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If you are a male over the age of 40, you have probably begun to notice some changes in your body. Maybe the gains are coming slower when you hit the gym. Maybe you have noticed a difference in the bedroom, both in the quality of your sleep and how your libido has been acting.
Once men hit the age of 30, their ability to produce free testosterone begins to drop at a rate of around 1.25 % per year. That’s just one of the facts of life guys, it happens to all of us.
It is also true however, that the rate at which our testosterone levels are dropping is increasing and starting at younger ages each year. In fact, on average, a man today has about 20% less testosterone in his system than that same man would have had just 20 years ago.
Today’s modern man may be better off in some ways, but when it comes to T levels, past generations had much more of it for more years, and they didn’t have to deal with as many Low-T related issues like the men of today.
That’s why nowadays more men are looking for natural ways to increase their testosterone levels. This can be done through a number of different strategies and tactics, including implementing specific forms of exercise.
One form of exercise has been proven not only to burn incredible amounts of fat (up to 36 hours after the exercise) but it also has been shown to boost testosterone levels as high as 400%!
Welcome to the stage, high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT.
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
It’s referred to as HIIT, high intensity burst training, high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE), and sprint interval training (SIT) – but what is it actually?
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 designed to maximize muscle building efforts, utilizing short, powerful workouts which release testosterone, human-growth hormone, and nitric oxide. These are the key ingredients for enhancing strength, vascularity, and leanness.
When you do a HIIT program you essentially train very hard for short bursts of time with minimal rest periods in between sets.
Gone are the days of spending hours on the treadmill or stair climber. Research has been done that proves that HIIT is a much better method of achieving more dramatic results in a much shorter time frame.
You should only do it 2-3 times a week and sessions typically last anywhere from 10-30 (max) minutes. Most HIIT sessions land in that 15-20 minute time frame because they are so intense. That seems to be the sweet spot. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, I assure you it’s not.
You see, when you do extended periods of cardio exercise, you are burning fat, but you are also losing muscle mass and depleting your body’s natural ability to produce free testosterone.
When you do HIIT, you aren’t really burning fat at that moment, but rather burning the sugars you have in your body because they are more easily accessible to be used as fuels.
This is what is needed to provide the strength and stamina necessary for the workout. However, the completed HIIT workout will put your body in total fat burning mode for up to 36 hours after the workout.
Benefits Of HIIT
- INCREASES TESTOSTERONE
- Increases human growth hormone
- Increases nitric oxide
- Increases muscle mass, size, and density
- Increases overall energy
- Burns more fat than any other form of exercise
- Continues to burn fat for up to 24-48 hours after the workout
- Normalizes blood sugar
- Improves sleep quality (which then increases testosterone and hgh)
- Improves libido
- Turns back the biological clock (anti-aging properties)
- Increases insulin sensitivity
It does this all at the same time with a workout that can be done at home, in a gym, or outside.
HIIT also helps to reverse the effects of aging because it helps to combat short term oxidative stress.
In researching HIIT and all the benefits associated with it, I came across this video Dr. Pompa, and he really does a good job at not only explaining the benefits of HIIT, but also the WHY those benefits are occurring.
What the experts have to say about HIIT
Recently, “The Journal of Physiology” did a study on steady-state, long term cardio training and found that it decreases the way that your muscles are able to absorb glucose. This is a major drawback if you are trying to gain both size and strength.
“The Journal of Strength and Conditioning” also recently published some material that proves that HIIT does boost both HGH and free testosterone levels. This is the direct opposite of what doing long-term cardio.
Their research also proved that HIIT boosts 24 hour mitochondrial biogenesis. In essence, this is what produces energy from within the cells.
HIIT Workout Example
If you do a search on the internet, you will find more HIIT workout examples than you can imagine. Just remember, it can be as simple as all out sprints or a combination of any number of different exercises including the use of weights.
Here’s a great video example of what a HIIT workout could be. Dr. Axe is an excellent resource that I use frequently. What I like about this video is it combines several different types of exercises, and it’s so simple that you could do this in your living room at home and get all the benefits that come along with HIIT workouts.
Things You Should Know About HIIT
Volume is a key consideration when doing HIIT. A lot of research has been done that proves that higher-rep, focusing on strength and endurance is the best way to complement your HIIT sessions when you are doing both in one session of training.
You can do HIIT in a variety of different ways, but if you want to make your body react as anabolic (muscle building) as possible, then you have push it as close as you can to maximum output for 30 seconds, then wait 2-3 minutes for rest, then repeat or go on to the next exercise in the circuit. If you’re looking more for cardio / aerobic results vs. anabolic (muscle building) results, then rest between sets should be 15 – 45 seconds.
When you are doing a HIIT routine it is important to supplement your body due to the increased work load you are putting on it. You should consider a good pre-workout supplement. Check out our pre-workout recommendations if you’re interested.
The difference between free and bound testosterone
It is also important to understand the difference between free testosterone and bound testosterone. If your testosterone is bound, it can be compared to having a pocket full of cash, but no where to spend it.
There is a carrier protein that is responsible for the binding of testosterone. The name of it is Sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). When your body makes too much of this, you will experience symptoms of low T.
Most of this globulin is made in the liver, but it is produced in both the testes and your brain as well. The over production of this globulin also has a direct effect on how much of the female hormone (estrogen) that your body makes too, so you are kind of getting a double whammy.
By incorporating HIIT into your weight training program, you release more free testosterone and HGH as well. This is mainly achieved because of the increase of androgen sensitive tissue that is created.
It is important to remember however to always be safe. Check with your doctor first to make sure that your body can physically handle this kind of work out.
Also, be sure to listen to what your body is telling you. It is one thing to push yourself, it is another thing to beat it into the ground. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to recover between workouts, try to get as much sleep as possible and be sure to give it the proper nutrients it needs.
Use the time you save in the gym when doing HIIT to your advantage. Spend some extra time with the wife or kids. Read a book, or just relax in whatever manner you prefer and know that your are doing something good for yourself.
However, don’t just use HIIT as a substitute for all of the other methods of training. Keep hitting the weights, go swimming, or jog the trails. Too much of any one thing is never good and the same principle applies to HIIT.
In time your free testosterone levels will go up, your HGH levels will rise and you will burn more fat faster than ever before.
Put HIIT In Your Natural T Boosting Arsenal
So in summary, if your sex drive is down, you have been having mood swings, or if you just haven’t been seeing the gains you used to get while working out, you might be struggling with low T levels.
One of the most powerful and proven natural methods of increasing your testosterone is high intensity interval training, and it’s definitely something that you should put in your arsenal of things that you can do to boost testosterone naturally.
You can ride a stationary bike with increased resistance. You can push or pull a weighted sled. You can even do a combination of body weight exercises to exhaustion to get the maximum benefit. But remember, you have to pretty much go to failure because that is the point which is causing your body to produce the necessary hormonal response to handle the load you’re putting on it.
Bottom line is you want to attack Low-T from a variety of different angles so you can experience the biggest improvement and most dramatic results.
Incorporating a HIIT program into your workout routine is definitely one of them.
Other things include supplementing with a good natural testosterone booster, eating test boosting foods, lifting heavy a few days a week, getting more quality sleep, massively reducing chronic stress, and getting lots of healthy sunlight.
If you combine this type of routine with a healthier, improved diet, and some tweaks to your lifestyle, you will absolutely increase your testosterone levels and begin to see and feel a massive and noticeable change in your life.
Mike is our resident personal trainer specializing in men’s health & fitness. He is an avid enthusiast when it comes to understanding and implementing the best strategies & tactics for optimal healthy living, and he is completely obsessed with how to achieve peak performance levels.