HGH – Your Fat Burning Fuel Additive

By Rick Morris

Stored fat is the gas tank of your body. Your body fat is a powerful fuel that is waiting for you to tap into it. If you train your body to use that fat more efficiently you will save those valuable carbohydrates that provide energy for higher intensity running. Being a more efficient fat burner will also help you avoid the dreaded marathon “wall’. Successful running is really all about energy. It is about using your stores of energy properly to get you to your running goal. It’s about hGH.

The Energy Crisis

Energy has become a precious commodity in today’s world. We are using too much of it. Because of the high demand for energy, our supply of fuel is dwindling and the cost is rising like the space shuttle. I go into sticker shock every time I fill up my car. The problem is compounded by the inefficiency of our automobiles. I drive one of the newer hybrid vehicles and average around 50 miles per gallon, which good compared to most cars, but is still highly inefficient. Many car owners put one of the fuel additives in their tank in an attempt to increase their fuel economy.

Your body, by comparison, is an incredibly efficient machine. Both carbohydrates and fats are used by your body to produce energy. Fat supplies the most energy at 9 calories per gram, with carbohydrates producing 4 calories of energy per gram. In terms of miles per gallon, most runners achieve between 325 and 350 miles per gallon of fat! That is over ten marathons using just one gallon of fat! Wouldn’t it be nice if your car did that well? No more energy problems.

You already know that to maximize your distance running ability you want to burn fat as efficiently as possible. Fat metabolism provides more “miles per gallon” than carbohydrate metabolism. The problem is how do you become a more efficient fat burner? One way to improve the gas mileage of your car is to use a fuel additive. Well guess what? – You can also use a fuel additive for your body.

Since you are able to extract so much energy from your foods and your stored fat, you do not need to take in a lot of calories. We all love to eat and many times we overeat. The excess calories are stored as fat. Because your body is so efficient at using energy from both your stored fat and free fatty acids circulating in your blood you need to put in a lot of miles to burn a substantial amount of fat. To combat this energy crisis in your body you need to find a way to burn more fat as fuel. You need a fuel additive for your body.

Size Doesn’t Matter

The answer to the problem can be found in a tiny structure in your brain called your pituitary gland. This pea sized gland is located at the base of your brain. While miniscule in size this gland is a giant in the control it has over your body. The pituitary gland secretes hormones, chemical messengers transported in your bloodstream to a target tissue, and also acts as a “relay station” between your brain’s control center and other hormone secreting glands in your system.

One of the hormones produced by the pituitary gland is human growth hormone (hGH). Growth hormone is used by all of the cells in your body. In young children it promotes the development and growth of all body tissues until physical maturity is achieved at around age eighteen. In adults, hGH performs many functions including muscle growth/repair, increases the mobilization of fat and fat metabolism, stimulates bone growth and decreases the rate of carbohydrate utilization.

As you can see, growth hormone can be a very valuable substance if you are trying to burn fat and build muscle. Athletes have known about the benefits of hGH for years.  The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta actually earned the nickname “The Growth Hormone Games” because of the large number of athletes that injected themselves with a synthetic version of hGH. The popularity of this new performance enhancing drug has exploded lately because of it’s effectiveness in recovery, muscle building and shedding fat. Even more important for these athletes looking for the latest and greatest method of cheating in their sport is the fact that synthetic hGH is very hard to detect and differentiate between naturally produced growth hormone. They have a better chance of getting away with it.

The news isn’t all good for unethical athletes. Excessive use of synthetic hGH has been shown to have serious side effects including cancer, diabetes, hypertension and a rare disorder called acromegaly in which facial bones become unusually thick. There is also financial bad news. A vile of hGH can cost as much as $800, making it unaffordable for most athletes.

It is obvious that hGH is great stuff. It helps you recover from hard workouts, builds muscle and burns fat. The problem is that synthetic growth hormone is expensive, dangerous and illegal except for prescribed medical purposes. I would never suggest that you or anyone else use such a substance. The good news is that you don’t have to. You can make your own. Don’t forget that your small but powerful pituitary gland produces this valuable compound. The natural hGH that you produce in your own body is free, safe and completely legal. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But how do your produce it?

