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Body scan technology used to show that strength training can, in fact, burn fat too.

strength training

A study from the University of New South Wales in Australia has been recently published in Sports Medicine that has somewhat challenged the cursory public judgement that strength training equals muscles and cardio equals fat loss.

The brainiacs at UNSW conducted a systematic review and analysed a range of data sets that concluded that people can shed around 1.4% of their entire body fat solely through strength training. This percentage loss is actually similar to how much can be lost through conventional cardio or aerobic exercise, the researchers found.

Dr. Hagstrom, an exercise physiologist in the Medicine and Health department at the university claims that, “A lot of people think that if you want to lose weight, you need to go out and run… But our findings show that even when strength training is done on its own, it still causes a favourable loss of body fat without having to consciously diet or go running”.

weight training

The link between strength training and weight loss has been a bone of contention. This is not the first study to investigate the connection, but sample sizes have always been on the smaller side as there are simply not that many volunteers who opt to perform the required strength training for a sustainable period. If sample sizes are continuously small then drawing any significant results from the statistical data can be particularly difficult.

Hagstrom claimed that “when we add all of these studies together, we effectively create one large study, and can get a much clearer idea of what’s going on”. In effect, that is what they did.

Body scans provided extremely accurate data for the study

The UNSW team pooled together and analysed the data sets from 58 different research papers that have built their research on incredibly highly accurate forms of body composition measurement including the use of the DEXA body scan.

A body scan is the gold standard form of body fat measurement and uses low doses of X-rays to accurately determine the precise amount of fat, lean mass, and bone that makes up one’s total weight.

Dr. Hagstrom’s study included the data from over 3000 participants, each receiving a series of body scans during the experiment to accurately track and measure their fat loss as they underwent their weight training. Not one of the participants had any previous strength or weight training experience before the start of their study.

Although weight training programmes differed from study to study, the average strength training session time lasted between 45-60 minutes. Each partaker worked out for an average of 2.7 times during a week. And the average strength programme lasted for approximately 5 months.

Over those 5 months, The results concluded that an average of 1.4% of their total body fat had been shredded when their training programmes ended. This equates to approximately half a kilogram in fat mass for most of the volunteers.

Good nutrition is the key to fat loss

The findings are interesting, however, Dr. Hagstrom concluded that, despite the results of the study, the best way to lose body fat is to ensure you’re following a nutritious diet plan alongside some form of exercise routine that includes cardio and/or strength training.

Bodyscan has always been a big believer in following a healthy and nutritious diet plan as, at its core, we firmly believe that losing weight is simply about entering a calorie deficit stage. And that is most efficiently controlled by food and drink consumption.

Bodyscan offers bespoke 12-week and premium 16-week nutrition plans to help you achieve your transformation goals following a body scan.

The good news for people who hate cardio is that you can eat well and focus on building those muscles! (For our free muscle-building guide, click here.) The simple fact of the matter is, if you want to alter your body composition, you can. It all starts with a body scan!

Accurate data is essential for an efficient weight loss programme

Why did people think that strength training cannot produce the same fat loss results as cardio? Simple… people rely on inaccurate ways of measuring fat.

What do most people rely on to determine whether their weight loss activities are progressing well or not? The common house scales. A little digital number that tells you your entire body weight. It doesn’t determine and differentiate fat mass, bone density, muscle mass, water weight, visceral fat, and anything else that contributes to your overall weight.

When you exercise with weights you gain muscle mass and shed body fat. When you train aerobically, there is no real improvement in muscle mass but you do lose body fat. Therefore the scales will show a greater loss for runners than it will for weight lifers as your total weight loss will be impacted by muscle mass gain.

The UNSW researchers then used body scans to accurately measure the body fat percentage changes in their participants after strength training sessions. The conclusion? The fat loss was on par with cardio training.

Dr. Hagstrom concluded that,

“A lot of fitness recommendations come from studies that use inaccurate measurement tools, like bioelectrical impedance or scales… But the most accurate and reliable way of assessing body fat is through DEXA, MRI or CT scans. They can compartmentalise the body and separate fat mass from lean tissue.”

A body scan is the most accurate form of fat loss measurement

There is no point in measuring your fat loss progress inaccurately. This university study even conducted a secondary query of analysis that examined the data collected by studies that both used and didn’t use body scans. The studies that used them all reported smaller changes in body fat than less accurate measurement tools such as scales.

Michael Wewege, an author on the study stated that,

“Using accurate fat measurements is important because it gives us a more realistic idea of what body changes to expect”.

Understanding your body composition is vital to truly understanding how to make your fat loss programme as efficient as possible. You can book your initial scan to get Baseline measurements and then have follow-up scans every 12-16 weeks to keep you accountable and check your progress.

This article was authored by a third party.

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