barbell with weights on floor

Adding HIIT Into Your Bodybuilding Routine

Many people who are working on building a larger stronger body spend all their time hitting the weights and barely focus on improving their cardiovascular system. When I started bodybuilding I know I was guilty of doing this as well.

When I was focusing solely on bodybuilding I was adding a large percentage of body fat because of the high-calorie surplus from my diet. Adding HIIT into my bodybuilding routine allowed me to continue gaining lean muscle mass with a minimal amount of fat gain. Usually, people need to increase their calorie count when adding HIIT into their routine to prevent feeling too fatigued from their new training routine (at least this is what I found for myself).

Adding HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to help burn excess fat well keeping your hard-earned muscles intact. This article is assuming you have general knowledge of HIIT if this is your first time hearing about it check out our HIIT HOW TO for some basic information about incorporating HIIT.

In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 250 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process and is required for increased muscle growth. This makes it especially useful when you're working on a bodybuilding routine.

Basic HIIT Exercises For Beginners

Running, biking, jump roping, and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don't need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet, or anything polymeric like jumping lunges works just as well to get your heart rate up fast. In fact, some equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because you want your focus on pushing your heart rate to its max, not your biceps. Save the weights for when you're doing your bodybuilding routine.

sprinting and cycling are shown to be the most beneficial HIIT exercises. Well, many other exercises could be used in HIIT you need to remember that they are not as efficient as sprinting and cycling.

When To Do HIIT Training

This depends on how often you plan on including HIIT into your training routine.

Do you plan on doing HIIT on the same days your training with weights? or would you prefer to add HIIT on your off days?

HIIT On Weight Training Days

If your plan is to add HIIT on some of the same days you are hitting the weights you should separate your workout by at least 6 hours. During this resting period, you may find you need to eat a higher amount of calories to prepare for your next workout session.

When eating you need to focus on adding minimal carbs. But if you find you're just getting run down, slowly add more carbs into your diet until you are no longer feeling as fatigued.

Keep in mind that for the first 1 to 2 weeks you will be feeling more fatigued since your body will need to condition itself to your new training routine.

You should also try to get an extra 1 to 2 hours of sleep. This will help make sure your body has extra time to repair from the new strain placed on your body.

When adding HIIT on same days as weight training, if you plan on doing HIIT first it is best to try to use a routine that uses different muscles then you will use that day for your weight training / bodybuilding. On leg day I like to include shadow boxing as my HIIT workout. Well, shadow boxing is not as useful as sprinting I find it is the only way I am able to include HIIT on my legs day and not affect my ability to recover for my next workout session.

HIIT On Rest Days

Some people find that by adding HIIT on their rest days they are able to eat the same amount of calories and recover from the extra physical activity without interrupting their bodybuilding routine. Others find this is too much of a strain on their body,you should experiment with both and see what works best for you.

But if you find you are still not recovering in time you will again need to add extra calories for recovery. But before just adding more calories I would first see if adding an extra hour 1 to 2 hours of sleep a day is all you need so you can recover in time.

Benefits Of HIIT Over Steady State Cardio Workout

HIIT has shown that it is better at weight loss than steady state cardio. 20 minutes of HIIT cardio has shown to burn the same amount of fat as approximately 40 minutes of steady state cardio. This allows you to get the same results in a much shorter time and when your spending time bodybuilding the last thing you need is more time in the gym.

Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body's repair cycle into overdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after your HIIT workout than you would from a steady-pace run.

One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study while maintaining the same pace. This means that improving with HIIT will also help you to improve with steady state cardio as well.

If you decide to add HIIT into your routine we would love to hear about it. Leave a comment telling us how it went and what changes you had to make if any to include high intensity interval training with your bodybuilding routine.

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