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"Stronger Every Day"
If you are
finding it challenging to integrate the gym into your daily
lifestyle despite your good intentions, perhaps you will find the
following information helpful.
Fortunately, it is possible to reshape your
body with the application of resistance to specific muscle groups
through the use of weights or some other form of strength training.
Not only can you make your physical
body stronger by applying resistance to your muscles with the use of
machines or free weights, but you can dramatically change your
outward appearance and increase your level of self confidence, as
The process of building muscle tissue is quite
fascinating and somewhat complicated. Basically, what happens is
this: during a process called catabolism, your muscle tissue is
naturally broken down as it is placed under a certain amount of
stress or resistance, such as lifting a heavy weight.
As the tissue rebuilds and repairs itself
during a physiological process known as anabolism, it builds back a
little bit stronger, in order to be prepared for the next overload.
If you are between the ages of thirty and
thirty-five, you may find it interesting (and also quite unfair) to
know that muscle mass tends to begin slowly decreasing at this age.
Around age fifty-five, muscle mass tends to decrease even more
These facts are especially relevant if
you are trying to lose bodyfat, since muscle is the body's most
metabolically active tissue. It's true that muscle burns fat even
while you sleep and that muscle weighs more than fat (roughly two
and a half times more).
since strong muscles reinforce and stabilize joints, weight training
also helps prevent injury, stiffness, and pain. More than four
hundred muscles help keep your body firm and strong. Fortunately,
the stronger your muscles are, the more they help protect and
reinforce the joints they support (and burn fat at the same time!)
Weight training, sometimes referred to as
dynamic or isotonic training, includes two different components of
muscle contraction: concentric and eccentric
A good example of the concentric
component of a muscle contraction is the "curling" action of a
biceps dumbbell curl. During this concentric portion of the muscle
contraction, the biceps muscle shortens as it contracts to move the
weight while you raise the dumbbell upward.
The eccentric component of muscle contraction,
on the other hand, involves the lengthening of a muscle. For
example, the lowering action of a dumbbell curl, during which the
arm is slowly straightened from a bent position, is considered the
eccentric component of the dumbbell curl exercise.
The eccentric component is also known as
negative contraction, and is commonly referred to as "doing
negatives" in gym settings. To increase the size of a particular
muscle, it helps to focus your energy on the eccentric type of
contraction during each repetition. This is a simple, effective tip
that is often overlooked by many well-intentioned weight lifters.
I actually recommend that my clients spend
twice as much time on the eccentric portion of an exercise as they
do on the concentric portion. In other words, if it takes you two
seconds to curl a dumbbell, you should count to four on the way down
and concentrate on maintaining steady resistance throughout the
As if all of the aforementioned benefits of
weight training weren't enough, we all know that a strong healthy
body can increase one's chances of success in today's highly
competitive world. An attractive, healthy looking body can be an
extremely valuable asset and can affect how others view you in the
business and social arena.
There are numerous scientific reasons why
strength training can be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle,
but my favorite reason is the least scientific. It's really quite
simple. I have found that when I work out on a regular basis, I
feel stronger, more focused, and considerably more energetic.
As one of my buff best friends told me during a
particularly challenging time in her life, "Working out gives me a
sense of confidence and power that I carry with me everywhere I go,
and no one can ever take that away from you!"
---- Author: Dr. Suzanne Osborne