regulation of fat metabolism during resistance exercise in sedentary lean and obese men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;106(5):1529-37.
LIGHTER WEIGHT/HIGHER REP TRAINING MAY RESULT IN THE ABILITY TO BURN MORE BELLY FAT.
High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) comprising short bursts of intense exercise with minimal rest periods has been found to improve body composition, cardiovascular fitness, and strength.(7) HIIT metabolic resistance training has been found to result in greater fat-burning hormones, such as adrenaline, GH, and cortisol.
High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) is performed similarly in the gym in which multi-joint exercises are performed with the desired number of repetitions with short rest periods between sets and has been found to reduce body fat and improve strength gains.(8, 9). HIIT training usually involves a total resistance exercise-based routine in which the entire body workout is performed.
To date, no one has examined the effects of HIFT with different training intensities on body composition and strength. Previous studies have found that when sets are taken close to muscular failure, there are similar increases in muscle growth when comparing moderate (i.e., 8-12 reps) and light-weight intensity (20+ reps).(10)
IS HIIT OR STRENGTH TRAINING BETTER FOR FAT LOSS?
The literature suggests that light weight/high repetition training can be equally effective for increasing muscle mass as moderate weight/lower repetitions exercises.(11) This can be helpful to give the joints and ligaments a break from heavier lifting while still increasing muscle mass. No study has looked at hypertrophy vs. strength training for fat loss!
A new study adds to the existing literature that higher repetition/lightweight training may be beneficial for losing body fat compared to moderate weight training.
Researchers had 41 healthy, young, physically active individuals (19 males and 22 females) train with either a moderate-load (70% 1-RM) training with 8-12 reps or low-load resistance training (30% 1-RM) training with 24-28 reps or a control group (CON).
The participants performed as many reps as possible during the 30-second training sets. The training program included five functional exercises performed in a circuit fashion for 30 seconds each, with 30 seconds of rest in between, totaling four rounds of five exercises per session.
High Repetitions May be the Key to Burn Belly Fat Faster
Volume load (load x sets x number of repetitions) was equal in the two groups. The subjects performed a full-body workout three days a week. At the end of the study, both groups increased lean muscle mass and lost body fat over 12 weeks, but the fat loss was greater in the low load/high repetition training group.
Interestingly, the greatest fat loss changes occurred in the last six weeks of training (i.e., weeks 6-12) for the higher repetition group, while the moderate weight group had no further decrease in body fat from weeks 6-12. See the chart below.
Another surprising finding was that strength changes were similar between the groups in 4 out of the 5 exercises (i.e., back squat, deadlift, bent-over row, and bench press).
Similar changes in strength gains are surprising, given that many studies have found superior strength gains with heavier weights. The author concluded that low-load training might be suitable for injured athletes or those needing to give their joints and tendons a break from heavier weight lifting.
The author also suggested using a higher repetition scheme at the beginning of training, where the goal is to improve body composition without the use of heavyweight.(12)
FORGET CARDIO! DO THIS TO BURN BELLY FAT KEY POINTS
· Higher repetitions and lighter weight training resulted in greater fat loss over a 12-week training period compared to moderate weight.
· Similar increases in muscle mass and strength occurred between the groups.
1. Ormsbee MJ, Thyfault JP, Johnson EA, Kraus RM, Choi MD, Hickner RC. Fat metabolism and acute resistance exercise in trained men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007;102(5):1767-72.
2. Arner P. Catecholamine-induced lipolysis in obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999;23 Suppl 1:10-3.
3. BERLAN M, LAFONTAN M. Evidence that epinephrine acts preferentially as an antilipolytic agent in abdominal human subcutaneous fat cells: assessment by analysis of beta and alpha2 adrenoceptors properties. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1985;15(6):341-8.
4. Mauriège P, Després JP, Prud’homme D, Pouliot MC, Marcotte M, Tremblay A, et al. Regional variation in adipose tissue lipolysis in lean and obese men. J Lipid Res. 1991;32(10):1625-33.
5. Wahrenberg H, Lönnqvist F, Arner P. Mechanisms underlying regional differences in lipolysis in human adipose tissue. J Clin Invest. 1989;84(2):458-67.
6. Ormsbee MJ, Choi MD, Medlin JK, Geyer GH, Trantham LH, Dubis GS, et al. Regulation of fat metabolism during resistance exercise in sedentary lean and obese men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;106(5):1529-37.