Biohackers https://biohackersfitness.com Transform Everything Mon, 06 Jan 2020 18:12:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Muscle Is More Than You Know https://biohackersfitness.com/muscle-is-more-than-you-know/ Fri, 03 Jan 2020 22:11:58 +0000 https://biohackersfitness.com/?p=2768 The post Muscle Is More Than You Know appeared first on Biohackers.

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Muscle. It’s so much more than the “man trait,” so much more than the bodybuilder trademark, so much more than the power to open a jar when the rest of the family fails. It is all of things I mentioned, but . . . as you now understand . . . so much more.

Muscle is movement. If you recognize that your skeleton is simply bony structures joined by connective tissue, you’ll understand that every movement results from the stimulation of muscle fibers. In that, muscle burns calories, and since a calorie is a unit of heat, it’s fair to say muscle produces heat.

In some of my programs I delve into the spectrum of muscle fibers, their oxidative potentialities, and the ideal training regimen for optimizing what I call “balanced muscle.” Balanced muscle leads to optimal function, optimal performance, and unless you train for a specialized endeavor such as powerlifting or marathon running, enhancement of life for anyone seeking betterment.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Those who maintain healthy body composition, an appreciable ratio between lean body mass and fat, appear to have a more precision-oriented immune system, a greater flexibility of thought, a heightened sex drive, and an enhanced ability to resist negative impulses. I know you never thought a few more biceps curls might help you resist the appeal of cheesecake, but research indicates the energy investment will pay off in more ways than one.

Men have always embraced the pursuit of muscle, and I think it’s fair to say many women embraced the pursuit of muscle among men, but the old, “weight training will make me big” myth was once pervasive. I recently watched “Flashdance,” a movie from the 1980’s, and laughed at a scene where the “Flashdancers” were working out. They were lifting weights and it seemed so awkward yet so radical. Back then women did aerobics following the lead of Jane Fonda, the workout video pioneer, or Olivia Newton John in “Let’s Get Physical” or Jamie Lee Curtis in “Perfect.”

When “Terminator” came out, Linda Hamilton became an icon representing “sexy women with muscle” and the impact upon public perception seemed to change. While there are certainly extremes that might lead the less-informed to believe “weights make women big,” today we see fitness models and figure competitors demonstrating the feminine beauty of muscle everywhere we look. That’s why it surprises me when a new client resists weights. She doesn’t want to “bulk up.” As hard as this may be to fathom, I hear it all the time. Still.

Ladies . . . if you want to be toned, if you want to be lean, you want muscle, the feminine muscle your body is genetically programmed to develop when you stimulate change with resistance exercise.

Dr. Comella and I shared some of these insights in a recent podcast and if you’ve ever questioned whether your exercise routine should include a distinctive focus on muscle, you want to hang out with us for 15 minutes or so and gain some clear perspective.

Watch the podcast

About the M3 podcast

M3 – Mind, Muscle & Medicine, is an informative and entertaining podcast aimed at helping people from all walks of life find betterment. Subscribe to our channel and view all past episodes here.

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Dealing With Inflammation https://biohackersfitness.com/dealing-with-inflammation/ Wed, 18 Dec 2019 19:03:50 +0000 http://biohackersfitness.com/?p=2738 The post Dealing With Inflammation appeared first on Biohackers.

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In a recent podcast with Dr. Comella, the topic of Inflammation took front and center stage.  Be sure to watch the podcast.  Here I’ll provide a bit of additional support to help you understand why we are often heard blaming inflammation as the underlying “cause” of dis-ease.

Watch the podcast, then continue reading below

All about inflammation

Red, sore, and swollen.  That might describe the inside of your throat if you picked up an infection, or it might describe your knee if you sprained it reaching for a backhand playing recreational tennis.

We’re used to seeing inflammation and associating it with illness or injury.  A splinter in your thumb leads to an inflamed area around the site of penetration and a baseball whacking you in the eye leads to . . . yes . . . inflammation.

Inflammation is a wonderfully protective process, a job performed by your immune system, and in a state of health, that immune system handles the task extraordinarily well.  A well-tuned immune system is your very best friend as it serves as both, the alarm system that alerts you when an invader enters your body, and the SWAT team that goes to work to wipe out the invaders.

When that splinter slides into your thumb, little tiny microbes come along for the ride, surfing through your skin ready to enter the bloodstream and colonize . . . but that trustworthy immune system goes right to work.  It immediately prevents any foreign microbes from going any further.  It inflames the area, sends little warriors to clean up the mess, and then aids in rapid and complete healing.

