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Head to head comparison of resistance training and aerobic training
Old 04-26-2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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Head to head comparison of resistance training and aerobic training

Researchers at Duke compared aerobic training with reistance training at task of ridding body of visceral fat, found aerobic training much more efficient for this goal. Their specific exercise protocols are described.
Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fat

Deep belly fat is supposed to be more metabolically negative than subcutaneous fat.

This same group has done other studies comparing different effects of total weekly work done, and intensity of work on different indices of health (lipids, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistence, etc.) An interesting anomaly is that for the findings that constitute metabolic syndrome, moderate exercise seems better than intense. Moderate by their definition is pretty easy going- walking at 40-55 % maximum heart rate. I think they define intense as jogging at 65-80 % max heart rate.

After reading all their papers on these topics, it seems likely that an exact "best exercise Rx" cannot be defined. The study subjects will only do so much. And even if one accepts that aerobic exercise is what counts, we still have frequency, duration, and intensity as independent variables- although they clearly interact in the real world where people have only so much time and energy to invest in exercising.

There is a very careful study by Ralph Paffenbarger M.D. published I believe in 1986 in the NEJM called Physical Activity, All Cause Mortality and Longevity of College Alumni. He looked at exercise reported as walking, stair climbing, and sport. His findings were that death rates decreased from people getting less than 500 kcal/week, on up to 3500 kcal where death rates began to slightly increase. Now 3500 kc/week is a lot of exercise, for anyone other than an young athlete. College athletes routinely expend 2 to 4 times this in season, (look at Michael Phelps!) but for a working person or even a typical retiree this is a lot.

My regime is still very much a work in progress, but my 7 day running sum fluctuates between 2800 and 3800 kc/wk. A cold or a period of poor sleep kind of knocks me out of the saddle, but not for long. My basic hope is to work up to >= 1 hr and 600 kc/day in ~5 sessions on my rower, and then add-in my leisure and task oriented walking, stair climbing, grocery packing, hill climbing etc. If it seems too much, I'll take my time.



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Old 04-27-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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Interesting article. These paragraphs stood out to me:
"The Duke study showed aerobic training significantly reduced visceral fat and liver fat, the culprit in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Aerobic exercise also did a better job than resistance training at improving fasting insulin resistance, and reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels. All are known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
Resistance training achieved no significant reductions in visceral fat, liver fat, liver enzyme levels or improvements in insulin resistance. The combination of aerobic with resistance training achieved results similar to aerobic training alone."
My take away is that I should continue to do both (weights and bike riding) since resistance training has significant other benefits. The team used standard three sets of 8-12 reps three times a week for the resistance group. I use the one (sometimes 2) session high intensity protocol from Body by Science so no telling how it would stack up. This study does support my intuitive reaction that BBS is off base in proposing that aerobics are not a necessary ingredient for overall health. Although to be fair to BBS, I don't think they addressed belly fat - they focused on cardio.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
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My take away is that I should continue to do both (weights and bike riding) since resistance training has significant other benefits. The team used standard three sets of 8-12 reps three times a week for the resistance group. I use the one (sometimes 2) session high intensity protocol from Body by Science so no telling how it would stack up. This study does support my intuitive reaction that BBS is off base in proposing that aerobics are not a necessary ingredient for overall health. Although to be fair to BBS, I don't think they addressed belly fat - they focused on cardio.
+1, why play one vs the other when both are better for most people. Also, at least for me, I feel there is some aerobic benefit to weight training, especially if you are not taking long breaks between lifts.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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The women I have known through Weight Watchers almost completely ignore weight training, and frequently focus entirely on the treadmill or elliptical machines. I have no doubt that cardio gives better weight loss results. But I do not think that weight loss is the sole benefit of a regular exercise regimen. Especially as we age, strength and flexibility are both important.

I am pleased with my results from lifting (and surprisingly, so is my doctor who says my blood tests have all improved; I'm not sure why). My routine has been centered on the weight machines, not because I felt they were "best" but mainly because I was extremely sedentary in the past and needed to find some form of exercise that I like to do and would keep doing in the long term. The increase in my strength that I experience from my weight training regimen gives me great positive feedback on a daily basis.

So, I think that is something to consider, too - - what type of exercise one will continue in the long term. That may not be an issue for some retirees but it was for me.

I know that weights are "fun" for me, but I do try to throw in some cardio if/when that seems like fun too, for variety. I enjoyed the Concept2 for a little while last summer, and lately I have been trying out the new "Seated Elliptical" machines that my gym just bought. They are like an elliptical but you sit (or, perch on a seat). I think they provide less intense cardio than a regular elliptical, but they provide some and they are great for the knees.

