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.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Vote Thoughtfully, Intelligently and Responsibly

We, as a society and culture, need to reward success rather than failure -- and then saying there is no difference between the two.

Eventually, people who are successful don't need any rewards -- while those failing, need greater incentives and support -- while threatening to drag down everybody else with them, if they don't get it.

That is particularly the crisis with those who won't look after their own health and well-being as their own primary responsibility -- but demand that everyone else should become their taxpayer supported caregivers for life. We can't have a viable, sustainable society and future that way.

We have to vote for a successful society and personalities -- and not just to enable the dysfunctional, because they know how to game the system, because they have the most seniority at it.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Yes, You Can

The biggest difference between people, is how independent and free they are -- even beyond their actual physical limitations and abilities -- is what they think they can do, or cannot.

For most people today, unfortunately, that is the indoctrination that they can do little, or even nothing, for themselves, or on their own.  In everything, and every way, they are "taught" to require the instruction and guidance of others, before thinking they could do those things for themselves -- without that assistance, and would be far better off, for the actual learning of that process -- rather than just being taught the "answer," which may not necessarily be the best, or even correct.

Often in the world of instruction, it doesn't matter that one learns the best technique or insights, but merely that they teach what all the other teachers teach, or agree to teach -- as the only truth everyone should know.  So the fact that everyone knows something, doesn't necessarily make it true, or helpful, and may not serve the best interests of the individual, but rather the status quo that benefits from that widespread belief -- which in contemporary society, is the belief that one can do little, if nothing, for and by oneself -- which is the very antithesis of a free and independent life this country was founded upon.

The unions and its teachers, drum into their charges, that they are nothing alone, or acting as individuals, but can only have power and be effective, acting as a group or collective, imposing their will on all the others, because they are organized to do so.  Thus, some people know no other way of being, except to go along with the crowd, as the only way of life -- and never know what it means to think and act for themselves -- which is the fulfilment and achievement of every individual life.

Many in fact, do not think such a life is possible -- to stand alone in this world, and think things out for themselves.  Their teachers may expressly teach them not to -- in preference to their authority to tell them what to think, instead of learning how to think, for themselves, and on their own.  That is the function of mass media and mass education so that people learn what to think, rather than how to think for themselves.

Those of the former, are constantly trying to get everyone else to get into that conformity -- and to regard every other way, as a deviancy, if not a heresy.  What will happen, if everyone insisted on thinking for themselves?, the teachers will often say, warning of the chaos that would ensue, as though that were a matter of fact.  That underlies their belief that every truth is arbitrary, and needing to be taught, rather than learned.

Fundamentally, that is the difference, between those who think they can, and those who think they cannot.  They have to learn that on their own -- because that is never taught, but only and always learned, by those capable of any real learning.  That is what education tries to mimic -- the actual learning process, that the whole reality of a culture (environment) empowers, or does not.  When it does not, then that society must sow fears and limitations so that no one dares go beyond the conformity -- to the right (only) way of thought and doing anything, which is always within the prescribed pattern, even if it doesn't work for most people -- but they've come to accept it as the only way it can be.

Unfortunately, as most people grow older in life, they come increasingly to be taught that they cannot do more and more, and can only look forward then, to a life of increasing dysfunction and dependency on others to do everything for them -- as the promise and entitlement of that generation.  

So certainly, a few will ask, "Is there another way, another fate for mankind?"