Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why “Cardio” Exercises Won’t Put You Into the Shape You Want to Be In

In order for a muscle to have the powerful effect in shaping the body, it has to be worked to a sufficient intensity to produce muscle failure in approximately 25-50 repetitions, or about a minute. Any exercise that does not produce this muscle “failure” in that time, is not of sufficient intensity to shape the body -- by producing contractions powerful enough to make a dramatically noticeable difference -- of the kind I‘ve described previously as possible, and which most people do not experience and therefore are discouraged by not getting that immediate “feedback.” Obviously, therefore, an exercise or activity that can be sustained for 30 minutes or more, cannot produce the quality of muscular contractions that would produce such a convincing body-shaping effect -- and that is why they need elaborate explanations and justifications of why they need to continue to do it everyday for a year before one can see any "visible" results.

Meanwhile, the quality and intensity of muscular contractions that do produce immediate "visible" changes in the body, is that which is attained and strived for by athletes training for bodybuilding competitions -- or just to look better. The mistake many make is thinking that that effect can be speeded up even further by adding more weights and therefore lowering the number of repetitions required to produce such muscle failure -- without realizing that the added weight may make the performance of the proper movement impossible, thereby nullifying such an advantage.

So the proper duration of any effective muscle-shaping/building exercise (movement) is one-minute, or about 25-50 repetitions until the muscle is totally exhausted and “fails” to be able to continue. Obviously, a "cardio" exercise that can be sustained nearly indefinitely -- does not produce muscle contractions of this quality and intensity sufficient to produce an immediate transformation (change) -- or a longer term one, for that matter. It is simply reinforcing the status quo -- or the shape one is in presently.

Most people do not embark on a fitness program to stay in the shape they are in presently -- but preferably want to change that shape into something more to their liking. That can be achieved easily -- once one is NOT distracted and diverted into exercises that cannot produce that effect -- while thinking that they can, on an “experts“ say so. Once one can achieve this effect, one doesn’t need any compelling scientific arguments for utilizing such practices daily -- because most people want to look and perform their best. Instantly -- if they thought it was possible and within their range of capabilities.

As most proficient “bodybuilders” take for granted, that is the “high” they get from their training -- this ability to induce a dramatic and instantaneous transformation -- that the best get better at effecting, while many others, will actually regress because of their improper understanding of what they are doing and their objectives.

Many will believe that simply using more weights (resistance) while lowering the number of repetitions will obtain better results -- without realizing that more resistance may merely make the "proper" movement difficult, if not impossible -- and it is the movement itself and not the resistance that is important. The properly performed movement actually produces its own resistance! That is because a fully contracted muscle, produces its own resistance to being contracted further -- while muscle contractions significantly below those thresholds, can be continued indefinitely, as is typical in most cardio exercises -- without producing dramatic, desired effects of instantly putting one into the shape one wants to be in.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How Ideas Come Into Being

Many people have never been present at the moment a new idea is born -- thinking all ideas are old, and merely handed down from one generation to another, since The Immaculate Conception. So confronted with new ideas, they have no other response but to fight off a new idea which is not a confirmation and reaffirmation of all their old ideas -- which is a tremendous hindrance to accessing all the great discoveries made since one left an institutionalized education. Unfortunately for too many, that is when all learning came to an abrupt halt -- because they were taught that learning must take place only within such institutions -- with all their rules for learning.

So unless people break free of that all-too-common indoctrination, it becomes virtually impossible to readapt their thinking to the new realities as they go along with their lives. It used to be said that information doubles every five years -- but what is even more impressive now is that an individual’s own knowledge of the world can double from one moment to the next, with an insight that changes everything. That is the effect of the quantum leap in human experience and understanding. It may take a while to get there, with ideas gestating and fermenting for years -- and then in an instant, there is a flash of insight that changes everything.

That difference is a change not of effort but of understanding. If that doesn’t change, then simply more effort is not going to make that difference. But once there is that change in understanding, problems will seem to solve themselves, or in all probability, not even seem to be a “problem” in the first place. Many believe there is a problem when there is not -- or that there is no problem, when there truly is. That is the price they pay for courses that teach them not to discriminate -- in anything!

