HIIT It Hard for Your HGH Boost

Our human growth hormone speedily decreases after adolescence, and with it goes the lean body mass, energy and healing capacities of our youth. You can supplement with HGH, but by far the best way to get your HGH boost is by high intensity interval training. In this post, I’ll tell you why this is so.

high-intensity-interval-trainingWHILE DOING some research for an “age-proof course” I’m developing, I wanted to get the skinny on whether Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) supplementation actually works.

I knew that some people with hefty wallets can afford the cost of monthly injections, but was there some other way that the rest of us could benefit from augmenting our HGH?

“Why bother”, you ask?

Let’s start with a picture:

HGH graph

If you’re younger than 20, please return to this post in a few years. The rest of you, read on…

OK, so HGH declines precipitously soon after puberty, and then slows down by age 40, at which point we have less than a third of the HGH production of our youth.

Should we care?

It depends on what kind of life you wish to experience. HGH is rejuvenating. If you want to feel youthful longer, then your HGH production will be important to you.

The rejuvenating powers of HGH are no secret to those affluent enough to afford the more than $1,000 per month tab, and willing to get injected up to twice a day.

The specific reasons they would take the time and spend the money for HGH injections is to experience a handful or more of this:

  • Fat loss
  • Higher energy levels and enhanced sexual performance
  • Regrowth of heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, and other organs that shrink with age
  • Greater heart output and lowered blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol profile, with higher HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) 
  • Superior immune function
  • Increased exercise performance
  • Better kidney function
  • Stronger bones
  • Faster wound healing
  • Younger, tighter skin
  • Hair regrowth

I’m going to tell you how HGH can do all this, but first I need to mention that there are now alternatives to expensive injections. One is easy to do, relatively inexpensive and controversial; the other is hard to do, costs basically nothing and is indisputable.

The easy, but controversial way to get your HGH boost is to supplement with homeopathic remedies.

The hard, but indisputable way to get your HGH boost is by HIIT – “High Intensity Interval Training”.


How HGH Works

Remember that bullet-list of magic results above? How does HGH make all that happen?

Let’s begin by presenting a basic description of what hormones are and how they work, and for that I’m going to rely on Jon Barron’s excellent ebook, Lessons from the Miracle Doctors (pages 78 and 79).

Hormones are the body’s chemical messenger system that tell the body what to do and when. As the name suggests, HGH is a hormone. It’s produced in the pituitary gland and released in a series of microscopic “pulses”, mostly in the evening, but throughout the day as well.

These HGH pulses are basically signals that instigate a number of body functions relative to aging and the production of other hormones, such as DHEA and melatonin, and various parts of the endocrine system, including the hypothalamus (considered to be the “master gland”).

HGH’s most important function is telling the liver to produce insulin-like growth factor 1 (“IGF- 1”), the main key to anti-aging. Specifically, the benefits of HGH can be measured in terms of how much it increases the body’s production of IGF-1.

Any number above a 20% increase in IGF-1 is significant as it relates to anti-aging.

What about prostrate cancer? prostrate cancer

Well, there were some in vitro studies that showed IGF-1 stimulated tumor cell growth, and a Harvard School of Public Health  study that equated high levels of IGF-1 with an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition, we’ve all read with amazement stories about people nearly eight feet tall that die of cancer due to an overactive IGF-1 that stimulated both height and tumor cell growth.

On the other hand are numerous studies involving thousands of patients receiving growth hormone over many years with no observed increases in prostate cancer. This makes sense, because both HGH and IGF-1 levels decline as we age – as that graph up there prominently shows — yet the incidence of prostate cancer increases as these levels decline—the exact opposite of the expressed concern.

What about mad cow disease?

Yeah, well, that concern did put the brakes on using HGH harvested from human cadavers.

Thirty years ago, the only source of HGH was human cadavers. As mentioned, injecting this was expensive, but that paled in comparison to the fact that this method occasionally caused the human equivalent of mad cow disease.
Mad Cows Eat Chicken

Not to be deterred from such madness, scientists learned how to alter the DNA of a single-cell from yeast so that it would produce large amounts of growth hormone –molecularly identical to real HGH — safely and inexpensively. Because this growth hormone is identical to HGH, people often use the terms growth hormone and human growth hormone interchangeably, but it should be referred to as a “plant-based growth hormone.

OK, so now you have this good, inexpensive source of growth hormone, but another problem remained: the growth hormone molecule contains 191 amino acids, which it too large to be absorbed when taken orally. That meant it could only be administered by injection, which required a doctor and, as already pointed out, is very expensive.

