Be fit and in shape with great workouts, fitness tips, and yoga!
Four-minute workouts done several times a day — as many times a day as you want (within reason) for maximum benefit — are a new concept for fitness that's designed to use nitric oxide for muscle growth. Dr. Zach Bush, whose triple-board certification includes expertise in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism, says his four-minute workout is efficient anaerobically and the more you do it, the better it works. He developed the Nitric Oxide Dump workout; I demonstrate a modified version further down this article. While intended to be done about three times a day, you'll want to wait for at least two hours in between sessions, because that's how long it takes for nitric oxide to synthesize in your body for subsequent release and optimal benefit. It's hard to believe, but in those few minutes, you can get the same benefits as if you'd worked out in the gym for an hour. This short series of exercises could be called a new version of high-intensity interval training. It's designed to stimulate the release of nitric oxide, which is actually a soluble gas and free radical stored in the lining or endothelium of your blood vessels that can catalyze and promote health. One reason it's not wise to indiscriminately take high doses of antioxidants is because you do need some free radicals. Nitric oxide is one that causes your blood vessels to expand and dilate, which can lower your blood pressure. It also improves your immune function, stimulates the thinning of your blood and decreases its viscosity, which in turn decreases platelet aggregation. When your platelets are sticky, it can cause the development of a blood clot, which could then cause a heart attack or stroke, two very common causes of death. In addition, another benefit of nitric oxide is that it's a powerful anabolic stimulus that can help you increase lean body mass. One reason this is considered so important is that when you increase muscle mass, you're able to burn more fat. Nitric Oxide, a 'Communication' Molecule Nitric oxide is a molecule your body makes that feeds your muscles, so when you run out of oxygen when you begin exercising, your muscles start to ache, Bush explains. When nitric oxide is released to make up for it, it moves through your bloodstream, your blood vessels dilate to deliver more oxygen and nutrients, and that's how your muscles develop. According to Bush: "Our blood vessels actually only store about 90 seconds' worth of nitric oxide before they need to manufacture more, so working each major muscle group out for 90 seconds gives you the most efficient workout to tone and build muscles. The body has the ability to regenerate nitric oxide every couple of hours, giving you the opportunity to release it multiple times a day. What that means is the most effective way to increase your muscle function is to work out very briefly every few hours."1 In that four minutes, you work 16 [...]