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Heart Problems? Train Hard!

There is a new article in the Wall Street Journal from 2 days ago, entitled “To Heal a Heart, Train Harder” with tag line “Not just for athletes, intense exercise replaces slow, steady regime”.  YEAH!  CrossFit making its way into the cardiac rehab units of the Mayo Clinic!

Oh yeah, getting ahead of myself.  So the Mayo Clinic is one of the notable clinics that has been utilizing this type of cardiac rehab, and in their case, for FOUR years!  Their Dr. Squires comments: “There’s been a natural progression over time of what we’ve thought exercise for patients with cardiovascular disease should be, If you go back 50 years, people were told to hardly do any exercise for weeks after a heart attack. Gradually we learned that was wrong.”

We have a fear mongering society.  I have said this repeatedly, and I will say it forever more.  We use disease as the motivation for fear that literally destroys us.  Whether it is a fear of  the disease (like heart disease in this case) that paralyzes us to think that anything wrong that we do (exercise to hard), will kill us (release a clot, or stress the heart and cause V-fib); or if it is that we think that measles will be our undoing (so we poison ourselves with toxic chemicals in vaccines), when so many people have fought measles off without any issue, by building a STRONG immune system.

Our answer is to build our bodies, not sit and let them rot.


Simon, a local Garage CrossFitter, going at High Intensity at Rumble By The River in Columbus GA.


The Norwegian University of Science and Technology presented a 107 patient study which showed that utilizing a high intensity training regime for cardiac rehabilitation improved overall oxygen uptake (which improves tissue utilization and overall healing), when compared to a moderate exercise aerobic regime.  This comparison was drawn while utilizing exercise that burned equal calories.

When we tell you that you should NOT be spending 30 minutes performing exercise routines on an average basis, we mean it!  You should spend 10-12 minutes average, with short high intensity bursts, followed by recovery periods.  This is why Maximized Living teaches BURST training, and this is why we more specifically teach CrossFit.  Because it works, not just for fitness, but for maximal healing benefit.

Quoted from the article:

Roger Solheim, a retired schoolteacher in Rochester, Minn., had double-bypass heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in April. After three weeks of recovery at home, Mr. Solheim, 77 years old, began rehab training at the clinic. His initial fitness level was low, he says. “I couldn’t even go 20 minutes on the treadmill” with no incline, he says.

After about two weeks of moderate training, Mr. Solheim was instructed to mix in periods of more intense exercise. Now he goes for 35 minutes, with one minute of elevated intensity after every five minutes. “Even though [the intense intervals] are hard, they break up the routine,” he says.

He continues to go to rehab three times a week and hits the gym on his own about five times a week to lift light weights and do crunches. “I’m getting my strength back and I’m sleeping a bit better,” he says. He says he is now capable of mowing the lawn again.

One thing I love about Mr. Solheim’s commentary, is his quote “they break up the routine”.  He skims over the fact that the boughts are hard, because they are actually ENJOYABLE.  The reason this is true is because of a number of things, and they are all hormonal.  Your nervous system adapts to stresses, and it releases hormones to do so.

Human Growth Hormone is released in high intensity exercise (produce your own, don’t supplement with it) and it changes your muscle building, fat burning and mood (libido included here)!  Leptin, as most of you should be very familiar with thanks to our leptin crazed education, is THE hormone of fat burning.  High intensity has been shown to help your hypothalmus increase its sensitivity to leptin, helping individuals not feel unnecessarily hungry, for HOURS after exercising at high intensity.

We want you to get the most out of high intensity, and we want it for your families to!  I would recommend that if you haven’t done it yet, try out a CrossFit class for yourself, you won’t regret it.  And for your KIDS, there is a CrossFit Kids Camp for July.  Tuesdays and Thursdays, you get to drop your kids off for 90 minutes, and they do high intensity exercise that is designed just for kids, with some craft time included.  $100 for the month, email info@crossfitgarage.com for more info.

I found this article on Livestrong.com that also touches on the hormonal discussion of high intensity exercise.  I like the idea of reporting this, because it is an endurance based web-site, and they are quietly touting high intensity!

Be well, Be Strong! – Dr Eric