Sunday, June 26, 2011

You Don't Have to Make Exercise Hard(er)

Actually, making it easier, makes it more effective -- and more likely to be done. All that talk about how good it feels when it stops, shouldn't be the normal, natural and desirable discussion on "exercise," which has a connotation of something laborious and difficult -- as though it is a test of one's tolerance for the unpleasant and irrational, which then becomes the excuse for why it is not done.

When anything makes perfectly good sense, there is no other thing that can be done -- but when it doesn't, one must hire an army of "motivators" (supervisors), to make one do it -- to coerce/trick one into doing it. Then as soon as the motivator goes away, one would no longer do such things; what person in their right minds would?

Yet that seems to be the mentality of those teaching exercise these days -- especially under the guise of "personal training" -- as though everything in life, is to force one to do, what does not make perfectly good sense to do -- and therefore they will do it, to feel better, look better, and perform (function) better -- and what person in their right mind wouldn't want that?

Instead, their "conditioning," is that the opposite of that is true -- and they must force themselves to believe it. So their objective is that one must be made to feel worse, look worse, and perform (function) worse, in this world in which everything is the opposite of what it truly is order for it to be(come) better -- in the world of opposite-think (doublethink).

Why should exercise be any of these things -- that people don't like about it, and the teaching (instruction) rightfully be, on that which makes one actually, immediately, and directly better -- which is really the objective in coaching and teaching -- and not so that one merely requires more coaching and teaching for the lifetime job security (dependency) of such promotion.

So the first thing one should ask of any course of instruction (information) -- is if there is another, more obvious way -- which is how the field of knowledge progresses and evolves -- towards increasing simplicity in understanding, and not increasing complexity requiring more experts to explain -- why things don't work and get better.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Generalizations Are Not The Truth

Roger J. Williams at the University of Texas pioneered the work on individual biochemical diversity -- that individual tolerances vary so greatly that "one man's meat is another man's poison," so that the only way one knows definitively that something works for them (or not), is actually to run the experiment themselves -- rather than rely on the generalized experience, because one could well be the exception. And if that is the case, that is the fact, no matter what the average

That's particularly true with mood enhancers -- because if it makes you think you feel better, then it is working. So you should keep a journal during your own trial experiment -- or you will have difficulty differentiating the marketing propaganda, from your actual own experience.

There's a lot of bad freelance pseudo-medical/scientific articles that make it into the mainstream media because the editors have even less competency to judge because they proudly took no science or mathematic courses because their "liberal arts" major did not require it.

Their course of instruction lay mainly in repeating what they believe the duly-certified authorities say -- with no idea of how to determine the truth of any matter for themselves, which of course, is the scientific method -- rather than the mere scientism of the currently fashionable "politically correct" -- that they are propagandists for, which confirms their belief and world view, that nothing can ever work, and one cannot tell the difference -- and those who do, are the charlatans.

Most of what people believe to be true in health and science, is what has been commercially successful -- even though there may be actually no validity to their claims at all -- but usually, they are careful not to make any claims at all, preferring to allow people to believe what they want to believe. Propagandists and marketers know that what is repeated often enough, comes to be regarded as the truth -- whether there is any to it at all.

The classic case is aerobics and target heart rate -- which is usually held up as the Holy Grail of sports medicine. It was the first book on exercise that sold over a million copies -- and so everyone else plagiarized it -- wholly or in part. Many books sold at the height of its popularity, were nothing more than a new title like "Aerobics for Poets," and "Aerobics for Yoga," and then ripped off the original work in its entirety.

The original work simply established the guidelines in which one could feel fairly confident that one was not putting undue strain on one's heart by recommending one stay with 50-80% of a theoretical maximum -- calculated by age, which is not the most significant difference in individuals. Some people have congenitally slow heart rates of 50 or lower (usually the most fit), while some people have heart rates above 100 -- which is already a factor of 100% error -- based arbitrarily on age. The 50% threshold is the normal resting heart rate in the average person -- which implied that it did not require the raising of it to a minimum of the 80%, which became in the hands of physical education experts -- the opposite of what it was intended.

Another popular misconception is that exercise can fundamentally alter one's metabolic rate -- rather than it being one's unique constant that everyone has to familiarize themselves and master. Nothing one does, can successfully turn them into someone else -- and so the enduring wisdom of the ages, has been that one has to "Know oneself," uniquely -- and not as the fictional generality, or average.

