Increased Energy Requirements And Changes in Body Composition With Resistance Training In Older Adults

By Ty Sevin, Aug 30, 2021

< Back to Benefits of Strength Training on Body Composition in Older Adults

Wayne W. Campbell, Marilyn C. Crim, Vernon R. Young, and William J. Evans. From the Human Physiology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston; the Laboratory of Human Nutrition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; and the Noll Physiological Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, P.A.


Body composition and the way energy is used by the body were examined in 12 men and women, aged 56-80 years, before and after 12 weeks of strength training. Subjects were randomly assigned to groups that followed diets providing either low or high levels of protein, and adequate total energy to maintain their pre-training body weight.


Fat mass decreased and fat-free mass increased, while body weight remained the same. The level of protein intake (low or high) did not influence these results. The average number of calories required to maintain body weight in the subjects (resting metabolic rate) increased by ~ 15%. This increase was partially due to the calories used during strength training, but was also associated with the increased resting metabolic rate observed in these subjects.


Strength training is an effective way to increase energy requirement, decrease fat mass, and maintain lean body mass in healthy older people. It can be very useful in weight control programs for older adults. The demonstrated increase in resting metabolic rate is an important aspect of this research. Many seniors are bewildered by the fact that they are eating less and still gaining weight. This is generally due to decreased physical activity but also speaks to the resultant decline of lean body mass. It requires very little energy to maintain body fat, which is inactive tissue. However, since lean body mass is active tissue it requires significantly higher energy expenditure (calories) to maintain, even at complete rest. When an individual is trying to lose weight increased energy expenditure is critical to success.

Keiser Equipment Used

Chest press, lat pull down, leg extension.

Published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,60: 167-75,1994.

Link to Original Research

About the author

Ty Sevin

Director of Human Performance, Education and Research

Articles by Ty Sevin >

With over 25 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and Olympic levels, Ty Sevin is one of the most influential track and field coaches in the country. Ty has worked for the United States Olympic Committee, serving as the Director of the Track and Field Residency Program at the USOC Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. He has also served as an assistant coach for Team USA on three separate occasions, for both the men’s and women’s teams. Ty himself was a four-time U.S. Olympics Trials qualifier in javelin. Ty most recently spent four years as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Texas at Austin for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. Prior to that, he led the men’s and women’s track and cross-country teams at the University of New Orleans and McNeese State.

Currently, Ty applies his vast industry experience to the role of Director of Human Performance, Research and Education for Keiser Corporation, where he consults with college and professional sports teams regarding the utilization of Keiser strength equipment. He is also responsible for creating educational curriculum relating to human performance and overseeing Keiser research projects