A nitric oxide what? If you’ve never heard of this term before, you’re not alone!
When I heard that a four-minute workout routine called a nitric oxide dump will supposedly improve your health, I was pretty skeptical.
Up until now, the only place I had heard of anything like nitric oxide was at my dentist’s office.
How the heck is laughing gas supposed to make me healthier?
So I did some reading, and it turns out that not only does your body naturally produce nitric oxide, it’s vital for cardiovascular and immune health!
In fact, if you don’t produce enough of it, it could lead to heart attack, stroke, and a ton of other major health problems. (More on this in a minute.)
If you’re feeling a little out of the loop, that’s because nitric oxide in the body was only discovered in the 90’s—and researchers are still learning more about how we make it and why so many people don’t make enough.
So I went through the research and gathered everything you need to know to understand what the heck nitric oxide is, why you need it, and how you can get more of this heart-healthy, immune-boosting molecule.
(And believe it or not, you actually can get major health benefits from this four-minute nitric oxide dump workout!)
But first, let’s talk about what nitric oxide is, and why you need more of it.
The Basics of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a molecule that your body produces naturally when it breaks down nitrates and nitrites from the food you eat.
It is stored in the lining of your blood vessels, and is released when you move or exercise, dilating blood vessels and acting as a messenger through your body.
Once it’s released from your blood vessels, nitric oxide is absorbed into your smooth muscles (that’s your involuntary muscles like your blood vessels, heart, digestive tract, and other internal organs), helping them relax.
It also makes your blood platelets less sticky, reducing your risk of blood clots—which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. (1)
So through this whole process, nitric oxide:
- lowers your blood pressure,
- improves digestion,
- boosts your immune system,
- and reduces stress on your cardiovascular system.
Where Does Nitric Oxide Come From?
Wait…so does that mean that nitrites and nitrates are actually good for you?
Well, yes and no.
You’re probably used to seeing nitrates and nitrites listed in the “bad” category for processed meats, and you might even purposely purchase meats labelled “nitrate-free.”
This is an old health myth from the 1950’s, when researchers found that nitrosamine could cause cancer.
And that part is true—but eating nitrates and nitrites doesn’t mean you’re ingesting nitrosamine.
Nitrates and nitrites are used to preserve meats, and so-called “nitrite free” meats aren’t actually nitrite free—it’s just a clever marketing tactic!
Now, does this mean you should go and eat tons of bacon, sausage and lunch meat?
Sorry, but no!
There is no way you could eat enough bacon to boost your nitric oxide levels a significant amount, and the added salt and high fat in processed meats isn’t going to do you any favors in the health department!
In fact, the best sources of nitrates and nitrites are beets and leafy green vegetables (which is why celery salt is used to preserve nitrate-free meats!).
If you do buy processed meats, the additives you need to watch out for are ascorbic acid and erythorbate—both of which will turn your potentially healthful nitrates into cancer-causing nitrosamine instead of nitric oxide. (2)
You Might Not Be Making Enough NO
To turn nitrites and nitrates into nitric oxide, you need good bacteria found in your mouth and your gut.
If you’ve been on antibiotics, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, or if you use mouthwash, you are actually killing your body’s ability to make nitric oxide!
Studies have even shown that long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (such as Prilosec and Nexium) “have a 35 to 40% higher incidence of heart attack and stroke,” and researchers now believe that’s due to low nitric oxide production. (2)
Plus, your body naturally produces less nitric oxide as you age, or if you’re not very active.
Some people don’t feel any symptoms of low nitric oxide.
Others might experience “insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, loss of libido and/or erectile dysfunction, flagging stamina, and etc.” (1)
How To Increase Nitric Oxide Levels
Everyone should be doing what they can to make sure you produce as much nitric oxide as possible, especially if you have low nitrite levels.
There are four key steps to helping your body make more nitric oxide, and it’s easier than you might think!
1. Eat more vegetables
If you didn’t catch this important tidbit earlier, eating veggies (especially leafy green or cruciferous veggies and beets) is the best way to get more nitrites into your body, which will become nitric oxide.
The antioxidants in the vegetables also lower your levels of free radicals like nitrosamine, and the extra vitamins and minerals will boost your health as well.
