As yet another year in the new millennium gets underway, it isn’t a secret that scribbled next to ‘Quit smoking’, or ‘Cut back on alcohol intake’, many a resolute soul jotted down earnest promises regarding the acquisition of fitness and health. In other words:
Get a six-pack.
Pack on ‘x’ amount of lean muscle.
Lose ‘x’ amount of fat.
Complete particular endurance event.
Return to pre-pregnancy body.
Lower blood pressure.
And so on and so forth, et cetera, et cetera.
In fitness terms, an entire year is a long time; definitely sufficient enough to complete a transformation that would make even Voltron blush. However, if the modus operandi is faulty, no amount of time or trendy new exercises and equipment will yield the results you really deserve.
So where do you go for that extra edge? That one X-factor that will separate your killer new routine from the ones that do little more than cause mass boredom and a hopeless staring contest with your anything-but-broken-in running shoes.
What if there was a variable regarding training that most people never considered and ever had the option of seeing listed alongside a workout routine? Not only is this tidbit free to everyone, but also incredibly potent and if learned correctly, can morph any dull exercise into award-winning training and allow an individual to truly succeed with their physical endeavors.
This variable is Pain Tolerance, or, in other words, one’s ability to confront and digest the party platter of discomfort brought about through hard exercise.
Before I go any further, let me clarify that the type of pain in question here is healthy strain derived from proper exercise and NOT joint pain, heart pain, or any other skeletal pain that comes from improper form or poor health and could potentially be dangerous and damaging. Regardless, this distress can take many forms, from a quad-searing burnout on the leg extension to a chest-annihilating giant set on the bench press; even a screaming in the lungs from a personal best at running the mile.
There is a quote that gets tossed around a lot in cycling that simply goes, “To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain.” We may not all be cyclists or even have the slightest inclination to don a skin-tight cycling kit and ride up a few mountains, yet that is the truly great thing about pain tolerance: it applies to everything physical.
Sure, if someone has a great pain tolerance yet goes into the gym and trains like a drunken Richard Simmons, he/she is not going to automatically be on the road to reaching true results, yet when that person does in fact learn to execute their workouts with the precision of science-based routines, it is safe to say they will surpass another doing the same routines due to the fact that they have taught their mind to turn the volume down on that pesky voice in the back of your head screams, “QUIT!”
Pain is tied into working out at the most basic levels. It truly is a physiological variable, although a more scholarly exercise physiologist or personal trainer may use language that disguises pain with smug terms such as ‘lactic acid buildup’, or ’100% VO2 max’ – AKA, “THIS IS BRUTAL!”
Let’s think about some real life exercise situations. When you walk into the weight room and are looking to start off with some bicep training, you may head over to a weight rack, pick up a barbell, then begin doing focused curls. The muscle fibers in your biceps will soon contract and relax in unison with each exertion and your mind perceives this strain as a form of pain.
It hurts, burns, whatever, the main point is that when attempting many exercises, pain is going to a one of the first and most unruly people knocking at the door of your workout party with one goal – crashing it. One of the main things that sets a successful, results-based exerciser apart from one who flounders aloofly and never loses the weight or gets the strength/muscle, is what he/she does when the pain enters the room.
Are you the type of person who begins the repetitions yet drops the barbell and curses, “Damn, that is really painful, let me grab a lighter weight or cut back a few reps”, or do you confront the pain head on and say, “YEAH? SO WHAT? I’m getting this fitness no matter how much you scream and complain,” and proceed to push pain to the side and break through its limitations?
We’ve all seen shows like the Biggest Loser, where a frustrated trainer watches as client after client easily bails on a particular workout and claims they simply can’t go on. When you see something like that occurring, truly analyze what that person is basically saying: it is clear as day that they are not familiar with the physical pain needed to really make results and this unfamiliarity is too shocking for their system to cope with, causing the mind the give up.
The thing is, that is OK! It doesn’t make them a bad or lazy person, it is just that their previous way of life and absence of physicality has left them with a currently very poor ability to digest the stress and pain tied to hard training and it will take some time before they can speak that language.
It is similar to a situation where a shredded workout guru with the utmost masochistic prowess suddenly makes a resolution to become versed in Russian History, yet on their first lesson with the professor, flounders under the heavy course load and cries out at the amount of focused, relentless studying needed to master the material. It isn’t that they will never be able to give a brilliant oration on Rasputin and the Tsars, it’s just that most human beings need time to adjust to the stresses necessary for seriously excelling above the norm.
So how does one gauge his/her pain tolerance? You probably already have a good concept of this, yet here are two great ways to get a feel for it:
Leg extensions: (Even better if done at the end of leg day). Set the weight to about 50% of your one rep max and begin doing focused, squeezing-at-the-top reps, and continue this until that familiar discomfort starts growing out of your quads and attempting to smack your motivation around.
Preacher curls: Grab a similarly graded weight and begin doing concentrated reps. Preacher curls and leg extensions are great ways to gauge pain tolerance because they are completed in a fixed motion and do not require any real form. For instance, if two people were doing squats, there would be a whole myriad of factors that may throw off the delegation of work to the muscles.
