Over the past few years, HIIT has become one of the most popular ways to break a sweat, thanks to its quick and effective methods that promise the best results in minimal time.

But recently, a change has been happening in the fitness industry. Rather than focusing on how many calories you can burn in one time-crunched HIIT class, a new school of thinking suggests slowing things down with weight-bearing training sessions could actually bring more gains in the long run.

According to many personal trainers, if you’re looking to drop a few pounds, sculpt rock-hard abs and feel all-round fit and healthy, you’ll get more sustainable results by picking up a barbell or dumbell than just repping through rounds of burpees and crunches.

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• FULL BODY RESISTANCE WORKOUT • This workout combines Supersets, Trisets and a Giant set for a full body workout💪🏻. . As this is the Week 8 and final workout for Best Me Motivation Month- I strongly encourage you to increase the weights where possible and push yourself so the last few reps feel tough! And celebrate those increases in strength and stamina 🙌🏻. . . 👂🏻SOUND ON for coaching tips on form and technique! . 👉🏻 The aim is to complete 4 rounds of the Superset, 4 rounds of the Tri-set and 3-4 rounds of the Giant set. . 1️⃣ A) SUMO DEADLIFT X 8-10 1️⃣ B) SINGLE ARM ROWS X 8-10 (each arm) . . 2️⃣ A) WALKING LUNGES X 16 (8 each leg) 2️⃣ B) UPRIGHT ROW + OVERHEAD PRESS x 10-12 2️⃣ C) GOBLET CURTSEY LUNGES x 20 . . 3️⃣ A) DUMBBELL PULLOVERS X 10-12 3️⃣ B) ROMANIAN DEADLIFT X 10-12 3️⃣ C) REVERSE FLY’S X 12 3️⃣ D) ELEVATED SINGLE LEG GLUTE BRIDGE X 12 (each leg) . . I really hope you enjoy this workout! Tap the ribbon in the bottom right hand corner to save for later – and tag a friend so they can give it a go too! . I have loved sharing this 8 week workout guide with you…and I hope you continue to use it, going back to the start and seeing how much you have improved. . . If you want to get involved- it’s not too late! Join the ‘Best Me Motivation Month’ Facebook group and download the *Free* 8 week guide today! It includes 3 workouts a week, and intro to Intuitive Eating by @laurathomasphd and a section on managing out Mental Wellbeing by @foodandpsych. . . #BestMe #BestMeMotivationMonth #Resistanceworkout #kettlebells #dumbbells #kettlebellworkout #dumbbellworkout #personaltrainer #workoutguide

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We asked a handful of the UK’s top trainers to explain how strength training can help you get into the best shape of your life, and why you don’t need to worry about ‘bulking up’ during the process…

Firstly, what’s the difference between cardio and strength training?

“Cardio is basically any exercise that challenges your circulatory system, increases your heart rate and builds your aerobic capacity,” says Kate l’Anson, trainer at Digme Fitness (digmefitness.com).

Good examples of cardio include running, cycling and jumping exercises, and l’Anson explains that HIIT is basically a more intense version of these movements.

Strength training, meanwhile, uses resistance to load and overload muscle tissue, forcing it to rebuild stronger. Whether you sweat for an hour a week or an hour a day, the way you work-out can affect the progress you make over time, and seeing results isn’t always as simple as finding the first video tutorial that pops up on YouTube.

HIT exercises
HIIT is all about fast and furious movements (iStock/PA)

“Cardio and strength training are very separate physiological processes,” explains personal trainer and sports scientist Luke Worthington (@lukewtraining).

“Strength work, such as lifting weights, trains your musculoskeletal system to be able to produce and withstand more force, while cardiovascular training is conditioning the heart and lungs to be more effective at transporting oxygen around the body.”

Worthington says that while both are important for health and wellbeing, he believes strength training is the foundation of any fitness programme. “I often describe it to clients as the cup within which all the aspects of health and fitness sit.”

What are the benefits of strength training?

It’s a myth that lifting weights will solely build bulk like Arnold Schwarzenegger – l’Anson says regular resistance training can help you build lean, non-bulky muscle. It’s a good idea to start in your 20s, she adds, as it helps prevent the natural lean muscle mass loss that comes with ageing later in life.

“It also improves your bone density,” she continues. “This is particularly important for women, as it reduces the risk of osteoporosis and other bone degenerative diseases.”

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Landmine goblet squats are one of my favourite ways of loading a squat pattern when I just need to get someone moving ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ As I’m sure you know I’m a big believer in learning to move well before moving more. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ However, there are the occasions where you just need to get someone moving on day one.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ The landmine goblet squat is a very low risk movement in that it’s pretty hard to get wrong! ⠀⠀ A combination of the anterior load, and the barbell enforcing the more upright position makes this a very back friendly movement.⠀⠀ ⠀ The enforced neutral pelvis position allows for a greater range of hip flexion, reducing the risk of any impingement, so I like this one also for re introducing squatting through range to those coming back from any form of FAI.⠀ ⠀⠀ Loads are of course limited to how much a person can support in their arms, rather than move with their legs, so this is never going to be a big strength builder. ⠀⠀ However, as a way of teaching good movement to those newer to training, or to add some lower load volume and frequency to those a bit more advanced this is a squat variation you should have in your toolkit.

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When it comes to weight loss, you might burn more calories during a 5K run around your local park than you would lifting weights in the same amount of time, but your total caloric burn from a strength session will be much higher. This is because of a process called  ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’ or EPOC.

“Strength training leads to increased muscle mass, which has a positive effect on weight loss,” says l’Anson. “The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolism will be, and the more calories you burn going about your day-to-day life, after your training session has finished.”

Strength training also helps you develop better body mechanics as it improves balance, coordination, posture and strength through mobility. Cross-training all of these elements can benefit you in other kinds of sports too, whether you like to run, box, dance, swim or cycle, helping improve performance and reduce injuries.

Strength-training
Strength training is great for cross-training (iStock/PA)

Plus, there are mental health benefits. “Setting and achieving tangible goals is a tried and tested method for improving wellbeing and satisfaction,” says Worthington.

“Training for strength allows us to do exactly that, so whether it’s working towards your first pull-up or press-up or something more advanced such as a deadlift personal best, hitting your goals can feel amazing.”

Why can your progress plateau with cardio?

“It’s not limited to cardio and HIIT, but with any exercise, the body adapts to a stimulus over time,” says L’Anson. She explains that once your body is used to your regular cardio workouts, you may find your progress starts to hit a wall.

“The good thing about strength training is that you’re always increasing the weight placed on your body. This means you’re constantly demanding gains in muscle size, strength and endurance, which is key to any kind of training to avoid the plateau.”

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To the person who replied to my story last week to say my back looked too masculine … thank you 🙏 To the guy (pre-quarantine) in the weights room who smirked when I picked up the 20kg’s … cheers 🥂 To the teenage boy who shouted at younger me from across the playground how I was “disgustingly thin” – how you doing now? 👋 To eating disorder specialists, who laughed at me when I told them I’d decided I was no longer going to be anorexic- you made me more determined than ever 💪 • • People are always going to judge… you can let it destroy you, or drive you – the effort is the same 💙 • • Know that you have so much more to offer the world than the way you look…. your best, most authentic self comes from the inside. Start looking within 🙏 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ #london #back #backday #fitness #backworkout #weightlifting #strengthtraining #transformationchallenge #strength #homegym #homeworkout #weights #mindset #fitgirl #love #edr #picoftheday #girlgains #fitfam #bodytransformation #bulking #fitspo #bebrave #fitnessgirl #girlswholift #justdoit #overcome #strengthtraining #lats #femaleempowerment #adversity

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What should people know before trying strength training at home?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a set of weights, form is key. “It’s important to have correct technique instruction, not just for safety but because form dictates function – performing an exercise in a different manner to the one which was intended will create very different result,” says Worthington.

You might want to think about your diet too. “Consuming adequate protein to stimulate muscle growth and rebuild is fundamental to the process,” says l’Anson.

As a genearl guide, Worthington says 1.5 -2g of protein per kilogram of body weight is a good guide for optimising body composition, so a 65kg woman or an 85kg man would require up to 130g or 170g of protein per day. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, grains and nuts are all good sources of protein, or you could try whizzing up some protein powder in your shakes.

Worthington says a misconception is that people need to be ‘fit enough’ to start to work with a trainer or coach, and so often will either train alone or in group classes to start off with – thinking they need to ‘graduate’ onto strength training later.

“The most effective approach is actually to do the opposite. Engage with a trainer as early as possible to learn the good foundations of the fundamental strength movements,” he says. “Then once you have mastered the form, think about doing the movements faster in a HIIT class environment. It’s much easier to learn good habits than unlearn bad ones.”

If you love nothing more than a sweaty Joe Wicks HIIT workout though, Dan Lambert, personal trainer at Maximuscle (maximuscle.com) says that the good news is you don’t have to choose between the two. “Cross-training endurance and strength training can greatly enhance your performance in both camps,” says Lambert, “as long as adequate recovery is allocated.”

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