The goal of exercise training in overweight and obesity is a reduction in body fat and associated improvements in the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. This is typically accomplished via a hypocaloric diet paired with combined strength and endurance training as exercise alone has not been shown to lead to long-term weight loss. In addition, behavior change interventions support long-term weight loss and improvements in health.
A relatively novel approach to exercise prescription has been proposed by Alwyn Cosgrove and termed the hierarchy of fat loss. At the base of this approach is nutrition interventions aimed at a caloric deficit. Exercise is then added to this base in the following priority:
- Activities that burn calories, promote muscle mass, and elevate metabolism (e.g., metabolic resistance training such as Peripheral Heart Action or Whole-Body Integrate Functional training)
- Activities that burn calories and elevate metabolism (e.g., Cyclical HIIT)
- Activities that burn calories, but don’t necessarily maintain metabolism (e.g., SISS, HISS)
This is not to say that other approaches do not result in fat loss or positive health-related outcomes, but that this approach is effective for fat loss.