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February 3, 2016- We have previously mentioned the Stuyvesant Community Center’s high intensity cardio-boxing program. It is part of the cross-fit craze. Now, science is backing it up.
The NYT reports, “If there is a holy grail of weight loss, it would be a program that allows someone to shed fat rapidly while hanging on to or even augmenting muscle. Ideally, it would also be easy. A new study describes a workout and diet regimen that accomplishes two of those goals remarkably well. But it may not be so easy.
The problem with losing muscle is that, unlike fat tissue, muscle burns calories. Having less muscle means a lower resting metabolic rate, so you burn fewer calories throughout the day. Losing muscle may also discourage physical activity, which is important for maintaining weight loss.
So researchers have long been looking for weight loss programs that produce hefty amounts of fat loss but diminish any decline in muscle.
For scientists at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, that goal seemed to demand a high dose of protein and also plenty of exercise.
As the scientists knew, amino acids in protein help muscle tissue to maintain itself and to grow. Many past studies have suggested that low-calorie but high-protein diets can result in less muscle loss than the same number of calories but less protein.
All of the men also began a grueling workout routine. Six days a week they reported to the exercise lab and completed a strenuous full-body weight training circuit, high-intensity intervals, or a series of explosive jumps and other exercises known as plyometric training.
The routine had succeeded in incinerating pounds from all of the participants. The men in both groups weighed about 11 or 12 pounds less, on average. But it was the composition of that weight loss that differed. Unlike most people on low-calorie diets, the men on the high-protein regimen had actually gained muscle during the month, as much as three pounds of it. So in these men, almost all of the 11 or 12 pounds they had lost over all had been fat.”