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Shortcut To Size: Phase 1, Week 1, Day 3

It's an active rest day, and the doctor is in. Check his cardio prescription and get the low down on high-intensity interval training.

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Welcome to your first rest day. If you haven't been training consistently before this program, you're probably feeling some muscle soreness right now. Don't worry: Muscle fiber damage is an essential part of muscle hypertrophy. For your muscles to adapt and get bigger, they need to undergo stress. Soreness is a result of that stress. With proper rest and nutrition, the soreness will pass and you'll get bigger and become stronger.

On every rest day, I'm going to provide you with a simple tip to maximize your results. Each tip will be standalone and can be applied to this program, plus any other workout routine you try in the future. Remember, mother knows best, but doctors know quite a bit, too.

Doctor's Orders: HIIT It!

The number one question people ask me: Should I do cardio while following a mass- and strength-gain plan? Absolutely! And it should absolutely be high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is one of the most effective forms of cardio to burn off body fat and save -- if not build -- muscle. I won't bore you with all the details here, but if you would like more detail on HIIT, read my Ultimate 8-Week HIIT Workout when you have a spare.

"Knock out some sprints, or play HIIT-style sports like soccer or pick-up football."

There are a number of options for scheduling your HIIT. Try to do it 4 days per week. You can follow each Shortcut to Size workout with 15-30 minutes of HIIT, or you can use your days away from the gym as HIIT cardio days. Either way, when HIITing it hard, aim for 15-30 minute sessions.

On your rest days, don't hesitate to head outside. Knock out some sprints, or play HIIT-style sports like soccer or pick-up football.

Of course, if you prefer, just head into the hills and hike. HIIT is effective, but it isn't required. Choose a form of cardio that you actually like, which will keep you engaged for 12 complete weeks.

Active Rest

Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.

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