April 12, 2012

Sprint 8

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Since summer is here and the swimming suits are coming out, only one question matters, does it still fit? For many of us, the answer is no, and now we scramble to find a way to get back to that size. I’m going to introduce a new way of looking at weight loss using exercise as the tool. Of course, you must cut some calories too, but this type of exercise is almost all you need to burn them off.

How many times have you heard that you should exercise by choosing a heart rate at some level less than maximum, and keep it there for 30-60 minutes, up to 5 times a week? This does your heart absolutely no good. It is so unhelpful that the American Heart Association took it out of their recommendations. It’s worthless for heart health, and it’s worthless for maintaining a healthy weight.

A type of exercise designed by Phil Campbell and promoted by Dr. Mercola is called, Sprint 8. The benefit of this type of exercise is that it causes your brain to produce more Human Growth Hormone, up to 77% more.  HGH increases cardiovascular fitness, increases fat burning and radically reduces exercise time, everything we are looking for!

If you are over 30, and have slid into that sedentary lifestyle, you have reached a period called somatopause, or age related growth hormone deficiency. Your HGH production is way down and your insulin like growth factor-1 is down. These two regulators are essential for maintaining your youth and health.

To better understand Sprint 8, you need to know a bit about muscle fibers. There are 3 types. The first is slow twitch, red, oxygen rich fibers. They can maintain action for long periods of time. Second is fast twitch, red fibers. These fibers exhaust quickly, but recover fast, to be used again quickly. Thirdly, are the super-fast red twitch fibers, used only at extreme movements of near muscle exhaustion. These are the fibers that promote HGH production by the brain.

Those of us who jog and run for hours at a time, never use these superfast fibers, so they tend to atrophy.  Power training and plyometric burst training do engage red fast twitch fibers, but still will not affect HGH production to any great degree.

Traditional cardio exercise never gets beyond the slow twitch fibers. You must add a high level of velocity and intensity to recruit the 2 fast twitch types. If you seem to work out on the treadmill for an hour a few times a week, yet see no improvement in weight loss of stamina, this is why. You are basically denying the natural physiology of this is why. You are basically denying the natural physiology of your body by not working half of your muscle fibers, the fast twitch type.

An 8 week study conducted by Phil Campbell he says: “At the end of 8 weeks, results were phenomenal. The average body fat loss was 31%. Sprint 8 was designed to replicate the growth hormone production, which in the average case increases 14%. Basically, Sprint 8 in this one study of middle age workers shows it’s twice as effective in body fat loss as injecting growth hormone.” Wow!

I will give you a typical Sprint 8 workout. Number one is to warm up for 3-5 minutes. Next, exercise hard and fast for 30 seconds, all out, all the way to 30 seconds. You should feel like you can’t go another second, dead. Then, recover by walking or moving slowly for 90 seconds. Repeat this 7 more times.

Any type of exercise will do; treadmill, bike, elliptical, swimming, jumping rope and sprinting outdoors are all usable. It is best to work with your full body weight to gravity, and use the largest muscles possible. The quads and gluts are the biggest and best.

The key is to be totally exhausted after each full 30 second burst. You should not be able to do another second, and if you can, you’re not doing it correctly. Do a full 30 seconds, even if you are struggling the last 5 seconds. You want your heart rate as high as you can get it, then as low as you can before the next phase. If simply walking fast gets you there, that is where you start!

This Sprint 8 exercise should NOT be done more than 3 times per week, and most likely needs only to be done 2 times per week by the average Joe. You must fully recover from the fatigue, before doing it another day, and never 2 days in a row. If you can do it 4 or 5 times a week, you are not doing it correctly.

If you are going to try this type of exercise, please work into it slowly. You may only be able to do 2 or 3 phases to start, working up from there. Don’t say I told you to start at 8 reps, and then sue me when you keel over. Use your head; common sense for your condition should prevail.  Good luck, and stick with it.