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Jun 30

Scott Sattler MD

Push Yourself 'Hard' for the best workout results

by Scott Sattler MD

The New York Times has some great articles in the 'Health' section on exercise physiology
from time to time. The article linked below caught my attention over the weekend and
I wanted to share it with you all.

We all know that a good hard workout that 'breaks a sweat' is the effect we are looking
for when we exercise. But what happens when we step that exercise stimulus up a notch, and 
exercise to the point of exaustion ? Exercise to the point of total exaustion - when you want
to lay on the floor after finishing the workout ? Those of you that do Crossfit, MMA and other 
full body, multi-disciplanry, intensive and interval style workouts know the feeling I described
above - complete exaustion, gasping for air, totally spent, lying on the floor.

You could not have pushed harder.

Is this exercise stimulus different than just running a couple of miles on the treadmill and
calling it a day ? Of course, it must be - and this article in NYT explains some of the molecular
responses to very intense exercise. It turns out that vigorous exercise stimulates our catecholamine
(flight or fight) response, and these powerful hormones (adrenaline and others) interact with 
signalling proteins (hormones) that cause adaptions in our muscles and nervous system that lighter
forms of exercise do not induce.

Do you want the maximum benefit from your workout ? My advice is to step it up a notch in the gym next
time - increase the intensity, decrease the time, increase the weight ! Do a lot more work than you
usually do. Do a lot more work than you think you are capable of doing - and make a habit of it.

The physical adaptations to your new exercise 'environment' will occur rapidly.

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