There's Finally Proof You Can Cut Body Fat Through Strength Training Alone

There's Finally Proof You Can Cut Body Fat Through Strength Training Alone

The age-old assumption is that if you want to burn fat, you hit cardio workouts as hard as you can.

Fitness coaches and PTs have been changing this perception over the last couple of decades, introducing clients to strength training in their search to cut fat.

Resistance exercises alone burn a large number of calories, and adding lean muscle mass will increase the amount of energy your body needs to sustain itself at rest, making it easier to hit a calorie deficit.

Although these tactics have been used for many years, it’s only now that we have concrete evidence that strength training alone will make you lose weight.

That’s because all the research papers that have looked into it have been too small or not covered a large enough timespan. But Australian sports physiologists have now done a large review of 58 separate studies.

"It can be really difficult to discern whether there's an effect or not based on one study alone," said Dr Mandy Hagstrom, an author of the recent paper. "But when we add all of these studies together, we effectively create one large study, and can get a much clearer idea of what's going on."

In all, they considered results from 3000 participants.

The people involved had trained 2-3 times per week for around 5 months, with each workout lasting between 45 and 60 minutes.

You Can Lose 1.4% Of Body Fat Through Strength Training

The researchers discovered that participants lost an average of 1.4% of their body fat, which was a sizeable half a kg for most of them.

"A lot of people think that if you want to lose weight, you need to go out and run," Dr Hagstrom added. "But our findings show that even when strength training is done on its own, it still causes a favourable loss of body fat without having to consciously diet or go running."

So the myth that you have to sweat it out for hours on a treadmill or a bike to lose fat has finally been busted.

Do What Works For You

The ultimate conclusion of the study is that you can find your own method of exercise to cut weight.

You’re best off picking the form that motivates you to get going the most.

"If you want to exercise to change your body composition, you've got options," says Dr Hagstrom.

"Do what exercise you want to do and what you're most likely to stick to.

"Resistance training does so many fantastic things to the body that other forms of exercise don't, like improving bone mineral density, lean mass and muscle quality. Now, we know it also gives you a benefit we previously thought only came from aerobics.

"If you're strength training and want to change how your body looks, then you don't want to focus on the number on the scale too much, because it won't show you all your results.

"Instead, think about your whole body composition, like how your clothes fit and how your body will start to feel, and move, differently."