Written for the May 2014 edition of Alan Aragon’s Research Review: For aesthetic athletes, such as dancers, gymnasts, and bodybuilders, managing body mass and composition is just as important as sport-specific training. At a selected body weight, fat mass should be minimized, and dietary strategies, such as caloric restriction or macronutrient manipulation, are frequently used to achieve this.
For those who prefer to emphasize activity-based methods to reduce body fat, the optimal strategy is unclear. Although increasing activity to create a negative energy balance should be the primary goal, there is considerable debate concerning the differential effectiveness of interval versus steady-state training. Perhaps the lack of consensus is due to the fact that empirical research in this area is compromised by methodological limitations and an inability to control, either physically or statistically, for the numerous contextual variables that cloud interpretability.
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