NEW ORLEANS — Prior research has demonstrated that resistance training is effective in reducing both visceral (around abdominal organs) and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat mass, which can be significant risk factors to overall health, when in excess. In elderly subjects who are at risk to sarcopenia – the aging loss of lean muscle – resistance exercise is a stimulus to lean muscle development.

Until now, research is sparse, as to how lean muscle development improves cardio-metabolic health in previously healthy, young individuals.

Researchers from Finland and Sweden writing – Resistance Training Induces Antiatherogenic Effects on Metabolomic Pathways – in the September issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, chose to, “examine changes in blood metabolome profiles in response to chronic resistance exercise training and associated changes in body composition in healthy young adult men.”

Metabolomics examines small molecules present in biological material – like blood – in a comprehensive manner.

It was hypothesized that, “chronic resistance training has the potential to alter body composition and metabolome profiles in a cardio-metabolically favorable manner.”

Eighty-six recreationally active, healthy thirty-three-year old men without a prior, consistent resistance training background participated in the resistance training (RT) group, while eighteen 31year-old non-training men belonged to non-RT group.

Prior to and after the16-week resistance training intervention program, body composition was assessed by dual-energy X-ray (DXA), along with fasting blood samples, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to assess quantification of serum metabolites in order to identify metabolic pathways.

Maximum strength was measured at baseline, at 4 and 12-weeks, and post-study. Four-day food diaries were maintained during the second segment of the 12-week resistance period – with verbal and written nutritional recommendations for normal healthy adults.

The resistance training began with 4 weeks of whole-body workouts performed twice-a-week – using 8 to 10 exercises within one workout, two to three sets for every exercise, and 10–15 repetitions in every set. A recovery time of 2 minutes was held constant between sets – with training loads between 50% to 80% of one repetition maximum, which increased throughout the preparatory phase.

It was concluded that, “a short-term (4 to 16 weeks) period of resistance training leading to increased levels of lean mass and reduced overall adiposity (fatness) also leads to antiatherogenic modulation of serum metabolome in healthy young men.” Their cardio-metabolic risk profile improved.

The researchers also comment that, “change in lean mass could be used as a predictor of metabolome profile, especially regarding HDL (good cholesterol) subpopulations. Furthermore, individuals with the poorest baseline body composition and metabolome profile benefit the most from initiating resistance training in terms of positive cardiometabolic health effects.”

Check with your physician before you begin your path to better health using any mode of exercise.