If you’re already pretty ripped, cardio training will make you even drier, we wrote some time ago. And what goes for cardio training is also true for strength training, sports scientists at East Carolina University discovered.
Not everyone has got the message yet, but strength training is a highly effective way of losing fat. In the long term, because every kilo of muscle mass that you build up raises your basic fat burning rate, but in the short term too. Immediately after a heavy strength workout you burn sky-high amounts of joules, because your body eats up energy as it recovers.
The researchers wanted to know whether your post-training peak in energy burning is affected by how much body fat you have. So they did an experiment with 10 men whose body fat percentage was 14 percent, and 10 men whose fat percentage was 38 percent. Both groups did chest-press, lat pull-down, leg-press, shoulder-press, leg-extension and leg-curl exercises.
Immediately after the workout, both fat and thin subjects burned the same amount of fat per kg/lean body mass, the researchers observed.
But when the researchers examined the subcutaneous fat of their subjects after training, they noticed that the thin men’s fat cells released more glycerol. Fats consist of fatty acids attached to glycerol. The more fat the body burns, the more glycerol you find in the bloodstream.
After strength training thin people burn fatty acids from their subcutaneous fat. Fat people get the fatty acids from elsewhere – probably their muscle tissue, is our guess.
The researchers found no difference between the concentrations of adrenalin and nor-adrenalin in the test subjects. These are the hormones that induce fat cells to release their contents into the bloodstream. So adrenalin and noradrenalin do not play a role in the different ways in which fat tissue in fat and thin people reacts to strength training. Growth hormone does, however.
The higher growth hormone peak in thin people is what causes the difference, the researchers suspect.
Fat in your muscles is not healthy. So if fat people burn muscle fat by doing strength training they’ll become healthier. Thin people won’t, but they are already healthy anyway. But thin people will look better if they do strength training.