Lifting weights reduces body fat

Are you lifting weights or doing other resistance exercises? If not, you should consider adding it to your fitness routine.

Doing so could reduce your body fat percentage, your visceral (abdominal) fat, and your total fat mass. Combining resistance training with a low-carb diet with adequate or higher protein could lead to even more powerful results in improved body composition and healthy weight loss.

That’s the message that Dr. Bret Scher, Diet Doctor’s Medical Director, delivers in his video on resistance training and body composition.

In his video news report, Dr. Scher explains the findings of an important new systematic review and meta-analysis — the highest level of research evidence — that explored resistance training and body composition. 

Now we have even more evidence that resistance training helps with multiple aspects of body composition,” Dr. Scher says.

The systematic review was published in the September 2021 edition of Sports Medicine. It studied the results of 58 randomized trials that compared full-body resistance training for at least four weeks to control groups in which healthy adults did no exercise. Weight loss was not part of the meta-analysis.

Sports Medicine: The Effect of Resistance Training in Healthy Adults on Body Fat Percentage, Fat Mass and Visceral Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

The paper concluded: “Resistance training reduces body-fat percentage, body-fat mass and visceral fat in healthy adults.”

Dr. Scher notes, “Improving your body composition is a big part of healthy weight loss. And that means losing fat mass and visceral fat, while improving or maintaining your lean mass.”

Does that mean you have to go to a gym “and grunt and pump iron and have big muscles?,” Dr. Scher asks.

No, it just means that you regularly try to put some stress on your muscles. Then gradually increase that stress so that you increase your lean muscle mass. Eating a low-carb, adequate-protein diet can help with building that muscle, too.

If you are new to exercise, check out our six-part beginner video program, “Let’s Get Moving” with Jonas Colting. As that program shows, resistance training can start with something as simple as push-ups against a wall.

Diet Doctor: Let’s Get Moving

Twice each week, Dr. Scher takes one or more scientific studies in the fields of nutrition, exercise, health, or disease and carefully analyses the researchers’ methods and findings. In doing so, he helps you better understand how to judge the quality of various research papers and make informed decisions about your own health and wellness. 

You can find more of Dr. Scher’s news videos on the Diet Doctor Youtube Channel. Subscribe to the feed so that you don’t miss any of his videos.

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For more information on body composition and healthy weight loss, check out our other guides:

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