Trying to Shed Body Fat, and Only Body Fat W/Out Dieting? Already Lean Male & Female Taekwondo Athletes Shed 10% Body Fat & More in 8 Weeks W/ AM, PM & Evening Training

Looking for a pre-season training that's equally effective for men & women? If you have plenty of time, here you go...
You will probably remember Sunday's SuppVersity article on the "Scientifically Designed Nutrition & Conditioning Plan" in the course of which the subject (remember: it was "only" a case study) lost significant amounts of lean body mass despite tons of protein in his diet?

Well, if you have plenty of time, are willing to train in the AM, PM & evening and don't want to diet, here's an alternative that worked not in one, but in 34 subjects, in men and women and ... made the subjects faster, increased their endurance and did not cost them a single pound of lean muscle mass. Interested? Well, here are the details.
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The study was conducted at the College of Physical Education at the Kyung Hee University in Korea (Seo. 2015). The subjects, 34 male and female athletes 18-21 yr old, who attended K University in Y City, who had not had physical or weight loss problems (BF 11% in the guys, 23% in the girls at the beginning of the study), participated in a training program that included high-intensity continuous running and stair climbing in the morning, low-intensity continuous running and circuit training in the afternoon, and a program of sit-ups and push-ups in the evening (see Table 1).
Table 1: Overview of the training program (Seo. 2015)
The high-intensity continuous running was conducted at 85-90% of HRmax, and long, slow distance running at 60-80% of HRmax. Circuit training and was conducted at 40-60% intensity, of 20 repetitions each section.
While more doesn't help more, a high energy flux as high expenditures and high intakes are associated with sign. increases in resting metabolic rate (Bullough. 1995 | learn more)
This workout is probably not sustainable: Either I am blind or the scientists actually didn't mention how often the subjects trained. Assuming that they endured this 3x/day "torture" more than thrice a week, I can yet guarantee that more than 8 weeks on a workout routine like this are going to be too much for 99.9% of the gymrats and 90% of the athletes who may be reading this article. So please, do yourself a favor and don't overdo it - with exercise, doing more rarely helps more... on the other hand, the 2014 study by Rebecca Foright would suggest that a high energy flux which would come with high energy expenditures and intakes is a significant correlate of successful weight loss (learn more).
The sit-up and push-up program consisted of 3 sets of 40 repetitions. The exercises used for the circuit training were..
"① Chest-press, ② Biceps-curl, ③ Triceps extension, ④ Seated dip, ⑤ Shoulder press, ⑥ Real delt, ⑦ Switch foot box drill with barbell, ⑧ Squat barbell-jump, ⑨ Jerk, ⑩ Power clean, ⑪ Leg press, ⑫ Leg extension. Sit-up & Push-up program: ① V-up, ② Push-up, ③ Scissors kick, ④ Diamond Push-up, ⑤ Back extension, ⑥ Wide hands Push-up, ⑦ V-up combination" (Seo. 2015)
And the results of this admittedly time-consuming and probably a bit over-the-top workout were impressive. Well, that's at least what the results of the DXA scans, the isokinetic strength tests, the Wingate and physical fitness tests say.
Figure 1: Relative pre vs. post changes (%) in body composition as measured by DXA-scans (Seo. 2015).
While the 1% change in lean body mass (absolute change = 1.4kg) did not reach statistical significance, the fat mass loss (both sexes), and the increase in bone mineral density (in male subjects), on the other hand, did.
Figure 2: Changes in selected parameters of aerobic & anaerobic performance and strength (Seo. 2015).
The same significance was observed for the relative changes in selected performance parameters I've compiled in Figure 2 - changes pertaining to both aerobic and anaerobic performance and strength.
More protein does not always yield better fat loss results. In fact, a 2013 study by Pasiakos et al. suggests that - in a tightly controlled scenario, like in a metabolic ward - an energy reduced diet with "only" 2x the RDA of protein produces a better fat:lean mass loss ratio than a diet containing 3x the RDA of protein | more
To summarize, the statistical analysis of the results of this somewhat crazy, but eventually logical combination of aerobic, anaerobic and strength training show significant decreases in body weight, percent body fat, and fat tissue within 8 weeks of pre-season training. At the same time, the bone mineral density (BMD) of the male subjects increased significantly, the BMD of the females remained the same. Neither men nor women lost significant amounts of lean mass (also because they didn't diet), and improved their 50 m shuttle run and 20 m multistage endurance run performance by ~5% and ~10%, respectively.

Considering the fact that all trainees were experienced athletes, these results are unquestionably impressive, the question that remains, though, is whether (a) you'd have enough time to follow this routine (the paper doesn't specify the frequency (I fear the guys and gals trained at least 5x per week!) and whether (b) your results would be similar | Comment on Facebook!
  • Bullough, Richard C., et al. "Interaction of acute changes in exercise energy expenditure and energy intake on resting metabolic rate." The American journal of clinical nutrition 61.3 (1995): 473-481.
  • Foright, Rebecca. A high energy flux state attenuates the weight loss-induced energy gap by acutely decreasing hunger and increasing satiety and resting metabolic rate. Diss. Colorado State University, 2014.
  • Pasiakos, Stefan M., et al. "Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial." The FASEB Journal 27.9 (2013): 3837-3847.
  • Seo, Myong-Won, et al. "Effect of 8 weeks of pre-season training on body composition, physical fitness, anaerobic capacity, and isokinetic muscle strength in male and female collegiate taekwondo athletes." Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation 11.2 (2015): 101-107.
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