As an aside - - and perhaps completely unrelated to this thread, there is a guy at my gym who does almost as much as I do on the weight machines and rides the elliptical for 30 minutes every day as well. He is an extreme extrovert and knows all the "regulars" at the gym. I assumed he was about 55 years old, but he told me recently that he is 82. Not to say that exercise is the Fountain of Youth, but I am sure his quality of life is greatly improved by exercise. He told me that he was not at all athletic when he was young, but enjoys it now.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:44 AM   #5
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I agree that strength training has other benefits than the metabolic benefits conferred by endurance training, if someone has the time and energy to do both in sufficient dosage (and metabolic training probably takes more performance time, though for many of us, "cardio" consumes more travel and set-up time). I believe that although it is the popular buzzword, "cardio" is misleading. What athletes used to call wind (cardio-pulmonary fitness) is usually best trained by some long slow distance, but with an emphasis on sprint intervals. What the Duke researchers are studying is mostly metabolic fitness, or "deep health factors". They found that these often do not respond to the same interventions that improve VO2 max, the gold standard metric of the Cooper Institute cardio era.

I also believe that overall, weight training has been hugely overemphasized beyond its general population health impact because it is more easily commecialized, and it more easily lends itself to guru manufacture and career building. I really begins to look like one can do a great, great deal for his/her health with nothing more technical or expensive than a pair of comfortable shoes and a sidewalk to help keep the cars off, and plenty time to devote to it. Weight training also fits well with popular memes such as female empowerment and radically changing images of what an attractive or desirable female body looks like.

It has always puzzled me that the most popular actresses of the 50s would mostly all be put on weight loss diets and "hard body" training programs today before they could qualify for anything other than plus size modeling jobs. Meanwhile the 50s women walking down the street were mostly healthly looking right-weight, while today the cultural icons either look like they may have been injecting steroids, or are starving, while their ordinary sisters struggle with diets and weight loss hopes and overweight/obesity.


In 1955, who would possibly have thought that the US would one day be crawling with "personal trainers", getting $50-$75/hr for their dubious advice and enthusiastic cheerleading?

I have no real position here, except that for me I have felt that the big part of my time should be spent doing distance. If I had a larger space, I could do all the weights I need with one barbell, just doing deadlifts a couple times per week. I may find space for that, but for now my workhorse is my C2 that sits below the window in my bedroom.

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Old 04-27-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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This article espouses the virtues of combining each type of exercise for fitness and health:


Aerobics vs. resistance training
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:52 AM   #7
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Do you do any weight training these days, Haha?

My gym gives everyone a few free hours with their highly qualified, experienced, and educated personal trainers, and so I took advantage of the free hours. Frankly, I was unimpressed; they seemed to have a "one size fits all" approach for older women, and had me lifting very light weights on very few machines, and encouraging a routine that was brief and not challenging at all compared with what I always do. I would never pay a dime for a personal trainer now.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Do you do any weight training these days, Haha?
No. Other than carrying 25# in my pack for several miles every few days. I would like to return to it, but for now my time and energy is pretty well consumed by C2 mileage, doing a bit over 10k almost every day lately.

I know there are many articles espousing both, like the helpful one posted above by DFW.

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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I would like to return to it, but for now my time and energy is pretty well consumed by C2 mileage, runing a bit over 10k almost every day.

Ha
I have to give you credit - you may not always catch those women you're chasing after, but 10k per day shows the determination of Wiley E. Coyote in pursuing your objective...
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
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I know there are many articles espousing both, like the helpful one posted above by DFW.

Ha
It seems he wrote that as if it was an either or choice with respect to eliminating belly fat. What would the effects be on belly fat if you combined both forms of exercise and why didn't they address that?
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #11
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I have to give you credit - you may not always catch those women you're chasing after, but 10k per day shows the determination of Wiley E. Coyote in pursuing your objective...
Or the energizer bunny
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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No. Other than carrying 25# in my pack for several miles every few days. I would like to return to it, but for now my time and energy is pretty well consumed by C2 mileage, doing a bit over 10k almost every day lately.

I know there are many articles espousing both, like the helpful one posted above by DFW.

Ha
I am sure that your routine is superior to that of the vast majority of men your age, though, because you stick with it.

To me, it seems like the "audience" for many of these articles is the reader who already has a certain type of routine and (unlike you or me or any of us here) wants to justify their choices and push others to do the same type of routine. Ever talked to a newbie at exercise or someone who has just lost 100 pounds? It's like talking to an evangelical sometimes. They are so enthusiastic and want to help everyone.

