Strength training can burn fat, too, myth-busting study finds

A new systematic review and meta-analysis shows we can lose around 1.4 per cent of our entire body fat through strength training alone, which is similar to how much we might lose through cardio or aerobics.

It’s basic exercise knowledge that to gain muscles, you strength train, and to lose fat, you do cardio — right?

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Not necessarily, a new University of New South Wales (UNSW) study published this week in Sports Medicine suggests.

In fact, the study — a systematic review and meta-analysis that reviewed and analyzed existing evidence — shows we can lose around 1.4 per cent of our entire body fat through strength training alone, which is similar to how much we might lose through cardio or aerobics.

“A lot of people think that if you want to lose weight, you need to go out and run,” says senior author of the study Dr Mandy Hagstrom, exercise physiologist and senior lecturer at UNSW Medicine & Health.

“But our findings show that even when strength training is done on its own, it still causes a favorable loss of body fat without having to consciously diet or go running.”

Up until now, the link between strength training and fat loss has been unclear. Studies have investigated this link in the past, but their sample sizes tend to be small — a side effect of not many people wanting to volunteer to exercise for months on end. Smaller sample sizes can make it difficult to find statistically significant results, especially as many bodies can respond differently to exercise programs.

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