Avoid Being Skinny-Fat and Lose Weight by Doing More of This Rather Than Dieting
Health experts tell us that when it comes to losing weight, the majority of us put our weight loss efforts into dieting. However, as it turns out, putting all of your effort into dieting alone is the biggest reason why most people fail. And, for those who do lose weight, many still look like what is referred to as being “skinny-fat.” To avoid having a skinny-fat body and lose more weight at the same time, you should be doing more of this one thing rather than just dieting your way to slimness.
According to a new study published in the journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, exercise beats dieting when it comes to losing weight.
This finding was the result of analysis of a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 that involved 2,587 men and 2,412 women ranging in age from young adult to elderly that examined the associations between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), diet quality, and weight status.
What the analysis revealed was that:
1. Across age groups, the levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was lower in the older age groups for both men and women, whereas diet quality was higher.
2. BMI and waist circumference were higher in the older age groups.
3. Within nearly all age groups, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was inversely associated with BMI and waist circumference for men and women.
The researchers concluded that the data reveals clear age-related trends for measures of weight status, physical activity, and diet quality in US men and women where moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was shown to be consistently related to weight status in both genders. Their findings highlight the need and importance of preventing obesity by promoting increased physical activity in adult Americans.
In other words, while following a healthy diet is important, a good diet and dieting alone come in second regarding effective weight loss that results from moderate-to-vigorous physical activity—especially for older adults.
This finding concurs with a “Weight Training for Weight Loss” article recently penned by Ms. Kelley Vargo, MPH, MS, CSCS, ACE Health Coach who explains that what she has learned from 12 years in the exercise science field is that dieting by cutting calories and doing cardio are not as effective as focusing on weight training for losing weight quickly and effectively.
A second point that she brings out is that your weight loss efforts will be more time efficient with weight training sessions that can be as short as 20 minutes per workout—if done the correct way with high intensity training.
The following is a summary of her “Weight Training for Weight Loss” advice on how to focus on using weights rather than dieting for successful and effective weight loss:
Rule #1: You must lift heavy weights―According to Ms. Vargo, lifting the same weights every day will not get you the results you want. Only by increasing the weights you lift will you subsequently increase your strength, your muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate which leads to more calorie burning.
“If you want to lose weight and not look ‘skinny-fat,’ you need to lift heavy weights,” advises Ms. Vargo.
Rule #2: Intensity, not time, is what matters―You do not have to spend more than 30-45 minutes on your weight training. In fact you could even get by with as little as 20 minutes per workout, according to Ms. Vargo who emphasizes that the key to effective weight training is keeping the intensity and thus your heartrate up with minimal rest during your workouts.
Rule #3: You must fail―By failing, Ms. Vargo means that you have to push past your comfort zone by lifting heavier weights than normal that prevent you from completing that last rep or two. Doing this will force your body to respond and change and in the process burn more energy during the repair and recovery phase of your strength building from weights.
Rule #4: Do supersets and hybrids―Incorporating supersets and hybrids into your workout effectively increases the intensity of your training, which in turn leads to losing even more weight more quickly.
A superset is essentially targeting the same muscle group with back-to-back exercises. For example doing 12 heavy squats followed by 12 lunges is a superset. A hybrid, however, is two or more movements into one exercise movement such as combining a squat with a shoulder press.
Rule #5: Circuit train your way through a session―Vary how you do your weight training by using circuit training to fit in multiple exercises in one training session. These sessions can either focus on the upper body, the lower body, or the entire body during each session. The important thing to remember is to keep the intensity up with heavier weights, and move quickly from one exercise to the next with only a minute of rest at the end of each round.
For more details about weight training for weight loss and a sample total body fat loss circuit training workout example with accompanying images of each exercise, go to Ms. Vargo’s article at acefitness.org referenced below.
“Associations among Physical Activity, Diet Quality, and Weight Status in US Adults” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, April 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 4 - p 743–750, Russell R. Pate et al.
“Weight Training For Weight Loss” by Kelley Vargo for AceFitness.org.