Power Workout for Maximum Fat Loss

Train to Release Growth Hormone

By Gabrielle Young, DO

Scientific research reveals the importance of proper training in order to obtain the most beneficial results. Basically, in order utilize our body’s own hormone systems, we need to exercise differently than previously thought.

Endurance, muscle development, fat loss and improved training are largely a result of increased base levels of human growth hormone (HGH). Athletes and scientists alike have found that the use of HGH generates leaner and stronger competitors. Artificial HGH use has been banned since the 1970s, but new studies suggest you can naturally increase HGH release though improved training methods.

What is HGH?

The anterior pituitary gland within the brain produces and releases human growth hormone into the bloodstream. HGH comprises a family of proteins stored inside this gland. These protein hormones are responsible for numerous vital functions in the body. Some of the more obvious effects of HGH are seen during childhood, including the stimulation of physical growth and developmental changes of puberty. However, HGH continues to have numerous crucial functions in adults as well. It is instrumental in the microscopic growth, reproduction and repair at a cellular level – basic functions needed to maintain overall health in our organ systems. Growth hormone also increases rate of protein growth and fat use, and decreases the rate of glucose utilization. For athletes, this makes growth hormone a miracle substance that increases lean muscle mass, decreases fat mass, and conserves carbohydrates for fuel.

The performance-enhancing effects of HGH have led to misuse by athletes and restrictions by regulatory agencies. Recent research has shed additional light on how HGH works and provides helpful hints on how we can intensify its effect through exercise.

Maintain Muscle, Break Down Fat

HGH affects protein metabolism by mobilizing amino acids – the building blocks of protein – through the cell membrane for muscle creation. It also induces a positive nitrogen balance – the state that generates the requisite amino acids for muscle repair – producing the anabolic state that athletes require to maintain muscle tissue. For example, during typical contest preparation training, the body is in a catabolic state, largely due to calorie restriction and increased energy expenditure. Although this method is somewhat effective, muscle tissue is used for energy and is consequently “lost.” In order to prevent muscle wasting, the body must be in an anabolic state. HGH is a crucial factor that can cause the shift into anabolic metabolism. Peak performance through shifting into an anabolic state, and in turn inhibiting protein breakdown, can be optimized with HGH.

HGH is also important in utilizing fat. It does so by stimulating fat breakdown, specifically targeting triglycerides, which is a form of readily available fat found in the tissues and blood. HGH works by releasing the primary components of triglycerides, making them available for use as energy. More simply, high levels of HGH equal a leaner athlete, caused by burning fat as a primary energy source.

In addition to its critical role with proteins and fats, HGH is relevant to carbohydrate metabolism. Although it does not act alone, growth hormone is one of several hormones that helps the body maintain blood sugar within the normal range. HGH does this by preventing glucose utilization in peripheral tissues by blocking insulin-mediated activity and pulling glucose from existing stores into the bloodstream. Thus, while less glucose may be available to peripheral tissues, more of it is available for the brain. Glucose uptake by the brain is paramount to brain function. This effect is readily apparent to anyone who has ever dieted. Frequently, during the course of a diet, an individual will find that they are more prone to lose mental acuity and concentration as the brain becomes more deprived of glucose.

Increasing Levels of the Fitness Hormone

Unfortunately, HGH production slows significantly as we age. According to research, there is an approximate 14% loss of HGH per decade after age 40. Production further decreases with many other medical conditions, particularly obesity. HGH-deficient symptoms include reduced muscle mass, reduced exercise capacity, increased body fat, increased lipid profiles, reduced bone density and increased risk of vascular disease. Luckily, research reveals that we can intrinsically increase HGH levels through better methods of exercise, bringing us a step closer to the “Fountain of Youth.”

While synthetic growth hormone is only available by prescription, its results are not completely consistent with the effect of naturally occurring HGH produced within the body. Moreover, external HGH is banned from most legitimate forms of athletic competition. The challenge is keeping natural HGH levels high. Fortunately, according to a study completed by Wideman et al., the answer is somewhat intuitive – cardio and resistance training are the keys to increased growth hormone secretion.

