What if you want to lose weight and gain muscle during your Daily Hiit workouts?
As a graduate of the P90X test group, early P90X success story and cast member in the P90X Arms & Shoulders DVD who still remembers P90 (its much easier predecessor), I've been struggling with issue this since I started Hiiting it last year, and I'm not a particularly big or young guy. I'm sure other guys in the Daily Hiit community do too. And there are A LOT of fit gals out there who know the importance of strategic muscle building to health and fitness.
Well, until the Daily Hiit offers "extreme" workout programs as an alternative for folks like us, we can't just push play, complete the exercises, and stop when the video does. Knocking out more rounds of the exact same exercises won't solve the problem either unless you're going for that sexy marathon-runner look.
We need to do more and take matters into our own hands.
With that in mind, here's my simple, 4-point plan for developing your own Daily Hiit "X" workout program:
1. Get the Right Equipment
If you're serious about building more muscle during your Daily Hiit workouts, you're going to need more than a timer, yoga map and jump rope. There's a lot of great exercise equipment out there these days, but here are the two most important items for our purposes:
: Yes, you're going to need some dumbbells. That goes for you too, ladies. Daily Hiit sandbags are cool and worthwhile, but old-school dumbbells are easy to use, versatile, and incredibly effective for building muscle. P90x actually requires
them (or resistance bands, which aren't nearly as good) and still became a perennial bestseller at $120 a pop. So join a gym with dumbbells - the equipment, not the members - or buy your own for use at home. You can buy individual ones, a complete set on a weight rack, or new space-saving powerblock dumbbells from the Daily Hiit
: The Daily Hiit offers an stylish Equalizer that can be used as an alternative to a pull-up bar by many women, but guys and super-fit gals aren't going to build much muscle without the real thing. So unless you're working out at a gym with a pull-up bar (like I do), buy one for use at home. The Daily Hiit doesn't offer one yet, but you can pick one up at Target and sporting good stores. There are different kinds, but I prefer the sturdy, space-efficient ones that you can set up over a door and take down when you're done. Avoid the cheapest ones because you'll be hanging from the thing and don't want to damage your home or collapse in a heap if it breaks.
2. Warm-Up and Stretch
I know that pre-workout warm-ups and stretching are boring and often seem unnecessary, but they're important, especially if you're about to lift heavy weights or workout in the morning. I wish Daily Hiit trainers would combine stretching with their pre-workout pep talks which, quite frankly, I could otherwise do without. But until then, take it upon yourself to stretch your body, starting with your head and upper torso and working your way down.
Personally, I love and highly recommend the stretching and warm-up "posture" exercises in Pete Egoscue's "Pain Free" book and DVD workout series. He's a miracle worker, especially if you're not a spring chicken anymore. I also incorporate some P90X stretches that I'm committed to memory. But do whatever turns you on. If it gets the blood moving, you're less likely to hurt yourself during the workouts and more likely to get the results you want.
3. Modify, Supplement and Customize
Now that you've got the right equipment, warmed-up and stretched-out, you're ready for an extreme Daily Hiit workout that cuts the fat while building some serious muscle. Here's how I do it, in a nutshell:
First, if a particular Daily Hiit exercise is supposed to end in 30 or 50 seconds and I'm not exhuasted by the time its over, I keep going. I own the timer; it doesn't own me. (I feel the same way about my cell phone when it rings or pings, by the way). This adds intensity and, in some cases, muscle, especially when the exercise involves lifting weights.
Second, whenever I can use dumbbells, a barbell (which most gyms offer) or a pull-up bar to perform a Daily Hiit exercise, I do it. And I don't sleepwalk through it either; I go for it. When I want size, I use enough weight to max out at 8 reps or less. If I want strength more than size, I shoot for 10 reps. If I want faster, leaner muscles, I aim for at least 12-15 reps. This is weight training 101, and it applies here too.
Third, I add weightlifting exercises during or after my Daily Hiit workout that target problem areas. The exercises I choose largely depend on (1) how I look and feel that day; (2) which muscles I focused on the previous day because you don't want to work the same muscle group hard on consecutive days; and (3) which muscles I just used during the Daily Hiit routine. If my biceps need a pump, for example, I throw in some dumbbell, barbell or cable curls. Or, if I did a lot of push-ups during the Daily Hiit routine and didn't work my chest on the previous day, I'll keep it going by adding more chest exercises with dumbbells, a barbell, or on a machine.
I can't give you a list of exercises that you should do because everyone is different, but you know what you need, and you're in charge.
4. Confuse Your Muscles Every 30 Days
One of the secrets to the success of P90X is "muscle confusion." In essence, Tony Horton designed the 90-day P90X workout program to change significantly every 30 days, which prevents your muscles from getting too comfortable and confuses them into continuing to work and grow. The result: Instead of hitting a plateau at the 30-day mark because your muscles have adapted to your workouts and aren't impressed anymore, you continue to improve. The same things happens at the 60-day mark.
Fortunately, the principle of muscle confusion doesn't apply just to P90X. It can apply to any properly structured workout program, including the Daily Hiit.
Most Daily Hiit programs already run about 30 days, and that's when your body needs something new and different. So don't quit after a successful 30-day program. And don't do the same program all over again. Start a brand new 30-day program to keep your muscles off-balance and growing. You'll be sore again, but that's a good thing.
Okay, that's all for now. I gotta run. It's time for my next "extreme" Daily Hiit workout.