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Strength training helps slimmed down fatties to stay slim


Staff member
It'll be obvious to readers of this web magazine, but what's wrong with stating the obvious? Nothing at all. According to sports scientists at the University of Missouri, strength training helps slimmed down fatties to stay slim. The weight they put on after dieting, if they pump iron regularly at least, will be converted into lean mass and not fat.

Strength training helps slimmed down fatties to stay slim

The researchers started by getting 9 overweight men and women to first lose 6 percent of their weight through a combination of a calorie reduced diet and cardio training.

None of the subjects took exercise previously, but during the weight-loss phase, which lasted 8-12 weeks, they went to the gym 5 times a week. They started off by cycling for half an hour at 50 percent of their VO2max, and by the end of the weight-loss phase they had increased this to 45 minutes at 60 percent of their VO2max. The subjects followed a diet that provided them with 500 kcal less than they burned each day.

Once they’d finished dieting, the subjects' energy intake was increased by 1000 kcal/day. They stopped doing the cardio training and instead did weight training 3 times a week. Each session the subjects did 3 sets of ordinary and incline bench presses, neck presses, bent-over rows, biceps curls, triceps extensions, squats, leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls. They finished up each training session with crunches.

Within 8-12 weeks the subjects had regained half of the weight they had lost. But nearly all the weight came back in the form of lean body mass; their fat percentage continued to decline.

Click on the figures and table below for a larger version.

Strength training helps slimmed down fatties to stay slim

Strength training helps slimmed down fatties to stay slim

The subjects also became fitter during the strength-training period. Their VO2max increased, and they became stronger of course.

The average increase in waist measurement during the strength-training phase was a meagre 1.5 cm, so the subjects' physique improved considerably.

The researchers also monitored the subjects' insulin sensitivity. A measure used for this is the quantitative insulin-sensitivity check index [QUICKI]. The higher the QUICKI, the more sensitive you are to insulin and the less likely you are to develop diabetes-2. The QUICKI rose in the weight-loss phase and continued to do so more slowly in the strength-training phase.

Other trick: more protein
In 2003 Dutch researchers published the results of a study in which they gave people who had lost weight a diet containing more protein than normal. [Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan;28(1):57-64.] The subjects put on weight, but their waist measurement and fat percentage continued to decrease.

Perhaps it's worth combining the Dutch approach with the American approach.

Obvious really.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2010 Jan; 12(1): 64-72.