Results happen during recovery.
The main principles of conditioning are progressive overload and adaptation. Progressive overload is what forces your body to adapt. Exercise breaks your body down and you have to allow time for your body to rest and recover in order for it to get stronger. Without time to rest and recover, your body simply will not be able to adapt. If you neglect the importance of rest and recovery, you will eventually lose the gains you made in strength, muscle tone, and performance. You will just wear your body out completely. Such is the importance of recovery, weight training and HIIT are often performed under the principles of Rest Based Training (RBT) whereby you don't attempt another set until you have recovered enough to be able to perform it at 100% intensity once again to get maximum benefits. This also helps avoid over training and injury.
Recover during a workout.
Resistance training recovery.
When resistance training, recovery takes place in between sets. Allow anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the amount of weight being lifted. The idea is to allow just enough rest so that you can perform the lifts at 100% intensity once again to get maximum benefits. If you are resistance training for weight loss, keep the rest time after each set as close to 30 to 45 seconds as you can. After really heavy lifts, allow up to 120 seconds for recovery. Otherwise, try to keep your rest breaks around 60 seconds.
If you set The 4 Minute Max Outs to RBT mode (rest based training) for pure strength routines, the first 4 Minute Max Out will burn you in HIIT style as a pre fatigue, then the breaks between sets revert to 60 seconds by default. You can shorten or lengthen them as desired during your workout with a tap of the finger depending on your ability. For longer routines in particular, it's advisable not to get too gung ho on the earlier sets at shortening breaks. Unless you are superman, you are going to need that recovery time earlier in the routine than you might think. Focusing The 4 Minute Max Outs on strength only is not easy. But that is why it will get results. To maximise building strength, it's imperative you use recovery just as you do resistance. Shortening the recovery break will add progressive overload to your routine as you get stronger over time.
Although rest is compulsory to recharge when working out, you don't need to take a whole body minute break between sets. You just need to rest the muscle last worked for around a minute. Doing super sets where by you immediately work the opposing muscle whilst the muscle just worked gets to rest, allows the first muscle worked rest whilst the second is being worked (eg biceps, triceps). This shortens the required rest time between sets. Doing giant sets where by you do two to three supersets in succession that all focus on different muscle sets from the same muscle region (upper body for instance), further maximizes efficiency. By the time you come to the end of the giant set, the first muscle worked has already had substantial rest time so minimal rest time is now required between sets. Multi sets use the exact same principle as giant sets but include more than one muscle region (upper and lower body for instance).
An example of the above dynamic set training when using The 4 Minute Max Outs would be doing alternating upper and lower Burn or Burst Max Outs with a short 20 second break in between, or even no break in between depending on your ability.
Steady state cardio recovery.
When doing steady state cardio, recovery should be in the form of an active recovery. To get an active recovery, just lower the intensity or speed of your activity so your heart rate and breathing eases slightly allowing you to recover as you continue. Easy.
When doing the The 4 Minute Max Outs as it is HIIT, you should never take it easy. You should strive to not let your intensity or speed dip until your recovery break. The reality is, you will slow somewhat and will no doubt stop as you tire and as the workout goes on. This is perfectly normal and desirable. But you must always strive for maximum intensity for the energy level you have. Never take it easy. Save your rest for your short rest break that you get every minute. Over time your completion rate and intensity rate will improve as your fitness improves. This ensures progressive overload. The fitter you get, the more you can do, the harder it gets. This is what makes HIIT routines such as The 4 Minute Max Outs so much more effective than steady state cardio at getting results. Embrace it.
When doing HIIT, you do short bursts of highly intensive activity then stop completely for a period of time to recover. Enough time to recover just enough to enable you to do another short burst of highly intensive activity. You should push yourself hard enough so that you absolutely need that short recovery rest between every burst of high intensity activity. The 4 Minute Max Outs structure very short 20 second rest breaks between each set in each Max Out. The Max Outs are designed in such a way that you will need and be grateful for those short recovery breaks each and every time they come round. With The 4 Minute Max Outs you can extend or reduce breaks with the tap of a finger during your HIIT workouts.
Recover day to day.
Take a break.
Avoid over training. Have one or two days off from exercise completely per week.
It's not all about calories and muscle mass. Remember you are working out to be healthy. So you want to actually feel the health benefits from time to time. Although it will happen from time to time, you shouldn't be walking around for weeks on end, day in day out, feeling like a train wreckage from last nights workout.
