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The Exercise Paradox
Why people don’t exercise

If you have read my articles or attended one of my Sprint 8 presentations during the last 20 years, you have heard me refer to the “Exercise Paradox” many times. I didn’t call it the Exercise Paradox, but I described the importance of understanding this principle. Researchers have given it a name and I’m glad because it’s perhaps the most important base assumption in all of exercise science.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia attempted to answer the question, "why is it so hard to continue exercising regularly?" The researchers discovered the answer to this important question and they named it, “The Exercise Paradox.”

The paradox has to do with the fact everyone knows the value of regular exercise. People really want to exercise regularly, but can’t seem to stick with it. The paradox of wanting to exercise but not doing it is a costly human paradox that drives up the cost of healthcare and has people suffering from numerous diseases and low energy levels to live life.

People don’t want to veg out when they get home from work. They don’t want to do this, but most do. People want energy for life and hope coffee will get them through the day.

People want energy to play with their kids. They want energy to make it to the club to exercise. Even though they really want these things, sadly most live with low energy levels and do not exercise regularly. Energy for life comes from the amount of ATP producing mitochondria in the muscle cells. The father of high intensity training, Dr Dudley showed back in 1982 that high-intensity cardio at near max intensity will multiply the number of energy-producing mitochondria in the muscle cells, which is the key for increasing energy levels in humans. 

We have the cure for low energy levels -- sprint cardio and true high intensity HIIT training (not the current interpretation of HIIT, which is at best moderate intensity). But here’s the problem, the brain puts on brakes via the “Exercise Paradox.” The brakes stay on until you know how to release the brakes and move forward.

To illustrate, we might call the Exercise Paradox the January-to-February Paradox. You know what this looks like if you are a club member. Well-intentioned people jam up the gyms for the first few weeks in January driven by their tradition of the normal annual commitment to exercise regularly during the coming year. Within a few weeks, they follow up with their second annual tradition of dropping out by February. The Exercise Paradox explains why this happens.

The researchers in this study used an EEG brain wave test on 29 young adults. EEG caps have a lot of probes that measure brain activity and reaction time underlying the automatic approach and avoidance tendencies concerning physical activity. Essentially, researchers studied activity vs sedentary behaviors on adults who started out with the intention of exercising.

Washington Post writer, Allyson Chiu reported on an interview with the study spokesperson, Matthieu Boisgontier. She reports:

The problem is people’s brains are conditioned to choose the easy route, whatever calls for the least amount of energy, said Boisgontier.
No matter what you think you want, researchers say your brain wants you to be sedentary to conserve energy. When you start contemplating physical activity, it forces your brain to work harder to counteract the urge, the study found. Even when you’re headed up to the gym to get exercise, for example, your brain may tell you to use the elevator rather than the stairs, Boisgontier said. (Allyson Chiu, You really, really want to go to the gym but still avoid it. New research may explain why. The Washington Post, September 21, 2018)

I can’t emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of the Exercise Paradox. In my world of working with over 18,000 athletes during 40 years in speed technique training, it’s easy to observe the body’s natural default position for human movement. The body always does an exercise or a human movement the easiest way possible.

I agree with the researcher’s conclusions. Your brain wants you do things with slow muscle fiber in the endurance energy system so you can endure all day. In many respects, your brain thinks it’s doing you a favor not to recruit fast muscle fiber to make every human movement easier. Your brain wants you to conserve the fast fiber in case you need it later for an emergency situation.

Speed technique training is simply teaching athletes how to position their bodies to recruit the most muscle fiber possible to propel athletic movements. When you do this, your slow fiber remains engaged. When the brain senses the need to move faster, it sends the fast-twitch IIa fiber (that moves 5 times faster than the slow) to accomplish the task. When the brain senses this isn’t enough muscle fiber to get the job done, the brain and the nervous system send an additional layer of muscle fiber, the fast-twitch fiber IIX (that moves 10 times faster than the slow). Now the heart muscle has to work a lot harder attempting to oxygenate quite literally twice the muscle fiber.  

This is why HIIT started out with max-intensity that forced the recruitment of all three muscle fiber types. But over the years, HIIT Has become so watered down that I’ve had to start calling the Sprint 8 Cardio Protocol from my books by the title of “sprint cardio” rather than HIIT so people will understand the difference. The current interpretation of HIIT is at best moderate-intensity exercise. HIIT today is hard slow-fiber cardio, but it doesn't’t recruit fast fiber and therefore it doesn't condition both the anaerobic and aerobic processes of the heart muscle or achieve the benefits of comprehensively exercising all three muscle fiber types.

Teaching the science behind muscle-fiber recruitment and why it’s mission critical to train all three muscle fiber types during cardio exercise is the key to significantly improving energy. The reason why is this type of hard and fast cardio improves energy is it changes the body at the cellular level by multiplying the number of mitochondria in the muscle cells. Gabala’s research shows you double endurance capacity in three workouts per week in two weeks’ time. Your body improves very quickly when you do sprint cardio.

Since Sprint 8 cardio is so effective, why doesn't everyone do sprint cardio the right way. The Exercise Paradox is why.

When people try to step up the intensity for improved benefits, they can’t do it. People need to understand first why high-intensity sprint cardio is so important and why the body tries not to recruit fast fiber and stay in the slow-twitch endurance energy system.

The solution to overcome the Exercise Paradox is to learn the science behind muscle-fiber recruitment and discover how the brakes from the Exercise Paradox is the default position for every human movement and exercise. If people don’t understand the basic science behind sprint cardio, the brain will keep the Exercise Paradox brakes on and they will continue exercising the easiest way possible, get no results, and quit by February.

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Sprint 8 Cardio Protocol shows readers sprint-intensity cardio targeting exercise-induced growth hormone to create a NEW YOU with more energy.
A new you with improved cardiovascular fitness. A new you with less body fat, more muscle and stronger bones. A new you with enhanced optimism. And a New You with better health.

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The science-based Sprint 8® Cardio Protocol is proven
to significantly boost energy, reduce body fat, promote lean
muscle and improve cholesterol in just eight weeks.

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