The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Sleep
Sleep tonight
And may your dreams
Be realized.

 

We want it, we need it. Not always at the best times and it’s not always forthcoming. We can struggle to achieve it. Most often shorter than we want. Often too looked at as a weakness.

Sleep.

I’m finishing up my posts on how you can gain muscle, strength. And in finishing up my posts, I’m writing about sleep. Very important but often neglected.

How?

How much are you getting? Is it enough? Can you get more? As adults, we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Quality sleep. This is what we need to perform at our best, and to heal the damage done to our body. Don’t confuse this with what you can get by. We can get by with a lot less but that doesn’t mean we should. Because of the nature of my full time job, years ago I worked about 30 hours straight due to a catastrophic event that rendered our largest distribution centre useless. After 30 hours I was sent to a hotel to book a room to get some sleep. That didn’t last too long, I was woken by a call to my phone about 4 hours in and had to go back to work for about another 30 hours. Did I perform my job? Sure did. Optimally? Maybe but I was running on adrenaline and coffee knowing that we had trucks not delivering product to our distribution centre and also to our restaurants. I remember at times losing focus and wanting to sleep, but I couldn’t.

That’s an extreme case. But we all know that when we don’t get the sleep we need, we feel it. We aren’t the same. We don’t respond to things the same in some cases and we don’t perform as well as we could. Those are the things we notice. What about the things we don’t notice? The fact our body is not able to regenerate muscle tissue that needs to be repaired?

Why?

We sleep because, well, it feels good! But we also sleep because we need to. To let our brain process the day’s mental happenings to repairing our body.

When we don’t get the sleep we need, we limit the amount of growth hormone our body releases. This limitation negatively impacts the repairing of our muscles and bones, which impacts the growth in strength we are looking for. That’s one of the reasons and benefits of working out, right? To get stronger. Protein synthesis also happens when we sleep. Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are linearly arranged into proteins. Again, something that helps us get stronger and grow. Seems pretty important doesn’t it. Yet we aren’t prioritizing sleep like we should be.

Pressure

Some people wear the fact that they don’t sleep that much as a badge of honour. They like to flaunt that that only sleep 5 hours a night and are so busy, and don’t have time for sleep. Great. Good for you. Maybe they are one of the 3% that can get by with less than 6 hours of sleep a day. But if you aren’t one of those people, and need more sleep, who cares? I don’t. And neither should you.

You are responsible for you! No one else. Get the sleep you need and don’t feel guilty about it. Feel great about the fact that you work hard, you are building a stronger body and doing what needs to be done to build that body. And because you are getting that needed sleep you are building that body you want and you will be mentally better prepared to tell those jerks where to go.

 

Was it worth it?

Did you read the other 2 posts? Does it make sense? Progressive resistance, nutrition, sleep. On a high level that’s it. These are the things you can do to build the body you want. It’s not as complicated as the fitness industry makes it out to be, the industry being those people trying to sell you things, things we’ve been doing for years but they call it something else. Like kettle bells. Those aren’t new. The Russian’s were using kettle bells a hundred years ago. If doing something ‘new’ works for you then great! But don’t think you have to. As long as what you are doing incorporates these principles than you are on your way to getting the body you want. I hope so.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Full of broken thoughts

It doesn’t have to be that confusing.

I said in one of my recent posts that I would expand on a post regarding adding strength, add muscle. In my last post I talked about progressive overload, progressively adding load using different methods, the end result being strength.

So here it is. In a continuance of the series I bring you protein. We’re obsessed with protein. Most of us, ok, all of us. What do we think of when we hear protein? Beef, chicken, fish. That’s pretty much it. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to make this a post about plant based diets and the negative repercussions of eating animal products. You can read some of my previous posts to understand why you should be eating a whole foods plant based diet.

Anyway, why are we obsessed with protein? Money. Plain and simple. It makes people money. Quick question: How many different brands and types of protein powders are there available for you to buy from? Lots! And a lot of them are crap, containers spiked with nitrogen and cheap fillers just to get your money. Did you know that the average person needs only .4 of  a grams of protein per lb of body weight? And  the really active person needs maybe 1 gram per lb of body weight? So if you are the average woman, you need less than 40 grams of protein per day. But being active you may need over 100 grams to sustain muscle growth. And that should not be that difficult to obtain. But don’t be obsessed with it. I think generally we tend to not realize where we get our protein. As mentioned earlier, most people don’t realize that rice, potatoes, green leafy vegetables all have protein. Probably more than we realize. Did you know that a medium sized potato has about 5 grams of protein? 1 cup of brown rice has about 5 grams of protein? It makes sense when you think about it. The strongest and largest animals on the earth are herbivores.

But we can’t be obsessed with it. We should be obsessed with eating healthy. We should be more focused on the quality of protein. We should be focused on health really. I really believe if you focus on eating healthy, and by healthy I’m not just talking about not eating junk food, you will then get the protein that you need along with other things we need such as fiber. That’s the question people should be asking ‘Where do you get your fiber?’.

And too much protein can cause damage to your kidneys, and depending where you get your protein from, can even cause diseases such as cancer.