2. Take a supplement
If you want to be a hundred percent sure you’re getting enough nitrites in your diet, you can take a supplement to support healthy nitric oxide production.
3. Restore your body’s natural digestive flora
You need good bacteria in your gut and mouth to help convert nitrites into nitric oxide.
Taking a probiotic like this one can help restore the balance of your good digestive bacteria, and promote overall health.
You should also avoid mouthwash, antibiotics, antacids and PPIs whenever possible, since all of those can disrupt and even eliminate your healthy digestive bacteria.
4. Do a Nitric Oxide Dump
Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for—the four-minute nitric oxide dump!
According to Dr. Zach Bush, MD, the guy behind the nitric oxide dump philosophy, nitric oxide is released very quickly through exercise.
He says you only need about four minutes of specific exercise three times a day to enjoy health benefits in your cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems.
Now, you’ll still “dump” nitric oxide at the beginning of your regular workout as well—but the nitric oxide dump workout is designed specifically to maximize your nitric oxide production.
And even if you already worked out, you should still add a few “dumps” into your day!
You’ll exercise the body’s 16 largest muscle groups—building lean muscle and improving your heart health—in less time than it takes to get dressed for the gym and find your car keys.
How’s that for efficiency?
No equipment. No fancy attire. Just four minutes and you’re done with that session.
The reason this short amount of time works as well as a long workout is that, as Dr. Bush says, “Our blood vessels actually only store about 90 seconds worth of Nitric Oxide before they need to manufacture more,” so the nitric oxide dump works each major muscle group for about 90 seconds.
After the workout is complete, your body will only need a couple of hours to regenerate its nitric oxide reserves.
That’s why you should do this workout a few times a day for maximum benefit.
The Nitric Oxide Dump Workout
The greatest thing about this four-minute workout is it’s easy to remember, and you can do it anywhere.
While you won’t get super sweaty like you do at the gym, this is a HIIT style workout, so it does get the heart pumping and make your body work!
Here’s how to do it:
Watch the video above for a full demonstration, and for modifications if you have trouble with any of the exercises.
Do this workout three times a day to get the most health benefits from the nitric oxide dump.
Don’t You Need More Exercise Than This?
The CDC’s guidelines state that you need 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week for your health.
Doing these four-minute workouts just three times a day will get you beyond that mark!
However, this workout alone won’t shred fat or build muscle in any significant way, so I don’t recommend giving up your gym routine in exchange for the nitric oxide dump.
Instead, add this into your days to help boost your cardiovascular and immune health without having to change clothes or go to the gym.
And if you don’t work out regularly, no more excuses!
You can absolutely find a few four-minute breaks to add some nitric oxide dumps to your day—and your body will thank you!
Ready to Take Control of Your Health?
Remember, you can only produce nitric oxide if you’re getting enough nitrites and nitrates in your diet—and the best way to do that is by eating more veggies!
And if you’re struggling with your health and your weight, you know that old habits die hard.
While the nitric oxide dump workout might help your cardiovascular and immune systems, you won’t see real, lasting weight loss without changing what you put into your body.
The good news is, fixing your diet and losing some serious weight takes a lot less work than you might think!
If you’re like a lot of our readers, you’ve probably tried your fair share of meal plans, diet tricks, supplements, pills, workouts, and etc.
And yet here you are, still trying to shed that stubborn fat!
Our 21 Day Fat Loss Challenge was created for people exactly like you—people who have tried practically everything under the sun, but are still struggling to lose the weight and get rid of bad eating habits.
Our challenge provides a step-by-step plan to help you lose up to 21 lbs in just 21 days, with far less effort than you may think!
Tons of our clients have turned it into a lifestyle diet and have lost as much as over 100 pounds with the challenge!
The best part? Besides just losing weight, the 21 Day Fat Loss Challenge was designed to heal your gut, rebalance your hormones, and retrain your tastebuds—so you’ll actually keep the weight off!
We have over 4,000 people in our private support group going through the Challenge together, and they share experiences, results, motivation, and lots of recipes!
If you’re ready to make some changes in your life, this is the ONLY place you should start. We’ll teach you exactly how to make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle, and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”
Always remember that the hardest part of any new workout or routine is SHOWING UP. Make sure you show up and give your best to your four-minute nitric oxide dump. You deserve it!
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on the nitric oxide dump, or if you have any questions!