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Benefits Of Burst Training Over Aerobic Workouts For Growth Hormone Release In Middle Age Adults

If you’re a client or follower of Shaping Concepts, you’ve undoubtedly heard and possibly experienced the benefits of burst training over traditional health club workouts.

Often times when I talk to people out in public at social events, dinner parties and the like, I find that a lot of misconceptions about the 30 minute workout. This is understandable as a lot of this can be traced back to the Curves franchise popularity several years ago.

They really pushed the idea of the 30 minute “in and out” workout. While great from a marketing perspective for Curves, a lot of people now associate a “30 minute workout” with those types of facilities. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “No mam, we’re not like a Curves, in fact we’re not even on the same planet.” Of course given the opportunity I’ll be happy to talk all about burst training and how it’s without question the most effective form of exercise for middle age adults.

Burst training is more than a 30 minute workout for saving time in the gym…

Let’s step outside of the whole “time savings” factor of the 30 minute workout for a second. Sure, that’s a plus for people with busy lifestyles but it wasn’t the reason why I built my business. I built my business to help provide middle age adults with personalized exercise and dietary solutions to a better body.

The health clubs and traditional exercise routines had failed this group miserably and I saw an opportunity to serve and fill a niche. Make no mistakes, gyms and health clubs are designed for the 20 and 30 year old demographic. Sure, some facilities are looking to tap into the baby-boomer market and are shifting their business models in that direction. But for the most part the industry continues to focus on providing services and amenities for younger adults.

Obviously the 40’s, 50’s, and up crowd still use these same facilities. The problem is how well are the programs working for them? I argue this point with anyone.

There are more middle age adults frustrated with not seeing results in gyms and health clubs than ANY other age group.

Why is that? The answer in my opinion is clear.

The exercise they’re doing (typically lots of aerobic based exercise) is very ineffective at creating metabolic disturbances and producing a change in body composition. Hours upon hours on spinning bikes, aerobic classes, body flow, and all these classes, but the middle age exercisers frequently see less than stellar results.

There are always exceptions to the rule as with anything else. There will be those with favorable genetics, rate of metabolism, etc, who will do just about any workout and if they eat clean they’ll look great.

Let’s leave these fortunate individuals in the minority out of the equation for a second. For as long as I can remember there’s been a consensus among the general public, and in the fitness arena for that matter, that cardio and aerobic exercise is the key to losing weight. Research conducted in the past decade has shown this isn’t the case, but the information is slow getting out.

Consider the following…

A study conducted by McTiernan et al, published in Obesity Research June 2007 (15:1496-1512), showed that six hours of aerobic training per week (60 minutes per day, six days per week) for 12 months produced an average weight loss of 3.5 pounds for the year or about 0.3 pounds per month. No specific changes in diet were instructed to the test participants.

Not only does this reinforce the adage that you can’t “out exercise a bad diet,” but it also confirms that aerobic exercise by itself is terribly ineffective at producing changes in body composition. Forget about how many calories were burned during the aerobic workouts. The proof is in the pudding and all of this can be confirmed by countless real world examples from frustrated middle age exercisers.

Once again, the biggest problem with an exercise routine that is aerobic dominant is there’s little metabolic disturbance and hormonal response from the workouts.

So what about burst training, what makes this so different? You guessed it…the metabolic disturbances and hormonal responses generated from doing short-burst of high intensity effort. In this post I want to talk specifically about the impact on growth hormone release.

Burst training and growth hormone release for middle-age adults…

Growth hormone has received a lot of attention in the media within the last decade as being “the big secret” behind fat loss, fighting aging, recovery from injuries, and building lean muscle. Most of the time big headlines regarding health and fitness are off-mark; when it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

However, growth hormone (GH) is in fact a very powerful and important hormone that tends to diminish with age. Growth hormone’s primary purpose is cellular reproduction, so it’s responsible for bone and muscle growth, and can help with “aging well”. It also stimulates fat loss. Growth hormone is released in the body in a pulsatile manner, most often related to our circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), but also is released with high intensity exercise.

High intensity resistance training and cardio (interval training) both stimulate the release of growth hormone. The key here is the exercise must be high intensity in nature. But we don’t need to exercise for hours at time at this intensity (this would prove nearly impossible and be counterproductive anyway).

In fact, growth hormone is best released in very short bouts of high intensity effort, ranging from 30 seconds to several minutes. When we push our bodies into higher intensity efforts we stop utilizing oxygen to generate energy. This creates a change in the energy systems used to facilitate movement and shifts the pH levels in our blood. It is thought that this pH shift, in addition to the added neural input required, creates a release of GH.

Hmm, the idea of exercising at maximal effort, in bursts of 30 seconds to several minutes…does this sound familiar? This is exactly why we do burst training at Shaping Concepts. The amount of growth hormone produced in short anaerobic bursts far surpasses that of aerobic exercise which has minimal to no net response. Furthermore, endurance training could conceivably stop the release of GH altogether if the duration is too long.

Overall, burst training provides the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to the release of growth hormone, adrenaline, and nor-adrenaline. In other words, less exercise producing a better response in powerful fat burning hormones compared to aerobic training which requires more time and gives you less hormonal response.

I’ll be writing more on the subject of growth hormone and exercise as it would be impossible to cover everything in one post. Just know that this is one of the primary reasons why burst training is so effective for middle age adults. Hormonally you’re not the same as you were in your twenties and early thirties. The right kind of exercise and dietary strategies can certainly make a difference, but the key point here is you’ll want to do things differently.

There are reasons why younger adults can often “get away” with doing lots of cardio and significantly restricting calories to lose weight, most of them revolving around hormonal balances. The fact of the matter is hormonal advantages diminish with age and the old ways may not work very well anymore.

If you’re the least bit suspect on the benefits of burst training workouts check out the numerous success stories on this website. These individuals changed their shape without doing hours of cardio and starving themselves. Burst training and supportive nutrition can make all the difference when combined into a personalized program.

If you’re in the Charleston, SC area and would like to learn more about how Shaping Concepts can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals you can fill out a web-form on the homepage for a free no-obligations consultation and personal training trial.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston fitness trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness programs with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up for a FREE, no-obligations consultation today.

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Category: Burst Training.