More than just Looking Good Naked
Ollie here. You asked for it so now you’re getting it....Two blogs a week. I’ll be in your inbox every Wednesday morning and John will continue his Sunday Morning Blog piece. Enjoy!
I don't care about being strong or lifting weights, I just want to look good naked!
It's true, the majority of us just want to look the 'dogs' in our birthday suits, and that's great, but what if you were told you could look amazing in the nip and perform like a hero too?
We're not just talking about bedroom shenanigans here though, the fact is that increasing your strength and muscular development is going to impact your life on so many levels.
How many times have you walked into your local gym or health club and seen the lines of treadmills occupied, and how many of those occupants look happy, fulfilled and like they’re making progress towards their body composition goals?
“Yeah, yeah, heard it all before mate. Treadmills are shit, blah, blah, blah. So what’s so special about resistance training?”
Topping out the list of benefits has got to be the rewards your joints and bones can reap from a well programmed resistance training protocol.
The stimulus that strength/ resistance training elicits on the anatomy surrounding your joints has been proven (by science no less!) to reduce the risk of injury to said joint(s) and improve joint stability and structural integrity.
This stimulus causes adaptations to occur that will simultaneously strengthen tendons, muscle and bone... BOOM! Triple whammy!
Let’s start with the tendons...
Applying this stressor to your tendons (Tendons are connective tissues that attach muscle to bone) causes your body to generate a stronger cohesion between tendon and bone. Tendons have also been seen to lose some of their stiffness with age, potentially making them more prone to injury and/or tendon stress. Recent evidence has shown that these symptoms can be alleviated by the application of resistance training.
More good news now, this time for your bones...
At present it is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have Osteoporosis. One in 5 men and 1 in 2 women over 50 will develop a fracture due to Osteoporosis in their lifetime. (irishosteoporosis.ie)
That’s a pretty scary prospect and of course there are many factors that contribute to these stats... lack of vitamin D and poor nutrition being just two of them. However there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel.
The loading of skeletal tissue during a specific resistance training programme causes an adaptation called bone modelling, a process whereby protein molecules are deposited between the cells in the bone forming a bone matrix which then mineralise as calcium phosphate crystals, becoming a rigid structure. This structure forms predominantly on the outer surface of the bone, making those bones denser, thicker and of course stronger.
What about them muscles, man!?
During the very first stages of a strength/ resistance programme the changes occurring to skeletal musculature are generally, mostly neural adaptations- the development of more efficient neural pathways along the route to the muscle, learned greater motor unit recruitment (nerve impulses that cause contraction) and the inhibition of neural protective mechanisms- basically if you imagine a production line manned by workers with selective hearing, they’re taken on a team building exercise and learn to listen and work better as a team.
In the longer term the growth of a muscle (hypertrophy) is the collective result of the growth in number and size of contractile protein filaments, an increase in the amount fluid in the muscle (Sarcoplasm) and possible increases in the connective tissue surrounding the muscle fibres. So not only have our production line workers learned to listen to one another and work better together, they’re now a bunch of kickass guys and gals with a greater ability to perform their duties.
These adaptations combined make a pretty solid case for improving the health of your joints, don’t ya think?
Alright, so that’s the boring stuff out the way, let’s talk about how we going to feel and look after pushin’ that iron around!
I personally find that completing a session in the weights room is one of the most rewarding things I can do. That feeling, the burning muscles...oooossshhh.
Not only that though, a well balanced programme will help you achieve that tall confident look. Compound movements (exercises that require the combined use of several muscle groups to move two or more joints through a range of motion) such as the deadlift or squat, will help to address muscular imbalances and improvements in posture.
This is the bit we’ve all been waiting for though...
The best way to improve body composition (how you look when you're naked)...
This is the best bit, creating denser, thicker and stronger musculature will give your body definition, tone and shape. Muscle uses the most amount of energy too and so by increasing your lean mass you'll increase the amount of energy (kcals) you burn throughout your day. And, you’ll be able to eat more! (My personal favourite side effect)
Also by stressing your muscles in this way you create a far superior nutrient portioning effect, this means that what you eat post workout will likely head straight to your muscles to help them recover.
Now, just a side note for anyone worried about becoming too “bulky” or “muscle”, before you run for the hills let me tell you, you won't end up looking like those guys you've seen throwing dumbbells around and grunting over by the mirrors. Serious amounts of muscle mass takes an awful amount of time, blood, sweat, tears, food and money to build, it won’t happen over night! Differences between male and female sex hormones (Testosterone) also play a huge role in the amount and rate at which muscle mass is built.
Doesn't mean you can't kick ass in the weight room and look ace in your swimming cozzy though!
So next time you’re sucked in by the hamster wheel just cast your mind back to the countless hours you’ve already spent grinding away on those machines and then try adding up the results you’ve seen since using them. That’s some hard maths!
Go lift stuff,