Scientists and marketers went to work and developed three alternatives to HGH injections.


Homeopathic, Secretagogues and Sprayable HGH

If wallet-emptying injections are not for you, there are three alternatives to consider, hopefully with your doctor in the jump seat to help ensure that you don’t harm yourself.

The three HGH alternatives are not as powerful as growth hormone injections, but some medical types (see below) insist that these formulas are effective (provided your pituitary is functioning well) without the downside of injections.

The three HGH supplements are:
  1. HGH secretagogues, amino acid–based formulas typically containing ingredients such as glutamine, tyrosine, GABA, arginine, and lysine;
  2. Homeopathic HGH, which makes use of real plant-based HGH diluted down to homeopathic levels; and
  3. A new form of real plant-based HGH that could be sprayed into the mouth and absorbed orally.

The two downsides to the three HGH supplements are that they might not work and there’s little quality control.

The controversy surrounding all three can be more or less distilled down to the arguments against the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathy is a branch of science whereby minute quantities of organic material are introduced into the body to stimulate its natural healing response.

My sister has used a whole medicine cabinet of various homeopathic remedies to heal her daughter of the typical avalanche of illnesses that beset children before their immune functions are fully developed. So, she’s a believer, and she has some good, if not sparse, company among the medical establishment.

Consider two medical doctors, Leon Cass Terry and Edmund Chein, who ran a study on homeopathy that produced
affirmative results. After being injected with small doses of high-frequency HGH for six months, participants showed measurable improvement in levels of strength, healing, flexibility, energy and vitality. (Source)

In his book Feeling Younger with Homeopathic HGH, Dr. H. A. Davis states,

When growth hormone is combined with homeopathic preparation, the results are truly on the leading edge of anti-aging benefits. People taking the homeopathic growth hormone have noticed the same effects as the molecular (injectable) HGH.


But, as mentioned, there are plenty of naysayers, particularly among those in mainstream medicine. On his popular site, Quackwatch, Dr. Stephen Barrett eviscerates homeopathic medicine, and concludes his post on Growth Hormone Schemes and Scams saying:

So called “growth-hormone releasers,” oral “growth hormone,” and “homeopathic HGH” products are fakes.

The bottom line here is: buyer beware.


High Intensity Interval Training

Most supplement formulas will increase IGF-1 levels by a minimum of 20%, with some even approaching 100%, if two things are true: Drs. Terry and Chein are right/Dr. Barrett is wrong; and the supplement you use maintains consistent quality batch after batch.

I have no direct experience with HGH supplementation, and therefore can not share anything personally about it. But when it comes to high intensity interval training (“HIIT”), I can breathlessly gasp that I pummel myself sprinting stairs twice a week, and it might be one contributing factor to why I seem to be aging more slowly than most.

The science backs up my gasp.

HIIT promotes longevity in at least two ways:
  1. It activates the enzyme telomerase which in turn keeps telomeres long (more on telomeres here); and
  2. It boosts HGH and IGF-1 which reduce or reverse age-related degenerative processes. (Source.)

And get this… with HIIT we’re not talking an increase in IGF-1 increase of 20 or even 100%, but over 700% during the workout and for some hours afterwards.

Yes, it’s harder than spraying potions in your mouth, but with HIIT you’re assured that your HGH is increasing, and you’re getting fit to boot.

Here’s what to do for your HIIT sessions:
  • Choose an activity that you can get completely breathless, bent over heaving, after 30 seconds of full-out effort.
  • Perform up to eight sets of that activity, 30 seconds “on” and 90 seconds “off” with active rest, like walking.
  • Do it twice a week, unless you’re a well-conditioned athlete, as you’ll need time to recover.

I do my HIIT by sprinting stairs. I find that it’s easier on my Achilles tendons than sprinting on flat ground.  Drs. Mercola and Campbell use either a recumbent stationary bike or standing elliptical machine. (Watch the videos here.)

Sprinting up stairs boosts HGH production

Sprinting up stairs boosts HGH production

Start slowly, even if you exercise regularly.  Do the first two or three at half speed.  I didn’t heed my own advice and wound up bruising an Achilles tendon which then sidelined me from HIIT for several months, so what did I achieve by pushing myself before my body was ready?

Don’t make this mistake.


Your Takeaway

Remember the following points:

  • Human Growth Hormone is what keeps us youthful.
  • It naturally declines real fast after puberty.
  • You can boost it by supplements and HIIT.
  • HITT works better and improves many other psychological conditions as well.

If you want to supplement, read what Web MD has to say about it, and then get a high-five from your doctor.


