How to Keep Kilos Off After You Lose Weight

Resistance training (like squats) helps you lose body fat.

Did you start running to get slim? Are you worried that as you lose weight, your body will adjust to your exercise routine and you will no longer burn as many kilojoules? (Now you’re worried.) Researchers at the University of Alabama in America looked into that question, investigating how exercise affects kilojoule burn after weight loss.

Researchers invited 140 sedentary and overweight premenopausal women to participate in the study. The participants were randomly assigned to the “aerobic exercise” group, “resistance exercise” group, or “no exercise” group. In the first stage of the study, participants consumed a daily 4,000 kilojoule diet until they reached a normal BMI; the average weight loss was 11 kilograms

After the weight-loss phase, the aerobic and resistance groups exercised three times a week. The aerobic-exercise group walked/jogged on a treadmill for up to 40 minutes per session, while the resistance-exercise group performed two sets of 10 upper- and lower-body exercises for 10 repetitions. The resistance-exercise group was also encouraged to increase the intensity and number of repetitions throughout the program. All of the exercise training was supervised by an exercise physiologist. The third group did not exercise.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that all participants had lost weight, BMI, body fat, and fat-free mass. However, the resistance-exercise group lost more body fat than the other groups. Following weight loss, all groups had a decrease in their resting energy expenditure (REE), or the amount of calories needed just to support metabolism (like a car running on idle). Although this means all participants did not burn as many calories at rest after the weight loss, the “no exercise” group also decreased their total energy expenditure (TEE), activity-related energy expenditure (AEE), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).  This means that fewer calories were also burned throughout the day in the non-exercising group following weight loss.

However, both exercise training groups did not decrease their AEE and even showed a trend toward increasing their TEE and AEE. This means the exercise training helped prevent the reduction in calorie burn following weight loss. The resistance exercise group even had an increase in physical activity during everyday life and found walking was easier. The researchers conclude that exercise training, especially resistance training, helps boost the calorie burn after weight loss, possibly by encouraging people to move more often.

Try this 40-minute kilojoule-blasting workout:

Do a 3 minute warm-up walk/jog

Do 2 sets of the following:

10 squats

10 leg extensions

10 leg curls

10 tricep dips

10 bench presses

10 lower-back extensions

Follow this with a 20-minute jog and 2 minutes of cool-down stretches.

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