strength training

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A study: Strength training plus additional protein results in fat loss and added muscle

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The body makes adaptations to survive. Don’t eat enough and the body will catabolize calorie-consuming lean body tissue to lower your metabolism. Lift weights and the body will build lean muscle and raise your metabolism. In order for that to occur sufficient protein must be consumed. To fight the resulting lower metabolism of a restrictive diet it makes sense to lift weights and consume adequate protein to keep your metabolism up.

From this study, More Protein Combined With Exercise May Lead to Weight Loss and Muscle Gain | McMaster University Research Snaps this quote:

“Weight loss regimes that involve a low-calorie diet result in a major loss in fat mass, but can also cause a loss in muscle mass.”

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Study compares once- versus twice-a-week strength training

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In a study, 65-79 year old subjects were split into two groups; one strength trained once a week, the other twice a week. The results of this study, Comparison of once‐weekly and twice‐weekly strength training in older adults:

“One set of exercises performed once weekly to muscle fatigue improved strength as well as twice a week in the older adult.”

Exercise serves as stimulus to force your body to make a self-protective adaptation. That adaptation will only occur if your body is allowed to recover and compensate for stress placed on it.

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A interesting result of a study comparing lifting lighter versus heavier weights

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As self-protection the body makes adaptations specific to the demands placed on it if given adequate time and resources for recovery. A study bears this out.  Eighteen well-trained subjects were divided into two groups. One group lifted heavier weights until reaching muscular failure, and the other lifted lighter weights until reaching muscular failure.

From the study, Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men:

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Lifting lighter weights produces the same results as heavier weights, a point to consider

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From this NYT article Lifting Lighter Weights Can Be Just as Effective as Heavy Ones:

“A new study finds that people who lift relatively light weights can build just as much strength and muscle size as those who grunt through sessions using much heftier weights.”

If lifting heavy or lighter weights produce the same strength increases you might do well to consider which produces those results in the safest manner. Increasing strength should not be the cause of injuries, but rather it should give you protection from injuries.

Whether the weights lifted are lighter or heavier in both instances the stress imposed on the body needs to be sufficient to affect a positive change. When the body is exposed to more than it’s used to handling, as an act of self-preservation, the body responds by making a positive adaptation if given enough time and resources to recover from the imposed stress.

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Strength training to improve athletic performance

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Practicing a skill – clubhead speed, sprinting, jumping - exactly as it is supposed to be performed has been shown to improve performance. Increasing one’s strength can help improve performance of a skill too, but it is not axiomatic that the strength training exercises be exactly the same movement or even a close approximation of the particular skill to affect improvement.

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A year after hitting bottom

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The presistant aches and pains from old injuries were my excuse for not exercising. Not exercising led to more aches and pains, less activity, weight gain, and weakness. In a weakened state illnesses are likely to be more frequent and protracted.

I got pneumonia and bronchitis, and my asthma flared up. My blood oxygen absorption rate fell to the low 80s. My heart had to work harder to get the oxygen I needed. As a result my blood pressure rose, and my resting pulse was twenty beats per minute higher. I was listless and constantly tired.

My cardiologist was concerned that I may have had a silent heart attack, so he conducted a series of tests.  I passed. That was almost a year ago, the bottom of a negative cycle. They say you have got to hit rock bottom before you commit to making a change.

Since that time I have changed my eating habits. I have not missed a strength training session regardless of the aches and pains. Funny thing is, the exercise made the aches and pains go away. Pain-free, I was able to add other activities. I began biking a couple times a week.

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Peak strength and endurance at the same time, Is it doable?

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An active Marine who trained a lot once told me, "Whenever I do my personal best at bench press my running is way off, and whenever I am at my best at running my bench press suffers".

Alan Page was a 260 pound defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Toward end of his career he had trained for and completed a marathon – the first active NFL player to do so. He lost a significant amount of muscle; so much so that he switched position to linebacker at 225 pounds. When you run great distances carting around more muscle is demanding.

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Muscles linked to increased bone density

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From this study Molecule made by muscle shown for first time to build bone:

“The study suggests irisin is fundamental to muscle-bone communication, and likely translates the well-known skeletal anabolic action of exercise by directly stimulating new bone synthesis by osteoblasts.”

Stronger muscles generating more force will require stronger connective tissue and bones to handle the additional stress on the system. Strength training is not just for strength. Proper strength training results in increased strength, bone density, body leanness, flexibility, cardiovascular ability, plus added protection from injury and a stronger immune system.  More than anything else you will feel so much better.

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The Price Of Inactivity

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In the last 35 years I have had about a half dozen times where I got out of the habit of exercising as a result of injuries or life just getting in the way. When that happened I had a greater propensity to eat more comfort food. I would even get up in the middle of the night to eat. Of course I gained weight, sugar levels went up, bad cholesteral went up, and my blood pressure was a little harder to control. What was more striking was how badly I felt. Old injuries came back to haunt me.

Last year I tore my Achilles tendon right in two. The recovery was slow. I stopped all exercise for months. I woke up one day with a pain in my shoulder that’s lasted for days. I further injured it playing around with my daughter. The pain, numbness, and restricted movement lasted for months. Because I favored one shoulder I slept on the other shoulder, and it soon began to hurt as well.

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Don't hang up those cleats just yet

At 78 years of age Jack had few golfers his age to golf with. His friend Marcus was 73 and about ready to hang up his cleats for good. Marcus could play nine holes and that was about it; the next day he’d be too rundown to play again. Jack insisted that Marcus start doing the strength training program Jack had been doing for years. Jack said, "Anybody can stick to one half hour a week. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

A year later Marcus was playing 18 holes of golf, and the next day, he would play 18 holes again. He was hitting the ball farther and enjoying golf again. Marcus had added quality years to his life, and it took just minutes a week.

Every time Marcus exercised he would do a little more. Each week he gave himself ample time to recover, and because of that each week he would improve.  52 weeks of continuing improvement add up.

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