T Nation

Bodybuilding and HIIT


Hey there fellas,

Just have a couple of inquiries for anyone who can help me out here as I've had a difficult time choosing which method I would like to follow.

Backstory -- Feel free to skip through it.

Currently I've begun working out with a consistent schedule with my father (who's 49). This has been going on for the past two months and prior to that I've been doing simply HIIT and eating properly to burn fat. I've lost 22lbs since March '09. My father used to be in competitive bodybuilding right before the 90's so I've learned quite a bit from him to say the least, that also being said I also feel at times his information might be slightly out-dated. Low and behold, most of what he is saying is still being spoken about these days. Unfortunately, he doesn't know anything about HIIT. My cardio right now is aerobic only as I've considered my weight-lifting anaerobic.

Weekly routine:

Sunday - Workout A
Monday - Cardio
Tuesday - Workout B
Wednesday - Break
Thursday - Workout A
Friday - Cardio
Saturday - Break

Followed by a flipped workout the week after, a = b, b = a.

My workouts are as follows: (I've purposely avoided posting my direct ab workouts as there are so many flavours)

For example; each day of the workout progressively gets higher in number of reps, respectively.
3x6, x7, x7, x8, x8, x8, x8 and then a weight increase depending on how the rest of my other exercises are doing and the reps go back to 6. So pretty much every month I'm increasing weight in each of my exercises. So far I've been trading fat for muscle mass so my weight has stayed generally in the same area. I've gone up in weights twice so far (2 months of this routine) I'm 23, 5'9 and 168lbs. I'm now eating about 180g-200g of protein a day with complex carbs and very low on saturated fats--if any at all. No trans whatsoever and no hydrogenated. Can't help it, I'm without a job so the parents are buying the food :wink: and when I run out of the good stuff, it's off to whatever is left ) and plenty of water.

Workout A
Bench Press: Warm-Up 20 reps - 10lbs. - 50lbs

45degree Incline DB Press - 50lbs

Flat DB Flys - 20lbs

Seated DB tricep ext. - 20lbs

lying tricep ext. - 10lbs

standing tricep pushdowns (on lat machine) - 43.5lbs (based on pin holes)

Workout B

Lat Machine wide-grip to back - 81 lbs (based on pin holes)

Narrow grip pulldowns to front - 68.5 lbs (based on pin holes)

Seated rowing - 43.5 lbs (based on pin holes)

BB curl - 20 lbs

seated db curls - 20lbs

db concentration curls - 20 lbs

It's fairly obvious that I'm working on my upper body right now as my legs are in pretty good shape from running. I want to cut fat as well as gain muscle and I'm afraid that doing anaerobic running and weight-lifting may not give me much endurance if any at all.

  • Would HIIT running benefit me or should I be focusing on my weight-training with aerobic cardio for endurance for when I start getting higher up with weights?

  • Should I just do my damn cardio and weight-lifting, eat like I'm suppose to and then when I hit my goal, switch the diet around and focus on cutting the fat and maintaining muscle?

  • Should I incorporate leg exercises and forget the HIIT running?

I'm not planning on getting into competitions or getting hardcore into body building. I just want to be healthier, meaner, and stronger. I've read quite a bit of articles on the website and I've been a follower for several months now, I've just never had a reason to post :wink:



Im almost in the same situation as you. But if I was you, I’d take advantage of the free food, eat clean, and get as big as you can. I think you should be doing heavy lifting upper/lower program or push/pull program with all that extra time, with no job, there is no reason not to be in the gym everyday. On the third and fourth days, do HIIT training. (keeping the rest peoriods down) HIIT, running is awesome. But HIIT lifting i think is the better route.


It’s good that you’re watching your diet, and I do believe that HIIT for some form of cardio is great for any fat loss approach, but I think you’re missing the real important element here. You want your body to be burning more calories on a DAILY basis. The way to do that is to increase your lean body mass (LBM). Fastest route to that? Heavy work with weights.

Yes, you can keep your interval work, and it will continue to contribute to getting where you need to, but I’ve always been quick to stress that HIIT cardio is much more MUSCLE sparing, so to include it in your routine without the other possible additions which would also be muscle /sparing/gaining, would just be silly (you’ll continue to lose weight, but will not have that much muscle at the end,… a lot of people make this mistake).

My bottom line suggestion? As good, and simple as your split is, not having an actual leg day will ultimately hamper your goals. Keep the HIIT on days you don’t work with the weights, and because you’re using an interval approach, you will not require insane, lengthy sessions to get the effect you need.