P.S. This post was distilled from Hack #11: HIIT It Hard for Your HGH Blast, one of 12 hacks in my forthcoming free course on how to become age-proof.  If you’re interested, get on the list.

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Joe Garma

Share. Someone you know will be thankful.
Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
shalom - June 22, 2015

Where do you get the 700% increase from HIIT? Sources?

Lyla - November 30, 2015

Suzanne Somers saved my life when I was going through the worst hot flashes of my life. I heard her on Larry King. I went to one of her recommended doctors at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. I am very grateful. Nevertheless I ran into a few bad problems due to the therapy. For one thing, I did, not stop menstruating for many years and developed severe iron deficiency anemia. Something I am dealing with now. I finally stopped bleeding at age 62. It may have been my fault for not having the guts to get scraped. But now they say if U get scraped, there is a chance of spreading cancer around. But now I have stopped bleeding for the most part and am trying to get my iron back up. I paid extra to get the HGH theapy shots at the time. Then I got a doctor friend to prescribe them and my insurance covered them for free for many years. I gave myself shots st home. BUT MY BACK KEPT GOING OUT REAL BAD. So bad I could barely walk. I weighed nearly 200 lbs. by this time. I went from a 114 lb. female working out four times per week to a miserable menopausal mess.
I discovered that the HGH was making my back too stiff. And that for some reason my muscles were breaking away from my bones, or were too strong for my bones. When I would exercise I would hurt myself real bad. For years my back would go out and I could barely walk. My right thigh went out and has just recently returned to normal five years after stopping the HGH. Maybe the plant hormone would not do the same?
Now my insurance is refusing to pay for my estrogen patches and out of pocket they cost 3 times more than they did before. So I will order from Canada. I must continue to take the estrogen b/c my mom had terrible osteporosis and was bedridden for the last six years of her live with collapsed vertebra. Terribly painful. She was a R.N. and said it was because Kaiser Hospital denied her estrogen replacement. Her doctor prescribed her estrogen in the end but by that time it was too late.

umar - January 25, 2016

I am 18, will HGH hormone still make me grow taller or am I done with growing?

    Joe Garma - January 25, 2016

    Umar, you may grow more, especially if someone in your family has experienced growth after 18. I would not recommend taking HGH, particularly at your age. You can try the HIIT exercises. Surely they will benefit you even if you don’t grow taller.

Gary - February 21, 2016

Good stuff Joe. Just starting to dive into your site and there’s a lot to digest. Do you have a post or page that lists your weekly routine. I’m curious to see how you stagger your resistance work and HIIT. Also curious about your stance on an occasional slow endurance workout, like a 5 – 6 mile run.

    Joe Garma - February 21, 2016

    Hi Gary, glad you came by.

    This is my 45th year of pretty consistent exercise, and at this point I apply myself to it intuitively and let my sense of what my body’s willing to do guide what I do. That said, in any given week I’ll typically do 12 minutes of mobility work every morning, two HIIT events (sprinting stairs, then calisthenics), two yoga sessions, two weightlifting and two one to two-mile jogs. I stagger these so that I don’t exercise any one large muscle area vigorously two consecutive says. Mostly, when I do resistance training, I touch on the entire body. This is not ideal for muscle building because you can not muster enough energy to work out the whole body with sufficient sets and reps in one session, but it’s good for building functional strength and keeps me muscular enough.

    If you’re under 40 and are prepared, you can try doing vigorous exercise sessions back-to-back. Over 40, you must be careful not to injure yourself and ensure that you get adequate recovery time. Of course, this varies w/ individuals. I need two full days of rest from robust resistance training after a HIIT session (remember I do bodyweight training as well as the stairs), so for those days I do my yoga or jogging.

Kev - April 26, 2016

Great article. If you do, say, 3 days of HIIT a week, can you add intense bodyweight training on top of this without risk of over-training? I used to do intense bodyweight circuits 3 days a week lasting up to 20-25 mins and would be pretty gassed at the end of them. I considered going back to these circuits but at the moment I’m considering HIIT and strength work on different days, but wonder if there’s a risk of over-training. I just turned 50 and I’m in good shape. I also walk and occasionally jog for longer cardio.

    Joe Garma - April 26, 2016

    Kev, I’ve read that if you still have some gas left after HIIT it’s a good time to lift some weights because human growth hormone is surging and the strength/muscle gains would be more pronounced. The most HIIT I can manage consistently is 2x/week (sprint stairs), and immediately afterward I do pull-ups, push-ups and the like. Yes, there’s a risk of overtraining, so listen to your body and let what it suggests override whatever’s on your workout schedule.


Leave a Reply: