1) You can’t get hurt if you don’t use your muscles!
You are probably familiar with the saying “you can’t hit a moving target”.
But what does it mean exactly?
Well, it means that you cannot injure yourself if you do not use your muscles. If you have ever tried to run from a bear and failed because of a sprained ankle then you know how true this statement is.
So, why is it so hard to avoid getting injured?
Because our bodies are designed to move around. Our muscles are made up of fibers which contract and relax at regular intervals. When they become overworked or underused, they will cause us pain. That’s why we need to keep them fresh by doing some exercises regularly such as squats, lunges, push ups etc.
2) Muscle mass equals strength!
Strength is defined as the ability to produce force against resistance. Strength is determined by the amount of muscle mass used. For example, a 200 pound man can lift 100 pounds but only if he has 300 times more muscle than his antagonist (the person trying to stop him). However, there are other factors involved in determining strength besides just muscle size. These include bone density, connective tissue elasticity and even heart rate and blood pressure.
But, you should remember that having more muscle mass will always give an advantage over someone with less muscle mass.
3) There is no such thing as spot reduction!
You’ve probably heard this before and it’s true. You cannot lose fat from a specific part of your body by only doing exercises for that part. Muscle growth happens when your body senses that your muscles are under stress. So, if you do lots of squats you will probably get bigger legs but not just your legs, the rest of your body parts as well.
4) There are two types of muscle growth!
You can grow muscles through two different ways. The first one is called myofibrillar growth and it results in an increase in your muscle size. This is the type of growth that you want to maximize because it’s the kind that creates those bulky muscles that everyone desires. For this type of growth you should use heavy weights and a low number of repetitions. This is because the micro-tears caused by lifting heavy weights will force your body to create new muscle fibers to repair itself.
The second type is called sarcoplasmic growth and it doesn’t really “increase” your muscle size. Rather it increases the fluid and nutrient content of your muscles, making them look fuller. You achieve this by using a low weight with a high number of repetitions.
5) The stronger you get, the longer it takes to recover!
As you get stronger, you find that it takes longer and longer to recover from your workouts. This is because as you grow stronger, it requires more time for your muscles to repair themselves after a heavy workout. This is why we advise that you don’t increase the weight without giving your muscles adequate time to recover. Let’s say you work out on Monday and then try to work out again on Wednesday. You will fail to achieve the desired results and might even get injured.
This phenomenon is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and affects most people when they initially start working out. Luckily, your body gets used to it with time and this will no longer be a problem when you’ve been at it for a while.
6) You can achieve a “burn” (a positive one!
) without lifting heavy weights.
We’ve all heard those stories from our grandparents about how their generation could lift a horse with one hand using only their mighty muscles. Well, they weren’t lying! They could achieve this because back in those days they actually used their muscles, unlike us who spend most of our time behind desks.
So how do you develop “beef bulging muscles” without weight training?
The answer is according to modern science – by doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. This type of exercise can be effective for improving your endurance levels as well.
7) Muscles heal and recover much faster than any other part of the human body.
This is another phenomena that works in your favor. Now, you would expect that as your muscles grow in size your body would require more time to heal. However, as your muscles grow, the skin around them grows as well. So when you sustain a cut or a wound on your arm it will take longer to heal because there’s more skin involved than actual muscle.
Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
8) You burn more fat with HIIT than with steady-state cardio.
This is rather obvious once you learn the theory behind it. With steady-state cardio, your body relies on a constant stream of energy for a longer period of time. Once that energy source (glucose) starts to run out, your body taps into your fat reserves to continue burning calories. So even though you might have burned more calories during that period of time, you actually burn less fat because your body didn’t need to tap into those fat reserves. With interval training, your body doesn’t have a constant stream of energy so it needs to turn to your fat reserves quicker and more often.
And since fat contains 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates, you actually burn much more fat than with steady-state cardio.
9) Your lungs are not the limiting factor when it comes to endurance training.
This is surprising, isn’t it?
When most people start interval training for the first time they experience shortness of breath along with a feeling of suffocation. This is mainly because our society is so focused on our cardiovascular health that most people believe that our lungs are the limiting factor when it comes to endurance training. Not true. The limiting factor is the muscles themselves. Your muscles are what determines how far you can go and how long you can keep that pace up.
Sources & references used in this article:
Runner’s world complete book of women’s running: The best advice to get started, stay motivated, lose weight, run injury-free, be safe, and train for any … by DS Barrios – 2007 – books.google.com
ChiRunning: A revolutionary approach to effortless, injury-free running by D Dreyer, K Dreyer – 2009 – books.google.com
Runner’s world complete book of women’s running: the best advice to get started, stay motivated, lose weight, run injury-free, be safe, and train for any … by D Scott, DS Barrios – 2000 – books.google.com
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: Part 2, a meta-analysis of neuromuscular interventions aimed at injury prevention by TE Hewett, KR Ford, GD Myer – The American journal of …, 2006 – journals.sagepub.com
The relationship between hip strength and running injuries–the latest research by J Davis – runnersconnect.net
Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Sports by B Pearl – 2005 – books.google.com