Many of us go on a diet to lose weight, but many refrain from taking up exercise. For people who are markedly overweight, it can be difficult to start an exercise program. But, the latest data shows the combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise truly is key to long term success.
“I just got fed up with what I looked like I wanted to get strong and I wanted to lose weight,” says Angela Reade. She was motivated a year ago to get off the couch and get in shape. “I’ve lost so far 29.8 pounds. I’ve gone down from a size 14 to a size 8.”
Her success came with the combination of exercise and a low-carb diet. She has tried to lose weight before using diets, but without exercise. “Weight Watchers, Atkins, my own diet- I’ve put the weight back on every time.”
What has made the difference for Angela is this popular fitness program. While the exercises aren’t necessarily unique, the concept - doing both aerobic and anaerobic exercise as a key approach to weight loss makes sense. New research shows this type of program does help overweight and sedentary women shed pounds, and keep them off. The study was funded by an unrestricted grant by Curves, International.
Dr. Jana Klauer is a weight loss expert. She advises, “Aerobic exercise is important for cardiovascular fitness and respiratory capacity. Anaerobic exercise is strengthening exercise where you are actually making your muscles stronger. Both are key in maintaining a healthy weight.”
Of course when you perform aerobic exercise, like running for example, you burn more calories because you’ve raised your metabolic rate. But remember, when you have more muscle mass because of anaerobic exercise, you burn more calories as well. That’s because more muscle means a higher metabolism. The findings of the research demonstrated a slow but steady drop in weight. It showed participants lost on average 14 pounds in ten weeks. According to the researchers, study participants were able to eat as much as 2600 calories a day and maintain their weight loss. These women also lost fat, increased the proportion of muscle to body weight, gained strength.
“The first week of a weight loss program you lose a lot of water weight, you lose about five pounds,” says Dr. Klauer. “In my opinion it’s a reasonable healthy weight loss, but it’s not as though there’s some magic bullet with Curve’s weight loss plan.” The point is a person should incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercise into one’s workout regimen, especially when the goal is sustained weight loss. Just dieting doesn’t cut it. “One does not work without the other. A good program is diet and exercise,” remarks Dr. Klauer.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD