In 9 out of 10 times, your strength training workout should be programmed for increasing your strength and/or muscle mass, even when you’re on a diet. Lifting heavy with building muscle in mind is what built your physique and it is what will keep your muscle mass from withering away during a diet. With that said, there are ways to still be lifting weights and simultaneously burn a ton of fat.
Doing some metabolic conditioning (metcon) after your main workout is a great way to increase your cardiovascular output and burn a ton of body fat at the same time.
The easiest way to structure metcon work is to fit it in with the lifts you just did in your main workout. If you just did a pull workout, you’ll set up a pull based metcon. Doing this will help you with recovery and keep you fresh for your other training sessions.
You can always put in one exercise for legs to get a greater overall effect. It won’t interfere with your recovery as the load will be pretty light.
Good push-based exercises:
Clean from Hang & Press
Good pull-based exercises:
Good leg-based exercises:
Weighted Vertical Jumps
Barbell Walking Lunges
Pick 3 exercises. A good rule is to pick exercises following these three criteria:
First exercise: pick a high output exercise that will use a lot of oxygen and create an oxygen deficit, such as: KB swings, thrusters, burpees, rowing, stationary bike, etcetera.
Second exercise: pick a carry-based exercise such as: farmer’s walk, overhead carry, prowler push/drag, Zercher carry, etcetera.
Third exercise: pick a lifting exercise such as: dips, front squat, push press, overhead squat, snatch, clean, clean & press, etcetera.
Push-based example: burpees, overhead carry and dips.
Pull-based example: rowing, farmer’s walk and high pulls.
Leg-based example: stationary bike, prowler push and front squats.
30 to 60 seconds all out on each exercise is ideal. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed or by pushing yourself to hard. Shoot for 3 to 4 rounds. And if possible, do some sort of active recover between rounds. This can be a simple high-rep exercise such as lateral raises, curls, push-downs or some kind of abs work. The idea is to still keep moving and/or working some muscles while you can catch your breath and recover the primary muscles you punished in your metcon work. Try to keep your active rest as short as possible without sacrificing too much performance in the next round. 1-2 minutes should be enough.
When using weighted exercises, pick a load that will let you go all out for at least 30 seconds. It should be challenging, but not so heavy that you need to pause to get more repetitions.
This kind of metcon can be used after pretty much every training session.