It’s one of the most debated topics in fitness…
In fact if you GOOGLE this question, you will find “expert” opinions on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve never been a fan of listening to these so-called experts. I like to dig a little deeper and look at the science and find research to back it up.
Let me preface what I found by saying if you want to lose weight properly, it starts with smart nutrition. That needs to be the foundation, then you add in training.
As far as which type of training is better, researchers from Wake Forest University recently published a study with some interesting findings.
The research team studied a group of adults, looking to lose weight, over an 18 month period.
They split the group into 3 categories:
– Diet + Weight Training
– Diet + Cardio
– Diet Only
All 3 groups lost weight. Yet, both of the groups who added an exercise component lost significantly more weight.
So who won then? Cardio or Weights?
The weight training group lost more weight, but only by a slight margin.
BUT WAIT, they didn’t stop there.
The researchers took it a step further (I thought Wake Forrest was only known for great basketball).
They examined what TYPE of weight was lost. They broke down how much of the weight loss was muscle vs. fat.
The group performing “cardio” exercise only, lost weight. A significant amount of that weight loss was lean mass (muscle). Compared to the “weight training” group who lost a very small percentage of muscle mass, if any.
Why is this important?
“Loss of lean mass (muscle + bone) could have important consequences given the high risk of physical disability among the growing population of older adults”.
In other words, if you are losing muscle as you age, it will have a profound and long term effect on your QUALITY OF LIFE.
I can’t argue that getting people to a “healthy weight” is important for overall health. BUT, if you value longevity and being active for a long, long time, there is no debate, you need to move some iron!