Discrimination is not bad in itself, and in fact, is the confirmation of one’s highest intelligence and abilities. Discriminations based on prejudice and preconceptions, is what every intelligent and fair-minded person hopes to eliminate -- not because it is the “socially or politically correct “ thing to do, but because it makes a real difference in the outcomes of anything they do.

There are a lot of “differences” that don’t make a difference -- but are merely distractions and diversions from one’s focus on what is important to discriminate, distinguish, discern. The highest compliment is to be a discriminating person -- one who can tell the good from the bad, the superior from the inferior, beauty from ugliness, intelligence from the unintelligent, the significant from the trivial. To simply say, “One should not discriminate in everything,” obviously shows no intelligence or understanding though they may smugly try to impose their new-learned wisdom on everybody else, and swell with pride that they are very clever people.

Fortunately, there is redundancy in the human population so that not everybody is functioning on that same level at the same time -- but a few, or even one, may be attentive and paying attention to the real task at hand. That is what matters -- that there is at least one person "staying home and taking care of business" -- even while the rest, are off on a wild goose chase.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Keeping An Open Mind

What is the quality of vitality of the human being that lasts far beyond their short duration as a competitive athlete? That would be the life of the individual who is always learning -- and never concluding that he has long ago seen and done it all, and everything new brought to his attention, is merely a fad for which the madness will soon revert back to the time-proven wisdom of the old. And thus the latter mindset bothers to learn nothing new, content in the explanations that don’t make a difference, losing all faith that right thinking can make a difference -- acquiescing to the corrupting indifference and despair in a world offering different possibilities that intimidates and bewilders them.

The fact of the matter is that when something works, it works from the very beginning -- and not at the end of six months or a year, when one has likely forgotten why it is they‘re doing what they‘re doing. That is self-evident truth, that intellectuals so infatuated with their ideas, will not acknowledge no matter what evidence is brought to their attention. They believe that is all the more reason for them to remain steadfast -- as a sign of their intellectual superiority -- to maintain an opinion contrary to all the evidence in the world.

Rather than such ideas prejudicing the understanding, the understanding without the preconceived notions of what is happening, reveals the obvious, self-evident truth -- much like an aspirin begins to cure a headache immediately after taking it, and not only after six months. That realization is never more useful than in the study of movement itself -- of the human body, of which the old standard, was the measurement of a mass (weight) moved a certain distance in a certain time.

Emerging new standards are the changes of movement within the body -- usually measured by the change in heart rate, but even more relevant, should be the measurement in the flow measured at the extremities -- which understands the circulatory and respiratory function as a whole body effort rather than merely relegated to the specifically designed organs for that primary, exclusive function. Up to recently, that whole body/system consideration to human performance and functioning was problematical to those in areas of specialization, of which the furthest down this path of discipline and perception, is the medical field, in which many of the older practitioners still insist that one thing has no relation to any other.

Those coming from the other end, are likely to pronounce that everything is related to everything else -- and so rather than there being many different problems, there is just one that causes the many apparent others. That is to say, that although it may at first seem that ten things have gone wrong, it is really one thing that has produced the nine others -- and so we need to identify that one unifying explanation rather than look for the many ad hoc explanations. Ad hoc means that that explanation explains only that one thing -- and when something else happens, we need to come up with another explanation, and so on. Thus the rise in the need for experts -- each with their own specialized language of jargon keeping the uninitiated out.

And so a breakthrough scientific advance, will demand a simpler answer that explains the many -- rather than allow that for everything that happens, there is a wholly unique explanation, requiring a whole group of experts that must study years to penetrate into the mysteries of such phenomena -- and everybody else should not even think of inquiring into their realm without the proper consultation, approval, certifications and authorization of themselves, the self-designated experts -- whose job is to do all your thinking for you, until eventually, you do not have to do any thinking for yourself -- fully covered by one’s health care coverage -- as the nightmare vision of the state of health and society in the future.

Monday, January 09, 2006

How Not to Feel Better

Many people still labor under the belief that the best way to make one feel better, is to make one feel worse -- and so while nothing has changed, the fact that one felt terrible before, makes one feel much better afterwards. That is the effect that toxic people have on us -- when consulting them for advice on how to feel better. They inform us of all the things that could be worse -- and then convince us, that the worst possibilities are now the actual realities.

