Background: Opinions differ over the exercise modalities that best limit cardiovascular risk (CVR) resulting from visceral obesity in individuals with metabolic syndrome (MetS). As little is known about the combined effects of resistance and endurance training at high volumes under sound nutritional conditions, we aimed to analyze the impact of various intensities of physical activity on visceral fat and CVR in individuals with MetS.
Methods: 100 participants, aged 50-70 years, underwent a diet restriction (protein intake 1.2g/kg/day) with a high exercise volume (15-20 h/week). They were randomized to three training groups: moderate-resistance-moderate-endurance (re), high-resistance-moderate-endurance (Re), or moderate-resistance-high-endurance (rE). A one-year at-home follow-up (M12) commenced with a three-week residential program (Day 0 to Day 21). We measured the change in visceral fat and body composition by DXA, MetS parameters, fitness, the Framingham score and carotid-intima-media-thickness.
Results: 78 participants completed the program. At D21, visceral fat loss was highest in Re (-18%, p<.0001) and higher in rE than re (-12% vs. -7%, p<.0001). Similarly, from M3, visceral fat decreased more in high-intensity-groups to reach a visceral fat loss of -21.5% (Re) and -21.1% (rE)>-13.0% (re) at M12 (p<.001). CVR, MetS parameters and fitness improved in all groups. Visceral fat loss correlated with changes in MetS parameters.
Conclusion: Increased intensity in high volume training is efficient in improving visceral fat loss and carotid-intima-media-thickness, and is realistic in community dwelling, moderately obese individuals. High-intensity-resistance training induced a faster visceral fat loss, and thus the potential of resistance training should not be undervalued (ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT00917917).
Keywords: Cardiovascular risk; Diet; Metabolic syndrome; Physical activity; Resistance; Visceral fat.
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