When you were a growing child you had an abundant amount of growth hormone. It was constantly being released into your system to facilitate the growth of your bones and muscles. After you reached full physical maturity, less hGH was released. Your levels of growth hormone continue to fall as you age. An average 10 year old secretes about 2000mcg per day. By age 30 that level drops to an average of 400 mcg.[1] Research has shown that your pituitary gland is still producing hGH but it is not being released and used. The trick is to tell your pituitary gland to be more liberal in its supply of growth hormone so you can build muscle and burn fat at an accelerated rate.

Interestingly, studies have shown that the two best ways to convince your pituitary gland to release more hGH is through two polar opposites – sleep and exercise. Growth hormone follows a circadian rhythm or your “body clock”. The secretion and amount of hGH in your blood will vary by the time of day. The highest levels occur during sleep.[2] Researchers believe that the high levels during sleep are related to tissue repair and muscle building processes. If the quality or quantity of sleep is inadequate, the amount of hGH that is released can be reduced. This reinforces the need of training athletes to get plenty of recuperative sleep. Most athletes will need about 8 hours of quality sleep time.

The most effective method of increasing the secretion of hGH is through exercise. There have been many studies and investigations that prove exercise stimulates the release of growth hormone. The first question that comes to mind is what intensity and duration of exercise is best? A study reported in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that exercise intensity above lactate threshold pace continued for 10 minutes or more brought about the greatest increase in growth hormone secretion.[3] Exercise intensities above lactate threshold result in an accumulation of lactate levels in your blood. Lactate is produced by an incomplete breakdown of carbohydrates for fuel. Lactate is produced at all exercise levels, but at lower intensities your body is able to use the lactate to produce additional energy. When you increase your level of exercise intensity, lactate is produced at a more rapid rate. Eventually you reach a point at which lactate is being produced faster than your body can process it and it begins to build up in your blood. That point is known as your lactate threshold.

Recent studies have shown that it is not directly the presence of lactate that stimulates the release of hGH. When lactate builds up in your blood, hydrogen ions are released. These ions cause your blood acidity to rise. It is now thought that it is the accumulation of hydrogen ions that convinces your pituitary gland to secrete more growth hormone.[4]

Nutrition also plays a role in the secretion of human growth hormone. I am sure you know that carbohydrates are the primary energy source for your body. All athletes, especially endurance athletes, need a large supply of high quality carbohydrates for energy production and also for post exercise recovery. But, like all rules and guidelines, there are exceptions. This is one of them. A study from 1993 suggested that a high level of carbohydrate in your blood can interfere with the release of human growth hormone.[5] The same study said that a high level of fatty acids in your blood before your workout can slow down the release of hGH. So, if your goal is to maximize your levels of growth hormone and improve your fat burning ability you should avoid foods containing high levels of fat for an hour or two before your hGH workout and avoid carbohydrates for an hour or two following your hGH workout. Then, continue on with a healthy, balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats for the remainder of your day.

Your Human Growth Hormone Maximum Fat Burning Plan

This is a weekly plan that you can perform any time you want to give your fat burning ability a boost. This weekly program uses a hard/easy approach in which you alternate hard hGH boosting workouts with easier workouts for recovery.

Day One – The Growth Hormone Blaster

  • Warm up with 5 minutes of easy running. The exact pace of your easy running is not critical but it should feel easy. You should be able to talk as you run. If you cannot talk, you are running too fast.
  • Increase your speed to your current lactate threshold (LT) pace. There are a number of ways you can estimate your LT pace. If your run 10K races, your LT pace will be just slightly slower than your current 10K race pace. If you do not run 10K races, there are two other methods you can use to estimate your pace. If you use a heart rate monitor, run at a pace that is about 85% of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate using the formula 220 – your age.  You can also estimate your pace using your rating of perceived exertion. Your pace should feel difficult but not all out. On a scale of one to 20 with one equaling zero effort and 20 equaling all out effort, you should be running at a level 16 to 17. Run at your LT pace for 10 minutes.
  • Slow down to an easy pace for 2 minutes.
  • Speed up again to your LT pace and run for another 10 minutes.
  • Slow down to any easy pace for 2 minutes of easy running.
  • Speed back up to your 10K pace for another 10 minutes. Then slow down to an easy pace for 5 minutes to cool down.

