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Training hard on weekends burns fat as well as daily workouts

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Weekend Warriors also reduce fat

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First published: Feb 20, 2024

Summary: Training intensively on weekends is as good as regular activity during the week to reduce fat

A paper by Lei L, Li J, Wang W, et al. (1), published today, found that these "weekend warriors" have the same reduction in belly fat and overall body fat as those who train on a regular basis throughout the week.

Weekend Warriors (people who train intensively on weekends) show a similar reduction in belly fat and overall body fat as those who train on a regular basis during the whole week. Of course, both show better results compared to those who are inactive.

slim woman with muscular abdomen
Physical activity whether daily or concentrated in the weekend is effective to reduce abdominal and total body fat

Weekend Intensive training beats abdominal fat

The demands of our modern society and tight work schedules make it hard for most people to engage in physical activity on a regular basis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults perform a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination of both.

Physical activity (PA) is known to help fight obesity, and its outcome depends on several factors: frequency, duration and intensity. However, most people find it difficult to dedicate time to exercising (2.5 hours per week of moderate activity) and combine it with their daily activities.

A group of people pack their weekly quota of PA into the two days of the weekend, they are known as "weekend warriors."

Some statistical studies had suggested that weekend warriors and those who exercise on a regular activity had similarly lower cardiovascular and mortality risks, but none until now had shown that both combat visceral adiposity equally. Regular PA has proven effective at reducing abdominal fat, intense weekend training has the same effect.

This study

It invoved 772 Weekend Warriors (WW) aged 20 to 59, and their abdominal and overall fat was measured using a special non invasive "dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry" technique and also body measurements. They were compared to 3277 regular exercisers (RA) and a control group of inactive subjects.

Both WW and RA, in comparison to inactive people scored equally well in lower abdominal fat, waist circumference, wole-body fat mass and BMI (Body Mass Index).

The positive side of these findings is that the activity recommended by WHO guidelines for physical activity can be distributed evenly over the course of a week or, as with WWs, concentrated into 1 or 2 days on a weekend, and have the same outcome.

Traits in those who exercise

The paper repported that of the 9,629 participants, including the 5,580 inactive ones, "compared with inactive participants, WW and RA participants were younger; they were more likely to be Non-Hispanic White and to have high educational attainment, higher PIR1 and HEI-20152 scores, and lower PHQ-93 scores; and they were less likely to be unemployed or to have hypertension or diabetes." Showing the link between education, income and health, that penalizes those living under less favourable conditions.

1 Ratio of family income to poverty
2 HEI scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better diet quality.
3 The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) rates common mental disorders. The PHQ-9 covers depression.

Eercise is effective to reduce body and visceral fat

This study, as reported by its authors "extend(s) prior studies reporting fat loss and improved deposition with increasing PA as well as a study suggesting that WW is associated with similarly lower visceral adiposity index (VAI) as RA . Our results suggested that WW, as a more feasible PA pattern for certain schedules, could gain equal benefit as RA in adiposity indicators instead of inducing potential muscle conditions."

Furthermore the study showed that those who engaged in WW activity showed "lower... abdominal adiposity" compared to those doing regular activity.

Closing Comments

This study shows that health and physical activity are closely related, and that any activity is better than none. Exercise when you have time, on weekends or daily, whatever suits your lifestyle!

Read More about Visceral Fat

> > The dangers of Belly Fat

References and Further Reading

(1) Lei L, Li J, Wang W, et al. (2020). The associations of “weekend warrior” and regularly active physical activity with abdominal and general adiposity in US adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2024; 1-12. doi:10.1002/oby.23986.

About this Article

Training hard on weekends burns fat as well as daily workouts, A. Whittall

©2019, 20 Feb. 2024. Update scheduled for 20 Feb. 2026.

Tags: belly fat, weight loss, health news

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