What Is The Most Effective Form Of Training?
This is always an interesting question: What Type Of Training Is Best?
Ask 100 people and no one will have the same response.
High-intensity Interval Training, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, barbell ONLY training, bodyweight ONLY training, CrossFit,
The List Goes On!
Generally speaking, strength and resistance training to some degree will probably be most beneficial for the most amount of people on a consistent or semi-consistent basis. The reason:
Strength and Resistance training, specifically, improves posture, balance, muscle and bone density, it strengthens connective tissue, it improves joint function (when done property, like anything), it increases testosterone and natural growth hormone, it creates an “after burn” effect where your body continues to burn calories for an extended duration afterwards as your body repairs itself. This is especially beneficial for anyone trying to tone their bodies, strengthen their musculature and lose fat in the process. As opposed to cardiovascular training alone, strength training will give you all the positive effects of running, walking, stair-stepping, etc, but will also continue to transform your body metabolically long after the training has been completed.
And don't worry, ladies. Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky. It will NOT. Remove yourselves from the idea that lifting weights and resistance training causes bulkiness. Strength Training creates a lean, toned figure. You need a whole lot more than simple weight training to gain "bulk." General strength and conditioning will NOT cause this.
With straight cardiovascular training such as running, walking etc, you are taking advantage of the calorie burning effect of the exercise itself, but once your heart rate returns to baseline and the activity stops, you lose much of the calorie burning effect and boosted metabolism that resistance training will provide. Also, there is typically a catabolic effect associated with steady-state cardio and distance training, meaning your body will break itself down at longer durations rather than build itself up with longer, slower cardio alone, and as we age, we want to PRESERVE muscle, not jeopardize it. And while it can enhance fat loss, its effects are far less impactful than resistance training.
My personal preference is HIIT and incorporating both aspects, strength training AND conditioning. Your heart rate stays elevated, you get an extreme cardiovascular response in addition to the resistance training benefits, and your heart rate/metabolism will reach levels above and beyond what you could typically accomplish with just strength OR just cardio.
With that said, try to add resistance to your HIIT circuits. Use dumbbells, use a barbell, add resistance, make it feel like WORK. Make the most of of your training, whatever it is.
Ultimately, nothing works unless YOU DO, so consistency will always reign supreme. At the end of the day, whatever keeps you CONSISTENTLY moving and disciplined enough to STAY COMMITTED is what you should be doing. Just move. The benefits of exercise in general far outweigh the benefits of nothing at all.