A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has gotten a lot of attention lately, primarily calling out the message "cardio burn more fat than weights." Well, does it?  Not exactly. And not in a way that applies to anyone who moves around a little.

Don't put away your dumbbells yet.
The study was small, including 119 people who were obese or overweight and sedentary. They were essentially the perfect people to do this study. All they needed to do was some sort of activity. The study actually showed that cardio + resistance training yielded the greatest fat loss. Cardio training alone showed more fat loss than resistance training alone. Having worked in health and fitness for many years, most people I see at the gym typically combine cardio with some form of resistance training, so the results here are not earth-shattering. 

Cardio alone has the potential to shed more fat...at first. 
I've had plenty of clients along the way who've come to me overweight and sedentary.  In fact, I once worked with a client recently lost 30 pounds...and fairly quickly. All he did to lose the weight was jog/run. He mixed weights in occasionally, but training for a marathon, he didn't have a lot of time to do much more. After the 30 pounds came off, he was still pretty heavy and sitting at a weight loss plateau. 

When it came time to integrate strength training, he was relatively weak. But after a couple weeks of combining strength and cardio, the weight started coming off again, and he started building muscle, and his body literally started to shape up, not just get that "saggy" look some people get when they reduce weight without developing muscle.  Subsequently, the additional muscle he gained through strength training boosted his metabolism. He stopped feeling the pressure to do cardio every day because his body was back on track, metabolically-tuned and much healthier than he was. 

Bottom line.
Combine cardio + strength training for greater fat loss. Programs like my 40 Day Shape Up are examples of how diligent exercise can get results. Check out what a few of the people who've done the program have to say. Doing cardio alone will not kill you! In fact, if you can strength train as little as two to three times a week, the rest can be cardio. I recommend that my clients do intense cardio, like interval training, to maximize health benefits, but a brisk walk or 45 minutes on the elliptical could be just what your body needs to reset itself after a stressful day. 

Looking for a way to get fit in the New Year?
I'm forming a new group that will kick off on January 7, 2013 based around the 40 Day Shape Up. I'll be offering the Shape Up at a 50% discount for people participating. If you don't want to do the Shape Up, but just want to be a part of a healthy New Year group, that's fine, too! Just message me on Facebook, and I'll get you the information. 

Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

Looking for a diet plan that works for YOUR body? Shed fat, and get into great shape right now!  Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!