I think that so few people have any regular routine at all, that any exercise we do regularly is completely justifiable and perfect for us. Yes, one routine might emphasize strength and another might emphasize weight loss, but really both do both at least to some extent, IMO. Now if we were potential Olympics competitors, I guess we would need more from a routine. And during times when I decide that I really want to "hit it hard" on my weight loss efforts, I usually will do more of the aerobic type of exercise to get quicker results.

When we were kids, we (well, most of us) would go out and play and have fun and run around, climb trees, ride bikes, or play hopscotch or baseball or whatever. I don't know about you, but I was in better shape as a kid than during my adult life, and I didn't think about the exact focus of my exercise - - I thought about having fun, and couldn't wait to get outside.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:49 AM   #13
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Interesting thread. I think the Duke research is good in that it isolates a particular area, belly fat. Remember people doing situps and later crunches until they were blue in the face to "spot reduce" there? At least now they know aerobic exercise will be more effective if that's what they're after.

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It has always puzzled me that the most popular actresses of the 50s would mostly all be put on weight loss diets and "hard body" training programs today before they could qualify for anything other than plus size modeling jobs. Meanwhile the 50s women walking down the street were mostly healthly looking right-weight, while today the cultural icons either look like they may have been injecting steroids, or are starving, while their ordinary sisters struggle with diets and weight loss hopes and overweight/obesity.
Good news for curvy women! Look who's in the top ten of People magazine's Most Beautiful Women 2012 list; they would fit right in with the most popular actresses of the 50s:

Beyonce
Sofia Vergara
Charlize Theron
Christina Hendrix
Miranda Lambert

(you can see a slide show of all 50 here: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-styl...lery-1.1067226)

Also, I had six sessions with one of my little gym's trainers last fall for $200 (I initiated the conversation). She worked me till I could hardly breathe, and gave me five very detailed and effective workouts that I still use, alternating with a cardio day (although every workout includes 30 minutes of cardio too). When she asked about my goals, I told her "flexibility, range of motion, strength, and balance." I see her often in the gym and she never recommends more sessions with her. So not all trainers are giving dubious advice and enthusiastic cheerleading.

The best exercise for me is the one I'll actually do .
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #14
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It seems he wrote that as if it was an either or choice with respect to eliminating belly fat. What would the effects be on belly fat if you combined both forms of exercise and why didn't they address that?
The study did address that. Those doing both did not better on belly fat than the aerobics only. That doesn't mean resistance isn't useful -- just that it didn't help with the belly fat beyond what aerobics alone did.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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This is hopeful news for me. I dislike aerobic exercise slightly less than I dislike resistance, so if I ever do start exercising I'll at least be picking the better option.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:14 AM   #16
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Anjelica Huston is looking more and more like Mickey Rourke.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:18 AM   #17
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The study did address that. Those doing both did not better on belly fat than the aerobics only. That doesn't mean resistance isn't useful -- just that it didn't help with the belly fat beyond what aerobics alone did.
Your right, my skim reading needs improvement
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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It seems he wrote that as if it was an either or choice with respect to eliminating belly fat. What would the effects be on belly fat if you combined both forms of exercise and why didn't they address that?
They did. Results were as if the weight training had not been added. A practical matter is that people will only do so much. If the aerobic protocal takes minimum of 3 hours/week, adding a meaningful amount of weight training would add a lot of time, and cut into compliance. It also depends on age and fitness- at my age, I feel fairly well used after my 10k of rowing. Highly motivated, younger retirees or even obsessive single(or soon to be single) working age people may get benefits; but studies can only address what they have studied.

Anther question, is what minimum amount of weight training might be additive? This would require quite a bit of funding and recruiting, and the investigators feel from what they have done already that in any practical amount of time weight training, while not harmful, does not add to endurance training for metabolic markers.

From the world of sport, we also know that most crews do not depend much on weight training, at least in season.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:32 AM   #19
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Or the energizer bunny
This is what my teenage kids called me. "Oh god, the bunny won't leave the tennis court and I am dead!"

Ha
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:56 PM   #20
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So hard to know what is right. I guess I'll stick with Don's hedge your bets system, and do both.

Since one of BBS's points against cardio is that it will wear out your joints, I've cut down severely on running, doing mostly biking or walking.

I cut down from 6 days/week to 4-5, and I just can't say whether the extra recovery time makes me less tired at night.

I do know that right after my weekly Bowflex routine, I feel 10 years younger.

But on to the important stuff:

Quote:
Sofia Vergara
When I saw this picture:



I thought, "I'm amazed they allow news anchor Erica Hill to pose like that!"

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