If you currently work with me, then you have heard this before:
Fat loss is almost completely a matter of nutrition. Exercise's role in losing fat is to make sure that your body doesn't breakdown muscle along with the fat tissue.
Unfortunately, the majority of gym regulars still believe in aerobics as the best way to lose weight. When people are asked what they did to lose weight, they usually say something about how many times they go to the gym per week or what they did when at the gym, but it is really the removal of pasta, bread, and bagels from their diet that caused the change.
Why are aerobics undesired for the weight loss process? I'm sure you have seen or heard this before: a person goes on a diet, loses weight, then gains it all back and more. It's commonly referred to as "The Yo-Yo Diet". The weight regain doesn't necessarily mean that the dieter lost discipline once achieving success. In fact, the dieter can stay completely dedicated to his or her diet and regain the weight.
When dieting, the body is in a catabolic phase where it breaks down both muscle and fat tissue. This is a problem because the majority of calories burned in our bodies is from metabolism, which is basically the body using energy (calories) to maintain the tissue it already has. If a person does not strength train when losing weight, he or she loses muscle tissue and therefore lowers the metabolic rate. Aerobics, especially when performed frequently or for long durations, accelerates the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Researchers took three groups of women and put them on diets combined with an activity that lead each one to lose about 12 kilograms (26.4 lbs). One group did aerobics, one did strength training, and one did not exercise. The calorimetry (rate at which calories are used) and fat-free body mass decreased in both the no exercise and aerobics groups. The strength training group maintained in both areas.
Strength training, not aerobics, is the most effective way to use and build muscle fibers. In a dieter's case, it's also his or her best chance to prevent muscle loss and therefore, weight gain.