Are you suffering from lack of protein? Do you show the signs of lack of protein? Flaking and dryness of the skin, delayed wound healing, hair loss and hair that falls out easily? There are other symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, low energy but these could be due to other reasons. Unless you are eating really unhealthy, totally consumed with junk food, you probably are getting enough protein. And if you aren’t sure, or want to know definitively, there is a urine test you can get to determine if you are. Basically protein is nitrogen. If your body is nitrogen positive, you are getting enough protein and you will do one of the things to enable your body to grow.

Ok, so I said I wan’t going to make this a post about plant based diets. But, I want to give you the simple answer, to the protein problem:

5 words:

Whole foods plant based diet.

Consume a whole foods plant based diet, eat until you are full, all the time and you will more than likely get the protein you need. And you won’t be adding unwanted fat. That’s it. It may be hard to believe but all plants have protein and because plants are nutrient dense, have lots of fiber (animal products have zero fiber) you will find you need to consume much more to get the same calories as when you were eating animal products. More food, more fiber, better protein, a win all around. If you are working out, following a whole foods plant based diet, but you aren’t gaining muscle then you more than likely are in a caloric deficit. In other words, you get to eat more!

It is that simple.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Next post I will be finishing up my breakdown of what we need to do to grow and get stronger.

Sheets of empty canvas

Untouched sheets of clay

I want to continue focusing on what can be done to add strength, add muscle mass to our body. I posted about this, I don’t know, a few posts back? My post talked about what we can do to get stronger and get bigger. What I want to do now is focus on one element from that post; progressive overload.

The more I educate myself on training, and on diet, or eating, I realize it really can be simple. Simple if you cut through the bullshit that is out there, and there is lots. In my opinion there is a lot of bullshit because it sells. If you really think about it, we are all the same physiologically, we have a central nervous system, our body is comprised of muscle, fat, bones, water and so on. How each of those components live in our body might be different. I’ve never been someone who is naturally strong yet I see people that without even training are stronger. Same with someone who can run a marathon effortlessly, or sprint 100m under 10 seconds, with very little training. Those are things that are different between all of us. But, we still function the same. Does one person need to eat a diet different from someone else’s because of their blood type? No. Will your body grow, get stronger, get bigger by following the principles that produce these results? Yep!

What

What is progressive overload? Basically it’s adding an ever increasing load over time. An example would be if I’m able to bench press 200 lbs today, I should be bench pressing more than 200 lbs a month from now. I do this by progressively adding more load over time. The same can be done with cardio.

It’s like this. I teach over 100 students twice to three times a week at our karate dojo. We are an intense dojo and start with a very physically demanding workout: burpees, squats, push ups, etc. I see it all the time with the kids, most of them. They do 5 push ups and the stop. They do maybe 6 burpees then they stop. They stop to adjust their gi, they stop to take a minute to, well, do nothing. This happens all the time, every workout. Do they ever do 10 push ups before stopping? Not unless they stop stopping at 5. I encourage them to do more before stopping but they are kids and well, there is only so much you can do.

So what happens? They don’t grow. They plateau and their physical growth stagnates. Now being kids they don’t know this and for the most part they don’t care. They want to learn Karate! They are not following the principle of progressive overload.

What do I do?

My post is focused on gaining muscle and strength so I’m going to focus on what progressive overload means to achieving this goal. As I said earlier, progressive overload can be used to build cardio, and it can also be used to increase muscular endurance. So what can we do to become stronger/bigger with progressive overload?

  • Increase Load: If you are able to bench 125 lbs 6 times this week, then you should be benching more a month from now. If you constantly stop yourself at 6 reps, never adding weight you will never grow. That’s it. Your body has gotten used to this load and it no longer responds to it, it’s the norm. Add 10 lbs and see if you can squeeze out 6 reps. Even adding 5 lbs is adding more weight. And that’s the idea. Growth. Progression.
  • Add volume: How many sets are you doing? 2, 3? Increase the sets. Go to 4 sets to add volume, or 6 sets. Don’t increase the amount of reps because your goal is to add muscle and strength, not endurance. Keep reps no higher than 8 per set.
  • Increase frequency: Are you working the same muscles every 48 hours? No? You should be, if you want to grow. You need no more than 48 hours of rest between workouts targeting specific muscles. If I’m doing legs today, I should be doing legs two more days from now.

?

What do you think? Are you saying right now “can it be that simple?” Yes, partly. With progressive overload comes intensity. You have to push. You have to push. You have to push. You want to be able to bench that 10 lbs more you put on the bar? You have to push yourself. If it’s something you want. Life should not be lived with regrets. It’s not worth it. Especially things that are in your control. We all regret things in our life especially those things that you can’t control, those things, important things. But if this is something you want than here is one thing you can do to get it.

Is there more? Yep. Did you read my post on getting stronger/larger? No? Why not? It’s a good one!

I’ll be expanding on those things in future posts like I did with this one. I think I already know my next post topic; our obsession with protein and how that relates to our health and our goals. I think I’m going to lose it if I get asked one more time ‘where do I get my protein from’.

I want to finish with this, because I think it’s important. You are worth it. You are worth putting in the work for yourself to become what you want to be. Don’t ever think different, pay no mind to the noise saying otherwise.

 

無心 (Mushin)

 

Yours in health,

Darryl