Out with the old and in with the new! Week 8 was the end of my building phase. Finally! I’m amazed at the progress I made and the strength that I’ve gained. I never thought I would be able to lift the amount of weight that I did. My body…and my brain…were certainly ready for a change though.
Enter week 9 and some seriously intense interval training in addition to A LOT of lighter lifting. I also took a few notes from Justin and decided to change up my schedule by incorporating a Push/Pull/Leg split instead of just concentrating on one muscle group at a time. They are tough, they are challenging and they KICK MY BUTT. It’s also time to move on from the static state cardio and really hit it hard with some 30:30 Sprints. This means I sprint for :30 seconds and rest for :30 seconds. The goal is to do this for 30 minutes…I’ve made it to 25 minutes so far. These are HARD and very taxing. It’s the among longest :30 seconds followed by the shortest :30 seconds you’ll ever experience!
So here’s a breakdown of what I did in Week 9 and what I will continue to do in week 10…
Monday: Quads, Calves & Abs
Tuesday: Push & HIIT | 30:30 Sprints
Wednesday: Pull, Abs & HIIT | 30:30 Sprints
Thursday: Hamstrings & Glutes
Friday: Push, Abs and HIIT | 30:30 Sprints
Saturday: Pull & HIIT | 30:30 Sprints
So what does it mean to have a Push/Pull Day? It’s pretty simple and the name says it all. When you have a Push Day, you perform exercises that require you to push weight. For example, bench press, shoulder press, push-ups…your basically working your chest, shoulders and triceps. On a Pull Day you would perform exercises like bicep curls, dumbbell rows and lat pulldowns working mainly your back and biceps. You will save all your lower body exercises for your designated Leg Day. I chose to split the Leg Days up into working the front of my legs on one day and the back of my legs on another.
My ultimate goal over the next few weeks is to burn as much fat as I can while maintaining as much muscle as I can. After all, I worked so hard the last 8 weeks to gain muscle, I certainly don’t want to lose it! This is where the HIIT comes in. HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training, and I wanted to incorporate this method into everything I do for the next 4 weeks. There is no one specific formula for doing HIIT, but typically it means to mix up a short period of high intensity exercises with one or more medium intensity exercises, then followed by a short rest period before you pick it back up and do it again. Just in case I’ve made no sense whatsoever, here is my Tuesday Push & HIIT workout…
I explained what a superset is in earlier posts, but the active rest is new to my workouts. I use them to create the HIIT aspect of my training. A superset/active rest combo means to perform the first exercise(s), and then instead of resting, perform the active-rest movement (for example, jump rope or burpee), then immediately repeat the sequence until you have completed all sets. You could also consider this method the same as you would a “circuit” if you are more familiar with that term.
This type of training can be a little weird at first, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I felt like a chicken with my head cut off the first couple of sets, but I will say that a little preparation goes a long way. Get each piece of equipment ready before you start the circuit, otherwise you will lose the momentum needed to keep you heart rate and intensity up. Another very important piece of advice I have for these workouts is the amount of weight you use. You should absolutely, without question, go with lighter weights for these sessions. Sets of 8 – 10 reps are out, we are now doing 15 – 20 reps, so drop the ego and go with the 10’s! The first set may seem like a joke, but by the time you get to set 3 you’ll be thanking yourself. Trust me.
So usually I find that Rest Days are annoying because they make me feel lazy, but I was soooo ready for Sunday to get here so I could give my body some time to recover. After a week of this phase, I realize that I will really have to listen to my body and rest if I need it, even it means skipping a workout. I’ll do my best to be smart about it and not over-train despite my enthusiasm to complete my 12 weeks. I’m almost done and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out!