Thursday, June 3, 2010

660 seconds (11 mins) of minimal resistance training = a HUGE difference for fat burning

ResearchBlogging.orgWe know pretty unequivocally that the biggest part of a fat loss program is nutrition. That's first. BUT we also know that exercise can really help with keeping that program going. If we look at work on obesity and the role of exercise, we're looking at 5 hours of exercise a week (along with diet and expert support).

5 hours may be a good and healthy norm, but do you know any geeks who will say ya you bet i can get that 270-300 mins a week in. You bet. Not.

So a question might be, what's the minimal amount someone - especially someone at risk of being obese - can do in terms of working out to achieve a metabolic difference - where that metabilic change is to a boost start burning more calories in a day, and in particular burning more fat calories. 

Researchers in 2009 took a look at just this question. The answer is - we're not entirely sure, but here's something that looks really promising:
Long-term resistance training (RT) may result in a chronic increase in 24-h energy expenditure (EE) and fat oxidation to a level sufficient to assist in maintaining energy balance and preventing weight gain. However, the impact of a minimal RT program on these parameters in an overweight college-aged population, a group at high risk for developing obesity, is unknown. PURPOSE: We aimed to evaluate the effect of 6 months of supervised minimal RT in previously sedentary, overweight (mean +/- SEM, BMI = 27.7 +/- 0.5 kg x m(-2)) young adults (21.0 +/- 0.5 yr) on 24-h EE, resting metabolic rate (RMR), sleep metabolic rate (SMR), and substrate oxidation using whole-room indirect calorimetry 72 h after the last RT session. METHODS: Participants were randomized to RT (one set, 3 d x wk(-1), three to six repetition maximums, nine exercises; N = 22) or control (C, N = 17) groups and completed all assessments at baseline and at 6 months. RESULTS: There was a significant (P < 0.05) increase in 24-h EE in the RT (527 +/- 220 kJ x d(-1)) and C (270 +/- 168 kJ x d(-1)) groups; however, the difference between groups was not significant (P = 0.30). Twenty-four hours of fat oxidation (g x d(-1)) was not altered after RT; however, reductions in RT assessed during both rest (P < 0.05) and sleep (P < 0.05) suggested increased fat oxidation in RT compared with C during these periods. SMR (8.4 +/- 8.6%) and RMR (7.4 +/- 8.7%) increased significantly in RT (P < 0.001) but not in C, resulting in significant (P < 0.001) between-group differences for SMR with a trend for significant (P = 0.07) between-group differences for RMR. CONCLUSION: A minimal RT program that required little time to complete (11min per session) resulted in a chronic increase in energy expenditure. This adaptation in energy expenditure may have a favorable impact on energy balance and fat oxidation sufficient to assist with the prevention of obesity in sedentary, overweight young adults, a group at high risk for developing obesity.
 Just to be clear about what the program included:
Participants performed 1 set of 9 exercises designed to train all major muscle groups (chest press, back extension, lat pull down, triceps extension, shoulder press, leg press, calf raise, leg curl, and abdominal crunch) using a resistance of 3–6 1RM, approximately equal to 85–90% of 1RM.
So not what anyone would call a super arduous program or one that folks without mobility/pain issues could perform as these moves are all done on machines. Some of us might have chosen different moves - like only compound moves without machines - but let's leave that aside. These have the advantage of also being seated, which for an inactive overweight population may be a good thing.

Main Pluses. The main thing is that after 6 months, the folks doing this very simple, every-other-day program had significantly greater fat free mass (FFM) - or lean mass (eg, muscle) than the Control group. That's nice. But what is associated with this in terms of potential fat loss support? An upped metabolism, as measured by various metabolic resting rate measures. Faster metabolism is a known associated outcome with exercise; that means more fuel will get used more quickly. For example, 24hr energy expenditure went up from 13091 kJ's a day to 13618. That's a big deal.

And one more finding - the RQ measure - checking expiration gasses - showed that the (resistiance training) RT group seemed to have an upped "fat oxidation" level - that is, burning more fat for fuel, as opposed to carbs. That's what we want from exercise: more fat burning.

Reality Check. Working out alone doesn't cut it for fat loss. In the results, both groups over six months had their weight go up and their BMI go up. That's not good. BUT the fat mass increase in the RT was "non-significant" at 3.3% but definitely significant in the C group  at 8.8%.  Note, there was no specified dietary intervention in the study; the only mandated change was the exercise program:
Differences in reported dietary intake (total energy, carbohydrate, fat, protein) were not significant between the baseline and intervention periods for either RT or C, or between the 2 groups during the intervention. The mean intakes for total energy, and percent of dietary carbohydrate, fat and protein were 9538 kJ/day, 50%, 34%, and 16%, respectively. There was no difference for either group at baseline and 6 months between energy and macronutrient intake during the three days of standardized food prior to or during the calorimeter stay.
In other words, eating habits didn't change BUT over six months, these folks gained lean mass, had there metabolic rates go up, and instead of losing fat free mass as in control, had their fat free mass go up.

Take Aways. So what are the possible take aways from this study? One the authors suggest is that 11 mins. of resitance trainging might pose an interesting alternative to cardio/aerobics. As the authors state "the positive influence of even a small amount of RT on fat oxidation suggests an important role of RT on body mass management."

So imagine the benefit of combining a minimum 11mins of resistance training with some simple non-calorie-counting nutrition habits (like those found in precision nutrition) and who knows how the world might change?

Simple Program for fat loss? workout: 11mins of resistance, 3 days a week + nurtition: Change one thing a month with say the PN habits (download), and suddenly persistence of simplicity carries the day.

If you try this approach or know someone who will, pleaes let me know how it goes.

KIRK, E., DONNELLY, J., SMITH, B., HONAS, J., LeCHEMINANT, J., BAILEY, B., JACOBSEN, D., & WASHBURN, R. (2009). Minimal Resistance Training Improves Daily Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41 (5), 1122-1129 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318193c64e

Miller, W., Koceja, D., & Hamilton, E. (1997). A meta-analysis of the past 25 years of weight loss research using diet, exercise or diet plus exercise intervention International Journal of Obesity, 21 (10), 941-947 DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0800499


Gary Horn said...

I wonder if kettlebell swings would count as "resistance training"?

dr. m.c. said...

Gary, that's an interesting question. Worthy of a full post perhaps.

thanks for the wee bit of info about yourself. Congratulations for wanting to get into healthier living.

The main components of resistance training are that they put different demands on the muscles, lungs and heart than aerobic work.

Most folks in this space therefore recommend people interested in body comp changes move towards a blended approach: some resistance, some cardio, some interval work.

You can adapt the recommendations from the program in the post to use resistance bands if you can anchor the bands to different heights on the door - to get pull downs and rows.

Calf raises can also be done standing on a step hanging onto a railing.

If you'd like start with what you see here. and please do look at the precision nutrition ebook.

If after that you'd like to work with a coach, i do nutrition coaching via email, where we do a very thorough look at what's going on for you and figuring out how to support your goals best.

for background, here's a post about diet and habits

and here's one about training with a kettlebell - take a look at Tracy Reifind's story referenced in the middle of this post. See if that approache - gary's swinging a kettlebell - resonates with you.

Look for the big ball with the handle image mid post.

It's a great tool, but the main thing is for you to find something that feels fun to you that you'll stay with.

hope that helps


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