The Exercise Paradox
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.
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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