Friday, February 11, 2011

The big 3

Have you been training and dieting for a while? Do you often feel like even though you make gains in strength or endurance or even lose weight little by little your body just doesn’t seem to respond the way you want it to? Well then its time to open your eyes to how the body works and how reacts to the three macronutrients.

When you train, whether it is with bodyweight or added weight, your body responds to stimulus by recruiting hundreds of muscle fibers in order to handle the load. Your muscles are what allow you to move when they are attached to your skeleton. As you get stronger not only do your muscles respond to the load but so do your bones. When we put stress on our bones we increase their density in order for them to be able to handle the extraneous amounts we lift. In the 19th century a German Anatomist named Julius Wolff stated:
“a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads it is placed under. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. The internal architecture of the trabeculae undergoes adaptive changes, followed by secondary changes to the external cortical portion of the bone, perhaps becoming thicker as a result.”
A perfect example of this would be a martial artist, who punch or kick objects with increasing intensity to develop striking power to damage opponents, often display increases in bone density in the striking area. Lifting weights is very similar, as we need harder bones so that they don’t snap under the pressure when we add weight. As bones are thicker our muscles are able to handle more resistance, whether the resistance is more reps with a weight or a heavier weight, but why?

Depending on how you train you can actually transform your muscles to have more of one type of fiber than the others. You see your body is composed of three types of skeletal muscle fibers: Type I, know mostly as endurance fibers, Type II a, which are larger fibers that fatigue faster than Type I, and Type II b, your largest fibers that fatigue most easily. As you train these fibers become stronger and more efficient at the work we place on them, especially when first starting an exercise program. But then why does progress slow or stop altogether? Unfortunately many people don’t know proper nutrition.

Your three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You need the nutrients just for normal day to day function, and even more when under a strenuous exercise program. If someone is obese and looking to lose weight and get in shape it is important that they get an exercise program and drop their total caloric intake in order to get started but what should they cut out? A lot of trendy diets out there cut carbs and up fat and protein intake, or cut fat and up carb and protein intake, but what’s correct? Neither. Length depletion of macros has a negative result on our bodies. Most people drop their fat intake for “heart health”, the problem isn’t fat as a whole, and it’s the type of fats that’s the problem. People who have diets high in saturated fat tend to have heart problems due to the clogging or arteries. The answer there is simple; eat less saturated fat and intake more poly and mono-saturated fat which not only are heart healthy, but waist line friendly. Carbohydrates are completely necessary for proper bodily function. Not only do carbs bind with protein in order to aid in muscle growth and development but brain function. Carbohydrates are also needed to regulate protein and fat metabolism. With the proteins and fats, the carbohydrates help to fight infections, promote growth of body tissues such as bones and skin, and lubricate the joints. Length deprivation of carbs can even cause loss of muscle tissue. By eating a good supply of all three macro nutrients and with a good training program there is no reason why you can develop the lean, strong body you want.

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