My Favorite 1-2-3 Combo To Get Fit – Low Calorie Diet & Strength Training & HIIT
The internet is full of the “best” workouts for this and the best workouts for that … even I am guilty of writing that from time to time. The truth is that there really isn’t one workout that fits all. Sure, there are certain workouts that I do feel are best for certain goals, but if someone disagrees with me that doesn’t make me wrong or them wrong. It just means that they get better results from following a different routine.
In this post, I’m not going to call it the “best” workout approach to get fit, so instead … my “favorite” workout approach to get fit. 😀 It’s a 1-2-3 combo of diet, strength training and HIIT cardio.
If I had to recommend a workout for somebody that I had never met, never seen and know nothing about, I’d probably recommend a low calorie diet along with strength training and HIIT. For me, this is an awesome “generic” workout that gets results.
The majority of people who are out of shape and want to get fit again are carrying around a little extra weight. Even if you aren’t fat, chances are you could benefit from shaving off a few percentages of your body fat and getting toned. This combo is aimed at creating the lean and fit look.
Most of the time, guys especially, will either lift weights to add muscle or diet to get lean. The concept of eating less while dieting seems to pass right by many. The best My favorite all around approach to looking great is to maintain muscle size, increase muscle density and lose any fat covering up my hard work.
Step 1 – Low Calorie Diet
So lets get this one out of the way. First off, you will not lose muscle mass by simply eating low calories as long as you are doing some type of resistance training. The truth is that you almost have to try to lose muscle mass. It’s not until you get down to 4-6% body fat that you even need to worry about that. Assuming you’re not down that far, we’ll move on.
Eating a low calorie diet almost seems generic these days. The media and supplement driven companies as well as many of the fad diets that come out will tell you that it takes a whole lot more to lose fat than to simply eat fewer calories. Bottom line, the number one factor in losing weight has to do with the amount of calories you eat. Don’t believe me? Checkout this article: Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds
This professor lost 27 pounds by simply eating 1,800 calories a day … and 2/3 of those calories were from junk food.
Am I saying or even hinting that you should eat whatever you want? Of course not. The point is that you can simply eat low calories and still lose weight, so that should be the focus. I strongly recommend that you eat nutritious foods, including plenty of protein, vegetables and fruits.
Bottom line: eat less.
Step 2 – Strength Training
Now for the fun part of getting fit … strength training. Again, nothing fancy here. As long as you know the main difference between strength training and lifting like a bodybuilder you’ll do fine.
Keep your reps low. Whether you choose to use light or heavy weights, the important thing is to concentrate on each rep and to create as much tension in that muscle as possible. You do not want to fatigue the muscle as you would when trying to build size.
Lifting weights is the ideal method, but it can be done with concentrated body weight exercises or even resistance bands.
For more information on sets, reps and workout splits checkout these articles:
- How Workouts To Get Ripped Are Different Than Bodybuilding Workouts
- Muscle Definition Workouts For Defined Muscles
- Weight Lifting For Women To Get Toned & Feminine
Step 3 – HIIT
By combing a low calorie diet along with strength training you will already be getting great results. The final step is ultimately the knock out punch.
If you do your strength training and then follow it up with a strategic cardio routine while on a low calorie diet you are going to notice an improvement in your appearance fairly quick.
The amount of cardio you do depends on the amount of fat that you have to burn. A good place to start is to do HIIT for 10 minutes followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio.
As your conditioning improves, you can increase the amount of HIIT up to 20 minutes or so. You can also increase the time doing steady state cardio afterwards. I have found that doing more than 45 minutes (total) of cardio is not necessary. I always keep my cardio workouts between 20-45 minutes.
Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness
December 28, 2011 @ 8:27 pm
I completely agree with your 1-2-3 punch approach. I would add that in strength training progression is important. Even with bodyweight exercises there are always harder variations to try. It is too easy to plateau and say I always to 20 reps of those. Progression, improvement, push and see results.
I’ve been developing a product and making progress, but made it to “the warm-up”. I’m getting stuck between ideal (foam roll, dynamic warm-up) and a realistic warm-up that will be done regularly. Any thoughts on warm-ups before strength and HIIT?
January 31, 2012 @ 8:08 am
Hey Troy, looking forward to see what you come up with!
April 16, 2013 @ 9:55 am
Hey! This is amazing. I normally only do HIIT for 35 mins, but never heard of this combination. I hope it helps me slim down more, I’m a slightly pearhaped women..
January 26, 2017 @ 6:01 am
Awesome book, and very helpful info with a lot of insight.
If you have a minute though id like to ask you a question:
according to a course i took about strength and conditioning, cardio can directly effect your results in terms of strength training. is there any way i can prevent the cardio training from hindering my improvements in strength?