Your central nervous system (CNS) drives your strength output and powers muscular contractions for your whole body. Heavy workouts cause overload on the CNS in general, no matter what body part you are working, or what style of workout you are doing. The CNS can also be overloaded by psychological stress too. Once the stress overload on the CNS becomes too much, your strength output will drop no matter what muscles you were working or resting the day before. It's not your muscles that are worn out here, it's your CNS. You are over training. Signs of over training are the continuous general feeling of being worn out, loss of flexibility and energy, constant lethargy, loss of strength, susceptibility to illness, and even mental depression. Having one or two days off from exercise completely per week will help massively in preventing CNS overload and avoiding over training.
Of course, over training will effect you differently depending on your circumstance. For instance, if you only get 4 hours sleep each night and eat terribly every day, this is going to have negative impact on your recovery, so you are going to need a day off much more than someone who gets 8 hours sleep and eats very well every day. It's all relative to your circumstance. However, no matter who you are, eventually you are going to need the odd day free from training.
If you still want to uphold some form of workout time or structure even on your off days then try this. Lie on the floor, extend your arms upwards along the floor, tilt your head back to open your airways, close your eyes, then just breath deeply and slowly. Think of things you enjoy, loved ones, happy times, positive thoughts, future hopes for you and others. Do that for 5 to 10 minutes. Will it build muscle, burn calories, or improve cardio? Of course not. Will it make you feel more relaxed, de stressed, positive? Yes. There's so much negativity in life. Sometimes it really does pay to stop the world and appreciate the good things that either are or potentially can be. Your workout on your off days can simply be celebrating the positives of now and feeling inspired by hope for the future. So that's 5 to 10 minutes of blood to the head, lots of oxygen, and reflection on the positives of life. As ridiculous as it may sound, it will make you feel great.
The best form of recovery is sleep. So try to get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. As well as allowing the time and rest for your body to rebuild itself, a good nights sleep also reduces stress levels in the body.
Your body is recharging in recovery so give it the fuel it needs. Eat a healthy balanced diet and stay well hydrated. Make sure you eat according to your goals. If you're strength training you need to make sure you have consumed enough protein for your rest periods and that it wasn't wasted during your workout. Likewise, if you want to lose weight and tone up, it's no good eating everything in sight between workouts. Have a post workout meal consisting of protein and fast burning carbohydrates within 60 minutes after your workout to assist recovery. A glass of milk with a baked potato with cottage cheese for instance.
When strength training, ensure you leave at least 48 hours in between training the same muscle groups. Protein synthesis is raised for a day or two after a strength workout so basically train the same muscle group every other day to make the most of this. So you could do upper body on days 1, 3, and 5, and lower body on days 2, 4, and 6 with day 7 as a rest day. Or you could allow more rest, and space out muscle groups worked even more, by doing upper body on days 1 and 4, and lower body on days 2 and 5, with day 3 being a cardio day and days 6 and 7 as rest days. Even though your muscles will get ample rest from day to day using this method, you should still have at least one day or two days off from exercise a week to allow your CNS to recover too and avoid over training.
One of the many great things about The 4 Minute Max Outs is that you could either do complete body HIIT workouts all week until your rest days to maximize fat burn or else you could structure your workout focus on strength gains and muscle growth, just like with resistance training. Focusing your Max Outs on heavily working the same muscle groups every other day allows your muscles sufficient overload and rest, to adapt and grow in exactly the same way as traditional weight training does. Don't think it's any different because you are not using weights. You are using weights in The 4 Minute Max Outs - your own body weight. And you get all the unique benefits of HIIT at the same time.
Recover month to month.
Periodisation and active recovery.
A results plateau often occurs in training every 3 to 7 weeks as your body adapts to the overload of specific routines. Periodisation can be a useful tool to avoid results plateaus. It is a good idea to switch the focus of your routines every 4 weeks or so to avoid either over training or starting to find the workouts too easy. There are several ways of doing this, but in terms of recovery, you could have an active recovery week after say 4 weeks of a routine. Using this approach, both your muscles and your CNS will get enough rest to prevent over training before upping the duration and intensity of your workouts for another 4 weeks afterwards. An active recovery week involves working out at a lower intensity and duration than you were at previously. Just enough to keep condition whilst allowing your muscles, joints, and CNS the full recovery they need at the same time. This way way you can start your new, more demanding routine, with 100% intensity to get maximum benefits from your workouts, rather than starting it run down and tired from your previous routine.
Train smart. Workout and recover at the same time.
One of the many benefits of The 4 Minute Max Outs is that as they are duel focused and modular. This allows you to focus on either speed, strength, power, or mixtures of each, at the same time as which areas of the body should be targeted. So it is very easy to increase the length, variety, content, and focus of your workouts, when you want to allow extra recovery time for certain areas of the body, whilst still being able to workout other areas of the body at the same time.