USA scientists have undertaken the largest randomised trial to determine the best way to lose fat in overweight or obese adults without diabetes. They tested the effectiveness of aerobic exercise (walking, running or swimming), resistance training (weight lifting) and a mix of the two.
There were 234 obese or overweight adults in the study to begin with and results were taken from the 119 people who stayed for the duration. The participants were split into three groups. The aerobic exercise group covered approximately twelve miles per week, the resistance training group undertook three days of weight lifting per week and the third group did both sets of exercises, thus completing twice as much training per week as that of the first two groups.
The research found that aerobic exercise alone is the most efficient way to lose body fat. The resistance training group actually gained weight over the duration of the study due to an increase in muscle mass. The combination exercise had the largest increase in waist circumference, but this was attributed to the amount of time these participants spent exercising.
So, if you are time-poor and looking to shed kilos fast, then this study suggests that you should focus on walking, running or swimming. Every person is different, however, and bodies have different needs, so if you have a pre-existing medical condition or have not done much exercise before then it is important to speak to your health professional before you begin.
To find out more you can read the original study Aerobic exercise trumps resistance training for weight and fat loss at the ScienceDaily website.