The Conclusion

Incorporating a more intense training regimen under stricter time limits enables the release of greater amounts of growth hormone, thereby allowing the body to reap its benefits. Make your gym time a power hour and push your HGH levels to rise. You don’t need a prescription. Just change your workout and change your life.

Cardio Workouts

Studies show HGH levels increase linearly with increased intensity over a shorter time. This means push as hard as you can for a short periods if you want to use cardio to effectively release growth hormone. In practical terms, this translates to using equipment not to reach an endurance speed that you can maintain for 60 minutes, but to the point of gasping for breath after a short burst of activity, also known as your anaerobic threshold. You know you have reached your anaerobic threshold when at the 30-second mark you feel as if you cannot go one more second.

Sample workout 1

Work to rest ratio 2:1

3 sessions per week

Total time: 22 minutes

Warm-up: 2 minutes

Interval 1: 60 seconds

Active rest: 2 minutes

Repeat 5 more intervals

Sample workout 2

Intermediate/advanced

3 sessions per week

Total time: 22 minutes

Warm-up: 2 minutes

Interval 1: 30 seconds

Active rest: 90 seconds

Repeat 9 more intervals

Resistance Workouts

People have been taught to believe that the sole purpose of weightlifting is to build muscle. However, that is factually incorrect, as it only sheds light on one of several beneficial roles weight training can play in a workout regimen. Fat loss has been proven to be another major benefit of lifting, since the research shows that resistance training will cause a growth hormone release that naturally burns fat.

Intense exercise combined with low rest periods stimulates growth hormone levels, increasing muscle mass while reducing body fat. After muscles have been subjected to intense stress through maximum force over a moderate repetition range, hormones begin the muscle growth process and remodeling.

Workout A

Bench Press

1 light warm-up set 15 reps

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each se

Incline Bench Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps max

30 seconds rest in between each set

Seated Shoulder Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Lateral side raises

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Bent-over lateral raises

3 sets of 10-12 reps

The last set of this group may be performed to failure

Seated triceps extensions

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Kickbacks

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Workout B

Squats

1 warm-up set of 15 reps

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each set

Deadlifts

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Lunges

3 sets of 10-12 per leg

The last set of this group may be performed to failure

Wide-grip lat pulldowns

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each set

Bent-over barbell rows

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each set

The last set of this group may be performed to failure

Biceps curls

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each set

Hammer curls

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest in between each set

The last set of this group may be performed to failure

 

Dr. Gabrielle Young, a physician with a background in nutrition, media and fitness, has a nutrition degree from the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois and received her medical degree from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her passion for sports medicine, health, fitness and integrative medicine comes from her unique background as a National Fitness America semifinalist, figure competitor, fitness model and osteopathic physician.  Dr. Young’s health and medicine videos can be found online at www.iVisdom.com.

References:

Wideman L, Weltman JY, Hartman ML, at el. Growth hormone release during acute and chronic aerobic and resistance exercise: recent findings. Sports Med 2002;32:987-1004

Bottaro M, Martins B, Gentil P, et al. Effects of rest duration between sets of resistance training on acute hormonal responses in trained women. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2007;12: 73 – 78.

Irvine BA, Davis CK, Brock DW, et al. Effect of exercise intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2008;40:1863-1872.

Salvadori A, Fanari P, Marzullo P, et al. Dynamics of GH secretion during incremental exercise in obesity, before and after a short period of training at different work loads. Clinical Endocrinology 2010;73:491–496.

Crewther B, Cook C, Cardinale M, et al. The Short Term Effects of Testosterone and Cortisol on the Nueromuscular System and Does-Response Training Role of These Endogenous Hormones. Sports Medicine. 2011;41: 103-123.

Taylor JM, Thompson HS, Clarkson PM, et al. Growth hormone response to an acute bout of resistance exercise in weight-trained and non-weight-trained women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2000;4: 220-227.

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