This is a controversial subject in the fitness world because the research has been somewhat conflicting. Some research has found that short term weight training results in a decrease in insulin sensitivity which would theoretically decrease fat loss. These results can be somewhat misleading, however, because when weight training is part of your regular workout program it seems to improve fat loss. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a weight training program, performed 3 times per week and continued for 12 weeks, significantly increased muscle mass, decreased body fat and actually improved blood sugar control in older adults. In addition, weight training resulted in a 56% increase in a protein called aPKC which is involved in insulin signaling and sensitivity.
(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85:1005-1013,2007)
Dr. Ray’s Notes:
Many weight loss gurus suggest that weight training provides no benefit to those seeking to lose fat. Admittedly, there is some research that supports this belief. It is common to see these gurus suggest that aerobic activity is the only fitness training that you need to lose weight. In my opinion, based on the literature and my personal experience, weight training should make up the foundation of any weight loss program. This is true
- Weight training sets the stage for safe aerobic activity. When you start to jog, run or jump, the muscles and joints have to manage a tremendous amount of new stress that they are not accustomed to handling. Through weight training you are strengthening the muscles, thickening the tendons and ligaments and improving the neuromuscular connections between the brain and muscles. This results in greater tone and stability, both important factors in injury prevention.
- Weight training, when it is done correctly, will result in significant caloric loss during and after each session. You can lose just as many or even more calories than you can from a session of aerobic activity. Weight training burns sugar and, over a relatively brief period of time, results in increased sensitivity to insulin. This occurs due to activation of enzymes which regulate fat and sugar metabolism. Weight training has been shown to increase aerobic fitness in addition to anaerobic fitness. This means that when you do hit the track, you will be able to run faster and burn more calories.
- The final reason is, weight training turns you into a lean, mean fat and sugar burning machine! This enhances fat loss and helps to prevent weight gain over the long run!