With these exercises, and many others like it, you can easily become familiar with what true physical and mental exercise strain feels like, and acclimating yourself to such an extreme will do wonders for every other motion you attempt to do work with.
There have been countless cases of athletes who, according to high-tech lab tests and pages of results, shouldn’t have outperformed their counterparts yet did so because there is no number or test that can quantify a humans ability to dig deep and really desire something.
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” -Vince Lombardi.
That’s it for now. Remember, when trying to fulfill your fitness goals this year, try taking a little detour from browsing the newest workouts or equipment and instead focus on being comfortable with the uncomfortable – your workouts will thank you.
Being fit in middle age may not ad years to your life, however, fitness can help you to avoid chronic illness as you age.
Better quality of life, less time spent treating and healing from illness and time to enjoy your old age are the perks of being in great shape now.
Previous studies have shown that people who are more physically fit have a lower risk of dying early than those who aren’t as in shape, but the current analysis, led by Dr. Jarrett Berry of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is the first to expose a connection with chronic diseases. Berry and his colleagues compared data on fitness levels of 18,670 healthy men and women in their 40s and 50s to Medicare claims for chronic disease treatments a couple of decades later, when the participants became eligible for coverage after age 65. Each of the volunteers performed a treadmill test, during which the researchers measured the length of time they exercised to exhaustion as an indicator of their fitness. For every one-unit improvement in fitness, measured as metabolic equivalents, the volunteers enjoyed a 20% drop in the incidence of the eight conditions the scientists tracked.
Our government, which is getting bigger and bigger, is continually trying to take away the rights of us citizens. Being consistent, the government has taken hold of several industries over the last few years to no benefit, and is now set its sights on the supplement industry. The FDA, a sheep in wolves clothing, is claiming they’re interest in taking over the supplement industry is public safety. However, government statistics show that supplements are basically benign, especially when compared to prescription drugs. Not to mention the outstanding natural health benefits associated with supplement intake.
If the government gets their way, they and the pharmaceutical industry know the supplement industry companies won’t be able to afford the FDA’s drug trial process. Most supplement companies will go out of business if supplements, which includes vitamins, are treated as drugs under the new regulations; drug companies like Merk, Pfizer and others will step in and take over.
Drug companies are not in the business of building health. It is in their best interest to have as many unhealthy people as possible. Its so important that big pharma spends more money on ads than it does on research (twice as much). It’s a marketing driven industry, trying to convince people they have an affliction and the drug companies have the answer.
Is it any wonder why there have been so many drug recalls associated with so many deaths. Perhaps if big pharma spent more on research, and the FDA did their job, many people wouldn’t have lost their lives needlessly. And this is who we’re supposed to put our trust in running our supplement industry?
Taken from Mercola.com:
Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011, introduced at the end of June by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) is trying to treat vitamins as if they are drugs, allegedly to “improve the safety of dietary supplements,” which implies that supplements must be a major safety hazard to begin with. Durbin’s bill goes hand-in-hand with new FDA regulations that amend the definitions for new dietary ingredients (NDI’s), and together, they can threaten your health and freedom of choice, and further serve to strengthen the fatally flawed paradigm of health and medicine.
In 2001, 84.6 percent of all substances implicated in fatal poisonings were pharmaceutical drugs, according to that year’s American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) report. This compares with 0.8 percent for all dietary supplements combined, even including substances such as dinitrophenol, a dangerous (and illegal) substance banned in 1938, as well as the central nervous system stimulant Ma Huang (Ephedra). ONE drug alone, the anti-asthma drug theophylline, which was responsible for 15 deaths that year, amounted to 66 percent more than all the available dietary supplements combined.
According to CDC mortality data for 2005, prescription drugs killed more than 33,500 people that year, second only to car accidents. That same year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 27 deaths that were associated with dietary supplements
Legal DRUGS are killing massive numbers of people, not vitamins and supplements. Unfortunately, one reason for all these drug deaths could be the lax way the FDA “regulates” the drug industry by not requiring that all serious events in a trial be made public:
“When a clinical trial that is undertaken by drug companies shows that a drug has serious side effects, there is no law that says that study has to be published or made public in any way,” Dr. Dean says in her book.
Vioxx is a perfect example of a product that was approved without having published all the clinical studies where serious events that resulted in the deaths of over 60,000 people were discovered.
What’s obvious is that the number of people taking supplements and vitamins is continuously growing. It’s a $60-billion-a-year industry, and the drug industry wants a piece of that pie, as evidenced by drug giant Pfizer, which recently announced that it’s going into the supplement business to counter some of the losses from its blockbusters that are soon going off-patent. The FDA is apparently on-track to protect its client’s vitamin and supplement interests by proposing the new policy it slipped in just before July 4.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of things. In this country, diet is the main culprit. Our food supply is so deficient in nutrients and loaded with anti-nutrients that it’s really no surprise we are experiencing health problems in epidemic proportions. Vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fats) are a huge contributor to hypothyroidism, obesity, cardio vascular disease and other health problems. These are man-made foods that have only been around since the early 1900s, with soy oil becoming the number one cooking oil by the 1950s.
