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AURUM is high intensity strength training. Why? (Part 1/2)

AURUM is high intensity strength training. Why? (Part 1/2)

here are exponential and linear effects. Which can it be? With too much exercise and too little recovery time, you are taking a middle ground that can unfortunately end in frustration. With one HIT strength training a week and only low-intensity training and rest, you achieve exponential effects. What are the effects and why is high intensity strength training from a biological perspective the optimal way to bring the body to a high fitness and health level?

In the beginning there was the big nothing, then a bang: action-reaction

This fundamental connection of the things that keeps our world rotating also applies to our bodies. If we lie in the sun for too long and get too much UV radiation, we get a sunburn. When we eat, a feeling of satiety sets in. And of course: If we repeatedly challenge the body through sport, we will get fitter. Input leads to output, that's clear. But how much input is required for the desired output?  

In order to answer this question, one has to understand the connection between input and output. This relationship can take many different forms. For our understanding in the field of fitness and health, for the sake of simplicity, it is only important to understand the difference between linear and exponential relationships.  


Let's imagine we just wanted to take a little car ride. Let's say for an hour. If we now drive at a speed of 10 km/h, we have ended up driving ten kilometers.

If we drive at a speed of 20 km/h, twice the speed, we drove a full 20 kilometers at the end of the hour. A doubling of the input (the speed of our car from ten to twenty kilometers per hour) has, so to speak, doubled the output (the distance covered). This is a classic linear relationship.


We are in a petri dish. There is a cell in front of us. It starts to divide. Two cells. These begin to divide again. The same time has passed as in the first division. Now there are four. The growth rate per time input factor is therefore accelerating. The cell population is growing faster and faster. In the next step there are eight, then 16. That is exponential growth for the time factor.

Let us think of each of us humans. In the beginning we were exactly one cell. At birth, nine months later, we are made up of trillions. There is not much to see in the first month and then after 9 months there is a finished little person. If you have just one billion cells after the first month, there are already 4 billion after the second month. The doubling of the input factor time, i.e. from one to two months, has quadrupled the output, human cells. *** This is for illustration only, the number of cells does not correspond to reality.

Exponential processes, such as the formation of new cells, are not an isolated case in biology. Most biological processes follow an exponential function in one form or another.  

High intensity training for exponential effects  

When someone comes to us, they want to strengthen their muscles and cardiovascular system. Of course, also to burn fat, but this is only a by-product of more muscles and the right nutrition. Click here for our webinar on fat burning . So what is the input factor in strength and cardiovascular training? -->The intensity of the workout .

Now that we know that most biological processes follow an exponential input <> output ratio, one conclusion is obvious: Higher training intensity leads to a disproportionately higher adaptation of the body. Or to put it in the words of the great American thinker Homer Simpson: Increase intensity by one and get three fitness for it

Courtesy, very talented illustrator Julian Massler
Courtesy, very untalented illustrator Julian Massler

But why can't you achieve infinitely more with harder training? And why do we have to include an important linear process in our biology in the equation? More on this in a moment ...

People are anti-fragile: stressors make us stronger

The ability of our biology to respond exponentially to stimuli has made us so successful as a species. This exponential reaction can also be described as an overreaction of the body. It is this overreaction that makes us stronger and stronger during strength training or that we can run further and further with regular training. We are not looking for a new balance in which we are exactly up to the stimulus, we want to be much stronger next time so that the stimulus does not stress us anymore. So we remember that training with higher intensity leads to an even greater training effect for us. Repeatedly done, we can be sure that we are getting better and better because our body always overreacts.  

If the adaptation stimulus is set, the body goes to work and that takes time. The stress on the human system through training leads to exponential adjustments, but the recovery follows a linear process in the recovery time. Recovery / per day. You may be ready a day earlier or later. After our training, you need an average of seven days. All tips on how to recover faster can be found here . Exponentially then linear, unfortunately many understand it exactly wrong.  

“ What doesn't kill me makes me stronger ”

- Friedrich Nietzsche


  1. The intensity and therefore the stress on the system is not so high that we die - that is pretty obvious. In a weakened form, this also means that we do not injure ourselves during training [1]. That is the reason for our use of isokinetic machines .
  2. The intensity <> training effect ratio is exponential (to a certain extent, see 1.) but the time <> adaption ratio is linear. Certain biological processes such as protein synthesis for muscle repair and strengthening take place linearly in the time factor and take a certain amount of time to complete. They form a so-called “critical path” and without it the recovery process cannot be completed. A fleet can be used as an example. The fleet can only move as fast as the slowest ship.

Unfortunately, the opposite is often the case. The training is linear (a lot brings a lot) and it is assumed that you recover exponentially (training every day). Let's say we train several times a week at a very high intensity. The effect <> training frequency curve should look something like below. The additional effect of another high intensity unit is “minimal”. With 5x and more it can lead to burnout. I experienced this with my training partner in Kiel. The body is constantly stressed until it revolts. More on this in the second part of this blog.

Julian please give the illustrations to a professional, really!
Julian please give the illustrations to a professional, really!

So we summarize the first thoughts before we go into the details of the equations "intensity <> training effect" and "time <> adaption".

Why high-intensity strength training is ideal once a week

  1. Our muscles have to be stressed intensively if we want to achieve disproportionate effects
  2. A nice side effect is that you don't last long at high intensity. So you don't have to spend a lot of time training.
  3. However, what takes a lot of time is recovery after a high-intensity workout. Wonderful.

Our body needs a clear separation of stimulus / stress and consistent calm. This becomes clear, among other things, how our nervous system has developed. To be precise in a sympathetic (active state) and a parasympathetic (relaxation state). So we would do well to switch between the two, instead of moving in a middle area in which neither of the two states can unfold its full effect. Nature loves such barbell strategies. Just think of our daily routine. Be awake and then sleep. Or have you ever tried to make ends meet with half sleep?

“ If you run, run. If you eat, eat. ”

- saying from Zen Buddhism

Let's look at the biological foundations of this discussion next week...


[1] The risk of injury is real! With intensive HIIT training with the goal of “effectively losing weight and building defined muscles” endorphins are released and the clearly noticeable boost is addictive. However, the execution often suffers and can lead to injuries.

Statistics are not available, but the increasing demand for physiotherapists is an indicator:
https://www.zhaw.ch/storage /gesundheit/


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