Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific form of exercise that is superior when it comes to achieving the results you desire. Losing fat and reshaping the body requires lifestyle changes, including a clean diet and consistent training. However, there is a combination of exercise styles that I believe can put you on the right track to achieving a lean body: HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and weightlifting.
The HIIT Solution
HIIT is a form of cardiovascular training whereby exercises are performed at maximum or near-maximum effort for short intervals followed by either rest or a less intense interval. HIIT is not a light jog on the treadmill maintaining a steady pace but instead going all-out for short periods of time, usually for about 20 to 30 minutes, including intermittent rest.
HIIT can be performed with all sorts of equipment: kettlebells, bands, dumbbells, sandbags, sleds, battle ropes, jump ropes or even just your bodyweight. Whether you choose to use a piece of equipment or your own body, the goal should be to put forth maximum effort with good form every time.
While steady-state cardio, which tends to involve a median amount of effort and typically lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, can certainly lead to fat loss, the beauty of HIIT is that the benefits come in half the time, and studies show that it does not produce as much cortisol (stress hormone). Steady-state cardio also can be counterproductive to strength and muscle gains because it can be catabolic (breaking down muscle) depending on the intensity and whether you’ve consumed adequate fuel. Losing muscle means a reduction in metabolism and our efficiency in burning calories. For these reasons, many trainers favor HIIT over excess steady-state cardio.
Lift Weights for Long-Term Results
When someone tells me that they can’t seem to lose weight, the first question I always ask is, Are you lifting weights? Whether you are overweight, underweight or at a healthy weight, anyone and everyone can benefit from lifting weights. It builds muscle tissue, which enhances metabolism and creates a greater demand for blood delivery for a healthy circulatory system. Lifting weights strengthens connective tissue and improves bone density. It also improves insulin sensitivity, which allows us to use carbohydrates more efficiently.
Ever wondered how someone can seem to eat so many carbs and not gain fat while simply looking at carbs seems to make you blow up? Hello, men versus women! This happens because the more muscle a person has, the more glycogen or carbohydrates their muscles can hold without it spilling over and potentially getting stored as fat. Want to be able to eat more carbs and have a faster metabolism? Then the answer is simple: Lift weights and build more muscle.
The process of building lean muscle through weight training is simply amazing. When we lift, small tears in the muscle fibers form. Through proper sleep and nutrition, these fibers heal, creating a stronger, more dense muscle. This, over time, then creates a faster metabolism simply due to the fact that it takes more energy (calories) for the body to host muscle versus fat.
To build lean muscle, don’t be afraid to push yourself. Never push so hard as to sacrifice form but pushing past thresholds with a technique called progressive resistance will help you gain muscle mass. Eat a diet with adequate lean protein and healthy fats, along with enough carbs to fuel your workouts, and you’ll be well on your way to improved body composition.
The Fierce Combination of HIIT and Weight Training
HIIT and weight training are the perfect marriage! Both forms of exercise offer a host of benefits for the body and combined will likely facilitate faster results. With that said, they should not be performed on the same day.
The goal with weight training is to enhance muscle size and strength. The goal with HIIT is to promote endurance, get the blood pumping and burn fat. Since these goals essentially go in two different directions and use two different energy systems, we don’t want them competing. While separate days are often best, using both modalities, as we do within The 60-Day Metabolic Reset, will help you achieve lean body results.
Combining these forms of training within a program will help increase lung power, build endurance, increase strength, burn fat and boost metabolism. With the energy it takes to perform these workouts, your body will be forced to adapt, building calorie-burning lean muscle and waking up a possibly stagnant metabolism!
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