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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Combining HIT and conventional exercise regimens

Although new concepts like High Intensity Training have come up and are being put to some good use across the globe, the old method of training 5 to 6 days a week still holds good and has not lost the shine over the years. The major reason why it stands despite paucity of time is that it gives a sense of continuity and the satisfaction of having done something everyday for one's good health. The happiness that one derives from working out everyday is even greater than the joy of having a well-sculpted body.

It would be a mistake to think that the benefits of HIT cannot be combined with the happiness of daily workout. All that one has to do is bear in mind the core concept upon which the approach of High Intensity Training is based. The fundamental principles that work behind HIT are - avoiding overtraining, challenging the body and performing each exercise to perfection. All three of these can be accomplished without the requirement of abandoning one's daily visit to the gym.

The best way to combine the two forms is to concentrate on cardiovascular exercise as much as you focus on weight training instead of using cardio exercises for warm up alone. In other words, go easy in the beginning and then get tough on your body. Follow it up with adequate rest.

You may keep anywhere between 35 to 45 minutes for workout each day, out of which spend the first 20 minutes stretching, spot-running, skipping etc. And spend the last 20 or 25 minutes training with weights. Perform lesser number of sets with the last set performed to the complete exhaustion of the muscle. Allow the muscles to cool down for a while before you start working on the second muscle group. When one combines the conventional regimen and HIT, it is advisable that one goes for one muscle group each day instead of two so that muscles get maximum possible rest. Also, after every third day take a day's break so as to allow the muscles to take care of the regular wear and tear, thereby lowering the possibility of a permanent injury.

Bodybuilding was not considered much of a sport before Arnold Schwarzenegger burst on the scene with his massive muscles and changed the universe of bodybuilding. Schwarzenegger's approach to bodybuilding is conventional with belief firm in training as much as one could without burning out and eating a lot. However, his training routine or diet cannot really be emulated because it is best suited to professional bodybuilders and for the bodies as big as his. For an average Joe or Jagannath or Jumman, it is best to follow Schwarzenegger's workout regimen in a suitably watered down form.

Overzealous enthusiasts tend to put as much work as Schwarzenegger did and pay the price by having the growth of their muscles retarded though the power keeps increasing. Overtraining is harmful and retards muscle growth. Therefore, when Schwarzenegger started working out as much as he did, he made sure that he stayed clear of overtraining.

While HIT regimen prescribes minimal exercise with maximum intensity, conventional regimen subscribes to the notion of gradual increase in intensity with emphasis on regular training. Both HIT regimen and the conventional one are capable of producing equally incredible results, which has already been demonstrated in the success of Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates, who were the most successful practitioners of HIT, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who believed in regular, backbreaking workouts.

Muscle building is a slow process. So, one has to be patient and consistent, and must resist the temptation to work harder when one appears to have hit the glass ceiling. When you train regularly and put your muscles to rigorous exercise, a time would come when your body would be able to take the new challenges with ease. This is the time when you have to surprise the body and not go in for longer and harder workouts. The idea is to make the body respond and not to keep adding to what it has already built because in doing so your body would simply make your muscles more powerful and more compact, in which case your body would stop growing in size though it might keep improving on the front of muscle definition. But then, without growth in volume muscle definition alone would not help you accomplish any bodybuilding goals that you might have set for yourself.

Each muscle group requires a minimum of 48 hours to recuperate. More rest is preferable to less rest. Therefore, if you have exercised your chest muscles, try not working them again before 48 hours, as doing that would interfere with the muscle building in progress and would retard growth.

So, if you wish to stick to the conventional workout regimen, it is advisable that instead of doing many different kinds of exercises for one muscle group, you go for a few basic exercises that hit all parts of the muscle group. And then a month or so later pick a few other exercises for the same muscle group replacing the older group of exercises with the new ones so as to hit the muscles from different angles and also to keep the body from getting too comfortable with a set routine of the same kind of exercises. If you have been exercising for a few months, you can take two to three months to go for the replacement of exercises as mentiond above, whereas if you have been working out for over a year or so, you could try alternating between the groups of exercises every other month.

Also, it is better to not exercise the upper body a second time within 24 to 28 hours. So, if you have performed chest exercises on Day 1, go for legs and abdomen on Day 2 and return to work on your arms on Day 3 instead of doing it on Day 2. After Day 3 a day of rest would serve best. This would ensure that overtraining of any muscle group is completely avoided because when chest muscles are worked out, the muscles in the arms are inevitably called in to take load. So, if you do chest on Day 1 and arms on Day 2, you are making your arms work on both days without allowing the mandatory rest of 48 hours.

These are some of the basics of bodybuilding. It is not important for you to workout the way the professionals do unless you actually want to get into professional bodybuilding. You don't need that kind of strenuous regime, neither do you need to eat as much, but you must still stick to the basics so that you derive maximum benefit out of the time and effort you put in.

Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical or professional opinion or advice. Exercise of individual discretion is strongly recommended.

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