Somatopause – For both men and women, beginning about age 30, somatopause is defined as a gradual loss of the body’s ability to produce human growth hormone (HGH).
Andropause – For men, typically about age 50, the body has significantly stopped producing human growth hormone (HGH).
Menopause – For women, typically about age 50, the body has significantly stopped producing human growth hormone (HGH).
All of these “pauses” are related to a decrease in muscle tone, a loss of energy, an increase in fat, a loss of strength and speed, a decrease in general vitality and sexual libido (a loss of many of the gifts of youth). What, if anything, can be done to optimize and maintain the production of HGH and slow some of the symptoms of aging associated with "growing old?”
I am very wary of the many Internet claims for HGH supplementation and do not take any myself. Nor do I trust taking supplemental injections of HGH. I am willing to include periodic maximal efforts, 90% of Maximum Heart Rate, during my workouts. These repeated efforts put a demand on my muscles and I like to believe that the muscles then put out a call to my pituitary for more HGH. For a thorough discussion of this subject I recommend Phil Campbell’s book Ready, Set, Go!
After a slow 20 minute warm-up I may repeat about eight "hard" accelerations (depending on my mood). These maximal efforts require me to reach 90% (plus) of my MHR for just a few seconds at a time. I then slow down to a recovery pace to catch my breath, cruise along for a minute or more, and then repeat. Sometimes I come in as hard as I’m able, without much of a cool down.
Periodic racing can achieve the same training effect. The trick is avoiding exhaustion and injury by trying to accomplish these maximal efforts day after day. By mixing my cycling and running I am not using the same major muscle groups two consecutive days, affording my muscles 48 hours of rest between efforts. Even then I am cautious about pushing to hard, too often. This is where the “art” comes in. Too often I have ended up in the "Crack Up," burning the candle at both ends. This is the folly of youth.
SUMMARY: Somatopause ain't good, unless I want to feel old, look old, and put a burden on our already overtaxed healthcare system. I believe that mixing hard/easy efforts optimizes what’s left of my ability to produce HGH. At this point, after thirty years of experimentation, I would say it’s working. Read Phil Campbell and stay away from supplemental HGH.
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