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But it's actually not as bad as it sounds: you can do anything for 30-60 seconds, right? A stationary bike, stair stepper or even weights  - anything can be used. For example, with weight training, as long as you rachet up the resistance or weight significantly for a minute or two so that you're wheezing and puffing, then that is Interval Training. So it's basically push yourself, then relax and repeat. And I think most people will find this actually more enjoyable than just straight and steady endurance/aerobic exercising. (Note: Remember to build up slowly into this if you haven't exercised in a while and consult your doctor.)
So what's the advantage? Many studies have shown that even one or two cycles of Interval Training churn out Growth Hormone into your system for several hours afterward. And Growth Hormone is one of your truest friends: it improves mental abilities - actually, it allows you to rebuild your brain even past youth - and burns fat and builds muscle while it's at it.
So how much Growth Hormone can you churn out using Interval Training? Well, one famous study  looked at nine males doing either one 6 second or one 30 second sprint. The 30 second sprint gave a peak Growth Hormone response 450% higher than the 6 second sprint and elevated Growth Hormone levels for 90-120 minutes in total. That shows the magnitude of the Growth Hormone response from Interval Training exercise for only one cycle. Even the 6 second sprint eleveated Growth Hormone for about 60 minutes afterward. So even minimal time and cycles of Interval Training will still produce significant Growth Hormone output.
The bottom line is that you don't have to train like an olympic athlete to get a powerful Growth Hormone response. In fact, you want to be careful, because if you do too many sprints during your Interval Training, you will have to take a break from training the next day due to muscle soreness, etc. Plus, you'll have to be careful not to overtrain which can decrease testosterone, raise cortisol and decrease immunity, all of these being Exercise-Session Killers.
Therefore, you have to listen to your body. One key study  found that "Total IGHC (Growth Hormone Response) increased linearly with increasing exercise intensity". In other words, the more intensity and the longer the intensity, the greater your body's output of Growth Hormone. So find that balance between intensity and being able to do Interval Training the next day. Remember that even one or two cycles of Interval Training will get you a nice Growth Hormone response.
Also, don't get too hung up on the exact times that you must do for each. The basic idea behind interval training is this: you go fast and then you go slow and then you repeat. Does it really matter whether you get a Growth Hormone response of 44% or 64%? No, what really matters is that your workout is enjoyable enough that you're back doing it the next day! If you are a beginner, don't try to sprint like a wild man for ten minutes straight. Just do what you can do and build up slowly and gradually.
Note: Is there a way to boost Growth Hormone using much less weight during weight lifting? Well, it turns out the answer may be yes. Scientists recently found  that doing 40% of your one rep max at a slow pace - three seconds up and three seconds back - to exhaustion gave greater growth hormone response than traditional weight lifting techniques. This has left the researchers scratching their heads. These results should be considered preliminary, but maybe slowing down your reps is just what the Endocrinologist ordered. Don't forget to look at my Volume link to see a new way to put on muscle that is easier on the joints.
Most of the studies on Interval Training have been done on younger individuals (20-35 years). Can the middle aged and beyond athlete expect a Growth Hormone (GH) benefit? One study  examined just this question and here is their summary: "The magnitude of GH release is greater in young women than in young men and is reduced by 4-7-fold in older individuals compared with younger individuals." At first, this sounds discouraging, but it's not. You can still get a significant Growth Hormone response even though it is not as large as a young person's. Imagine how much you would pay for a supplement that would increase your Growth Hormone response significantly for several hours. Well, there is no such supplement: instead you can just do a little exercise and achieve the same results! .
By the way, one Hormone that goes hand in hand with Growth Hormone is IGF-1 and a 2008 study found that weight training increased IGF-1 levels in muscle tissue by 54%!  Adding creatine to weight training produced an even greater IGF-1 response.
I should also mention that one theory postulates that what you really want to aim for is brief Interval Training 2-3 times/day. Of course, most of us have busy lives and so that is probably not possible. But such a regimen of Interval Training would create a elevated Growth Hormone response throughout the day. The study  cited above aimed to do just that and wrote "as a result, 24-hour integrated Growth Hormone concentrations are not usually elevated by a single bout of exercise. However, repeated bouts of aerobic exercise within a 24-hour period result in increased 24-hour integrated Growth Hormone concentrations". This study, in young women, created a 24 hour Growth Hormone response twice the normal! And, when coupled with long, quality Sleep in the night, Interval Training would dramatically elevate Growth Hormone for you night and day.
CAUTION: If you find your performance dropping off after a period of Interval Training, then you may need to take a week or two off. You are probably experience a type of Overtraining which can lead to decreased testosterone output and immune function.
Remember: exercise like a kid and have fun rebuilding your body and brain.
1) J Sports Sci, Jun 2002,20(6):487-94
2) J Appl Physiol,May 2002,92(5):2053-60:2053-60
3) Sports Med,2002,32(15):987-1004
4) J Physiological Sciences,2008,58(1):7-14
5) J Sports Nutr, 2008, 18:389-398
6) J Clin Endocrinology Metabolism, in press Sep. 4, 2007
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