Lifestyle and therapy interventions are considered the cornerstone for the management of obesity. Several guidelines recommend exercise, dietary, and behavioral interventions to improve weight loss in this population.
Regarding exercise interventions, aerobic exercise (i.e., activity involving large muscle groups and performed in a continuous or intermittent fashion over an extended period of time, such as cycling, swimming, jogging, or running) is recommended as the main exercise component for additional weight loss, whereas resistance exercise (i.e., anabolic exercise, such as performing sets of repeated movements against a resistance) has been considered less critical due to insufficient evidence on the effects on reducing body weight or body mass index (BMI).
In a recently published study, researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) have found that resistance training can also have positive results for weight loss, in conjunction with reducing calorie intake. The results appear in the journal Obesity Reviews.
To do so, the team performed a systematic review which included 116 articles and a total of 4,184 participants between the studies. They found that interventions involving resistance training and caloric restriction were the most effective for reducing body fat percentage and whole-body fat mass compared with groups without intervention. Also, resistance training was the most effective method to increase lean mass.
The results showed that we can use resistance training and achieve meaningful effects with a diet based on caloric reduction, which are similar effects to what aerobic exercise with caloric restriction achieves, and with the added benefit of increasing body lean mass.
The team also found that lean mass was maintained following a reduction in calorie intake.
Pedro Lopez, et al. Resistance training effectiveness on body composition and body weight outcomes in individuals with overweight and obesity across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 2022; 23 (5) DOI: 10.1111/obr.13428