Resistance exercise combined with calorie restriction was equally effective for losing body fat as calorie restriction plus cardio. Resistance exercise combined with cardio and calorie restriction resulted in the greatest reduction in body fat.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT JUST BY LIFTING WEIGHTS & NO CARDIO SUMMARY?
- You can lose weight just by lifting weights; as long as you are in caloric balance.
- Resistance exercise combined with calorie restriction was equally effective for losing body fat as calorie restriction plus cardio.
- Resistance exercise combined with cardio and calorie restriction resulted in the greatest reduction in body fat.
DOES WEIGHT LIFTING BURN CALORIES?
Experts often recommend combining a calorie-restricted diet with aerobic exercise to optimize weight loss. People commonly choose running, jogging, swimming, and cycling as their preferred aerobic exercises for weight loss. Aerobic exercise burns more calories than resistance exercise, which is why many prefer it. However, resistance exercise might lead to a higher calorie burn post-exercise.
When on a calorie-restricted diet, it’s crucial to maintain lean muscle mass to keep the metabolic rate steady. Research indicates that lean muscle mass accounts for around 20-30% of weight loss during a calorie-restricted diet.(1) Past studies have shown that resistance exercise effectively preserves muscle mass during dieting, whereas aerobic exercise typically doesn’t maintain lean muscle mass as effectively during a diet.(2)
CALORIES BURNED LIFTING WEIGHTS VS AEROBIC EXERCISE
A recent meta-analysis examined the studies examining resistance exercise combined with a calorie-restricted diet and its effect on body fat percentage, visceral and subcutaneous body fat, and lean muscle mass. A total of 114 studies were included in the meta-analysis, with 4184 participants who were overweight/obese.
The greatest effects on reducing body fat were when resistance exercise and aerobic exercise were combined with a calorie-restricted diet. However, the results of the study indicated that resistance exercise plus a calorie-restricted diet was just as effective for reducing body fat as calorie restriction plus cardio. The study found that, on average, there was a 1.76-pound increase in lean mass with resistance exercise, but a calorie-restricted diet resulted in a maintenance of lean muscle mass.
The author found, on average, an 11-pound reduction in fat mass when resistance exercise was combined with a calorie-restricted diet which can improve cardiometabolic responses (i.e., lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure, etc.). The greatest effects on reducing body fat were when resistance exercise and aerobic exercise were combined with a calorie-restricted diet.(3) This study shows that aerobic exercise is not the only way to lose weight and burn fat. Some people may have difficulty doing exercises such as running and cycling due to knee or back pain. They can get similar benefits from performing resistance exercise and a calorie-restricted diet.
2. Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Clark KL, Gordon SE, Puhl SM, Koziris LP, et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(9):1320-9.
3. Lopez P, Taaffe DR, Galvão DA, Newton RU, Nonemacher ER, Wendt VM, et al. Resistance training effectiveness on body composition and body weight outcomes in individuals with overweight and obesity across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2022;23(5):e13428.