The average is not the reality; the specific is the reality -- no matter how hard the marketers and propagandists try to convince us, that their truth should supplant one's own life experience, and override one's own senses at all times -- which makes them perfect fodder for the marketers and propagandists of all stripes and intents.

That is usually the rudimentary mass education and conformity to what people should think -- while reserving that power to a few who believe their unique calling in life, is to tell everybody else what to think -- instead of the true meaning of education, in how to think, and can then discover the truth of anything, for themselves.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The New Vital Signs of Life and Health (A Critique)

There comes a time when people realize that no matter how hard they train, the body is not as responsive as it was when they were in their youthful "growth years" -- no matter how hard they train. And in fact, they notice they no longer have that same recovery ability that enabled them to build up after tearing down their muscle tissue, which is the natural process of releasing energy.

Many at that stage in their lives, even notice that training seems to result in more injuries than gains -- which is usually an indication in even world-class athletes, that they have to wind down their careers, because training intensely as they used to, not only doesn't result in gains anymore but more often than not produces (aggravates) injuries they can no longer recover from -- and so many just stop (exercising) completely, because going all-out, is the only way they've been "conditioned" to think and train -- and so many spiral into extremely poor health from there.

I actually was one of the pioneers of "high intensity training" (HIT), being one of the first to adopt the Nautilus training principles as learned from Arthur Jones himself -- when everybody who was anybody in the weightlifting/bodybuilding world, congregated in York, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1970 -- when he introduced them to a hostile and resistive crowd of Mr. Universes, coaches, etc.

But in the mid-80s (at the height of their popularity), I started to question not only the conventional wisdom of training but even the supposed superiority of the Nautilus principles that then became the basis for "sports medicine," because I realized that no matter how intensely and full-range one attempts to work a muscle in isolation -- a muscle in isolation, cannot be fully contracted because it is dependent on the muscular state of its underlying supporting muscle -- of which it is contracting towards. That is to say, that as a muscle contracts from its insertion to its origin, it then "fires" the insertion of its anchoring/attached muscle -- which makes the most effective as well as efficient muscle contraction, one that begins from the furthest muscle (insertion) from the body, so that instead of having to work 600-800 individual muscles, and create exercises for each one (or machines for them), if one begins the contraction at the extremities of the head, hands and feet -- it causes a chain reaction of muscular contractions -- back to the origin of all the muscular structures, which is at or next to the heart. That is the genius of the neuromuscular, cardiovascular development -- to pump the blood back to the heart, which is the weakness of the human body and condition.

In most people, the heart is the only muscle that is in the proper condition because it always contracts fully 50-100 times a minute, while the many other voluntary muscles may not contract fully even once a day, and so even 50-100 times would represent a huge increment of difference, and effect.

In studying the pictures accompanying your article, what is striking to me, is that while the more visually striking core muscles of the body are still obvious, there is no muscular development and articulation at the head, hands and feet -- which would require the bending of the fist 90 degrees. (Or head turning 90 degrees to the left or right.) You will notice that in producing that movement alone, brings out a peak muscularity (contraction) -- even if nothing else moves, because that range of movement by itself, is the muscular contraction -- and not the resistance, or for that matter, an increase in heart rate -- producing a greater flow to those areas even with the most strenuous efforts. The heart is relying on the contractions from the extremities, to optimize the circulatory effect because it cannot be done by the heart alone -- since it has no effect on the flow back to the heart.

Muscular contractions of this sort place very little drain on the recovery ability of the body, while intensity is achieved for a brief moment -- at peak contraction -- obtainable in no other fashion. Most machines and exercises increase the range of movement in the wrong direction -- towards the elongation (relaxation) -- rather than increasing the range towards the fullest contraction, which always begins and requires a movement at the furthest extremity of the body towards the center.

It is at these extremities that the circulation is the poorest and the areas prone to disintegration -- as in arthritis, diabetes, congestive heart failure, dementias and other brain (mental/cognitive) dysfunctions -- that further cause the break down in the rest of the body. That is also why typically, one can tell the age of a person most easily by the aging (deterioration) that occurs at the head (face and neck), hands and feet -- that most people are not aware of because they think there is nothing that can be done there, when in fact, that should be the focus of the new health paradigm -- in which people don't show those signs of aging -- which implies the health of everything else in between. As Arthur Jones would say, "Nothing else is possible."