Resistance for Fat loss

I want to lose weight, tone up, drop fat, get rid of this tire around my waist….

Basically you want to lose fat. Where do I start? I have to spend some quality time doing” cardio” right?


ACSM– How resistance training actually helps in fat loss

Here is some other research that backs shows how resistance training is superior for Fat Loss

Info via the Alwyn Cosgrove blog

Tweaking your workout

April 5th, 2010

A couple of new studies just released (thanks to Adam Campbell for forwarding):

Kelleher et al
The Metabolic Costs of Reciprocal Supersets vs. Traditional Resistance Exercise in Young Recreationally Active Adults.
JSCR 2010 Mar 17. [Epub ahead of print]

This compared traditional weight training (perform a set, rest for a period of time and then repeat) to a reciprocal superset workout (where you perform for example one set of presses, rest a period of time and then perform one set of rows before repeating). The researchers concluded that

“Reciprocal supersets produced greater exercise kJ.min, blood lactate, and EPOC than did [traditional weight training]. Incorporating this method of resistance exercise may benefit exercisers attempting to increase energy expenditure and have a fixed exercise volume with limited exercise time available.”

Basically the superset group burned more calories per minute than the traditional weight training group. So if workout time is limited (which it is for most of us), and the goal is to drop some excess fat, a superset based workout may be superior.

Taking that one step further:

Paoli et al.
Effects of three distinct protocols of fitness training on body composition, strength and blood lactate.
JSMPF. 2010 Mar;50(1):43-51

This looked at three group – a low intensity circuit training group, and endurance (cardio) only training group and a high intensity circuit training group.

This study concluded that among the three groups, the high intensity circuit training showed the greatest reductions in body weight, percentage of fat mass , waistline, blood lactate (produced at 100 Watt during submaximal test) and greater improvement in 6RM in horizontal leg press and underhand cable pulldowns.

“The results obtained favored the conclusion that high-intensity exercise combined with endurance training in the circuit training technique is more effective than endurance training alone or low intensity circuit training in improving body composition, blood lactate, moreover high intensity circuit training results in significantly greater strength increase compared to traditional circuit training”

Really this is just an expansion of the above finding – that pairing or setting up a circuit of exercises with high intensity exercise, will be more effective for fat loss and weight reduction than doing pure endurance training.

When we combine the two – we can extrapolate that reciprocal supersetting, within a circuit format will be the most effective fat loss strategy within the weight room.

Take home advice: If your goal is weight loss or fat loss, set up all your resistance training in superset, triset or circuit (a term we use to describe 4 or more exercises) fashion to really maximize your results. If you add in some interval training (which is metabolically similar to the above type of training – high intensity work followed by a rest period) and clean up your diet, you’ll make great progress.

Kettlebells for Cardio

April 12th, 2010

A recent study came out of Truman State University and looked at the metabolic effect of kettlebell training (thanks to Adam Bornstein for forwarding)

The subjects were asked to swing a kettlebell as many times as they could in a 12 minute period (sets, reps and rest period it seems were freestyled – the subjects rested whenever they wanted)

The researchers found that the subjects completed between 198 and 333 swings in the time frame (265 swings average ) and worked at an average heart rate of 86% of max and at 65% of their previously measured oxygen consumption [VO2max]. They concluded that

“Continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase Vo2max. Heart rate was substantially higher than Vo2 during kettlebell swings. Kettlebells provide a useful tool with which coaches may improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of their athletes.”

This validates what several of you training yourself, training clients or who just hate doing traditional cardio have probably known for a while… We don’t have to do traditional cardiovascular training (running, cycling etc) to get a cardiovascular training effect. 12 mins of kettlebell swings can be used as a great cardio tool, as can bodyweight circuits, sleds, sandbags etc.

Taking that a step further, we can see that it may actually be a better choice of cardio training for some clients.

12 mins of running  as a comparison obviously involves a lot more repetitions through the joints than an average of 265 reps of kettlebell swings.  So for some clients/trainees, we can get a similar metabolic effect, heart rate, oxygen consumption (and therefore calories burned) while reducing the total reps and joint stress in deconditioned clients.

The bottom line is that we can use non-traditional metabolic training such as this, to provide cardiovascular training benefits.

Try the following at the end of your next workout:

Start the stopwatch.
Do 10-12 swings at the top of each minute, and rest for the remainder of the minute.
Repeat for 10-12 mins.


Basically, resistance “cardio” training can be EVEN more effective for fat loss than traditional cardio training. Both to just shake things up to keep giving you an adaptation response and to avoid overuse injuries. Which happens if you spend an hour on a treadmill 5 times a week and that’s it! High intensity resistance training is where it’s at, as long as it’s smart, progressive and balanced your results will be superior. It will save you time and get you better results, especially that “toned” shape you are looking for.  Dump the crunches for intervals!



About MaxOut Performance Fitness
Sergio Maldonado is a Sports Performance and Fitness Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. He strives to be the best at what he does through training, professional development courses, and practice. The purpose of this blog is to get out some of the knowledge that he obtains to better help others in their pursuits towards fitness and a better life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: