Friday, November 30, 2012

50 Repetitions (The Key to Bodybuilding After 50)

Even former champion bodybuilders start to panic when around 50, the slow deterioration beginning at 30 -- begins an even sharper descent, and by 60, they regard their condition as irreversibly hopeless -- in that the more they try to do to prevent that deterioration, only seems to accelerate the pace of injury from which they no longer recover, let alone, stimulate gains.

The most common expression, is that everything they do, every movement they make, causes pain -- which should be an indication that they are doing something wrong in the first place, and merely persisting and persevering in that manner, IS NOT the solution -- but is creating and the source of the very afflictions they are suffering.  That is a hard belief to overcome -- that what they've been taught and believed their whole lives to be good for them, is actually very bad for them -- despite what all those teachers and the mass media say.

The truth is their actual experience -- of knocking themselves out with little in return -- and in fact, the despair that all they can do is slow the deteriorative process down, rather than rightly experiencing rapid and sustained growth and progress.

Most of these people in distress will counter that they are using the same weights as they did before -- for the same 5 sets of 5 reps -- as they did before, but now the pain in their joints is excruciating, and they have to spend every moment away from the gym -- which now becomes more infrequent, undergoing various therapies just to be able to make it to their next workout, when they repeat that torturous experience -- until they finally, utterly, give up.

It doesn't have to be that way.  Instead, they have to go back to where they got off on the wrong track -- thinking it was the amount of weight they were using in the movement that is beneficial, to the realization that it is the movement itself without any weight, that is the benefit of movement -- and so making that more onerous and difficult, is heading down the wrong path, and is directly responsible for the pain in their joints -- which the movement done without weights for 50 repetitions, would be curative, restorative, and even produce growth.

Why then don't people just do 50 repetitions of any movement?  That's largely because they've always been told that they shouldn't, and it would be more beneficial for them to add weight, anytime they can do more than some arbitrary low number of repetitions -- usually around 5.  But anybody who has ever tried to do 50 repetitions of any movement (even without any weight), will realize that fatigue begins to set in around 25, and then every subsequent repetition becomes more difficult -- unless one learns to perform the movement more aerobically, which means increasing their circulatory/respiratory efficiency in order to sustain their efforts.

That is the real meaning of aerobic activity -- and not all that pseudo-medical jargon and explanations to make physical education seem like brain surgery, so they can be compensated commensurately.  But understanding this process, is a fine art and science -- of distinguishing actual experience and observation, from the endless elaborate and convoluted theories and explanations of why things go wrong.  Always, the explanation for things that go right, is very simple -- and obvious, but the various profit-making activities, need to complicate it to make their profit -- and seem invaluable to the process.

50 repetitions may seem like a lot -- or a little, depending on where one is coming from.  To a marathon runner, 50 repetitions seems like hardly going anywhere -- but for the sprinter, 50 strides will cover 100 yards -- and the person with the fewest strides, will also be the fastest.  For record-setting weightlifters, a single lift is all they think important -- but those are the very people, who usually are forced out of such competitions beginning at age 30, and by 40 are eliminated by injury or conditions related to such monumental efforts without consideration of the longterm impacts on their health.  They often retire to a lifetime of inactivity -- because of crippling injuries -- and never learn how to move and exercise without harming themselves (further).

Most people have this mental reservation that they can't do 50 of anything -- especially if they haven't done anything before -- or have been taught and conditioned to believe they must never go beyond 5 -- or 10.  What happens to those who do?  Surprisingly, they don't perish by violating those taboos, advice and admonitions -- but instead, discover a whole new world of enjoyable and sustainable movement -- that makes them feel immediately better, and better each subsequent time.

The reason for this is because in order to perform 50 repetitions of ANY movement, one has to perform that movement with aerobic efficiency -- which means fully contracting, as well as fully relaxing the muscles involved -- or it will produce anaerobic failure -- just as the heart will fail, if it cannot alternate from one state to the other.  Additionally, a weight that will only allow only 5 repetitions of maximal effort, will require explosive muscle contractions that will cause pain and injury to the joints -- until the muscles, tendons, or ligaments are damaged -- rather than strengthened by a maximal circulatory flow to those areas "exercised" in this healthful manner -- as indicated by the 50 repetitions.

The attainment of the 50 repetitions, is always accompanied by a noticeable and dramatic muscle pump -- that is often disparaged for its very effectiveness -- of maximally directing the blood flow to the specific area (muscles) desired -- which is the restorative, curative, therapeutic and growth effect.  That's how the body works -- to direct its resources (nutrients) to those areas very specifically and deliberately.

That's why and how people tend to get good -- at what they actually do, sustain, persist and persevere -- rather than the opposite.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Must One Deteriorate (Age)?

Is deterioration an inevitable process of aging (time), or could it be merely the accumulation of bad choices that have caught up with one?

Conversely, are there good choices one makes, that improves the viability and vitality of life – throughout one’s existence?

Most people just accept the “fact” that they will deteriorate into an eventual hopeless condition until death seems like a natural conclusion – but if one were to continue to improve and get healthier, most would say that is not possible – or is it?

Much of what people do, ultimately harms them – unless they realize what they are doing, that causes them that injury, pain and suffering – more than it is, that bad things just happen.  People predispose bad things happening, as much as they predispose good things happening – although they often claim that they have absolutely no control of what is happening.

But is that really true, or just another rationalization, like all the rationalizations they accept for explanations that delude themselves?  They really don’t want to know, don’t want to see that they are ultimately responsible for what happens to them.  They like to believe they are just helpless victims of fate – and society, and not that their lives are the accumulation of all the individual choices they have made that have brought them to their present condition and situation (crisis).

