Can’t Prove It: Bodyweight Training For Fat Loss

The methods employed by expert strength coaches, personal trainers, and other fitness professionals are always about 10 years ahead of  the body of research supporting their effectiveness and 20-30 years ahead of the government’s recommendations and “conventional wisdom.”  Experimentation with clients and gut instincts push the field ahead, and research is constantly playing catch-up.  It doesn’t mean research is not valuable; it is.  Gut instincts are wrong, and even good coaches make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we should always wait for the research community to confirm something that works in the gym or on the field.

That said, today I’m going to make a claim that I can’t prove.  I don’t even have a large body of anecdotal evidence to support it, just myself.  So take this with a grain of salt, but still take it.

Other factors held equal, bodyweight training outperforms other forms of resistance training for fat loss.

As I mentioned, all my evidence for this is anecdotal, and based solely on my own experience.  Let me explain.

Every fall, I relax my diet a little bit.  I am very strict during the spring and summer, then let loose a little bit during the colder months.  That means a few more carbs, a little more eating out, and somewhat more drinking.  I expect to put on weight over the winter – some muscle, some fat.  It’s all figured in.  Last year, I got exactly that.

I started to loosen up my diet around the start of September.  Then, about 3 weeks ago (and completely independently), I started a training mesocycle based largely around bodyweight exercises.

Today, I’m at least as lean as I was in July, despite eating less cleanly.  I don’t have numbers to back me up, just the mirror.

Does bodyweight training cause different metabolic effects than training with barbells and dumbbells?  Does your body somehow “know” than by being leaner you will be more effective at moving yourself as resistance?  I am reminded of the fact that swimmers tend to carry more bodyfat than similar land-based athletes.  Does the body know that fat = buoyancy?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m missing something.  It sounds crazy.  Maybe it’s a fluke, or some other factor.  Regardless, it’s pretty interesting.

What do you think?  Plausible?  Who would be interested in a follow-up article about bodyweight programs specifically?

ring dips

Better for fat loss?