Why Intensity Pays Off, and How to Make Your Hormones Work for You!
So I’ve tried a few different workout regimes throughout my time, with the hopes of attaining my goal of feeling strong, lean, and capable of any physical feat. With the risk of sounding like a dreamer for the pursuit of the super power of invincibility, this is essentially how I want my body and mind to feel - like nothing can hold me back!
Personally, I have had a lot of success with high intensity workouts in helping me change my body shape and grow the most muscle. This form of exercise also keeps me motivated because I can SEE the physical changes it has on my body. This article will get you pumped, on some high intensity workouts you can try for yourself below!
The reason high intensity is so effective in improving your body’s muscle to fat ratio is due to hormones! Yup. These chemical messengers have a role in much more than just influencing pesky adolescent concerns, and menopausal hot-flashes!
Our bodies have two different fuel sources. Sugar and fat. Sugar can come from the carbohydrates we eat and store, or from muscle breakdown. Burning fat provides us with more sustainable energy while keeping our hormones balanced. Promoting fat as our body’s main fuel source spares muscle breakdown and avoids the crazy hormonal cycle governing the infamous blood sugar rollercoaster!
How do we do this? Low and behold, it comes back to the foundations. Diet and exercise. Today we focus on exercise, but know that a balanced whole foods diet is the way to optimally support your fitness goals!
When we workout hard, we push our bodies into sympathetic mode (designed for moments of fight or flight). When this occurs, we see an increase in our stress hormones adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. When these hormones go up, it sets off a chain reaction during intense exercise leading to lactic acid production. Lactic acid signals the release of two powerful fat burning hormones – testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH). This is what is responsible for the lasting effects of high intensity exercise on fat burning over sugar burning.
I’ve been incorporating these exercises from Dr. Jade & Keoni Teta’s book “The New Metabolic Effect Diet” just 3 times a week. I continue to walk, bike ride, and play sports on the side too.
All you need is 20 minutes of high intensity, giving it your all,
and for just 3 days a week (totally open to do more if you like :)
Give yourself time to warm up before, and stretch after (click here for warm up ideas)
All you need are some dumbells and some space.
To choose a good starting weight, do 3 perfect bicep curls (you should be able to complete them, but feel like you are unable to do any more, so not 2, and not 4, but 3)
Continually rotate through exercises 1-4 doing 12 reps each for 20 minutes, and don’t stop, even after finishing a “circuit”. Take a rest only when you have to. This will make you push yourself into that sympathetic, adnrenaline pumped state where you will start shifting your hormones to fat burning.
Sample exercises (these are hybrids which engage multiple muscle groups)
Squat rows OR
Chest press with crunch OR
Squat with bicep curl OR
Lunge with bicep curl and shoulder press
Squat with shoulder side raise OR
Squat with shoulder press
While the workouts are similar, the difference between this and crossfit is that crossfit is about competition. The focus of this workout is on your being fit, lean, and healthy. It also keeps the exercises simple which minimizes the risk of injury. Find out more at the MetabolicEffect website!