HIIT is arguably one of the most popular fitness trends right now. It’s a great way to get a good amount of cardio quick. But is it effective when combined with a bodybuilding regimen?
When it comes to cardio workouts, the question of whether HIIT or LISS is best for fat loss and building muscle is important. Before you decide your stance on this controversial topic, read below to see how HIIT and bodybuilding affect each other.
DO: Add HIIT If You’re Not A Fan of Traditional Cardio
When you think of bodybuilding, you probably don’t think of the importance cardio exercise really plays when workout out. For cardio to be the most effective, it calls for longer training periods. This can sound tedious when you’d rather focus on lifting weights than running on a treadmill for an hour.
The great thing about HIIT workouts when you’re packing on muscle is you can do cardio for shorter periods of time. You’re pushing your body further in less time and at a higher heart rate, which burns more overall calories. When done properly, HIIT workouts can help you maintain muscle mass while decreasing body weight and fat in the abdominal area.
DON’T: Overdo it with HIIT workouts
After seeing great results from incorporating HIIT into your bodybuilding routine, you may be tempted to include them more frequently. Try to avoid doing more than 2-3 high-intensity workouts in a week because you’ll eventually notice negative results.
Because HIIT workouts are intense, overdoing it can cause an increase in cortisol from the additional stress on your body. When cortisol levels get too high, you can experience muscle weakness and weight gain, which is the opposite of what you want as a bodybuilder.
If you are loving HIIT so much that you can’t imagine not doing it more frequently, shorten this part of your workout so your body doesn’t experience those high levels of stress for as long. Here’s a great 7-minute HIIT workout that’s ok to integrate 5-6 times a week.
DO: Eat Those Carbs
In order to get through the intensity of HIIT, it’s not wise to be skimping on the carbs. You don’t need to eat an entire loaf of bread to get through HIIT, but you do need the energy from some a balanced diet to power through to the end!
If you’re concerned with overdoing it on the carbs because you’ve been excluding them from your diet, you can use a calculator similar to how Weight Watchers determines your daily points for their dieters to track your carb intake. Trackers can also help you track other important factors in your diet, such as protein, fat, and fiber.
DON’T: Push Through Injuries
Because HIIT workouts are intense, hence the name, overdoing it can cause an increase in cortisol from the additional stress on your body. When cortisol levels get too high, you can experience muscle weakness and weight gain, which is the opposite of what you want as a bodybuilder.
Injuries can result from a variety of reasons. As mentioned with increased cortisol in the body that might cause muscle weakness, that makes your body more susceptibility to injury. Similar to weightlifting, form has a huge impact when it comes to injury prevention, so make sure you have the good form during your entire workout, even if that means you have to slow down a bit to concentrate on it.
Whether it’s during your normal weight lifting routine or the HIIT portion of your workout, don’t turn a blind eye to any injury. Big or small, it is your body telling you to slow down and really think about your recovery before continuing your normal routine, especially HIIT.
DO: Allow Proper Recovery Time
Each HIIT workout requires an appropriate amount of recovery time. This is true if you’ve sustained injury or if you’re injury-free. Not allowing that recovery period is the fastest way to reverse the results you’ve worked so hard for.
Knowing these Dos and Don’ts for including HIIT in your bodybuilding routine, you can decide if it’s right for you. If it ends up being your thing, make sure you add it in safely. If not, there’s still LISS to get the cardio that’s beneficial to find space for in your gym sessions.