Strength Training for Maximum Fat Loss


Gabrielle Young, DO

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

Endurance, muscle growth, fat loss and improved training are largely the result of increased base levels of human growth hormone (HGH). Athletes and scientists have found that the use of HGH produces weaker and stronger opponents. The use of artificial HGH has been banned since the 1970s, but new research shows that you can naturally increase HGH release with improved training methods.

What is HGH?

The anterior pituitary gland in the brain produces human growth hormone and releases it into the bloodstream. HGH contains a family of proteins that are stored within this gland. These protein hormones are responsible for numerous vital functions in the body. Some of the more prominent effects of HGH are seen during childhood, including the stimulation of physical growth and developmental changes in adolescence. However, HGH continues to have a number of important functions in adults as well. It is effective in microscopic growth, reproduction and repair at the cellular level, which is necessary for maintaining general health in our organ systems. Growth hormone also increases protein growth and fat utilization and reduces glucose utilization. For athletes, this makes growth hormone a miracle substance that increases lean muscle mass, reduces fat mass, and preserves carbohydrates as fuel.

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

Protect Muscle, Break Fat

HGH affects protein metabolism by activating amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, across the cell membrane for muscle building. It also induces a positive nitrogen balance – the state that produces essential amino acids for muscle repair – producing the anabolic state that athletes need to maintain muscle tissue. For example, during typical competition prep training, the body is in a catabolic state largely due to calorie restriction and increased energy expenditure. While this method is somewhat effective, muscle tissue is used for energy and is “lost” as a result. The body needs to be in an anabolic state to prevent muscle loss. HGH is a very important factor that can cause a switch to anabolic metabolism. By switching to an anabolic state and inhibiting protein breakdown, peak performance can be optimized with HGH.

HGH is also important in oil use. It does this by targeting triglycerides, a form of fat readily available in tissues and blood, by stimulating fat breakdown. HGH works by releasing the primary components of triglycerides, making them available for use as energy. More simply, higher HGH levels equate to a leaner athlete caused by burning fat as their primary source of energy.

In addition to its critical role with proteins and fats, HGH is involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Although growth hormone does not act alone, it is one of the few hormones that helps the body keep blood sugar in the normal range. HGH does this by blocking insulin-mediated activity and pulling glucose from available stores into the bloodstream, preventing glucose utilization in peripheral tissues. Therefore, less glucose may be available for peripheral tissues, while more is available for the brain. Glucose uptake by the brain is crucial for brain function. This effect is easily seen by anyone who has gone on a diet. Often, during a diet, a person will find that as the brain becomes more deprived of glucose, they are more prone to losing mental acuity and concentration.

Increased Levels of Fitness Hormone

Unfortunately, HGH production slows down significantly as we age. According to research, there is about 14% loss in HGH every decade after the age of 40. Production drops further along with many other medical conditions, notably obesity. Symptoms of HGH deficiency include decreased muscle mass, decreased exercise capacity, increased body fat, increased lipid profiles, decreased bone density, and increased risk of vascular disease. Fortunately, research shows that with better exercise methods we can increase HGH levels internally and bring us one step closer to the “Fountain of Youth”.

While synthetic growth hormone is only available by prescription, its results are not entirely consistent with the action of naturally occurring HGH produced in the body. Also, external HGH is banned from most legitimate forms of athletic competition. The challenge is to keep natural HGH levels high. Fortunately, according to a study completed by Wideman et al, the answer is somewhat counterintuitive—cardio and resistance training are key to increased growth hormone secretion.

Conclusion

Combining a more intense training regimen under tighter time limits allows greater amounts of growth hormone to be released, allowing the body to reap its benefits. Make your gym time a power clock and force your HGH levels to rise. You don’t need a prescription. Just change your workout and change your life.

Studies show that HGH levels increase linearly with increasing intensity over a shorter period of time. This means if you want to use cardio to effectively release growth hormone, push as hard as you can for short periods of time. In practical terms, this means using the equipment not to reach an endurance pace that you can sustain for 60 minutes, but to reach the point of being out of breath after a short burst of activity, also known as your anaerobic threshold. You know you’ve reached your anaerobic threshold, at 30 seconds you feel like you can’t go another second.

Example exercise 1

Work/rest ratio 2:1

3 sessions per week

Total time: 22 minutes

Warm up: 2 minutes

Range 1: 60 seconds

active rest: 2 minutes

Repeat for 5 more intervals

Example exercise 2

intermediate/advanced

3 sessions per week

Total time: 22 minutes

Warm up: 2 minutes

Range 1: 30 seconds

Active rest: 90 seconds

Repeat 9 more intervals

People were taught to believe that the sole purpose of weightlifting was to build muscle. However, this is actually false because it highlights only one of several beneficial roles that weight training can play in a training regimen. Fat loss has proven to be another major benefit of lifting weights, as research shows that resistance training will naturally cause a release of fat-burning growth hormone.

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

Exercise A

lying down barbell

1 light warm-up set of 15 reps

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each session

Inclined Bench Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps max.

30 seconds rest between each set

Seated Shoulder Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Lateral elevations

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Twisted lateral elevations

3 sets of 10-12 reps

The last set of this group may fail.

Seated triceps extensions

3 sets of 10-12 reps

kickbacks

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Exercise B

spat

1 warm-up set of 15 repetitions

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each set

deadlifts

3 sets of 10-12 reps

lungs

3 sets of 10-12 per leg

The last set of this group may fail.

Wide-grip lat pulldowns

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each set

Twisted barbell rows

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each set

The last set of this group may fail.

biceps curls

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each set

hammer curls

3 sets of 10-12 reps

30 seconds rest between each set

The last set of this group may fail.

A physician with a background in nutrition, media, and fitness, Dr. Gabrielle Young holds a nutrition degree from the University of Illinois in Food Science and Human Nutrition and received her medical degree from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. His passion for sports medicine, health, wellness and integrative medicine comes from his unique background. National Fitness America semi-finalist, figure competitor, fitness model, and osteopathic doctor. Dr. Young’s health and medical videos can be found online at: www.iVisdom.com.

References:

Wideman L, Weltman JY, Hartman ML, 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 time between resistance training sets on acute hormonal responses in trained women. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports 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 Sport 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 training period at different workloads. 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 the Role of These Endogenous Hormones in Do-Response Training. Sports medicine. 2011;41:103-123.

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





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