Training have over the years been associated with looking good, staying slim and slaying in a bikini. Somewhere along the line of moving our bodies we forgot to look at training for the sole purpose it serves – to keep us healthy and to live longer and stronger. Longer and stronger so we can keep spitting these fire rhymes! Longevity and cool rap bars. I mean, that’s all you need in life!
Exercising trends change as often as you change your underwear and everybody is a fitness expert and will give you advice on how to train. One day you should spend hours on the treadmill and the other day you should pump it up like Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s all about loosing weigh and becoming fit. Nobody does really highlight the actual health benefits of exercise. I mean sure, they do, but it’s not the main focus. So who should we trust? The only guy who really knows how to train for longevity and health is science. Science is pretty cool. In my opinion he should get all the ladies. When it comes to health and longevity we need to look at our cells. They are the building blocks of our DNA and our entire existence so naturally they should play a huge part in our health and life.
Cell division and disease
4 divided by 2 is 2. That’s pretty much my level of mathematical division but luckily that’s not the type of division I’m talking about here. Not really. Our cells divide naturally within a process called mitosis. It’s almost like the birth of new cells from a single cell. Cells are sneaky like that, capable of reproduction by themselves. These cells will then grow to their full size, do the job their supposed to do in the body and then die. This is completely normal and something our cells should do, so don’t get turned off by the death part. Pretty similar to our own lives. When a cell dies will depend on the environment it’s living in. If we feed the body wrong nutrition and keep an unhealthy lifestyle our cells will obtain those nutrients, grow larger and simply not die after its job is done. When we have to many large cells in our body is when disease occur. Cancer for example, is a product of cells that never died and grew larger and stronger. The cell simply becomes to cocky, power blind, and starts to take down the other healthy cells around it.
Our cells divide but they do also repair themselves when needed. If a tissue is broken down the cells will drop everything they’re doing to repair this tissue, even the large and cocky ones. When a tissue is broken down our cells believe our body is in danger. They will rush over to the tissue, repair it and build it up even stronger than before to prevent it from breaking down again. This is a basic survival mechanism. Tissue breakdown happens to us in some form everyday, so just as cell division, cell repair is a natural process. But cells are a bit lazy just like us and to divide is easier than to repair and build up, so we need to force our cells to repair more and divide less. This is where our lifestyle and diet plays a huge role.
In a cardio crazy world we need to shift our mindset towards getting on those heavy weights. You need to train dirty and mean! Get on those weights and challenge your muscles. Do you even lift, bro? You better start doing it! When we lift heavy we break down our muscle tissues causing our cells to go “okay, muscle break down, we need to repair this tissue!”. This is how muscles grow and we become stronger. We train heavy, break down our muscles, and repair. A good weight to work against will be the one that you can do mildly comfortably for most reps, but that will become a challenge for the last two – three reps. The key is the challenge. Work towards always keeping the last reps being uncomfortable because this is where the muscle tissue breaks down. As you become stronger you will need to increase the weight your training against. This is where it becomes fun! You will always become better, stronger and you’ll never get stuck on a routine based workout that can happen with cardio training. Ladies, we will not get bulky! We will get lean, strong, happy and increase our metabolism. Show the guys who’s the boss over at the weight section at the gym.
Training against your body’s limits. Just as lifting heavy, resistance training forces you to push yourself past the point of feeling comfortable. This is where exercise such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and plyometrics plays a huge role. Training like this usually combines cardiovascular exercise with strength training. Intervals of pushing your body to the max followed by a rest period, and then back at it. What’s even better with this kind of exercise is that you can spend less time at the gym but reap the same results. Both health related, and “look” related. It’s all about pushing yourself against your body’s limit. In the state of feeling uncomfortable is where the magic happens. Both in life and with exercise.
Stress and recovery
Major key note! Training hard, heavy and against resistance will put your body through stress. To exercise like this everyday is not recommended and can break your body down to much, leading the cells to not prioritize anything else but tissue recovery. Recovery is critical to make sure you don’t burn out. Sleep properly, eat real nutritious food, and the right amount of it. Don’t be scared to eat! Especially not when you are training hard. Your body will need it – trust me!
Of course, any movement is better than no movement. So the “go hard or go home” mindset doesn’t work when it comes to exercise. A simple walk is alway better than nothing, remember that. Your body will always thank you for keeping active. But to really maximize yourself you should incorporate heavy resistance training 2-3 times a week. And don’t sleep on cardiovascular exercise either. To get your heart rate up and going is of course super healthy and beneficial, but try to alternate your exercise routine with heavy training a few times a week. Get out there, pump that iron and let’s grow old and strong together!