Have you ever looked at a muscular athlete or bodybuilder
and asked yourself, "What does it take to look like that?"
A big part of the answer is having the right parents.
Your genes determine important pieces of the muscle
Your maximum number of muscle fibers. Here's
something to contemplate the next time you stumble across
one of your baby pictures: The squishy little
diaper-loading machine in the photo already had all the
muscle fibers you're ever going to possess. Those
fibers became bigger as you grew, and they can become bigger
still if you give them sufficient exercise.
Conversely, if you don't exercise them enough, they may
become smaller- and possibly disappear altogether.
It's generally believed, though, that they can't increase in
number. However many muscle fibers you're born with,
it's too many to count, so there's no way to know exactly
how you compare with other guys.
are composed of fibers that have markedly different
morphological and physiological characteristics. The
most common approach to classify muscle fibers according to
twitch time, employing the terms slow-twitch and fast-twitch
fiber. Because a motor unit is composed of muscle
fibers that are all of the same type, it can also be
designated using the same classification. A
fast-twitch motor unit (Type II) is one that develops force
rapidly. It also relaxes rapidly and thus has a short
twitch time. Slow-twitch motor units (Type I), in
contrast, develop force and relax slowly and have a long
The contrast in
mechanical characteristics is accompanied by a distinct
difference in the ability of their fibers to demand and
supply energy for contraction, and thus to withstand
fatigue. Type I fibers are generally fatigue resistant
and have a high capacity for aerobic energy supply, but they
have limited potential for rapid force development and low
anaerobic power. Type II motor units are essentially
the opposite, characterized by fatigability, low aerobic
power, rapid force development, and high anaerobic power.
Type II fibers can be further subdivided into other
categories, Type IIA and
Type IIB being the most frequently mentioned. These
subcategories deal mostly with their capacity for
Your percentage of Fast-Twitch and Slow-Twitch fibers.
A fast-twitch fiber can't turn into a slow-twitch fiber, and
a slow-twitch fiber can't become a fast-twitch.
Because you're born with all the fibers you're ever going to
have, you're also born with a predisposition toward either
endurance-type activities or strength-and-power sports,
depending upon which type of fiber is predominant.
The shape of your muscles when they're fully developed.
If your father or mother had beautifully rounded biceps
after a few years of strength training, chances are you can
develop some nice-looking, beach-friendly muscles, too.
If Dad trained diligently for years only to look like a big ol' dump truck with teeth... well, maybe you can do
something about the "dump" part. The idea that muscles
can be shaped -- as opposed to developed to their full
genetic potential -- is yet another topic. Let's just
say that the eventual shape of a muscle is determined by
sperm and egg first, barbell and dumbbell second.
ref: The Book Of Muscle, 2003
ref: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning,
Lots of Sleep! While you sleep, amazing
things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep
is essential for anyone who exercises regularly.
During sleep, your body produces Human Growth
Hormone (HGH) which is largely responsible for
tissue growth and repair. This is a necessity
for resistance training in order to recover from a
workout and continue to progress. Sleep
deprivation resulting from chronic sleep issues (apnea,
insomnia, etc..), excessive work, or partying have
been shown to increase abdominal fat, have a
negative effect on performance, and promote obesity
and diabetes. It is also linked to heart
disease, arthritis, and cancer.
In general, one or
two nights of poor or little sleep won't have much
impact on performance, but consistently getting
inadequate sleep can result in subtle changes in
hormone levels, particularly those related to
stress, muscle recovery and mood. While no one
completely understands the complexities of sleep,
some research indicates that sleep deprivation can
lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress
hormone), decreased activity of HGH, and decreased
Lack of sleep alters
ghrelin and leptin, which are important regulators
of appetite and energy expenditure and critical for
maintaining a healthy weight. Nighttime
snacking is common in overweight people with sleep
disorders. The body produces powerful
signaling chemicals during sleep deprivation that
causes decreased reaction time and diminished
ability to sustain attention. These skills,
called psychomotor vigilance, are needed for not
only sports performance but also everyday activities
such as driving. They are highly sensitive to sleep
loss, often experienced by athletes on road trips,
particularly after they cross multiple time zones.
Other studies link sleep deprivation with
decreased aerobic endurance and increased ratings of
Chronic sleep restriction has serious adverse consequences for
physical and mental performance. The most important
aspect of the body's homeostatic regulation of
sleep is that sleep loss is cumulative. When
total nightly sleep is reduced by exactly the same
amount each night for several consecutive nights,
the tendency to fall asleep in the daytime becomes
progressively stronger each day.
