Thursday, March 5, 2009

Performance Research for March: Fat Loss Exercise part 1

Greetings! I apologize for the fewer updates this week than normal. All is well, but tons and tons of stuff going on.

The Energy Drink study I am conducting for my PhD research at the U of MN is rolling on and I am over the half way point now, so that is awesome. A huge thanks to all that have volunteered so far and if any one is in the Minnesota area and is interested, drop me an email with the subject line "Energy Drink study"

I will have time to do more updates this weekend, but in the meantime here is some brand new research to drop some body fat, deflate that spare time and annihilate that muffin top.

Be sure to read my comments at the end of each one as always.

The main topics on this one are:
  • Can certain types of exercise cause you to drop more fat from your stomach area?
  • Nutrition and its importance--3 organizations agree on something?

On to the fat loss!

Effect of exercise intensity on abdominal fat loss during calorie restriction in overweight and obese postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial.

Nicklas BJ, Wang X, You T, Lyles MF, Demons J, Easter L, Berry MJ, Lenchik L, Carr JJ. Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, J Paul Sticht Center on Aging, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC.

Background: Exercise intensity may affect the selective loss of abdominal adipose tissue.

OBJECTIVE: This study showed whether aerobic exercise intensity affects the loss of abdominal fat and improvement in cardiovascular disease risk factors under conditions of equal energy deficit in women with abdominal obesity.

DESIGN: This was a randomized trial in 112 overweight and obese [body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 25-40; waist circumference > 88 cm], postmenopausal women assigned to one of three 20-wk interventions of equal energy deficit: calorie restriction (CR only), CR plus moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (CR + moderate-intensity), or CR plus vigorous-intensity exercise (CR + vigorous-intensity). The diet was a controlled program of underfeeding during which meals were provided at individual calorie levels ( approximately 400 kcal/d). Exercise (3 d/wk) involved treadmill walking at an intensity of 45-50% (moderate-intensity) or 70-75% (vigorous-intensity) of heart rate reserve. The primary outcome was abdominal visceral fat volume.

RESULTS: Average weight loss for the 95 women who completed the study was 12.1 kg (+/-4.5 kg) and was not different across groups. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2)max) increased more in the CR + vigorous-intensity group than either of the other groups (P < style="font-weight: bold;">However, changes in visceral fat were inversely related to increases in VO(2)max (P <>. Changes in lipids, fasting glucose or insulin, and 2-h glucose and insulin areas during the oral-glucose-tolerance test were similar across treatment groups.

CONCLUSION: With a similar amount of total weight loss, lean mass is preserved, but there is not a preferential loss of abdominal fat when either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise is performed during caloric restriction.

My notes: Pretty cool study done in a nice manner. It did show that by ONLY reducing what you shove in your pie hole, you may drop MUSCLE also---this is not ideal as you want to keep as much muscle as possible to keep your metabolic rate cranking.

It would be interesting to see if muscle was lost if the trial continued on longer, since they were not doing any weight training.

Weight training is a very powerful stimulus to tell your body to hold on to muscle.
It does provide some evidence that if you can increase your VO2 max, you may drop more visceral fat. To quote, "
.....changes in visceral fat were inversely related to increases in VO(2)max (P <>

Comparable reduction of the visceral adipose tissue depot after a diet-induced weight loss with or without aerobic exercise in obese subjects. A 12- week randomized intervention study.

Christiansen T, Paulsen S, Bruun J, Overgaard K, Ringgaard S, Pedersen S, Positano V, Richelsen B. T Christiansen, Department of Medicine and Endocrinology C, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus Sygehus, Aarhus, 8000, Denmark.

Objective: Weight loss with preferential effect on the visceral adipose tissue (VAT) depot could have important clinical benefits. In this study we investigated the independent and combined effect of regular exercise and diet induced weight loss on body fat distribution.

Design: Randomized control design of 1) Exercise-only (EXO-12-weeks of exercise without diet-restriction), 2) Hypocaloric-diet (DIO-8 weeks of very-low-energy-diet (VLED 600 kcal/d) followed by 4-weeks weight maintenance diet) and 3) Hypocaloric-diet and exercise (DEX-8 weeks VLED 800 kcal/d + a four-week weight maintenance diet combined with exercise throughout the 12-weeks). Subjects: 79 obese males and females were included.

Measurements: Body fat distribution was quantified by MRI-technology.

Results: In the EXO group, the weight loss (3.5 kg) and the relative reduction in VAT (18%) was significant lower as compared to the weight losses in the DIO and DEX groups (12.3 kg; p<0.01) r2="0.72;">

CONCLUSION: Exercise has no additional effects in reduction of the visceral adipose tissue depot, compared to the major effects of hypocaloric diet alone. In addition, the effects of exercise per se on visceral adipose tissue are relatively limited. The effects on the visceral adipose tissue depot are closely associated with changes in total fat mass.

My notes: Similar to the top study, this type of exercise does not seem to selectively burn more belly fat. It should be noted that a diet only of 800kcal per day is INSANELY low and probably explains why the diet only group did drop fat without exercise. If you can stay on a 800 kcal diet for more than 4 days and still function, my hat's off to you; but I sure as heck would not start there! Plus, who knows how much they cheated on the diet too.

Very cool that they used MRI to look at where the body fat may have been lost.

Nutrition and Athletic Performance.

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine that physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise are enhanced by optimal nutrition. These organizations recommend appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplement choices for optimal health and exercise performance. This updated position paper couples a rigorous, systematic, evidence-based analysis of nutrition and performance-specific literature with current scientific data related to energy needs, assessment of body composition, strategies for weight change, nutrient and fluid needs, special nutrient needs during training and competition, the use of supplements and ergogenic aids, nutrition recommendations for vegetarian athletes, and the roles and responsibilities of the sports dietitian. Energy and macronutrient needs, especially carbohydrate and protein, must be met during times of high physical activity to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores, and provide adequate protein to build and repair tissue.

Fat intake should be sufficient to provide the essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins and to contribute energy for weight maintenance. Although exercise performance can be affected by body weight and composition, these physical measures should not be a criterion for sports performance and daily weigh-ins are discouraged. Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise,maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses. Sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes may be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration, provide fuel for muscles, and decrease risk of dehydration and hyponatremia. Vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed if adequate energy to maintain body weight is consumed from a variety of foods.

CONCLUSION: However, athletes who restrict energy intake, use severe weight-loss practices, eliminate one or more food groups from their diet, or consume unbalanced diets with low micronutrient density may require supplements. Because regulations specific to nutritional ergogenic aids are poorly enforced, they should be used with caution and only after careful product evaluation for safety, efficacy, potency, and legality. A qualified sports dietitian and, in particular, the Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics in the United States, should provide individualized nutrition direction and advice after a comprehensive nutrition assessment.

My notes: I thought it was pretty rare that those 3 organizations actually agreed on all of this! In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of ACSM (American College of Sport Medicine) and have presented at their annual meeting, but I had nothing to do with this paper.

I agree that the use of any ergogenic should be monitored and you need to know what you are putting in your body. If you are not sure, seek professional help by all means. Like all areas, some "experts" are amazing and some, well, they could use some help.

I am not convinced this area is more poorly enforced than any other area of sports nutrition though.
They state quote "
Vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed if adequate energy to maintain body weight is consumed from a variety of foods."

While I would agree with that, name me one athlete that eats a variety of foods day in and day out? They are darn hard to find and you have a better chance of seeing a spotted owl in the forest. A good multivitamin is cheap insurance, but it should NOT replace high quality food.

Any comments, bring 'em on
Rock on

Mike T Nelson
Z Health Master Trainer