Bigger and smaller lies about resistance training – Part II

In the first part of the text I described the issues of exercises causing injuries, or which are just dangerous. I presented the fact, that not all the exercises are similarly efficient in building muscle mass and strength. Here is another part of frequently misleading information. Unfortunately, because of the amount of information one can find on the Internet, there are often bigger or smaller lies about training. You should always verify what you're reading, check the sources and read the works prepared for the professionals – doctors, trainers or clinic dietitians.

Lie no. 1: “you will not get rid of body fat without proper aerobic workout”

Bigger and smaller lies about resistance training – Part I

The conclusion drawn from tens of scientific studies is following – the changes in body composition depend on:

  • using reduction diet (negative calorific balance) – the essential and basic condition,

  • the amount of muscles – i.e. “lean” mass (not the “amount of mass”, because the fatty tissue slows down and impairs the process of reducing fat); resistance training ensures building mass, aerobic exercises do not influence the amount of muscles,

  • physical activity (it may be resistance or interval training, or other kind of work – aerobics may do well),

  • hormonal profile (high level of testosterone and growth hormone, low level of estrogens and cortisol, regulated work of pancreas – reduced insulin resistance); it mostly depends on the body composition, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.

There are no reasons to put the equality sign between body fat reduction and aerobic training. You may achieve as good, or even better results in fat reduction if, instead of cardio, you do:

  • the station-type resistance workout,

  • the workout with TRX, kettlebells or crossfit,

  • circuit workout (it's usually the model of the whole body within one session),

  • full body workout (FBW) (classic training; the whole body is trained within one session; usually 3 x a week),

  • resistance training, split (e.g. up/down, push pull, front-back – 4-5 days a week),

  • interval training (sprints alternating with jogging, ascents, pulling the load, jumping over obstacles, shuttle run, etc.).

According to research, low-intensity aerobic workout causes insignificant results within many months of training, if the diet is not used [1]. In some experiments even cardio in the volume of 5 x 45 minutes a week caused minute results! [2] In the same experiment it was proven that diet itself has slightly lower efficiency, compared to aerobic training with diet (the group of strict diet – there was the loss of 650 g of body mass a week; diet + aerobic training – the loss of 675 g a week). Of course, there's another important matter – resistance training causes the improvement of the body composition – building muscles and reducing body fat causes that the body looks better. It is more important for women – aerobic training may cause losing fat, but... without building muscles – the body starts to look like a hanger. If you don't know what I am talking about, watch the skinny anorectic models and compare them with, for example bikini fitness competitors.

Summary: if you use proper diet, resistance training (the FBW or split models, 70-90% of free weights, 10-30% of the machines), you may get rid of body fat efficiently. Additional aerobic or interval sessions are only the accelerator of changes, they may speed up achieving the goal, but they do not condition it. The truth is, that it's good to increase the volume and frequency of the mixed sessions (intervals + aerobics) only when there is stagnation in body mass reduction (which usually happens after a few weeks).