My blog titled,  The No. 1 FREE Hack to Increase the Human Growth Hormone for Better Health, you learned that Fasting is the best way to increase your HGH. It’s better than injections.

Today let’s go over the No. 2 best way to increase the HGH and when combined, you have a powerful activator of one of the best health hormones in your body.

From Bulletproof’s blog we learn;

Resistance training develops your brain, detoxes your body, and builds your physique

As the name suggests, resistance training puts your muscles up against a force that resists movement – think weightlifting, kettlebell training, and bodyweight workouts. Resistance training is typically brief and intense, driving your muscles to generate force from ATP stores instead of relying on oxygen. That brief, powerful stress to your system is great for you.

  • Resistance training makes your muscles stronger (surprise!) but it also taps into your brain so you move better. In a recent study, 15 men lifted weights for 14 weeks. At the end, their muscles could generate more force, of course, but what’s more interesting is that their neural drive – their ability to send electrical signals from brain to muscle – also got stronger and faster [3]. With greater neural drive comes more precise control of the way you move.
  • Resistance training detoxes your body as well. Your lymphatic system runs through your whole body, bathing your cells in a clear fluid called lymph. Lymph collects waste from your cells and clears it, but unlike blood, lymph has no organ to move it through your body. It relies on physical movement instead. One study found that 10-15 minutes of brief muscle contractions increased lymph flow by 300-600% [4].
  • Resistance training increases metabolic rate, keeping you in a fat-burning state [5]. It also improves insulin sensitivity [6], and to top it off, the muscle you build will burn fat for you while you rest [7]. That’s a three-pronged approach to burning more fat!
  • An excellent 2010 review of randomized, controlled studies showed that strength training decreases anxiety, boosts memory and cognition, reduces fatigue, and makes you happier [8].
  • Strength training increases bone density [9].
  • Strength training causes a sharp increase in testosterone and a 200-700% increase in human growth hormone, promoting muscle growth and fat loss in both men and women [10].

Resistance training sounds pretty good. What about endurance training?

Endurance training makes you smarter, happier, leaner, and more creative

Resistance training taxes your muscles in short, intense bursts, depleting your ATP stores; endurance training, on the other hand, taps into your aerobic system, relying on oxygen from your lungs to produce energy. Running, biking, swimming, dance – anything that keeps you breathing heavily stresses your aerobic system and tests your endurance, bringing a new host of benefits to the table.

  • Endurance training makes you smarter. It boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a powerful little protein that speeds up learning, increases memory, protects your brain from damage, and promotes neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells). A randomized, controlled study of 12 men showed that three months of daily cycling nearly quadrupled resting BDNF levels [11]. Resistance training also increases BDNF, but only in a short window immediately after exercise [12]. Endurance training seems to boost BDNF more permanently.
  • Endurance training makes you happier, too. The runner’s high is real: moderate aerobic exercise improves mood, possibly in part by releasing feel-good endorphins [13, 14]. You don’t have to run until you’re blue in the face, either. 10 days of simple powerwalking was enough to significantly lessen symptoms in depressed people [15].
  • Endurance training decreases body fat more than resistance training does [5].
  • You even become more creative after a good bout of aerobic exercise. 31 men and women did either aerobic training or aerobic dance, and both groups showed greater mental flexibility and creativity afterward when compared to a third group that didn’t exercise [14].
  • Aerobic exercise also improves aerobic capacity by strengthening your lungs [16]. No surprise there.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT): the happy medium

Resistance and aerobic training are both powerful ways to hack your biology, and each gives a unique set of benefits. Why not combine them?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates between brief, strenuous exercise and active rest. You might sprint for 60 seconds, walk for 30, do push-ups for 60, walk for 30, and so on.

HIIT intensely stresses your muscles, then it lets them recover during active rest. Stringing exercises together and maintaining active rest keeps your heart and breathing rates up, so you also get the benefits of aerobic exercise. It’s the happy marriage of two schools of fitness. In fact, it may be more effective than either resistance or aerobic exercise alone. Remember that heavy resistance training increased human growth hormone (HGH) in men and women by 200-700% [10]? In one study, HIIT increased HGH by 2000% [17]. Whoa!

The icing on the cake is that HIIT is efficient. There’s no need for an hour in the weight room and another hour running; you’ll be lucky if you make it past 15 minutes of HIIT when you first start out.

When you’re designing a HIIT workout there are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Alternate between an exercise and active rest.
  • Don’t string together exercises that target the same muscle group. For example, don’t follow squats with lunges. Both target your quads, and you don’t want to tire your quads out and then tax them again immediately afterward. A good method is to alternate between upper and lower body exercises.
  • Set a timer instead of counting reps. Keep your phone at your side or an eye on the clock.
  • Keep good form!!! HIIT gets exhausting quickly. Exhaustion brings poor form, and poor form brings injury. If your form starts to slip, slow down or skip an exercise and do active rest instead. Listen to your body to avoid hurting yourself. If you’re unsure of good form, is a useful resource.

Here’s a model HIIT workout to get you started. It doesn’t require equipment and you can do it just about anywhere.

Do each exercise for 60 seconds, and in between do active rest (walk in place) for 60 seconds.

  • Jog in place
  • Walk in place
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Walk in place
  • Push-ups
  • Walk in place
  • High jumps
  • Walk in place
  • Sit-ups
  • Walk in place
  • Burpees
  • Walk in place

If once through isn’t enough, repeat the workout until you’re spent.

