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Periodization of exercise induces long-term weight loss while focusing strictly on improvements in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness for individuals who are overfat

Abstract

Purpose

Exercise goals that tend to focus on weight loss have varying degrees of long-term success, leading to the phenomenon commonly referenced as yo-yo dieting. The aim of the investigation is to examine the impact of periodized training focused on specific performance goals on long-term weight loss and improvement in fitness for individuals who are overfat with long-term history of yo-yoing.

Methods

12 family-related overfat volunteers, 28 ± 5 year and average history of overfatness 8 ± 12 year, completed 108-week periodized training program, broken into 9–12 week mesocycles combining progressive and undulating periodization of exercise choice and training volume for specific improvements in performance measures. Diet was energy density standardized to Cal/d of 90–95% BMR and macronutrient standardized to have a protein intake of 2.2 g/kg BM and carbohydrates intake of 50–100 g/d.

Results

There was an average reduction of 35 ± 3% in total body mass and 72 ± 9% fat mass, with a gain of 9 ± 8% in fat-free mass across the length of the study. This was accompanied by 56 ± 3% increase in aerobic fitness and 52 ± 14% reduction in resting heart rate, and strength and endurance gains of 148 ± 65% (squat), 130 ± 10% (dead lift), 110 ± 33% (leg press), 88 ± 27% (lateral pull-downs), 102 ± 36% (bench press), and 720 ± 260% (1-min push-up) and 271 ± 44% (1-min sit-up).

Conclusion

Periodized exercise focusing on performance changes, and not weight loss, may provide the stimulus necessary for long-term behavioral modification that is necessary for long-term changes to body composition, where the performance goals may induce a reward response and encourage continuation of exercise for longer durations than had previously attained.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank JP, MHA, and MB for their assistance in the training of the individuals during the intervention period.

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Correspondence to James E. Clark.

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Conflict of interest

The author has no conflicts of interest in the publication of this study.

Ethical approval

All methods of recruitment and method of investigation were reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Committee associated with Scientific Health Education and Human Performance, prior to the recruitment of any volunteers for this study in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki for human research.

Informed consent

Every volunteer was provided information pertaining to the goals and methods of the experiment and subsequently provided an informed consent to participate in the study.

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Clark, J.E. Periodization of exercise induces long-term weight loss while focusing strictly on improvements in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness for individuals who are overfat. Sport Sci Health 14, 517–530 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-018-0450-5

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Keywords

  • Performance
  • Overfatness
  • Obesity
  • Yo-yo diet
  • Fitness
  • Body composition