What is better for reducing aerobics, strength training or both?

Many people deny the sense of aerobic exercise, they are allegedly completely unprofitable to reduce body fat. Is it actually? What do scientific research say about this? Is it more profitable to bet on diet, strength training or aerobics? Or maybe it is worth combining proper nutrition with training? There is a lot of research on this topic, I decided to quote some of the most interesting publications. 


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In a meta-analysis from 2013, Schwingshackl L. et al. 1 compared the effects of aerobic training (AET), strength training (RT, resistance training) and combinations of strength and aerobic training (CT; concurrent training). It included 15 tests with 741 participants, they lasted at least 8 weeks, they concerned people over 19 years of age, and BMI of participants had to be over 25. 


In comparison to weight training, aerobic training has contributed to a greater reduction in body weight (difference by 1.15 kg), 

In comparison to strength training, aerobic training contributed to a greater drop in centimeters at the waist (1.1 cm difference), 

In comparison to weight training, aerobic training has contributed to a greater reduction of body fat (a difference of 1.15 kg) 

Strength training was more effective compared to aerobic in increasing muscle mass (1.26 kg difference), 

parallel strength and aerobic training was more effective than strength in reducing weight, waist circumference and amount of body fat. 


In addition, it was determined that strength training was less effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to aerobic exercise combined with strength training (4% advantage for aerobic and strength training). In general, the risk of death for various reasons decreased by 7.5% in aerobic training, and in the context of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases by 8.5%. 


Of course, many studies belittle or deliberately treat the subject of the diet, and she is responsible for most of the effects in reducing body fat. This is clearly seen in the meta-analysis of the same author Schwingshackla L. from 2014. 2. He compared the effectiveness of diet and exercise with diet alone, diet and exercise with exercise alone, and diet and exercise alone. The meta-analysis concerns 3521 participants, data from 21 studies. 

Diet vs. diet + exercise 

greater weight reduction related to the use of diet and exercise, the difference is 1.38 kg, 

greater reduction of body fat concerned the use of diet and exercise, the difference is 1.65 kg. 

When you compared diet and exercise with exercise alone 

greater effects were noted in the diet and exercise group in terms of body weight (4.13 kg difference), waist circumference (3 cm difference), fat mass in the body (3.6 kg difference). 

The diet alone caused a much greater weight loss (2.93 kg difference) and fat in the body (difference of 2.2 kg) compared to exercise alone. In addition, the group of diet and exercise noted the best results in terms of lipid profile and blood pressure – if you compare separately used only diet or only physical exercise. 


In turn, in terms of reduction of health-threatening visceral fat (around internal organs) the case is again different. In this case, the study included a group aged 50-70 with low protein supply (1.2 g per kg bw daily) with a relatively large training volume of 15-20 h per week. 


medium strength training + medium endurance training (re), 

heavy strength training + medium strength training (Re), 

medium strength training + heavy endurance training (rE), 

The largest decrease in visceral fat was recorded in the group of heavy strength training + medium strength training (decrease by 18%). In the group of medium strength training + heavy endurance training, better results were recorded than in the case when both trainings were half-whistled. 

In another study 4 Lee S et al., Aerobic training showed a greater decrease in body weight (1.31 ± 1.43 kg) compared to strength (-0.31 ± 1.38 kg). Only aerobic training caused a decrease in the amount of visceral fat, intrahepatic fat and increased insulin sensitivity (decreased insulin resistance). As if that was not enough, in one of the studies, Roberts CK et al. 5 showed that, paradoxically, strength training increases the amount of SHBG by up to 25% … which reduces the amount of effective free testosterone in the bloodstream (at least when it comes to physically inactive obese or overweight men) ). They dropped the testosterone, free testosterone and cortisol after 12 weeks of strength training. 

Regarding the prevention of fat gain after a significant reduction of 12.3 +/- 2.5 kg, it turned out that the aerobic group increased mass in the subsequent months by only 3.1 kg, strength training by 3.9 kg, and people who did not exercise – over 6.2 kg. In addition, aerobic and strength groups did not show significant increase in visceral fat (less than 0.8%), while in the non-exercise group the increase was 25%. Just 80 minutes of training per week to effectively stop the increase in body weight achieved after reduction 6.