A metabolic hit to end your workout helps with progress

There is no question that it takes time, effort, and most importantly, consistency to get in shape. I’m not into short cuts and applaud those who look at fitness as a lifelong journey, not a six-week workout program to fulfill a fitness dream. But I do agree that there are times to ramp it up.

It’s not possible to make a lot of body composition changes in one week, but if you give yourself four to eight weeks, you can make some great progress in the fat loss department. With nutrition and sleep dialed in to at least 8o percent solid, adding a little extra at the end of your workout can create a nice metabolic hit.

Case in point: the most recent HIIT study out of Australia reported that a group of women who followed a 12-minute HIIT program consisting of eight-second sprints followed by 12 seconds of rest, lost six times more body fat than a group that followed a 40-minute steady-state cardio program performed at 60 percent MHR.

My favorite way to do this is to combine a cardiovascular-based exercise with a full-body strength training exercise for anywhere from four to 12 minutes, as straight up sprints can be too hard on the body.

To make up for it, combining exercises is the best way to mimic this. Anything less seems to be not enough, and anything more, provided intensity is correct for you personally, will not be as productive on the form and effort side. Not to mention safety, depending on the movement.

Here are two of my favorites. I recommend doing just one of these after your traditional workout up to three to four times a week, alternating each finisher for each workout.

Finisher 1

Metabolic countdown – Rower and Dumbbell Squat, curl, push press

  1. Perform 20 calorie sprint on the rower.
  2. Then, perform 20 dumbbell squat, curl, push press. Note: use a weight where you can perform at least 20-30 reps depending on your fitness level. Start easy and build up. This is not done for strength but more for metabolism.
  3. Reduce the number of calories and reps by four, making it 16 calories for the rower and 16 reps for the squat, curl, and push press.
  4. Then do 12, then eight, then and four, then done.

Record your time and look to improve that time each workout.

Finisher 2

Cycle, swing, and squat against the clock

  1. Set the clock for 8-minutes.
  2. Perform a 1/5 mile bike sprint.
  3. Then, get off the bike and perform 10 kettlebell swings. Then, perform five goblet squats  Note: if you are proficient in the swing and goblet squat, I recomend 20-35 pound bell for women, and 35-53 pound bell for men.
  4. Repeat this for as many rounds as possible for the eight minutes.

Record the amount of rounds and reps you get and try to improve that number each workout.


Justin Grinnell, B.S., CSCS is the owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing. He is also a certified nutrition coach. Reach him at 517.708.8828.

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