Clearly, in any battle between your body and pathogens, your immune system and its inflammatory ability are the good guys.  That’s why at first you may react when I tell you that the dis-ease epidemic we’re seeing in the 21st century, the escalations in heart disease, hypertension, complications of diabetes, and other diseases we mistakenly associate with aging, are the result of inflammation, or better stated, the immune system gone rogue.

How does this happen?

To simplify a complex process, let’s recognize the hypothalamus as the control center of the brain, as the air traffic controller for all of the millions of chemical transactions and interactions that take place between and among the endocrine glands, each one a home base for hormones.

Despite its tiny size, the hypothalamus is more than a hormone manager.  It works non-stop to maintain homeostasis, balance within the body’s internal universe.  When an alien invader finds its way into that universe, be it through a skin puncture, inhalation, ingestion, or transdermally (through the surface of the skin), the hypothalamus begins a chemical chain of events that signal the liver to manufacture a protein that drives the inflammatory process.  That protein, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), elevates rapidly and in that, the acute inflammatory response can quickly subdue any invader and restore normalcy.

With CRP circulating, the immune system develops an enhanced awareness of the location and severity of the problem and begins to send out its little ninjas, cytokines, to go directly to the problematic site and begin the inflammatory process.  The redness, soreness, and swelling you may experience when your innate software is running an inflammatory program are evidence that things are being handled.  The nearby tissues are being protected, the alien microbes or pathogens are being isolated and eradicated, and the body’s innate repair process is in motion.  That brings us back to the question, how can this powerful fix-it mechanism be the cause?

In the 21st century, we face toxins, stressors, and environmental factors in volumes we’ve never known before.  When the body’s innate inflammatory response is triggered, not by a pathogen that can be fast eliminated, but by a chronic and ongoing stressor, CRP circulation becomes chronic.  With CRP actively elevated, cytokines are called to act, and without resolve, that continued CRP elevation creates a literal cytokine storm.  With time, the body’s innate protective mechanisms become confused, the body longs for a recovery state, and the inflammatory switch gets flicked . . . without any opportunity to go back to the “off” position.

As an example, imagine a smoker smoking his first cigarette.  Tar and nicotine enter the respiratory tract and the liver is alerted beginning the systemic flow of CRP.  As they’re transferred from the smoking cigarette into the bronchial passes, those pathogens, tar and nicotine, are on the move. They travel through the lungs’ tiny passageways and find their way into the bloodstream.  They’re taking a wild journey through arteries and veins never resting to affect an isolated location.

The cytokine warriors are activate and mobilized in pursuit of the pathogens, ready to inflame, but as the tar and nicotine move, there’s no specific “site” of injury to be inflamed and rescued.  If the cigarette smoking was an isolated incident, as the blood clears of nicotine metabolites, all would return to normal, but if it’s the beginning of a pattern of invasion, things run amok.

The smoker decides to try another cigarette two hours later and the process repeats.  The tar and nicotine, along their travels, do some cellular damage.  The injury is small and nearly insignificant (we refer to it as microinjury) with each cigarette, but as the smoker develops the habit or 20 cigarettes a day the tiny episodes of damage are perpetual.  Ongoing.

We can call that ongoing injury “chronic cellular damage.”  The immune system becomes frustrated in trying to catch the individual invaders, so it learns to keep the cytokines flowing, non-stop.

Eventually the entire respiratory system or circulatory system becomes inflamed.  We can refer to this rogue behavior of an innate well-meaning process as a maladapted response.  The brain’s programming gets altered, and with it, the systems respond to flawed programming.

In the case I just described, the inflammatory response came with good intentions, but it led to a sort of attack, a low-level but constant attack, on the body’s own systems.  With narrowed respiratory passages or narrowed arteries (due to inflamed walls) the entire process creates chronic lung disease and/or chronic heart disease.

That’s an example that should serve to illustrate how chronic microinjury can lead to systemic disease as an outcome of the inflammatory mechanism.

Once the “inflammatory switch” gets locked in the “on” position, any stress on the body or cells drives or amplifies that problematic inflammation.  Here are a few of the causes of escalation or amplification of a maladapted inflammatory condition.

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional stress
  • Physical stress
  • Blood sugar elevation
  • Lack of sleep
  • Ingestion of toxins

This is an abbreviated list and each of the above factors merits an article in and of itself.

Why is this important to know?

Understanding 21st century disease as inflammation gone rogue is vital to “cure.”  The current medical paradigm invites practitioners to identify symptoms, establish a label (diagnosis), and use meds that at best “manage” the condition, change the markers, or alleviate discomfort.  The restoration of health will come from a strategy that reverse the inflammatory process and helps move that switch back to the off position.

