The Effects of Training Load During Dietary Intervention Upon Fat Loss: A Randomized Crossover Trial

Luke Carlson, David Gschneidner, James Steele, James Fisher

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    Purpose: To date no studies have compared resistance training loading strategies combined with dietary intervention for fat loss. Methods: Thus, we performed a randomised crossover design comparing four weeks of heavier- (HL; ~80% 1RM) and lighter-load (LL; ~60% 1RM) resistance training, combined with calorie restriction and dietary guidance, including resistance trained participants (n=130; males=49, females=81). Both conditions performed low-volume, (single set of 9 exercises, 2x/week) effort matched (to momentary failure), but non-work-matched protocols. Testing was completed pre- and post-each intervention. Fat mass (kg) was the primary outcome, and a smallest effect size of interest (SESOI) was established at 3.3% loss of baseline bodyweight. Body fat percentage, lean mass, and strength (7-10RM) for chest press, leg press, and pull-down exercises were also measured. An 8-week washout period of traditional training with normal calorie interspersed each intervention. Results: Both interventions showed small statistically equivalent (within the SESOI) reductions in fat mass (HL: -0.67 kg [95%CI -0.91 to 0.42]; LL: -0.55 kg [95%CI -0.80 to -0.31]) which were also equivalent between conditions (HL – LL: -0.113 kg [95%CI -0.437 kg to 0.212 kg]). Changes in body fat percentage and lean mass were also minimal. Strength increases were small, similar between conditions, and within a previously determined SESOI for the population included (10.1%). Conclusions: Fat loss reductions are not impacted by resistance training load; both HL and LL produce similar, yet small, changes to body composition over a 4-week intervention. However, the maintenance of both lean mass and strength highlights the value of resistance training during dietary intervention.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)990-1000
    Number of pages11
    JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2022


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