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Train High to Lose Weight

With obesity rates extremely high and continuing to climb in a many parts of the world, scientists are always looking at different ways to combat it. From drug therapies to novel compounds and foods that can help boost weight and fat loss, the search is heating up to find any way to reverse the elevating rates. While much of the focus has always been on diet and drug therapies, exercise is often seen as an inferior method to supporting long term weight loss. However, every little bit of effort counts and changing the way you exercise just may be the key to your weight loss success. One of these ways to exercise under hypoxic conditions, which means exercising with reduced oxygen supply, such as when training at altitude.

A group of scientists led a recent study, which took 12 healthy males and got them to participate in four test conditions as described below:

  • Moderate Intensity Exercise under Normoxia (normal oxygen levels)
  • Moderate Intensity Exercise under Hypoxia (decreased oxygen levels)
  • High Intensity Exercise under Normoxia
  • High Intensity Exercise Under Hypoxia

The researchers wanted to test their appetite responses to these exercise modalities and also the levels of compounds and hormones such as acylated ghrelin, peptide YY (PYY), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which are responsible for levels of hunger and satiety. They were able to observe three key results:

1. Appetite was suppressed in all hypoxia conditions, moreso than normoxia ones.
2. Ghrelin Levels were lower in hypoxia than in normoxia.
3. PYY concentrations were higher for High Intensity Exercise modalities in Hypoxia conditions only.

Both ghrelin and PYY concentrations relate to appetite and hunger levels with lowered ghrelin and higher PYY resulting in decreased appetite and hunger. Overall though, it seems that training under hypoxic conditions, where there is less oxygen available can help to naturally suppress appetite.

Practical Applications

Training in hypoxic conditions generally means training at altitude as air tends to be thinner at higher elevations. However, not everybody has access to mountains or live in areas of high elevation. Modern science has allowed people to train at hypoxic conditions though, with special masks that mimic different altitudes and the lower air pressures present at those altitudes. One of these masks is simply known as the ‘Training Mask’, which is designed to increase the resistance at which you can inhale air. It’s an extreme looking mask and makes you look a little bit like Bane from Batman, but if you’re looking for a fairly simple way to help support your fat and weight loss, then this can certainly help.

1. Bailey DP, Smith LR, Chrismas BC, Taylor L, Stensel DJ, Deighton K, Douglas J, Kerr CJ. ‘Appetite and gut hormone responses to moderate-intensity continuous exercise versus high-intensity interval exercise, in normoxic and hypoxic conditions.’ Appetite. 2015 Feb 17. pii: S0195-6663(15)00066-5.

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