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My Blog


24hr Growth Hormone Release Post Exercise

Posted on 17 September, 2014 at 11:25 Comments comments (5102)
In a recent study, printed in the ACSM's Medicine&Science in Sports&Exercise, researchers examined the effects of various exercise modes on the release of human growth hormones during the 24 hour period post exercise. In the study 8 healthy men were tested under 5 separate conditions and blood samples were taken. These conditions included no exercise; a 1 hour or 2 hour aerobic session; or a 1 hour or 2 hour resistance training session. The results showed that only the 2 hour aerobic group had a significant increase in growth hormone release. The study concluded that the increased energy demands from the endurance bout is what causes the increased release of GH. It then went on to suggest increasing aerobic activities from 1 hour to 2 hours. Other than runners who wants to do that? Who has time for that? 

Combining aerobic and resistance training has been shown to increase energy demands. Results from studies and with private clients show that this combination can cause significant gains in both aerobic capacity (VO2max) and strength gains (1RM). Combined training requires twice as many calories as training separately and reduces time spent working out in half. Future studies should examine hormone profiles during combined training. Perhaps 1 hour of combined training may have a similar profile to that of the 2 hour aerobic bout? Plus the benefits of resistance training? You can't beat it! But you can get it if you want it at 24kt Fitness Studio. 

Hey, STOP! You could be running the wrong way...

Posted on 28 February, 2014 at 17:46 Comments comments (30)
Could you be running the wrong way? What way is that? That way is forward.  New research is looking at the effects of backwards running and the impact that it has on skeletal muscular development and neurological control mechanisms.

"Steps Forward in Understanding Backward Gait: From Basic Circuits to Rehabilitation"

Running backwards has recently become popular in training for sport as well as rehabilitation from injury.  The article looked at the link between forward running and backwards running and whether training one way would impact the other.

Backwards running can be used in some sport specific training such as football (defensive backs), tennis, basketball or any other sport where backwards locomotion is warranted.

In rehabilitation it has many advantages over forward running.  Running backwards allows the individual to avoid heel strikes, which increase impact and pressure on the knees.  In addition to reducing the knee load, backwards running can help improve ACL instability in previously injured individuals.  Backwards running can also help improve muscle imbalances between the quadriceps and the hamstrings. In addition to the bio-mechanical benefits there are also additional cardiopulmonary benefits that are associated with backwards running.  The backwards training did not show conclusive evidence that the same improvements in training would translate to forward training, suggesting that backwards running is mediated by different control circuitry than forward running.  More research is necessary.

The downside to running backwards is that visibility is impaired and running backwards indoors and outdoors can be difficult and dangerous.  If the proper conditions are met, backwards training can help individuals rehab from injuries as well as improve sport performance.

If one is to try training backwards, I would suggest a progressive approach.  Start off walking backwards for short distances, such as up and down the driveway or the sidewalk. Since running backwards for a long distance outdoors is difficult, it would probably be best to attempt this on an outdoor or indoor (if permitted) track. Gradually increase speed as you become comfortable with the backwards training. I would also suggest wearing a bicycle helmet to protect your head if you are actually going to try this.

I am intrigued by this concept and may give it a try once the weather breaks and trainer outdoors can resume.

Are dogs better than cats? What you should know about pet ownership and your health.

Posted on 23 February, 2014 at 2:02 Comments comments (25)
Recent studies show that owning a dog may have significant advantages over cats and other pets.  The American Heart Association released these statements:
  • Some studies have found an association between pet ownership and lower blood pressure
  • Few studies are available related to pet ownership and lipid levels
  • Dog walking (rather than just pet or dog ownership) seems to be associated with a lower incidence of obesity
  • Most, but not all, studies have found a beneficial relationship between pet ownership and reaction to stress (e.g., lower heart rate and blood pressure responses)
    • Studies with beneficial effects have included dogs or cats, but other pets also have been found to provide benefits, including goat, fish, chimpanzee, and snake ownership
  • Pet ownership was not associated with reduced overall mortality in individuals without established CVD but may provide benefits for patients with established CVD
  • Dogs seem to be the pet most likely to provide a positive influence on human physical activity
    • Dog owners engage in more physical activity and walking and are more likely to meet recommended amounts of physical activity than are nonowners
    • Physical activity levels do not seem to be associated with cat or other pet ownership
    • Although data related to dogs are the strongest, this could be because dogs are more commonly owned and are most likely to increase the owner’s physical activity

If you are searching for a way to become more active, try taking your cat for a walk... 

It should be noted that pet ownership should not be pursued for the sole purpose of improving health and reducing risks of diseases.

You also don't have to deal with a smelly litter box. That is a plus in my opinion.

Aerobic and Resistance, together or separate? Which should you do first?

Posted on 21 February, 2014 at 19:07 Comments comments (146)
A recent article published in ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal highlighted findings from several studies conducted examining the relationship of concurrent aerobic and resistance training and the adaptations, if any, that they may cause.

There are multiple methods of concurrent aerobic and resistance training. Four of these methods were researched in one or more of the accumulated studies. 1) Performing aerobic and resistance training simultaneously, 2) use a split mode format, running in the morning and resistance training in the evening, 3) during separate workouts on separate days and 4) during specific training cycles.

What is simultaneous training?
Is when aerobic and resistance training bouts are performed consecutively. Aerobic first, then resistance or vice versa.  Another mode of simultaneous training is when the individual performs a brief bout of aerobic work (45-60 seconds) and then performs a set of resistance training for 8-10 repetitions and repeats this process through the entire workout.

Concurrent training has the potential to bring about both cardiovascular adaptations as well as muscular adaptations.  Concurrent training must be set up properly and monitored to prevent fatigue and over training.  The program should be prioritized based on individual performance goals. 

Does is matter which bout you perform first during simultaneous bouts?  
Performing either order will bring about both types of adaptations.  If you top priority for training is endurance, then the logical order would be to perform aerobic bouts first, however improvements in endurance can still be made post resistance training. 

Aerobic Training first?
This mode of training brings about greater cardiovascular changes and reduced the occurrence of DOMS, most likely from the increase blood flow from the previous bout of aerobic exercise.  A drawback from aerobic training first, is that it may reduce the body's ability to perform work due to the accumulation of fatigue from the extended aerobic bout.

Resistance Training first?
This mode of training brings about larger gains in power, strength and hypertrophy which similar gains in cardiovascular fitness as the aerobic first group.  In addition to larger anaerobic gains, the resistance first group showed greater fat utilization and energy expenditure during the proceeding aerobic bouts.

A closer look at the results-
Performing aerobic exercise first can help in developing maximal aerobic power.  It also increases post exercise energy expenditure.  Performing resistance training first shows greater skeletal muscle improvements and increased metabolic activity post bout.

Utilizing a training split can help increase performance during training bouts as long as there is ample recovery time in between.

As with split training, training on separate days can negate the benefits of combining training.

Uses training cycles may help improvements in specific training areas but again, separate training eliminates the benefits of combined training.

Regardless of the type of workout performed, you have to make your workouts work for you.  You should have a designed training plan that incorporates you personal fitness goals with the type of desired training being performed and your life's schedule for optimal results.