It’s also valuable to note that CRP serves not only as a part of the inflammatory process, but also as a valuable marker to determine health and risk.  In individuals with chronic disease, reduction in CRP over time correlates with a reduction in inflammation and risk.  In acute inflammation, CRP elevates very quickly and drops as soon as the injury is resolved.  Chronic elevation suggests a continued elevation in cytokine activity which, unresolved, may perpetuate the disease process.  CRP is not commonly used as a “state of health” marker, but with the unfolding of new science, it’s clear that it should be given greater focus in assessing health.

How prevalent is inflammatory disease and what ‘labels’ are better understood as outcomes of inflammation?

If we anecdotally consider the prevalence of those diseases that we already accept as inflammatory, arthritis, irritable bowel disease, etc., we’d get a sense that inflammation is having negative impact on our population, but that’s short-sighted thinking based upon an old paradigm.

When we look at data from the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, we can identify seven of the 10 Leading Causes of Mortality in the U.S. to diseases often having inflammation as their root cause.

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease
  • Stroke
  • Inflammatory Brain Disease
  • Complications of Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease

It’s important to note that the common causes of mortality not related to inflammation are related to accidents, suicides, and acquired infections.  With that in mind, it’s fair to say Inflammation is the Root Cause of All Chronic Disease, and with that, if we can reverse the inflammatory process, we can move back toward health.

About the M3 podcast

M3 – Mind, Muscle & Medicine, is an informative and entertaining podcast aimed at helping people from all walks of life find betterment. Subscribe to our channel and view all past episodes here.

 References

  • Function of C-reactive protein.  Du Close TW.  Ann Med. 2000 May;32(4):274-8.
  • Is C-reactive protein a marker of inflammation? Dupuy AM, Terrier N, et al. Nephrologie. 2003;24(7):337-41
  • The Top 10 causes of death.  World Health Organization.  Fact sheet N310, Updated May 2014
  • Leading Causes of Death (U.S.). Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, Data Sheet 2011.

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What 5 Supplements are Best? https://biohackersfitness.com/what-5-supplements-are-best/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 22:59:08 +0000 http://biohackersfitness.com/?p=2684 The post What 5 Supplements are Best? appeared first on Biohackers.

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The Back Story

In this interview where Dr. Kristin Comella and I discuss “The 5 Most Important Supplements” with Dr. David Blyweiss, we share some insight you’ll find valuable.  You’ll want to know “The Top 5.” Listen.

Listen to the interview

For years I’ve heard, addressed, and been frustrated by the question, “Does It Work?”  I travelled the world doing seminars and media appearances sharing what I called, “The Fitness Truth,” and the most prevalent question was based on the flawed idea that a thing, in and of itself, would perform an outcome.

  • Does chromium work? (at the time it was marketed as a miraculous fat burner)
  • Does MCT oil work?
  • Does ashwagandha work?

The question didn’t limit itself to nutritional supplements.

  • Does the ab roller work?
  • Does the ridiculous silver suit, that makes me sweat, work to make me skinny and beautiful?

It was simple to dismiss the absurdities.  No, the vibrating phallic looking device you put batteries into being marketed on an infomercial won’t help you look like the models on the commercial.  No, the gooey liquid made from select grapes won’t stop you from aging, and no, the weight loss earrings won’t create a weight loss aura around you that speeds metabolism (yes, that was real).

Now the good news.

If you maintain a lifestyle inclusive of a synergistic integration of sound exercise and healthful whole food nutrition, creatine monohydrate can increase muscle size, vitamin C can aid immune function, and a B Complex can play a significant role in supporting cellular health, brain function, and energy levels, and that’s a tiny sampling of the many nutritional aids that over time, can make a measurable difference.

Lest you think I’m dismissing the role of nutritional aids in supporting optimal health, I’ll go a step further.  There are a number of supplements that, in 21st century civilized society are vitally important.  The new question, related to supplements, should be, “which ones will serve me best.”

For clarity, understand this.  In most cases a supplement is a nutrient or a mix of nutrients we can find in food.  You’ll find antioxidant blends, adaptogen complexes, and “proprietary formulas” that are part of nature’s miracle, delivered in delivery systems that we call mushrooms, broccoli, kale, wild-caught fish, or grass-fed beef.  In nature, micronutrients are delivered along with macros and any attempt to replicate that which the Earth produces will fall short. Combinations of nutrients offer health and energy. 

Nothing “works” in and of itself, yet we have to acknowledge that our environment, science, and the pursuit of convenience have made obtaining optimal nutrition through the foods we eat a very real challenge.  A bit of wisdom and effort can lead to an understanding and regular regimen of nutritional supplements that play a role in a thrilling outcome, make sense to invest in, and make you “better.”

Listen to the interview

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