One of the things I am really excited about is bringing in other bloggers and highlighting them on The Human Groove.

It seems my generation (those born somewheres between 1975/73ish to 1982/85ish) are seeing the importance of sharing, collaborating and not being afraid to trade our secrets. Openly.

I have devoted a whole feature on this blog to such trading of secrets.

“Smitten-With: People, books, blog, articles, etceterawill be a spot where if I should find something interesting, I will post and highlight it, either as its own entity, or in conjunction with some of my own experiences.

Today, I Introduce the blog of “The Healthy Skeptic” and bridge info from this blog with some of my own experiences.

The Healthy Skeptic, (aka Chris Kresser) wrote a wonderful blog post last week that I would’ve written had I followed my health science passions and stayed in the business of food, nutrition and exercise science. But I didn’t, so I figure since he is writing about this stuff (and he does it very well I might add) I’d ask him if I could re-post an article that has content in it that I LOVE and know is super important for people to know about. He said YES! His blog post was titled “How to lose weight and prevent diabetes in 6 minutes a week.” You can read it HERE.

I couldn’t AGREE with him more. I researched this stuff at nauseam in another lifetime.  If we do exercise that is of higher intensity you CAN get results in less than 6 minutes a week. I actually proved it in less than 2 mins!

Sounds too good to be true I know. But it IS true. Granted the exercise is of higher intensity. And especially if it’s strength training. Yep – lifting weight!

My History with High-Intensity Strength Training – It was my LIFE for about 3 years.

I actually did research once upon a time and it involved using high-intensity strength training. It was “have subjects and turn them into my little guinea pigs” kind of research. I drank a landslide of flatwhites and ate way too many Kingstons in doing so (the Aussies will understand that lingo) and had subjects calling me at un-Godly hours of the morning asking me things like –  ‘do we need to fast this morning before our urine test?” Me and my little elves pinched fat, took blood, monitored their diets, activity levels, strength tested, psych tested, tested aerobic fitness, made them sweat, EKG scans, CT scans – we did everything. Everything. I got lucky though and actually got to work with real live people whereas most of my postgrad mates were working with rats. I had the research fairies on my side.

This was about 10 years ago at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales Australia. Then, 2 years ago I went back to “The Gong” and finished writing my dissertation while drinking another landslide of flatwhites with much pleasure.

We published a few papers on the findings and you can read an abstract HERE.  Anecdotally, what I found is EXACTLY what The Healthy Skeptic reports in his blog post. Although his post is dedicated to the “prevention of diabetes and losing weight in 6 minutes a week” it still confirms and verifies what I found. And we found a benefit in less than 2 minutes per week!

The take home message from my research:

High-intensity exercise, as Chris writes about, is crucial and essential for the human system, at ALL ages and even when stricken with disease. Most think that if you are frail or aging, or have osteoporosis, or heart disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, renal failure, severe depression, the list goes on, that you shouldn’t do anything strenuous. WRONG! So wrong. The research shows, and keeps on showing, that higher intensity bouts of exercise have equal, if not better effects on an array of human systems than longer lower intensity bouts of exercise. This isn’t to say that going for long low intensity walks or bikerides isn’t beneficial or good for you – IT IS! Long leisurely walks are good for many reasons, not too mention the soul.

But, what the research shows is that to get the best bang for you buck, physiologically and metabolically that is, and if you have little time, higher intensity is what you want to aim for. Of course you must build up to higher intensities, and do so in a SAFE and SANE manner and learn from those who are trained to teach high-intensity exercise training.

Look, granny is pumping iron at the gym! I remember the first study published that really addressed this topic. That of frail elderly folk being able to do high-intensity weight training. It has been proven time and time again that such folk can and do gain significant strength and improved mobility and quality of life along with a myriad of other health improvements in doing so.  It was back in 1994, and the researcher was Dr. Maria Fiatarone. My nutrition professor at the time said This women is my hero!” I have never forgotten that statement.  You can read Dr. Fiatarone’s seminal article that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine HERE. This article formed the basis of my entire research study in Australia. It has also transformed many older folks’ lives!

The actual title of my thesis is a mouthful:

The effects of red meat consumption and the high-intensity resistance training on skeletal muscle strength, muscle mass and functional status in healthy older adults.

Yep. A mouthful. For those interested, you click on the link HERE and actually download my entire thesis! It’s a book. It’s long. But it has some really good information in it.

In time I will write more about my own findings in a more ‘bullet-point’ format and give some reasons behind the mechanisms by which high-intensity exercise, and especially high intensity strength training, benefits so many of our systems. For now, I’ll give you this much – it is what we are meant to do!

Sprint, hop, jump, do ballistic movements, we have the muscle fibres and energy systems for it, so when we decide to turn on something that has been dormant due to sedentary living, the body can’t help but respond in a positive manner and say:

“What took you so long? More please!!!!”

Thanks for reading, Irene.