Every now and then I find myself perusing the television (or the internet, most likely) and happen upon videos of bodybuilding or weightlifting competitions, and I have to devote a little time to watch these hulking creatures stand-up on a stage, half-naked, and do things with their bodies I never thought possible. Part of my fascination is wondering what compelled these people to alter their bodies so much to the point where they seem more beast than man. Another part is the joy of wondering what they are thinking about in those extreme moments of exertion.
But mostly I watch in complete awe and admiration for the discipline these people show by never giving up in their training. Nothing can tire you out like a body that continues to be sore and achy long after the workout has ended, and the prospect that you’re only going to have to do more tomorrow can take away whatever strength and perseverance that is left in you. To continue on you have to convince yourself that the soreness you feel is a good thing, almost pleasurable, and that the pain that you feel rolling out of bed and crawling towards the bathroom only so you can cry into the toilet bowl because you can’t bring yourself to stand up to mount properly is a sign of success.
Most of us don’t want those kinds of bodies, let alone to have to go through what those people go through to achieve those results, and yet muscles are a crucial part of any real weight-loss plan. “But I don’t want big muscles, Nic! I just want to look decent naked.” BAH, I say to you, BAH HUMB WILLERTONDONPILLIPOO! We all want to look good naked, Mr./Mrs. Obvious, but this isn’t about getting big muscles and looking like Conan. The importance of muscles is larger than the cosmetic. I mean, hell, minus some hair, bones, a little blood and a few pesky organs, you are primarily made of muscle. They are the ‘meat’ of you.
You know when you smile? Muscles. You trying to click away from this page because you’re sick of my abuse? That’s muscles moving your fingers there, Einstein. Lifting that third glass of scotch for the evening to your mouth? All muscle. From digging that grave to bury that dead body outside Reno to pooping (especially pooping), muscles are the reason we are able to move and, like, do things. So fuckin’ a they are important to more than just your looks.
Before we get to the different ways to give your muscular system a work out, I’m going to spend today’s article talking about the inner workings of muscles and the different kinds you have in your body. Although I’m sure most of you took your middle school biology (which isn’t to say that most of you were paying attention), it’s important that we all share the same vocabulary as we move forward. It’s also good to go over the basics every once and awhile to keep sharp. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time writing today as I’m listening to The Dark Tower on audiobook and want to get through that sucker before the world comes to an end (it’s about a full seven days of audio, and I think I’m somewhere around day 2).
WHAT ARE MUSCLES?
Muscles are the tissues in the animal body that are responsible for creating all force and movement of and within the body. They are made up cells that are comprised of contractile filaments (which mean that they . . . ugh . . . that they contract. Thanks dictionary, that’s helpful) that move past one another and can grow bigger in response to stimuli. Essentially, your muscles are a bunch of strings on a pulley system, and when you want to move a limb or whatever, the stings are pulled through the pulleys (or they contract to shorten the strings) which brings your limb to wherever you want it to go.
But muscles are responsible for more than just the voluntary (they move when you want them to move) motions of your body, but they are also responsible for the all of the involuntary ones as well. While it may seem creepy that your body is moving on its own without your consent, it really is for the best. You want to know where most of would be if we had to think about pumping our own blood to do it?
So, among the overall category of muscles there are three sub-categories, only one of which we are in control of.
These muscles are located only in the heart and are in control of moving your heart and pumping the four liters of blood through out your body. Out of all of your muscles, these are the most important and probably the hardest working as they never stop until you’re dead. In fact, you might want to consider dying a little earlier than you’re planning to just to give them a break.
While the cardiac muscles are only responsible for your heart, smooth muscles are responsible for every other movement inside your body, such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, bronchi, uterus, urethra, bladder, and iris. All of your internal organs are covered in smooth muscle, which helps each of those organs perform their respective tasks at the right time.
What you imagine when you think of muscles, these are the muscles that cover your entire body and are attached to your skeleton via tendons, and since these are the only kind of muscles that are voluntary, are responsible for every movement your body makes. These are the ones you will be concerned with when you are working out and trying to get stronger.
But the categorizing doesn’t stop there! Oh no, for four easy payments of $0.00 (payment plans available) you too can learn the different forms of skeletal muscle!There are three kinds of skeletal muscle, and we are going to be interested in working both kinds as we move forward with our exercise regime. One is slow twitch muscles, which are the long-lasting muscles. If you are running a marathon or climbing a mountain, these are the muscles your are relying the most. They are resistant to fatigue, and are mostly located in the lower half of your body to help keep you on your feet. Another is fast twitch, which are the Superman muscles. Lifting a large weight (like a dangerous cyborg gorilla threatening to blow up the world) over your head and throwing him off the skyscraper where you have had your final, epic battle, or swing a baseball bat, utilizes the fast twitch muscle. They aren’t as resilient to fatigue as the slow twitch, but they can handle much more weight and can react two to three times faster to compensate. Then there are whitefiber muscles, which are the fastest reacting muscles. Good for fast paced, short form activities (like sprinting), but they tire and run out of juice very quickly.
No one muscles is more important than the other, and although a body will usually tend to favor one kind of muscle over another (splitting people into either a “Runner” type or a “Strongman” type), everybody should spend time developing each kind of muscle. It will not only strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligament, help lengthen your endurance, give you a wider range of motion, improve your bone density and health of you joints, but it will help boost your metabolism and burn calories throughout the entire day!
All of that, and more, with just a few push-ups! Act now, and we’ll throw in improved appearance and invincibility (sorta). Hurry! This is the deal of a life time, and it only lasts until the day you die! Will you pick up the phone and/or dumbbell and change your life?