Day 2 – Easy Day

  • Run for 30 minutes at an easy pace.

Day 3 – The Growth Hormone Circuit

The easiest place to perform this workout is on your treadmill. This routine includes hill running on various inclines as well as a number of body weight strength training exercises. If you have a good variety of hills in your area you can also do this circuit outside.

  • Run for 5 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Do as many standard push ups that you can do in one minute.
  • Run for 5 minutes at your LT pace.
  • Do 20 body weight squats. Place your hands on your hips. Hold your feet about shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not allow your knees to extend in front of your toes. Rise to a standing position.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 1% and run for 5 minutes at your LT pace.
  • Do as many abdominal crunches that you can in one minute.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 3% and run for 5 minutes at what feels like your LT pace. Note that your speed may be lower because of the additional elevation.
  • Do 20 bench or chair dips. Sit on a chair or exercise bench. Grip the front edge of the bench with your hands. Move forward until your hips are off the seat. Slowly lower your hips towards the floor and then press up to full arm’s extension.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 1% and run for 5 minutes at your LT pace.
  • Do 30 lower back extensions. Lie face down on an exercise mat. Slowly lift your chest off the floor by contracting your lower back muscles. If necessary, assist slightly with your arms.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 5% and run for 3 minutes at your LT pace.
  • Do 20 one leg squats on each leg. Place one foot (rear foot) behind you on a bench or chair. Your other foot (forward foot) should be flat on the floor and directly under your center of balance. Slowly bend your forward knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Do not allow your knee to extend in front of your toes. Slowly straighten your forward leg and return to the starting position.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 1% and run for 5 minutes at your LT pace.
  • Do as many decline push ups that you can do in one minute. These are the same as standard push ups, except you place your feet on a chair or bench so that you are in a decline position.
  • Set the treadmill elevation at 1% and run for 5 minutes at an easy pace. This is your cool down. Make sure your pace feels easy here. A proper cool down is very important after any hard workout.

Day 4 – Easy Day

  • Run for 30 minutes at an easy pace.

Day 5 – Growth Hormone Hill Climb

This is another workout that will work best on a treadmill due to the frequently changing inclines.

  • Set your treadmill elevation at level 1 or 1 percent. Run for 5 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Raise the treadmill elevation to 2% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace.
  • Increase the elevation to 3% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace.
  • Raise the elevation to 4% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace.
  • Set the elevation to 5% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace
  • Set the elevation to 6% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace.
  • Set the elevation to 7% and run for ¼ mile at your LT pace.
  • Decrease the elevation to 5% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace
  • Decrease the elevation to 2% and run for ½ mile at your LT pace.
  • Set the elevation to 1% and run for 5 minutes at an easy pace to cool down.

Day 6 – Easy Day

  • Run for 30 minutes at an easy pace.

Day 7 – The Growth Hormone Speed Demon

  • Run for 5 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Increase your speed to a very hard pace and run for ¼ mile. This pace should feel harder than your LT pace. It should be almost, but not quite as hard as you can run. It should be a hard, but controlled and relaxed pace. If you compete in races, this pace should be slightly faster than your 5K pace. If you are using a heart rate monitor, this pace should be at about 90% to 95% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Decrease your speed to LT pace and run for ½ mile.
  • Decrease your speed again to an easy pace and run for 1 mile.
  • Increase your speed to LT pace and run for ½ mile.
  • Speed up to a very hard pace and run for ¼ mile.
  • Decrease your speed to an easy pace and run for 5 minutes to cool down.

[1] Journal of NIH Research April 1995

[2] Finklestein, J.W. H.P. Roffwarg, R.M. Boyar, J. Kream, and L. Hellman. Age related change in the twenty-four hour spontaneous secretion of growth hormone. J. Clin. Endcrinol. Metab. 35:665-670. 1972.

[3] Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 75:157-162, 1992

[4] Gordon, S.E. W.J. Kraemer, N. Vos, and J.M. Lynch. Acid base manipulation: Effect on serum human growth hormone concentrations after acute high intensity cycle exercise. J. Appl. Physiol.

[5] Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 76(6): 1418-22, 1993