For most people, the idea of an exercise-based, fat-loss program conjures up thoughts of endless sessions on a treadmill or bike. Aside from the fact that workouts like that are boring, if that sounds like you, check this out.
Researchers from Purdue University found that a group of 36 healthy men and women (with an average age of 61 - including one who was 80 years old!) were able to lose fat, gain muscle, get stronger, lower LDL cholesterol, and improve blood sugar control with a simple strength workout routine.
The study subjects performed strength training three times a week for 12 weeks while consuming a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. The training consisted of basic exercises that can be performed at any health club, including leg presses, chest presses, and seated rows. Each workout consisted of three sets per exercise and 8 to 12 repetitions per set.
While the average body weight of the men and women didn’t change over the 12-week program, they did gain an average of four pounds of lean mass and lost an average of over four pounds of fat. In addition, strength training improved their blood sugar control, helping to protect them against diabetes. (The researchers attribute this benefit in part to the gains in muscle mass.)
If you are new to strength training, ask a personal trainer to design a workout for you to help build muscle and burn fat. At many clubs this is a free service for new members.