A life of care – or a life of abuse, eventually shows itself.  There is no escaping one’s self-created (inflicted) destiny.  We are mostly, what we make ourselves.  Those are strange and aliens words in these times – when very few think they have any impact on their own lives!  How did we come to this?

More importantly, how can we take our lives back, and become the masters of our own fate and lives?  We have to show constant and continual improvement – even in the smallest ways, because even the smallest things matter – but there cannot be this resignation, that nothing matters, or makes a difference.  Something has to make a difference – and that is the beginning of progress – to find out what that is.

Obviously, the things that don’t work, don’t make that difference – but that should not lead one to conclude that nothing does.

We know that some people age better than others – which the people of despair and hopelessness will quickly attribute only to genetics – and not to the many choices one has made along the way to attaining that grace and presence of being.  Few grow old gracefully – with dignity and beauty.  That should be the aspiration of all – and not the current vision of increasing disability and senility, with enough health care insurance to ensure as much health care as possible, simply prolonging an irreversible decline of health as long as possible – as the only case possible.

Certainly, there has to be a better, more noble fate for humankind.  No society can be viable and sustainable, merely producing more disabled, dying and less-able bodied people.  That is the crisis of these times – that threatens to overwhelm every mature nation in the world – that is aging at an unprecedented alarming rate no society has dealt with before – unless they have already perished.

The first waves of the mass aging populations have already gotten there – and fared badly thus far, cut down by heart attacks, strokes, cancers, depression,  social alienation, dementias, disabilities, obesity and atrophy.  Underlying those difficulties, is no will to change and improve their conditions, other than that the government, or maybe the medical institutions should do something about it – while these individuals feel there is nothing they can do for themselves.

Obviously, that is the wrong paradigm and attitude – moving in the wrong direction.  But rather than time working against one, time can work for them – because that is the major advantage most have at that time in their lives, and nothing is more important to do than to improve their health as the primary occupation of their lives.  That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to devote all their time to it – but that should be their top priority, and then they can better go about the rest of their lives.

But that has to be the critical path – the first thing they do, and not the last, if they get around to it at all.  It should come even before they eat – just like in the monasteries, their devotion to God, comes before they breakfast – to get their priorities straight.  In others, it is their meditation, or exercises, before anything else, and those who don’t, don’t eat.  It is what one must do themselves, alone.

Many don’t know how to do anything themselves, alone – and that is their major problem, because unless one has that intense inner drive to improve, one will not do it for themselves – and no one will force them to.  So most won’t do it – but must suffer the consequences.  There is no escaping that fate.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Two Different Worlds

In life, there are always two different trends -- the one that is getting better, and the one that is getting worse -- even though many of the latter, are positive they are on the right track -- but things still continue to get worse.

Meanwhile, assuredly, even if most people do not know about it, things are also getting better -- even if everyone is not getting better.  What is important, is that some do -- because they are the future of the longterm survival of the species, even if most of the others get wiped out. 

That is the survival of the fittest -- and not indiscriminately everyone, for as long as humanly possible.  There has to be some kind of accounting system, even when not consciously designed -- that makes whatever happen, happen -- even when most are not aware of what is happening.  That's never been a prerequisite for reality to come into being.

The sum of intelligence, is more than any one person's, or even a majority of the people.  So even as things seem to get worse for most people, there are a few for whom life is getting immeasurably better -- because they have exercised their individual choices not to accept the fate of most people -- who invariably believe there is no other choice or fate -- because they go to the senior centers, and see so many aging even worse than they are, and are grateful they are better off -- than the worst, and think that is quite an achievement.

That's because the best are nowhere to be seen there.  They would not self-identify as the worst, the aging, those in decline.  They are not even to be seen in the other institutions of socialization (indoctrination), where people learn to behave as they should, and act their proper age and station in life.

For those in "retirement," that should be to begin to die -- by becoming increasingly weak, frail and incompetent, as many people do -- feeling that is their entitlement -- because nobody has prepared them properly for the life beyond their "working" years, and so they have no idea of what to do, but to try to get everything they can before they leave this earth as though that will ensure that they never will.

Thus, people think that if they have "enough" health care insurance, they will never die, and not regard true health, as the best insurance for continuing their viability -- but think that at that stage of their lives, it is all in the hands of the health care professionals to make them better -- or at least, continue their lives in diminishing capacities for as long as science and technology now makes possible -- at whatever cost, because that is what future generations "owe" them.

Every generation has to live for itself -- and not sacrifice themselves to the prior one, or the future one.  Each serves best, making the most and best life out of their own.  Only in that way, is the present secured, and the future made possible -- and not by sacrificing oneself for the future, or the past -- which is now the great problem of these times.

One person dying, can consume the lives of ten people who have to sacrifice themselves to keep that one alive -- if people do not get better, so no one has to "sacrifice" themselves for any other.  That is the truly "compassionate" society, and not how many others, have to sacrifice themselves for the worst off, and the dying -- which is a natural process of life also.

Living well is not about consuming the most resources, controlling the most people, -- even living the longest, but is ultimately about the satisfaction and gratitude for the life one is living, at every time in one's life.  And when one is in that state of grace and peace with the world around them, then when death comes, they are prepared for it also.  But until it comes, they make the best of every moment, and their lives -- in the simple living of it.

For such people, endlessly "More," is not their concern and only response to all of life's challenges; they know what is sufficient and plenty -- because they make it so.  Those are the people who manifest reality and actualize it.  The others will never have enough, no matter how much they have and is given to them -- because all they know, is to demand "More."