Breaking down research- How does lifting weights help weight loss?

On Sunday I attended a full day conference put on by Can Fit Pro.  Each year I always come away with so many new tips, tricks, ideas, motivation, as well as new research to put into action.

One of the sessions I attended was by one of my favourite researchers, Dr. Len Kravitz.  He has a way of making science interesting, fun, and applicable!

Today I chose to share one of the articles he used in his session on THE EFFECT OF STRENGTH TRAINING IN WEIGHT LOSS.

Here is the article information:   Avila et al. (2010). Effect of moderate intensity resistance training during weight loss on body composition and physical performance in overweight adults. Euro J Appl Phys 109, 517-525.  To view the article copy and paste the title into

As Dr. Kravitz broke down the article for us, it became more and more clear that strength training is essential and needed for weight loss.

–>  There were  27 male and female subjects (BMI=32kg/m2 ): 67 yr

~  This tell us that the group was an older population, highlighting the fact that resistance training was important for an older population!

–>  Previously sedentary people were included.

–>  It was a 10-week study of two groups.   One group followed the DASH diet only; the 2nd group followed the dash diet and did resistance training.

–>  The researchers measured weight loss, body composition, and muscle

–>  All subjects were on individualized diet (10% caloric restrict) based on estimated metabolic rate

–>  The weight lifting group did 40  minutes of resistance training on 3 non consecutive days.  Their program consisted of 6 upper and lower body exercises including a warm up set. They did 8-12 reps per set, and 4 rounds of each exercise.

–>  The Results?  The  DASH group lost 2% of their body weight at the end of the 10 week study; the diet only group also lost .2 % body fat and 2.7 % muscle.

–>  The group who followed the DASH diet and did resistance training lost 3.6 % of their body weight, 11.2 % body fat, and gained 1.3 % muscle.

What can we take away from this study?

#1:  People who went on a calorie restricted healthy diet lost 2 % of their body weight in a 10 week study.  We can therefore conclude that if you eat less than you need you will lose weight!  It’s a scientific equation.  (Keep in mind the average age of people was 67, harder to lose weight as you age).  *  Please also note that 2 % is a small number.  With diet changes only a 200 pound person would lose 4 pounds.  Weight loss done in a healthy way is slow and long term.  Stay focussed on the habit changes.

#2:  If you only follow a strict diet to lose weight you will not lose as much weight overall at the end of the diet, you will not lose very much body fat, and you will lose a lot of muscle.

#3:  If you diet and work out with weights 3 times a week for 40 minutes you will lose almost double the amount of weight, 11 % more body fat, and gain some muscle.  Muscle is good for a million different reasons, and you especially want it as you are aging to maintain balance, independence, appearance, and health/vitality. 

There you have it folks, weight training is essential for preventing falls, preventing injury, maintaining functional independence, and maintaining our muscle mass, and now we see that it will double our weight loss, help us to lose fat, and give us some healthy and appealing muscle.  Don’t fight the science.  We know that if you eat less then you need you will lose weight, and we also know that the more you move, and the more strength training you do as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle you will lose more weight and fat.


On a final note- I will be travelling across New Zealand for the next 4 weeks!  Yahoo!  It will be such an awesome adventure and I am very much looking forward to it.  I will most likely send out a few blogs while I am gone, but maybe not 😛  I am mostly looking to really enjoy my time away.  If you want to follow my adventure be sure to add me to twitter, instagram, or facebook.

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