Is there a solution for age-related deterioration? Can you keep your muscle young at an old age? And what does nature have to say about the size of your muscle? See my new blog
Do you see yourself fit? Can you bench press your body weight? How about doing ten pull ups or fifty push-ups? If you can, you’re probably fit by conventional standards. But according to nature, all that will be meaningless if you’re not biologically fit.
If you’re not biologically fit, you won’t be able to resist disease, neither the wear and tear of time. Your biological fitness is a factor of your survivability. And your survivability depends on one trait –
Your capacity to respond to stress.
Your capacity to respond to stress is regulated by an innate defense system which plays a key role in keeping you alive. Called the “stress-response system”, it is nutrient sensitive – activated by underfeeding, and inhibited by overfeeding. Meaning: food scarcity increases your survivability whereas excess of food decreases it. Your stress response is also triggered by exercise and inhibited by lack of exercise.
The term biological fitness means fit to survive. According to evolutionary rules, if you’re not biologically fit, nature will render you dispensable. Have you ever thought about that? Evolution dictates different rules than those of conventional fitness. These are rules of survivability. And they are enforced by stress; nutritional scarcity, in particular.
You can’t find these rules in fitness or bodybuilding websites, and you can’t find them in your local gym.
Conventional fitness has no rules. Neither does it have a biological relevance.
Conventional fitness and the fitness industry are synonymous. Both constitute an enterprise driven by one interest: maximum profitability. Their pitch: maximum muscle and maximum performance; their method: pushing multiple products accordingly. Billions of dollars are spent annually on muscle building and performance enhancing products. The sport community seems to buy into that, perhaps you too.
But do big muscles make you biologically fit? Would performance enhancing products increase your survivability?
The human body has not evolved for oversized muscles. Growing body of research indicates that there was an evolutionary advantage for having a lean body rather than an oversized body. A lean body allowed animals and humans better survivability, potentially with an extended life-span. Having big muscles was not a prioritized trait. This means that to gain big muscles, you need to beat natures’ original design and cross your biological limitations. How do you do that?
O v e r f e e d i n g. To oversize your muscle you must overfeed it. Mechanical overload (weight training) is the trigger and calorie overload is the fuel. Both are needed to seal the deal.
Overfeeding is a key factor in forced anabolism. It is the surplus of calories and protein that drives your nutrient sensitive growth pathway mTOR to promote muscle gain. But here is what the muscle industry and fitness experts fail to tell you: the very excess calories that builds your muscle also damages it. And the carb loading used for “replenishing” your muscle energy, actually limits your capacity to burn fat and utilize energy.
Symptoms of energy overload due to chronic overfeeding include progressive muscle and body aging with increased tendency to gain fat, impaired recovery and decreased durability.
The truth is way too complicated to the average Joe, but the facts are indisputable. You can build muscles and maximize your performance in the short run, but in the long run this may diminish your capacity to resist age-related deterioration and keep yourself biologically fit.
And as years go by, your body may become increasingly susceptible to insulin resistance, fat gain, inflammatory disorders and age-related diseases. Just look around you. See what typically happens to people as they age. They get increasingly softer, thinking it’s ok and normal to age that way. That’s including many retired athletes.
Science clearly proves that the human body is not programmed to age that way. What’s missing nowadays is the stress factor. The human body evolved to resist aging and thrive when under stress; nutritional scarcity in particular.
There is no profit behind nutritional scarcity ; it is by all means anti-industrial, and it certainly clashes with conventional fitness; but it’s nevertheless the only approach that complies with human (and animal) biology. The activation of stress response via calorie restriction or intermittent fasting has shown to yield unmatched health and fitness benefits.
Peak biological fitness relates to the impact of stress response on the body. You can achieve that by routinely challenging your body with combined nutritional and physical stress. The combined stress, such as via calorie restriction and exercise, will swiftly deplete your energy along with your glycogen stores and turn on your stress response to compensate accordingly. Recent studies reveal that glycogen depletion via prolonged fasting triggers regeneration of stem cells along with increased repair activities and enhanced immune fuctions.
Furthermore, calorie restriction and exercise have shown to promote production of a certain transcription cofactor (PGC-1?), which increase mitochondrial biogenesis and improve energy utilization efficiency in the muscle and brain. Similar effects are induced by certain nutrients that mimic the effects of calorie restriction and exercise on the body (SAF Nutrients).
Increased mitochondrial biogenesis is one of the most evolutionary advantageous traits. It boosts of fat fuel utilization, upgrades muscle fiber quality, increases durability, counteracts inflammation, enhances cognitive functions and accelerates recovery.
Combined nutritional and physical stress triggers your stress response to increase repair and immune functions along with mitochondrial biogenesis in your muscle and thus creates the right metabolic environment for keeping your body lean, functional and resilient to aging. The overall result: a healthy viable physique that is in peak shape – both physically and mentally.
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