The primary outcome from your exercise session is to cause a metabolic shift and therefore increase your basal metabolic rate after your session. What this means is that if you work hard in the gym you’ll still be reaping the benefits for up to 3 days later!
So, what do you have to do in order to create this effect?
Well, thanks to many, many studies and a large meta-analysis conducted on the effects of different types of exercise sessions, scientist have, in fact, observed the effects of what the optimal form and combination of training is.
What is optimal?
Optimal for strength, longevity, fat loss and cardiovascular health. On a scale of “good, better, best” the following guidelines are considered your best form training in terms of efficiency, time and efficacy.
So, what should I do?
The ideal combination is to do a 60 minute training session consisting of 40 minutes of strength training followed by 20 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT). The idea is to perform compound, full-body training (squats, bench, deadlifts, rows, pull-ups and presses) and go as heavy as you can (mobility and ability depending, as well as ensuring quality of movement supersedes quantity).
Training multiple, large muscle groups and lifting heavy weights are extremely effective at increasing your lean body mass, resulting in an increased metabolic rate and increasing fat-burning efficiency. Dozens of studies have investigated the effects of HIIT training and have concluded this far superior than long slow duration endurance exercise or ‘cardio’.
Unfortunately, not much fat-burning actually occurs in the gym, suggesting that unless you exercise for 16 hours a day, everyday, the stimulus applied to the body within your session is crucial in achieving in your performance and/or body composition goals. i.e, ‘cardio’ doesn’t result in a great enough stress to continue to reap benefits after the exercise bout is completed, whereas resistance training combined with HIIT is the ultimate combination to achieve your desired outcomes.
So, how do I HIIT?
It’s simple, although not easy, choose an ergometer (rower, bike, x-trainer, etc…) and alternate between harder and easy efforts. For most, a 1:1 ratio is a good starting point, i.e: 30 seconds fast, followed by 30 seconds slow, repeated 8-15 times.
Optimal performance and outcomes are achieved through the balance of training and recovery, therefore these recommendations are suggested to be employed up to three times in any given week, allowing sufficient recovery time in between sessions.