The quickest way to get fit and build muscle

Research into exercise physiology has identified the fastest method for developing muscle and endurance. This brief technique taps into an ancient part of your nervous system and mobilizes a remarkable natural substance.

The method for building your fitness consists of workouts that use intense interval training. By engaging in short, very strenuous exercise, with brief rest periods, you can improve your blood sugar control, lose weight and achieve overall fitness.

The natural substance your body releases in response to this training is a unique molecule called CRTC2.

Researchers at the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shown that intense exercise taps into the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” reaction, and uses CRTC2 to integrate nerve signals from two separate pathways (what are known as the adrenaline pathway and the calcium pathway) to stimulate muscle growth.

“The sympathetic nervous system gets turned on during intense exercise, but many had believed it wasn’t specific enough to drive specific adaptations in exercised muscle,” says researcher Michael Conkright. “Our findings show that not only does it target those specific muscles, but it improves them — the long-term benefits correlate with the intensity of the workout.”

According to Conkright, the fight or flight response sparks muscles to perform better and also stimulates them to get ready for the next exercise bout.

“If you think of the adrenaline system as something that mobilizes resources when you encounter, say, a bear on your way to work, what we found is that the system also gets you ready for your next bear encounter,” Conkright says.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.