Method Behind the Madness: ADRENALINE ABS
ADRENALINE ABS is a cutting-edge program that we’re using in the month of camp featuring a fusion of 10-second total body exercises to boost adrenaline and burn stubborn fat and 10-second core stability exercises to build flat, rock hard abs.
After using this program in my own personal workouts, it was instantly clear to me that something special was going on here.
More specifically, I was finding better results with shorter, but higher intensity interval protocols.
Let’s take a closer look at the method behind the madness here…
Part I- ADRENALINE
What is Adrenaline?
Adrenaline is a specific hormone that belongs in the general category of hormones called catecholamines.
Catecholamines are basically your “fight or flight” hormones that get released into your blood stream in response to large stressors like being chased by bears, riding an insane roller coaster, or during very intense exercise or activities.
In a study lead by an Australian researcher by the name of Professor Steven Boutcher at the University of South Wales in 2007, it was discovered that short, max-intensity intervals resulted in greater fat loss than long, slow, boring cardio.
The study basically took a pool of 45 obese women and broke them into two separate groups with distinct exercise protocols.
One group performed three short 20-minute high-intensity interval training workouts per week consisting of an 8 second maximum effort and 12 second active recovery interval protocol.
The other group perform three 40-minute steady-state aerobic workouts per week.
There was also no change in diet for either group so exercise was the only variable in the study.
After 15 weeks researchers discovered that even though the aerobic group exercised for twice as long as the interval group, the interval group lost more body fat, specifically in the most stubborn areas of the belly, hips, and thighs.
Boutcher concluded that this increased fat loss was due to a larger release of catecholamines with the interval group.
“The group which did around eight seconds of sprinting on a bike, followed by 12 seconds of exercising lightly for twenty minutes, lost three times as much fat as other women, who exercised at a continuous, regular pace for 40 minutes,” said Boutcher.
“Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under the skin and within the exercising muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation drives the greater weight loss.”
“This maybe unique to this type of exercise,” said Professor Boutcher. “We know it is very difficult to ‘spot reduce’ troublesome fat areas. When you do regular exercise, you tend to lose fat everywhere and you tend to look emaciated. Our results are unusual but were consistent across the women who performed the sprinting exercise.”
But why did they initially choose these really short intervals? After all, what was so magical about this 8-12 interval protocol?
Well, it actually traces back to an earlier Boutcher study in 2004 that compared long versus short intervals entitled “Oxygen uptake response to high intensity intermittent cycle exercise”
There were again two unique test groups.
One group performed a shorter 8 s of work, 12 s of recovery interval protocol for 20 minutes while the other group performed a longer 24 s of work, 36 s of recovery interval protocol.
Researchers discovered that the shorter interval group realized both greater energy expenditure and oxygen uptake than the the longer interval group.
In other words, even though the total work time was the same in each group, the shorter interval group burnt more calories and had a higher metabolic disturbance.
This is due to the fact that shorter intervals allow for higher overall intensity levels and intensity is truly what makes the body change.
Another benefit of shorter intervals is that they provide a lower perceived exertion than longer intervals.
As Boutcher claims “If you do it much longer, 20 seconds, it’s very painful. Normal people won’t stick to it. If you do it much shorter, two to three seconds, you don’t seem to get the same benefits. So by trial and error and prior research we’ve established what seems optimal for most people at least on the bike — eight seconds sprint, 12 seconds recovery.”
Though these studies use a bike as the exercise mode, I prefer to use total body exercises instead to jack adrenaline levels through the roof. Total body exercises integrate multiple movement patterns or simultaneously call upon your upper and lower body thus resulting in maximum heart rate elevation and the optimal fat-burning, muscle-building stimulus.
Classic total body exercise examples include squat to presses, swings, and explosive olympic lifting variations like cleans, snatches, jerks, etc. In addition, traditional cardiovascular locomotive and plyometric exercise variations like running, leaping, hopping, skipping, bounding, jumping, shuffling, etc. also fit under this category.
I think it’s also critical to add that power training movements develop and sustain the all-important fast-twitch, Type II-B muscle fibers.
Why is this important?
Well, Type II-B muscle fibers are the first to begin to and continue to atrophy in your 30′s and 40′s. These powerful fast twitch fibers are also the biggest and strongest muscles in your body so if they wither away so will your strength and metabolism.
So power training will in turn keep you and your metabolism performing at high levels even into your golden years