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Why High Intensity Training works so good for fat loss and against health problems

Why High Intensity Training works so good for fat loss and against health problems

urn & complete loss of motor skills. Second 52-60. It´s done. Pure joy rushes from your heart, through your veins, to your head. The coach congratulates you, 4.9% more than the last time. The last rep of the last minute is an almost transcendent experience in which you must mobilize all your will power to recruit the last few muscle fibers ready to do their duty. You can barely lift you own arms anymore. But how can this be? What happens during one minute of continuous tension under optimal load to the target muscle?

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever tried sprinting up a steep incline for one minute? Even if you haven´t, you surely can imagine that it gets really tough after 40 seconds all out effort. The last 10 seconds you will be walking as if you head 20 kg of led in you soles.

The difference between one minute sprint and one minute leg press

None. The intricate system made up by your heart, lungs and blood vessels cannot distinguish between a one minute sprint and a one minute all out leg press. In both scenarios, this system will go to work and deliver the energy needed to the muscle cells that perform the work. And it´s that massive energy requirement that is literally at the heart of the outstanding effects of our workout and the explanation why one minute inside an AURUM location is longer than outside.

"The burn is your friend" is something I love to say during my own coachings in the last 20 seconds of our famous minute. I bet there have been countless internal dialogues in the heads of the poor victims on our torture devices, namely you, arguing "why am I paying for this, I hate that redhead kneeling by my side and I hate these 6 Minutes". The reason I say this is, because it´s the symptom of what everybody is after when you come to us regardless if you want to burn fat, build muscle or reverse disease like diabetes 2 or Osteoporosis.

High Intensity Training uses up sugar stores like no other activity

The workhorse of rapid energy provision to the target muscle cell is the glycolytic cycle. Its the sugar burner and the fire starter, quiet literally. The glycolytic cycle doesn't produce a lot of ATP, our body´s unit of energy, but it has one big advantage it can cycle really fast. Classic case of "what you don´t have in efficiency make up in frequency" just like regular gyms. Don´t look so angry regular gym crowd, be good sports and allow me a little jab. The side effect of this fast cycling sugar burning motor is that Lactate quickly starts accumulating. You can start feeling this around 20 seconds into each exercise. Lactate is also known as Lactic acid, which sheds some more light on why these molecules are responsible for the burning sensation in your muscles. Now, why is this "burn" such a good thing? It´s the signal telling you that you are successfully burning off sugar stores in the muscle.

The holy grail of metabolic health & fat burn: Glycogenolysis

Fancy word for breakdown of sugars, glycogen, for work within skeletal muscle. It is an ingenious mechanism from the times when we were not yet on the top of the food chain. In case of emergency stored sugars in the muscle are quickly mobilized for onside use. To achieve this you have to activate muscle fibers, that would normally be held in reserve for real emergencies. You can be sure after second 30 of each minute your body is in emergency mode, as indicated by the intensifying burn. The process of taping into these emergency sugar depots has become more important than ever, because we have to much sugar in the standard western diet. Here are the two most important benefits by order of importance: 

  1. This process restores the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells. Insulin is the essential storage hormone. It helps us to get sugar in and out of cells. The problem arises, when muscle and liver cells are full. Where can the sugar go? It goes into fat to prevent you from entering a hypoglycemic state. You know, the thing that is super dangerous for diabetics. Now when your muscle cells are trained to be more insulin receptive each week, you will prevent Diabetes Type 2 & becoming fat, which in turn sets you up for fat loss. The latter is intuitive because to empty the bathtub you first have to turn off the water tap, right? In an insulin sensitive state the muscle cells scream "insulin bring me the sugars and ignore that fatty cell guy".
  2. It stimulates the secretion of stress hormones epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. These two are the fat burning master switches, when released they travel to the fat cells and signal the release of their unpopular content into the blood stream to be burned off for energy. Your love handles are shrinking, congratulations. Which will make you feel great in the short term but also make you healthier in the long run through better hormone levels and less chronic inflammation

But I have one more thing. The most compelling thing about this process and the explanation why 6 Minutes a week at supra maximal intensity produces better results than hours at low to medium intensity.

The Amplification Cascade: Why High Intensity Training burns more fat

Also known as a chain reaction. When massive amounts of energy are released one can be sure that there is such a mechanism at play. Think about the atomic bomb, the sun and newly your fat burning strategy. When the muscle needs to meet a high energy demand, think during our one minute under tension, it needs to release a lot of energy, fast. The way this is achieved is the amplification cascade. So beginning at second one of each of our six exercises, enzymes are released to start the before described release of stored sugars in the muscle for energy. Each of these enzymes may act on ten or even 100 other enzymes on the next step of the cascade. All of a sudden thousands of enzymes will activate 100 thousands of enzymes in the next step of the cascade. This leads to an almost complete drainage of the sugar stores in the muscle, which could otherwise only be achieved by hours and hours of low to medium intensity exercise. Lastly, as is the case with all chain reactions, once turned on it takes long to stop it. So, you still reap the fat burning & health benefits of Glycogenolysis for days after you walk out of an AURUM location.

Embrace the burn

To wrap it all up. I know the last 20 seconds of each of our exercises can be grueling and time starts moving slower and slower. But these 20 seconds are what you come in for. All we do and all decisions on what we provide you with have been made to enable you to give your all during these 20 seconds. The coach supporting you, the technology, the private gym, the same routine. It´s all there for you to apply the benefits of Glycogenolysis to yourself and literally switch on fat burn and the many health benefits that come with high insulin sensitivity of your muscles for the week after your workout. Once switched on you will reap the benefits each second of every day of your recovery week until it comes time to switch it on again. It is simple, but never easy. Second 61, you are free to go and enjoy your life doing things you love to do. Things where one minute is faster than others.


  • Martin Gibala at al., Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075
  • Dr Doug McGuff & John Little, Body by Science, Page 25-31
  • J.G. Salway, Metabolism at a Glance, Chapter 26

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