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Exercise intensity affects lean body mass

Posted Mar 21 2009 12:00am

While scanning through the table of contents of the latest issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, I was surprised to find an article that pertained more to exercise than nutrition. For those who still think that lower intensity exercise burns more fat, maybe this will convince you to crank up the speed on your treadmill next time...

The study wanted to find out if exercise intensity altered the amount of abdominal fat loss of postmenopausal women on a calorie-restricted diet. 112 women were all put on the same diet and split into groups of diet only (no exercise), diet + moderate aerobic exercise, or diet + vigorous intensity exercise.

Although there was no difference in the overall weight loss or abdominal fat loss, the diet-only group lost significantly more lean mass than the exercise groups. Also, the VO2 max (measure of aerobic fitness) increased with exercise intensity. VO2 max was inversely related to fat loss as well, meaning higher intensity leads to better overall fitness, less lean body loss and more fat burning.

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