THE NUTRI-SPEC LETTER
Volume 16, Number 6
FROM ATHLETIC COACHES TO
PERSONAL TRAINERS TO GYM RATS
TO EXERCISE EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTORS
YOU GET NOTHING BUT ...
propaganda and mythology.
You are now likely the only person your patients know who can give the truth about how to get maximum gains from working out with minimum time and energy invested, and most importantly, with minimum catabolic damage.
But in case there are some lingering doubts --- in case you think there must be some truth in the exercise propaganda that has brainwashed you for as many as 40 years, read on. You are about to see some studies that will have you shaking your head in disgusted amazement of the absurdity of the common wisdom on exercise.
First, let us consider three studies that looked at the effects of exercise on the heart and vasculature in regard to either preventing or rehabilitating cardiovascular disease.
Strength/endurance training vs. endurance training in congestive
heart failure. Delagardelle, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Dec, 2002.
This study showed that low intensity, long duration endurance training (40 minute workouts, three times per week) gave only small benefits in work capacity, peak torque, and muscular endurance. However, VO2 peak did not improve at all with conventional “aerobic” “cardio” workouts, and endurance training (gasp!) actually caused ventricular function to get weaker by three different objective criteria. Oh my! Don’t let the word get out to the millions of people spending zillions on health club memberships so that they can tread on the mill to oblivion. The health club fraud would be over in a day.
Meanwhile, the second part of this experiment took an identical population of exercisers and cut the endurance training in half, while adding strength training for the other half of the workouts. The results? Cutting the endurance training in half and substituting strength training resulted in an increased VO2 peak. These workouts also strengthened left ventricular function by all criteria, and gave greater improvement than the low intensity long duration exercises in work capacity, muscle strength, and muscle endurance.
Think about it!
STRENGTH TRAINING STRENGTHENED THE HEART
WHILE “CARDIO” TRAINING
WEAKENED THE HEART!!
If that revelation doesn’t shake the foundation of establishment exercise mythology, nothing will!
High intensity aerobic interval exercise is superior to moderate
intensity exercise for increasing aerobic capacity in patients with
coronary artery disease. Rugnmo, et al. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev
Rehabil. June, 2004.
This study showed that high intensity training (though not interval training as we define it) at 80-90% VO2 peak is nearly 2½ times as effective in improving cardiovascular function as medium intensity training at 50-60% of VO2 peak.
This study did not look at what we call sprint interval training (Grizzly Bear intervals for conditioning or athletic purposes). The
use of the word “interval” in the title of this study is within the context of the research meaning of the word, not as it relates to
athletic training. In any case, this study showed that an increase in the intensity of workouts from 50-60% of VO2 peak to 80-90% of VO2 peak improved objective measures of cardiovascular function by 2½ times.
Can you see why we must urge our patients to avoid wasting all their time and energy on plodding? Nothing more than a reasonably small increase in intensity will give ...
MORE THAN DOUBLE THE BENEFITS PER UNIT
OF TIME AND ENERGY DEVOTED TO EXERCISE.
Grizzly Bear Intervals are the ultimate!
Interval vs. continuous exercise training after coronary bypass
surgery: A comparison of training-induced acute reactions with
respect to the effectiveness of the exercise methods. Meyer, et al. Clin Cardiol. Dec, 1990.
In this study interval training, which involved both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, was shown to increase physical performance and cardiac function far better than continuous aerobic exercise.
Do you get it? These three studies showed that “cardio” “aerobic” training yielded very little benefit, and was certainly grossly inferior to interval training or even strength training as a means to improve myocardial function.
Here is another study showing the benefits of sprint interval training on the cardiovascular system of normal, healthy individuals (rather than those with CVD) looking for the fitness benefits of exercise.
Blood volume expansion and cardio respiratory function: Effects of
training modality. Warburton, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. June,
This study showed that interval training is at least as effective as continuous training as measured by:
Let us shift our attention now from merely maintaining the health of the cardiovascular system to striving for optimal performance. Here are some studies that look specifically at the advantage to those in serious recreational training or even competitive athletic training from doing interval training rather than long slow distance.
Training-over-training: Influence of a defined increase in training
volume vs. training intensity on performance, catecholamines, and
some metabolic parameters in experienced middle-and long-distance
In this study trained runners were divided into two groups. One group increased the running volume of its workouts and the other increased the intensity with sprint interval workouts. What were the results? On follow-up testing the group that increased the volume of its workouts, showed a decrease in speed, a decrease in endurance, a decrease in heart rate, decreased energy metabolism efficiency, and increased plasma catecholamine stress hormones.
So much for all the coaches that are exhorting their athletes to give themselves an increased competitive advantage by increasing workout volume. Think of it: in well-trained athletes,
INCREASING THE VOLUME OF WORKOUTS
CAUSED A DECREASE IN PERFORMANCE
Now, here is a study that looked at sprint interval training on untrained men rather than competitive athletes:
6. Muscle performance and enzymatic adaptations to sprint interval
training. MacDougall et al. J Appl Physiol. June, 1998
This study evaluated the effects of sprint interval training on healthy untrained men over a period of seven weeks. Training consisted of 30 second maximum efforts interspersed by 2-4 minutes of recovery, performed three times weekly. The training program resulted in dramatic increases in peak power output, in total work over 30 seconds, in VO2 max, and in maximal enzyme activity of hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, citrate synthase, succinate dehydrogenase, and malate dehydrogenase. In summary, intense sprint interval training resulted in an increase in both glycolytic and oxidative enzyme activity, maximum short-term power output, and VO2 max. No low intensity, long duration exercise regimen can begin to match Grizzly Bear Intervals.
Surprising studies? Are you shocked to learn that “aerobic” “cardio” long duration exercise is not only bad for your health, it is not even the best way to build cardiovascular endurance? Yes, it is true, endurance training is not even the most effective way to train for long-distance athletic competition. Is it preposterous to conclude that distance runners, cyclists, and swimmers are better off not training at long distances? Read this one final study.
7. Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative
potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. Burgomaster, et
al. J Appl Physiol. Feb, 2005
In this study recreationally active subjects were put through only six sprint interval training sessions over a period of 2 weeks. There were one to two days of rest between sessions. Each session consisted of 4-7 all out 30 second sprints with 4 minute recovery between. The results were amazing. Citrate Synthase activity increased by 38%; resting muscle glycogen content increased by 26%; and, most strikingly, cycle endurance capacity increased by 100% in just 2 weeks of training.
Think about that. No “aerobic” exercise regimen has even come close to duplicating this phenomenal success. With only 15 minutes of actual exercise time over a period of 2 weeks, muscle oxidative potential increased dramatically and
ENDURANCE CAPACITY WAS ACTUALLY DOUBLED.Now, think about this; the “recreationally active” subjects of this experiment were perfectly analogous to the dozens of patients
Guy Schenker, D.C.