High-intensity training, or HIT, is built on the premise that bodybuilders generally work out too long and too often, which leads to overtraining.
To combat this, HIT has you training just two or three times per week for about half an hour each session, but taking all of your few sets to muscular failure.
The irony is that all that intensity can lead you into overtraining, just like excessive volume!
If you want to get the absolute most out of HIT, then, you need to make sure that your recovery efforts are just as intense as your training. Here are four tips that can help you recover faster and set the stage for more muscle growth.
Get Your Shuteye
Active bodybuilders tend to have active minds and lives, which means it can be really difficult to get all the sleep we need. The truth is, though, if you’re not sleeping at least seven hours each night, you risk shortchanging your muscle recovery and growth. You would be better served by hitting nine hours most nights, and, when you’re training especially hard, you should try to sneak in an afternoon nap, as well.
Boost Your Carbs
Yes, carbs are the new fat in terms of being labeled as the chief dietary evil that is sending Americans to an early grave. But carbs, in the form of glycogen, are the preferred energy source for hard-working muscles. Carbs also help spare protein — muscle tissue — during times of high stress. You don’t need to chow down on candy and donuts, but there is no reason not to include quality carbs like oatmeal and rice in your diet. The only exception would be if you have a medical condition that requires you to restrict carbs.
Reduce Your Stress
Easy to say, but tough to do, right? If you want to get the most from your training, though, you NEED to find ways to keep your stress levels to a minimum. After all, every stressor you’re exposed to is one more obstacle that your body must overcome before it can produce muscle growth. Some strategies for stress relief: delegate some responsibilities, meditate, do yoga, get a job closer to home, listen to books during your commute.
Stop Thinking About Training!
Most of us obsess about our training even when we’re not in the gym. Am I using the best routine? Should I go for more weight or more reps the next time I squat? I really need to perfect my form on barbell curls.
Those thoughts and more race through our heads all the time, and they may be draining us. So give the mental workouts a rest and you might build bigger muscles in the process.
Of course, none of these techniques will fix every case of overtraining or NEAR overtraining, but you do have other options. Among those are alternating hot and cold showers, deep-tissue massage, occasional not-to-failure workouts, skipping a workout, or even taking a week or more off from the gym.
Whatever you do, pay close attention to your recovery and consult with you doctor regularly. He can help you make sure that any fatigue you’re feeling isn’t something serious and can also help you stay healthy in general. After all, if you want to get BIG, you first need to keep your body in tip-top working condition.