You can also try a Tabata-style workout. Tabata workouts (named after their creator, Dr. Izumi Tabata, who used them in his research to great effect) follow a basic structure: choose an exercise and do 8 rounds of going all-out for 20 seconds and resting for 20. For example:

  • Burpees (20 seconds)
  • Rest (20 seconds)
  • Repeat 7 more times

Each exercise in a Tabata workout takes only 4 minutes. It’s harder than it sounds. Happy HIIT-ing!

Combining HIIT in a Fasted State

From Dr. Jason Fung, MD we learn;

Is it possible to exercise while fasting? This is a common question we hear all the time. People think that food gives them energy and therefore it will be difficult to fast and exercise at the same time. Some people with physically demanding jobs feel that they could not fast and work properly. What’s the truth?

Well, let’s think about this logically for a second. When you eat, insulin goes up telling your body to use some of that food energy immediately. The remainder is stored as sugar (glycogen in the liver). Once the glycogen stores are full, then the liver manufactures fat (DeNovo Lipogenesis). Dietary protein is broken down into component amino acids. Some is used to repair proteins but excess amino acids are turned to glucose. Dietary fat is absorbed directly by the intestines. It doesn’t undergo any further transformation and is stored as fat.

Insulin’s main action is to inhibit lipolysis. This means that it blocks fat burning. The incoming flood of glucose from food is sent to the rest of the body to be used as energy.

So what happens during a fast? Well, it’s just the process in reverse. First, your body burns the stored sugar, then it burns the stored fat. In essence, during feeding you burn food energy. During fasting, you burn energy from your stored food (sugar and fat).

Note that the amount of energy that is used by and available to your body stays the same. The basal metabolic rate stays the same. This is the basic energy used for vital organs, breathing, heart function etc. Eating does not increase basal metabolism except for the small amount used to digest food itself (the thermic effect of food).

If you exercise while fasting, the body will start by burning sugar. Glycogen is a molecule composed of many sugars all put together. When it comes time to use it for energy, the liver simply starts breaking all the chains to release the individual sugar molecules that can now be used for energy.

As mentioned before, short-term storage of food energy (glycogen) is like a refrigerator. The food energy goes in and out easily, but there is limited storage. Long-term storage (fat) is like a freezer. Food is harder to get to, but you can store much more of it. If you eat 3 times a day, it’s like you go shopping for food 3 times a day and any leftovers get stored in the fridge. If there is too much for the fridge, it goes into the freezer.

So what happens during fasting and exercise? Well, the body simply pulls energy out of the ‘fridge’. Since you have enough glycogen stored up to last over 24 hours on a regular day, you would need to do some serious exercise for a long time before you could exhaust those stores.

Endurance athletes occasionally do hit this ‘wall‘ (my friend and arguably the best female triathlete of all time), where glycogen stores run out. Perhaps there is no more indelible image of hitting the wall as the 1982 Ironman Triathlon where American competitor Julie Moss crawled to the finish line, unable to even stand. Athletes also term complete exhaustion of short-term energy stores ‘bonking’. I know some of you may think ‘bonking’ refers to other activities done on all fours, but this is a nutritional blog!

So, how do you get around that? Glycogen stores are not enough to power you through the entire IronMan race. However, you know at the same time, that you are still carrying vast amounts of energy in the form of fat. All that energy is stored away and not accessible during exercise. But the only reason it cannot be used is that your body is not adapted to burn fat.

By following a very low carbohydrate diet, or ketogenic diet, you can train your body to burn fat. Similarly, by exercising in the fasted state, you can train your muscles to burn fat. Now, instead of relying on limited by easily accessible glycogen during a competition, you are powered by an almost unlimited energy drawn directly from your fat stores.

Studies are starting to demonstrate the benefits of such training. For example, this study looked at muscle fibers both before and after training in the fasted state. This means that you fast for a certain period of time, usually around 24 hours and then do your endurance or other training. The combination of low insulin and high adrenalin levels created by the fasted state stimulates adipose tissue lipolysis (breakdown of fat) and peripheral fat oxidation (burning of fat for energy).  Other studies had already shown that breakdown of intramyocellular lipids (IMCL – fat inside the muscle) is increased by training in the fasted state. Six weeks of training in the fasted state also induced a greater increase of fatty acid binding protein and uncoupling-protein-3 content in muscle. 

What does this mean in plain English? It means that our bodies have the wonderful ability to adapt to what’s available. When we fast, we deplete much of the stored sugar (glycogen). Our muscles then become much more efficient at using fat for energy. This happens because muscle ‘learns’ how to use the fat as energy by increasing the number of proteins that metabolize the fat. In other words, our muscles learn to burn fat, not sugar.

Looking at muscle cells before and after exercise in the fasted state, you can see that there are more muscle bundles, but also that there is a deeper shade of red, indicating more available fat for energy.

Legendary exercise physiologist and physician Tim Noakes of Cape Town, South Africa has led the way in understanding the benefits of low carbohydrate diets for elite level athletes. Many national level teams (such as the Australian cricket team) are now applying these lessons to crush their competition. Legendary NBA players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony are turning to low carbohydrate, high fat diets to slim down and prolong their careers. 

You can be certain that these elite level athletes would not be doing this Low Carb mumbo jumbo and training in the fasted state malarky if it had any detrimental effect on their athletic performance. Quite the contrary. Hall of Fame NBA player Steve Nash does not eat simple carbs at any cost. Drinking sugary Gatorade? Not bloody likely to help.



About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

The Wellness Warrior™; Health & Leadership/Business Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, paying for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more:

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