• Training Adaptations and Bodyweight

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      I have a rather bizarre question, I suppose. Basically, I’m curious about the interaction between how one trains and how one’s body reacts to that routine.

      Specifically, I run HIIT 4days a week, on non-lifting days, during which I run an average of 3miles in between 16-18minutes, interval-style. Obviously, this is a very taxing form of cardiovascular activity, one in which any extraneous weight is detrimental to optimal performance.

      Theoretically, this would then make my goal of increasing muscle mass more difficult (though I have suceeded in gaining apr. 20lbs of lean mass with negligable bf gain in the last 3months-I know it sounds like B.S., but after a year of NO weight gain it finally came with a vengeance).

      But I’m beating around the bush; on to the question:

      To what extent does my body ‘know’ that it has to perform this intense run 4times a week, and subsequently, would my body actively resist gaining fat (say, in a case of short-term overfeeding) more than a sedentary individual because it is ‘aware’ that doing so would inhibit the performance of a demand it ‘knows’ it has to execute so often? Would this ‘knowledge’ make the body more likely to store excess carbohydrate as glycogen, increase oxidation, or get rid of it more efficiently than were this training not routine?

      A strange notion I suppose, but I’ve always wondered about this.




      Being that HIIT is highly anaerobic, the adaptations should be similar to that of other anaerobic activities, including resistance training. For example, there will definitely be an increase in stored glycogen, probably a decrease in capillary density, and hypertrophy of type II fibers.

      This is just my speculation based on what I have read regarding anaerobic, high intensity exercise adaptation, but since HIIT is basically interval sprints, we should probably see similarities (on a smaller scale, of course) to a sprinter’s muscles’ changes.

      In any case, as long as it isn’t done to the point where you are overly taxing your body, it may even stimulate some growth. However, if you are doing lots of lower body resistance training, 4x/week might be a bit much; if you are still gaining, and are not burning out, though, then by all means keep at it- just stay attuned to any signs of exceeding your recovery capacity.



      Thanks Dawza. I have been using HIIT for a while now, but I am still curious about the effects of such training on the body’s reaction to weight changes, and whether its long-term implementation keeps one lean beyond the immediate metabolic changes initiated by the activity. It just seems to me that one aspect of why it might work so well is that one’s body begins to ‘know’ that it has to perform this intense activity and thus reacts by becoming highly resistant to the prospect of accumulating unneccasary and cumbersome bodyfat (and of course, to a degree, exraneous muscle mass, as well).

      Any validity to this speculation?

      While I’m inquiring, let me ask another question:

      In terms of metabolic benefits and maintaining a lean physique, would my current program of 3days lifting (modified full-body, high volume (takes 1.5hrs a session) and 20minutes of HIIT on 4 non-lifting days be better than if I were to split my lifting sessions into say, 5days a week (shortening the sessions, splitting bodyparts), and run the other 2?

      What I’m asking is, in terms of metabolic impact and physique transformation and/or maintaining low bodyfat, which is superior: 20minutes of HIIT running or 45min-1hr of lifting? I would be happy to lift more frequently on a split, but I don’t want to sabatoge the excellent gains I’ve made on this program (and no, I’m not a beginner, so that doesn’t explain it ).

      Any opinions…



      Hard to say if one way is better than the other; I guess this is one of those situations where you will have to try both for yourself and be the judge.

      Personally, from my limited experience with HIIT, I found it not to be as taxing on my body as much as I expected. However, I did lose enthusiasm for it rather quickly. Also, I was cutting and lifting heavy 4x/week.

      If what you are doing is working, then by all means, stick with it until it stops, or plateus for you. If 4x/week of HIIT isn’t burning you out, then go for it.

      I don’t know if the body will ever “know” to slow fat storage due to HIIT any more than it would to other high intensity exercise. It should upregulate glycogen storage, and probably protein synthesis and/or decrease protein breakdown. Certainly, doing the HIIT will burn calories and make it more difficult to put on fat, as well as causing a decent post-exercise metabolism elevation (I think a study found the aftereffects of high-intensity exercise in terms of calroies burned afterwards were about 9x greater).

      If I were to choose any type of conditioning exercise while lifting, it would be HIIT, partly due to the potential for muscle growth, but more so for the fact that it wouldn’t be giving the body two opposing signals (to become more anaerobically and aerobically conditioned), as would happen with long sessions of low or moderate intensity cardio.


      Jay Black

      would HIIT help just leg muscle growth or somehow help total body muscle growth? i think i want to try this out. although i weight train HIT 3 days week, i’d do HIIT cardio 2 nonlifting days.

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