Some experts call this phenomenon "sleep debt."
The brain records as a debt every hour of
sleep that is less than a person's nightly
requirement. This snowballing debt may include an
hour of sleep lost a week or month ago, as well as
the hour lost last night. A large
sleep debt can be reduced only by extra sleep.
America is a high-stress society in which in which
people don't get enough sleep. It's crazy that many people function
off less than 5 hours sleep per night meanwhile 7 is
already cutting it low. Body
recovery in general needs proper sleep never mind
those who are working hard in the gym as well.
A healthy sleep pattern and lifestyle change may
also be a factor but is well worth it as it can add
years to your life, not just help with fitness gains.
sportsmedicine.about.com, shapefit.com, Fitness RX
Partner Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Wheelbarrow races used to be a
favorite competition at picnics, field days, etc... way back
when kids were active. Besides the competition part,
they forced the down person to tighten up their core while
getting an excellent upper body workout! The Gator
Walk is a slightly different spin on the classic wheelbarrow
in that you add a staggered pushup in between each step with
your arms. Unlike the wheelbarrow which can incorporate
the speed component, I recommend the Gator Walk be
performed in a slow and controlled motion, paying particular
attention to tightening your core and preventing your back
from swaying towards the ground. In the example above, I
Power Wheel rather than a
partner to demonstrate how this can be performed solo. Gonna pump you up!
Target: chest, shoulders,
(pectoralis major, deltoids,
triceps brachii, rectus abdominus)
person starts in a plank position (the top part of a push-up).
The partner then grabs the down person's ankles and stands up.
** It is important for the partner to keep their arms straight
at their sides while holding the partner's ankles so that the
incline is not so severe as to stress the down person's
shoulders.** The down person will set the pace while the
partner follows slowly. Keeping a rigid body, the down
person will take a full step forward with one hand and do a
staggered push-up. They will then repeat this action
with the other hand. This exercise can be performed for
distance, static time, or for desired repetitions.
A Gift from
I'm a big fan of the holiday
season and decided that I wanted to do something special and
motivational this year in the interest of health and
fitness. Soooo, for the month of December, I decided
to provide a FREE, Confidential, Body Composition evaluation
for my readers that are local (to Bear, DE) that want to get
an accurate starting point before attacking that New Year's
As you may have heard before,
the scale does not tell the whole story!!! Muscle
weighs more than fat and when you first start working out,
it is not uncommon to gain a little weight, or have minimal
losses, due to building muscle while losing fat. If
anything, you should be infinitely more concerned with how
your clothes fit, than what those digits on the scale are
The session is only about 30
minutes and will include a 3-site skinfold caliper test, and
body circumference measurements of 9-sites. You should
wear shorts and
a short sleeved t-shirt under your sweats, although this is
not an exercise session. The best way to track your
progress is to get a good baseline first. I recommend
waiting for 3 months before checking these measurements
developing a firm understanding of your body weight and
composition, these measurements will help you to set weight loss goals that
make sense based upon body fat rather than weight.
Once completed, you will be
mailed the summary report which will include:
Percentage Body Fat vs.
Percentage Lean Mass
Fat Weight vs. Lean Weight
Estimated fat loss goal in
pounds and percentage based upon recommended health standards.
Soooo, for those
of you that are interested in taking me up on this offer,
to contact me
via email so that we can set up an appointment.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
It's Go Time!
I think for Christmas this year I'm going to ask for a set of
guns and a washboard. I know, judging by the look of
Santa, I'm not sure if he knows where to find stuff like that
: ) That's ok... I do. However, if you're looking
for the same type of stuff, you'd better be prepared!
There's typically a waiting list to get them, and they aren't
available on any store shelves. To further complicate
things, you have to do tons of manual labor, regularly, in
order to stay on the waiting list. And, if that's not
bad enough, you have to continue with the regular manual labor
after you've received them or you will be forced to return
them! Now how is that fair? Still... these items
have been extremely popular for years and they really retain
their value... especially during the summer : )|
As we roll into the final month of
2010 I'd like to wish all of you a very happy, healthy, and
safe holiday season! Now is the time to set your goals
for 2011... and by setting them I mean WRITE THEM DOWN!
If you have some really big and serious goals, take some
before pictures and log your numbers to track your progress.
Stay motivated, work hard, and have some patience. Good
things come to those who wait... but you better be busting
your @$$ during that time! Good Luck!
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average means you're as close to the bottom as you are to
the top" -
youtube of the month -->
is a really old video that I've always liked. Not
much on quality but some great ideas for an awesome