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Talk about a win/win/win situation!
High Intensity Interval Training is one the best forms of exercise because it increases testosterone, increases human growth hormone, and it burns fat like no other form of exercise, and it continues to burn fat for an additional 24-36 hours after you're done doing the workout.
An additional bonus is the fact that a true HIIT workout is only between 15-25 minutes long.
Don't be fooled into thinking that just because the workout is short that you're not really getting a workout.
If you do it correctly, most people will say that a 15-25 minute HIIT workout is harder than almost any other form working out they do. Why? Because the idea behind HIIT is that you go ALL OUT with some form of exercise (sprint, bike, row, stairs, rope, etc) for 20-60 seconds followed by a rest period of 20-60 seconds, and you do sets of this for 15-25 minutes
We know that men are facing declining T levels at rate faster than ever before in history. Men have lower average testosterone levels and are being treated at younger and younger ages for issues dealing with low levels of testosterone.
Today, we're going to talk about what effect High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has on testosterone levels.
The question we are attempting to answer is: Does HIIT increase testosterone?
HIIT is basically any form of anaerobic exercise that alternates between intense bursts of activity and recovery periods of less intense activity or rest.
High intensity interval training is a form of exercise that uses intensely high energy output at its core. It is also called high intensity burst training because it is based on the idea that you have do bursts of high intensity exercise for typically 20-30 seconds and then immediately followed by a resting period for 30-60 seconds.
The idea is that you repeat this pattern (or set) 5 - 10 times depending on what kind of shape you're in and what kind of exercises you're doing for your high intensity exercises.
Because HIIT is so popular now, there are many different variances for time in the active and resting state, but what I have stated is a good generality.
That's the beauty of HIIT, you can pretty much do anything, because it's not so much about what you're doing, but how you're doing it. It's about doing it in the HIIT style. That means you need to go all out at a minimum of 75% of your maximum output for 20-40 seconds and then resting for 30-60 seconds immediately afterwards. Trust me, that is so hard to do.
Example of different exercises that can be done in HIIT form:
Over the last few years especially, there's been a significant shift in the health & fitness world with regards to how aerobic cardio is viewed.
From a general fitness and weight perspective, chronic cardio has long been viewed as the best way to lose burn fat and lose weight.
It turns out the latest and greatest scientific research says that this form cardio really isn't good for us, and I'll explain why in just a second.
The other reason why we're looking at HIIT is from a testosterone boosting perspective. What science is telling us is that HIIT causes our body to produce some incredible hormonal responses like significantly increasing our testosterone levels, increasing our human growth hormone levels, and increasing nitric oxide levels.
On top of that, it continually burns fat for up to 36 hours after you've done the HIIT workout!
You don't get these same benefits with chronic cardio, plus you don't have to worry about the negative health effects you get with traditional cardio either.
Let's define chronic cardio and talk about exactly what some of the negatives are associated with it.
Let's define terms here so we're all on the same page about what chronic cardio is.
Chronic cardio is any aerobic activity you do for one hour or more with a sustained heart rate at 80%+ of max
In a nutshell, the problem with chronic cardio is that it seems to do more damage to our bodies than good.
Latest research shows that for one thing, chronic cardio increases cortisol. We've talked a lot about cortisol on this site and how it is an absolute testosterone killer. Not only does cortisol kill testosterone, but it also causes some other very significant negative health problems:
Even if the increase in cortisol was the only negative consequence associated with chronic cardio, that would be enough to make me workout differently for sure, but that's not even the whole story.
The summary of negatives associated with chronic cardio are:
This post really isn't meant to be a post about bashing chronic cardio, but I did need to talk about it so you can understand why HIIT is such a better form of exercise because it doesn't have the same damaging qualities of chronic cardio, AND it also has some incredible testosterone boosting benefits and more.
Before talking about the benefits of HIIT, I think it's important to point that not all aerobic cardio is bad - just what we have described as chronic cardio (80%+ heart rate for 1+ hour)
If chronic cardio is bad, then is there any kind of cardio that is good for us?
The answer to that question is definitely YES!