Not only do many of these people work in the “health” fields but particularly in the many fields of information propagation -- convincing us we absolutely need them, creating a co-dependency and lifetime demand for their services -- which henceforth, must never be questioned, under penalty of death. In some societies and cultures, such shamans (witch doctors) even feel they have the right to personally execute the death sentence themselves for this disobedience. In more civilized societies, the temptation to insist on such absolute control over the lives of others, some also cannot resist.

But surely, a measure of health and well-being for every individual, should be the decrease in the need for others to live a truly independent life -- this absence of compulsion, obsession, obligation and coercion, the feeling that one should be doing any other than they are doing, for the sake of another.

However, in reading much of the health literature, what is overwhelming and distasteful is this message that everything one is doing is wrong, and in fact, at the highest level of proficiency and achievement, so much more could be done. So despite the fact that one may be the “strongest man in the world,” or the “best built person on the planet,” what is often striking in knowing such individuals is that overwhelming sense of increasing inadequacy that drives them to lose all perspective on these things. There are many advisers around them who will only be too glad to accommodate their sense of failure that they did not come out ahead, each and every time -- just as it is with everybody else.

Such advisers will demand that the President of the United States, must have absolutely perfect hindsight, foresight, and insight -- in order to live up to the expectations they have for him, in determining these expectations for everybody else as well. Their education and training consists entirely of convincing everybody else that that is their agreed upon role for themselves -- as the “official” guardians of all that is “correct” in this world. Questioning their authority, is not even to be thought.

That is their exclusive First Amendment Right -- to control all the opinions of everybody else. It says it right there, just after the Tenth Commandment. Others may go along, thinking those know something they don’t -- having been early convinced that such person’s ability to intimidate all others is definitive proof of their infallibility.

Health practitioners and advisers who pass themselves off as God, should rightfully be liable for misrepresenting their competence and expertise.

Monday, January 02, 2006

How Long Does Change Take?

Not surprisingly, defenders of the status quo will try to convince us that humans, human nature, and nothing can ever change -- rather than that change is the first order of business for all life and living things, what life is all about -- and to try to deny that, resist that, is the deteriorating force of life, in trying to maintain an unvarying permanence in the swiftly flowing river of life.

The basic unit of change is not even slow, steady, linear change along a continuum of predictability -- but rather, the quantum leap. That is the instantaneous moment of change that releases tremendous energy, power and momentum -- which is the language of change, movement, dynamism. Change is movement -- which the metaphors of sports, conditioning and exercise, lend themselves so readily to -- with the central organizing purpose of success and improvement being the easily understood objectives and measurement.

Those ends have to change in order for there to be significant talk of “change,” and not the rationalization that the more things change, the more they stay the same, which is the mantra of the defeatism of the status quo. They’ll agree to any change -- as long as everything stays the same, which is of course, no change. This kind of self-delusion makes one vulnerable to all manner of deceptions -- because if one buys into the notion that change means no change, or should take much time before it can be detected, then it is quite possible and easy, to convince them that something that does no good, is very good indeed, and maybe the best that ever has been and is possible!

In such a culture of deception, it’s always been that way and always will be that way -- and that is why we have to do it that way, with the predictable no change, and no success or improvement. That is the language and culture of the dead, dying and despair -- and not the living, and so “culture” are the rituals of the past reaffirmed by the present -- rather than a living culture of successful, evolving adaptations being created and shared momentarily as the living.

One sees these cultures in every organization and activity in human society. These people just mindlessly go through the motions hoping for a different result -- and not realizing that the results, are in some way connected to what they are doing, or not doing. This is the prescientific consciousness of the world -- that exists in pockets of subcultures alongside prevailing cultures and actions that actually make a difference, are vital, evolving, really progressing.

Most people experience dead culture as the popular culture of common notions, myths and fallacies -- propagated by the rearguard institutions of the media, schools and universities.. Meanwhile, on the leading edge of these deceptions, common notions and ignorance, individuals are discovering and testing what actually works, not simply satisfied with more elaborate and convoluted explanations of why things aren’t working -- as though that was some kind of knowledge worth knowing.