I, for one, was not ready for the intensity of HCT-12. I thought with my lengthy but limited experience that I could handle a few lifts done four days a week. But the intensity of HCT-12 really bit me in the butt. For starters, I'm old (47 next month) and I'm kind of a hardgainer, which means nothing more than it takes me a little longer to build size and strength. Because of those two factors, I really need to regulate the intensity, frequency, and volume of my workouts.
I started out doing pretty well, lifting decent amounts of weight and getting a little stronger from workout to workout. As the weeks went on i noticed that even the warm up weights were feeling heavy and I was really struggling to lift the amount of weight that I used the session before. After a few more days I noticed my appetite was decreasing, my sleep patterns were messed up, and I had a very nervous and restless feeling about me. I knew right away that I was overly fatigued and heading towards over training mode. This is why it's important to know your own body and keep an accurate journal of all your lifts.
So what did I do about it? I knew I needed more rest so I could recover more completely between workouts. So, the first thing I did was re-read Daniel's articles and I decided that the three day (upper/ lower split) would work better for my recovery needs. I then lowered the weights I was using and inserted a few extra rest days into my schedule, taking two or three days off between workouts until the weights started feeling light again. I also made sure that my nutrition was back on target and I was getting good uninterrupted sleep every night. Lastly, I swapped out a couple of lifts for new ones to increase my enthusiasm again.
It took a very short time for me to get back on track and now I'm back to lifting heavy (for me) again. This time I'm making sure to keep a couple of extra reps in the tank and not lift to failure, and keep an eye on any signs of fatigue. Let's face it, we all get excited about a new routine and tend to "go for it" in the beginning. Make sure you are listening to your bodies and keeping accurate records of your lifts and diets. Last but not least, know how to adjust when things don't go perfectly.
Good advice, and glad to hear you've figured out what works best for you. I wonder if my experience would have been similar, had I attempted more than the three day program. Before HCT-12 I was very underweight for my 6' 6" frame, but the three day routine has worked well for me.
I felt the same thing Offroad. I progressed for little over 3 weeks on the 4 day routine. I felt my body was just too tired to keep that schedule going. I dropped back to the 3 day and I'm deloading this week. We'll see what happens next week when I kick it back up again.
Program 2 has the highest frequency of the three options, if you push to failure then this is the one that'll hit you hardest. Avoid failure by a rep or two (don't ask me how, this is something you'll get from experience), avoid grinding out the reps and you'll be fine.
Program 3 has the lowest frequency of the 3, it just looks daunting because of the 5 days in the 1st week - after that it's 4 days, just the way it cycles round and the fatigue per session is less because fewer bodyparts are trained.
Good advice as ever OR,
I am wondering if i am fatigued or not, i will know by this workout in about 20mins if i have another, 'off' one, however i was also working 12hour night shifts so i am more inclined to think it would be that, need to wait and see.
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I have to say HCT-12 has been working great for me. My weights have increased and I'm getting stronger....I see progress and I want more. I think I really just need to deload and see how I feel next week. I'm sure my body needs it.
I feel it is just right for me. Coming from the 5/3/1 and using the boring but big template (5x10) was leaving me beat up some weeks and I had to changed some things. However, I am not using weights that are all that impressive like Off Road so I'm sure it's more taxing having almost 400lbs on your back for squats. Diet and recovery are the main factors. The more you do out of the gym, the less you can do in the gym. (physical job, sports, cardio, etc..)
Great advice Off Road.
I think the biggest factor is grinding out the reps and training to failure too frequently and often this is more related to ego. As Daniel said, avoiding failure by a rep or two will make a big difference and can really see you progressing far more quickly than pushing yourself too hard each week.
Other options are to take the deload week a little more frequently, increase calories and get on the 3 day split as you suggested.
The cool thing is you noticed it and did something about it, which probably puits you in 10% of the population lol. It's far more tempting to keep grinding the sessions out and getting even more tired and over trained.
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