Monday, December 17, 2012

Aerobics or Resistence?

I have found it interesting the debate between aerobic exercise versus resistance as the best method of losing weight. I've read that aerobics burns calories while you are engaged in an activity, but resistance training, while not burning as many calories during the activity will have you burning more calories for hours afterwards.

A study published in the December 15th issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology states that aerobic exercise is better than resistance training for losing weight. You can find the general article here, you can find the actual article here but you will need an account to access it. Basically, the study followed 119 sedentary, obese adults and broke them into three groups - aerobics only, resistance training only, and a combination of both. The group who lost the most weight over the 8 month period was the aerobic only members. The resistance training group only gained the most lean muscle, but did not lose as much weight. The researchers admit there is a time commitment that is necessary to achieve the results found.

This makes sense to me. I've always found that when I do resistance work only, I do not lose much weight. Sure, my arms look better, but the scale doesn't move. It really is aerobic activity - running, biking, walking, elliptical - that causes the pounds to come off. I'm not arguing that weight training does not have it's place. It truly does. In my opinion, and I'm not a doctor, trainer, or any sort of professional, but strengthening your muscles allows you to push harder in your aerobic workouts, which in turn allows you burn more calories causing a calorie deficit leading to weight loss.

What do you think? Do you find losing weight happens more when you focus on aerobics or resistance or does a combination help you? 


  1. I read this article too. I have heard for years--for weight loss, you need to resistance training. It makes sense that if you add muscle to your body, you burn more calories when you are not working out--but its only like 50 more calories per day. Losing weight is a game of numbers! You burn a lot more calories when working out aerobically than you do in resistance training so I would make more sense that to lose weight you need to sweat!

  2. Yup. Resistance training is good for toning the body so when the fat comes off you look better, plus it makes you stronger, but for weight loss itself, I never found it to help. Working with my trainer has helped make running easier because it does strengthen my muscles for longer runs, but it hasn't helped me lose weight per se. It's good to see research is starting to bolster what those who workout have found true.