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Lighten Up with Weights

Pumping Iron May Help Shed Pounds

Gym man and woman push-up strength pushup with dumbbell in a crossfit workout

By John Salak —

Mention weight loss and exercise and most people think aerobics—running, biking, rowing—basically sweating. There’s a lot of validity in the notion as these high-intensity workouts can help melt away pounds when combined with sensible dieting.

Australis’s Edith Cowan University (ECU), however, may have found yet another exercise program to help those looking to lose weight. It reports that resistance training—in conjunction with reduced calorie intake—can also do the trick.

In fact, lead researcher Pedro Lopez claims resistance training can have a significant effect on fat mass, muscle mass and weight loss.

“Usually when we talk about obesity, body composition or weight loss, we only hear about aerobic exercise,” he said. “This paper shows we can use resistance training and achieve meaningful effects with a diet based on caloric reduction. We can reduce body fat percentage, whole-body fat mass, body weight and BMI.”

Lopez even reports that pumping iron or other resistance training workout may be just as effective as aerobics while offering people battling obesity with new exercise options.

“This group may be uncomfortable by the prospect of 30 or 40 minutes on a treadmill or a bicycle,” he said. “They can injure knees, joints, ligaments and more because they have to carry their whole-body weight during a lot of aerobic exercises.”

Resistance training has other benefits as well. Unlike straight aerobics, it supports shedding pounds, while building or preserving muscle mass.

While acknowledging the difference in exercise approaches and impacts, Lopez was quick to note that the ECU study was not designed to specifically compare aerobics to resistance training. He also noted that proper dieting and reduced caloric are essential for weight loss.

“If you want to lose weight, you have to reduce your calorie intake,” he added.

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