Friday, July 29, 2011

We Can't Stop Growing!

Somatopause is when your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels drop off dramatically after age 30, as a part of the aging process. The higher your HGH levels, the healthier and stronger you will be. In order to release more HGH, you must exercise. But only certain types of exercise are effective in stimulating the release of growth hormones.

The most effective way is through Whole Body Vibration, because the "fast twitch" muscle fibers (or reflex muscles) that respond to the sensation of "falling" 20-45x per second are the ones that activate HGH release. The production is up to 400% more during a WBV session.

Another way to produce HGH is from the build-up of lactic acid. When you feel "the burn" in your muscles during exercise, that is lactic acid, which is a by-product of anaerobic training and the lack of oxygen. In order to cool down that "burn", your body will actually release higher amounts of HGH. At TUF, we have incorporated "LA" workouts where less weight and more repetition produce more lactic acid for HGH release. So, going for the burn is a good thing!

Ways to optimize your level of HGH once released with exercise:
1) a good night's sleep
2) avoid a high fat meal prior to exercise
3) drink plenty of water
4) eat healthy carbs (veggies) and high quality protein
5) get enough vitamin D
6) do not consume sugar or fructose within 2 hours of exercise

That last one is very important and here's why. Sugar consumption will trigger release of somatostatin, a hormone that inhibits HGH. And while it is critical not to consume sugar or fructose immediately after exercise when HGH release is stimulated, it is also important not to consume more than 20 grams of fructose each day if you want to lose weight. Drinking a whey protein shake post-workout will maximize muscle repair and growth but it is best to omit the fruit or other sugars.
Here is a chart showing the fructose in fruits:

Steady state cardio like walking, treadmill, eliptical or bike don't stimulate the release of growth hormones like weight training or high intensity aerobic interval bursts. It is easy to add some 30 second intervals of high intensity with 90 second recovery, even with walking. Just pick up the pace with a fast walk and pumping arms and then go back to the regular walking pace for recovery. Try to work up to 20 minutes of this and it will be more effective than an hour steady state walk.

We do intervals in both weight training and cardio classes, to push women to feel the burn for maximum results. It is a myth that you can lose weight just by restricting calories and exercising. Long-term, successful fat loss is determined by what type of calories and what type of is quality, not quantity. Making sure that your exercise and diet are optimizing Human Growth Hormones will help you to
look and feel younger, build more muscle, lose more bodyfat, improve strength and recovery and actually slow down or even reverse the signs of aging. We need to keep growing!

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