The kind of sustained cardio that is good for our bodies is aerobic activity that you do for an hour or more at 60%-70% of max heart rate. This levels activity is considered lower-to-moderate, yet beneficial. At this level, you can still hold a conversation with someone else without gasping for breath.
This is actually a good fat burning zone to be in. Not only that, but the benefits of low-to-moderate aerobic cardio are you burn fat, reduce the risk of heart disease, increase your capillary network, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the risk of numerous degenerative diseases.
So just know, I'm a huge fan of cardio - just lower-to-moderate cardio instead of chronic cardio.
But I'm an even bigger fan of HIIT!
Burst training provides some excellent anti-aging benefits by producing short term oxidative stress combined with elevated HGH and testosterone levels.
Your body will benefit from the short term oxidative stress, so not only are you going to lose more weight in less time, but you are also not going to age yourself prematurely.
If you want to slow down the aging process at the cellular level, then boost your testosterone and HGH levels. You can boost your testosterone and hgh levels with HIIT.
The Journal of Strength and Condition published a very compelling study showing that high intensity interval training significantly increased testosterone and human growth hormone.
Here's an awesome video by Dr. Daniel Pompa talking about how chronic cardio is harmful and how HIIT has so many health benefits including increasing testosterone and HGH.
Dr. Daniel Pompa
"Burst training allows you to reap the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, massively boosting HGH and anabolic hormones and burning stored glucose, thereby helping you lose weight, look younger, and get lean more quickly."
If you're regularly engaging in lengthy, drawn-out workouts with long rest periods or excessive endurance exercise, then your testosterone levels may take a hit! Workouts lasting longer than about an hour may begin to spike cortisol levels and subsequently decrease testosterone.
Here's a study from the University of South Wales of 45 overweight participants. In this 15-week study, they split the participants up into two groups. One group was in a HIIT cycling group and the other group was non-HIIT cycling group.
The HIIT cycling group worked out for 20 minutes at a time doing 8 second of all out cycling followed by 12 seconds of rested or very low state cycling, and then repeating this set pattern for 20 minutes. The other group exercised at a consistent rate for 40 minutes. At the end of the study, even though the non-HIIT group worked out twice as long, the HIIT group had lost three times the body fat.
"Well, we know that this current popular chronic aerobic pursuit is a dead-end. It requires huge amounts carbohydrate (sugar) to sustain, it promotes hyperinsulinemia (overproduction of insulin), increases oxidative damage (the production of free radicals) by a factor of 10 or 20 times normal, and generates high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in many people, leaving them susceptible to infection, injury, loss of bone density and depletion of lean muscle tissue – while encouraging their bodies to deposit fat. Far from that healthy pursuit we all assumed it was!"
Here's a great example of a good HIIT workout routine by Dr. Axe. He's definitely an authority on this topic, and his video here is a good example of incorporating resistance training into his HIIT routine to get even more anabolic testosterone boosting effect.
When it comes to HIIT, I really love doing sprints. I don't need any equipment or anything, and I can just go right outside and do it.
Sprints may sound boring, but I really noticed after doing them how much of a complete and total body I got in doing them. I'm 50 now, and I really notice how you just don't see 50 year old men sprinting. It's such an invigorating feeling and makes me feel 20+ years younger again. And it should because I'm massively increasing my testosterone and hgh levels, so that's my plug for sprinting intervals.
Here's a good beginner sprint interval video:
Here's a good video that adds a little resistance training to the sprints:
We talk a lot about the problem modern man is facing today with lower overall testosterone levels and faster rates of decline. Our mission has been and continues to be to arm you with as much information as possible so you can take action and combat the problem.
What we hoped you got out of this post was that there are some definite health negatives associated with what used to be considered traditional (chronic) cardio. Some of those negatives included lowered testosterone and hgh levels, just to mention a couple.
We also wanted to present you with an alternative that no only steered you away from the negatives associated with chronic cardio, but also gave you a way to INCREASE YOUR TESTOSTERONE NATURALLY!
The science and medical research is quite clear and compelling.
Add HIIT as one of the many strategies and tactics you should be taking to not only protect your testosterone levels, but also increase them. It's not just about doing one thing. It's about attacking this problem from as many different angles as possible - Exercise, Diet, Supplementation, Lifestyle, and Environment.