Recent guidelines on exercise for weight loss and weight maintenance include resistance training as part of the exercise prescription. Yet few studies have compared the effects of similar amounts of aerobic and resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight adults. STRRIDE AT/RT, a randomized trial, compared aerobic training, resistance training, and a combination of the two to determine the optimal mode of exercise for obesity reduction. Participants were 119 sedentary, overweight or obese adults who were randomized to one of three 8-mo exercise protocols: 1) RT: resistance training, 2) AT: aerobic training, and 3) AT/RT: aerobic and resistance training (combination of AT and RT). Primary outcomes included total body mass, fat mass, and lean body mass. The AT and AT/RT groups reduced total body mass and fat mass more than RT (P < 0.05), but they were not different from each other. RT and AT/RT increased lean body mass more than AT (P < 0.05). While requiring double the time commitment, a program of combined AT and RT did not result in significantly more fat mass or body mass reductions over AT alone. Balancing time commitments against health benefits, it appears that AT is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and body mass, while a program including RT is needed for increasing lean mass in middle-aged, overweight/obese individuals.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00275145.