Soy products, like soy oil and protein, contain extremely high amounts of goitrogens. Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances that interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland by blocking the synthesis of thyroid hormones and slowing ones metabolism. Before inexpensive polyunsaturated fats became common place, beef tallow, lard, olive oil and tropical oils were in use; heart disease, hypothyroidism, obesity, diabetes and other diseases were but a fraction of the incidence they are today.
Low testosterone (T) symptoms may include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fewer sexual thoughts, mood problems, fatigue, loss of muscle, poor concentration, sleep disturbances, and fewer morning erections. Low T is also associated with several chronic medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
Men who get treated for low T have a very positive experience. The changes in appearance and mental state can be very profound. Interestingly, these positive changes associated with T therapy, have been found to occur at different times. A study from the University of Koln in Germany analyzed the relationship of time following administration vs. the effects on sexual functioning and mood on forty subjects. Researchers found sexual thoughts and fantasies occurred within weeks of initiating T therapy. Total number of erections rose steadily and peaked at 9 weeks. Ejaculations per week steadily rose and plateaued over 12 weeks. Depression decreased gradually and leveled off at 6 weeks. Mental concentration improved within the first 3 weeks, but overall mood did not improve until weeks 6 – 9. The Aging Male 2009, 12: 113-118
Are you an athlete looking to enhance your abilities? Would you like to increase your muscular size? Would you like to increase your strength? Would you like to boost your self-esteem? Do you want to lose body-fat? Are you a weekend warrior trying to extend your ability to play sports? Are you a stay at home mom who just wants to look and feel better? Are you a forty something male who wants to feel strong and lose some that spare tire? If you answered yes to any of these, you should be training for strength.
Strength training is not just for powerlifters, bodybuilders or high impact sports. Strength training can benefit everyone. At a minimum you should be strength training to ensure your health and overall wellbeing. And I’m not just talking about today, but for the future as well. As we age we lose muscle. This is an undeniable truth. This facet of aging has several negative outcomes:
Losing muscle will cause a decrease in your basal metabolic rate. Muscle drives the metabolism. The more you have the more calories you burn. Conversely, the more you lose the fewer calories you burn. It doesn’t stop here.
The more muscle one loses the weaker one gets. This is logical because the fewer muscle fibers there are to create motion, the less force you’ll be able to produce.
The weaker one gets as a result of muscle lost, the tighter one gets resulting in a loss of flexibility. And as one loses flexibility, they lose more strength, which also creates a loss of muscle. This loss of flexibility coupled with a loss of strength dramatically increases ones risk for injuries.
Are you starting to see what a vicious cycle this becomes?
So, I think my point that despite your genetics, experience, what you know (or what you think you know) about training, strength training is for you.
A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, was performed in order to show whether a dark roast coffee beverage had stronger antioxidant effects on humans than a light roast.
“Intake of the dark roast CB most effectively improved the antioxidant status of erythrocytes: superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity decreased by 5.8 and 15%, respectively, whereas tocopherol and total glutathione concentrations increased by 41 and 14%, respectively. Furthermore, administration of the NMP-rich CB led to a significant body weight reduction in pre-obese subjects, whereas the CGA-rich CB did not.”
In other words, dark roast coffee is more effective than light roast coffee in reducing body weight, and in restoring red blood cell vitamin E and glutathione concentrations in healthy volunteers.
Many researchers say glutathione is probably the most important substance we require to stay healthy. Many go as far to say it’s the secret to prevent aging. Present in every cell of our body, glutathione levels just might be one of the best biochemical markers there is; the higher your glutathione levels are the healthier you will be. Glutathione deficiency is found in almost all patients with extreme illnesses, e.g., cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, liver disease, diabetes and more. The anti-aging secret
Have you ever heard of glutathione (pronounced; gloota-thigh-own)? Neither has almost anyone else. Many researchers say it’s probably the most important substance we require to stay healthy. Many go as far to say it’s the secret to prevent aging. So where’s Oprah, and the rest of the media? A quick search of the term “glutathione” on PubMed.gov reveals 94,117 scholarly articles, reviews and abstracts.
Present in every cell of our body, glutathione levels just might be one of the best biochemical markers there is; the higher your glutathione levels are the healthier you will be. Glutathione deficiency is found in almost all patients with extreme illnesses, e.g., cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, liver disease, diabetes and more. In fact, researchers are concluding glutathione deficiency may play a role in patients with schizophrenia. In cerebrospinal fluid of drug-free schizophrenic patients, a significant decrease in the level of total glutathione was observed as compared to controls. EJN
Glutathione’s importance to a properly functioning immune system has been shown in many studies. According to Dr. Gustavo Bounous, “The limiting factor for the proper activity and multiplication of our lymphocytes (white blood cells) is the availability of glutathione”.
Every day our bodies are exposed to stress, pollution, infection, drugs (illicit or licit) and alcohol, poor diet, infections and injury, which drain our bodies of glutathione; this depletion leaves our bodies susceptible to high levels of oxidative stress, which leads to aging, disease and eventual death. I predict that concern about glutathione levels will eventually be on par with other preventative health issues.