ARE PRETTY SMART!
part of the US Senior Olympics Relay Team, carries the Olympic
torch 7 miles to kick off the Aloha State Games.
Our bodies are
built for economy. They will get rid of anything they don't need.
If you don't need bulging biceps (or if you already have them and
are not currently using them), the body will not let that muscle
get a "free ride." The most vivid example is seen when you put an
arm or a leg in a cast. In this case the body doesn't (and can't)
use the associated muscles. When you take the cast off six weeks
later, you will be struck with what you see. The arm or leg appears
to have withered away. In addition, what you can't see is that the
bone has also lost mass or bone density.
Now, is this
permanent? No! To rebuild those muscles and bone, all you have to
do is start using them and the body responds by putting on additional
muscle and bone ONLY to the extent that it needs. So, for every
day usage, a normal-size muscle is attained. With heavy, extreme
usage, a bulging muscle is the result.
DO I GET MY PROTEIN?
So where do
our bodies get the raw materials (protein) to do this if you are
not eating another animal's muscle (protein)? Easy! It comes from
plants. The best examples are the biggest and strongest animals,
elephants, horses, giraffes, rhinoceroses -- every one of them vegans!
(They also happen to be the longest-living animals, another lesson
buried here.) Vegetables and grains are complete proteins which
means that they contain all the amino acids necessary to build muscle
from scratch or to add on bigger, stronger muscles.
the limiting amino acid in plant foods is methionine, one of the
so-called essential amino acids. If you were to eat only rice for,
say, a large male's 3000 calorie day's allotment, you would get
1.1 grams, way above the minimum daily requirement of .11 grams
(about TEN times as much)! In fact, this points out one of the problems
with consuming the excess protein you get from eating animal protein,
that of getting TOO much protein. This leads to kidney disease and
osteoporosis as the human body cannot store protein and is damaged
when it has to break down excess protein.
A SIDE EFFECT
OF HIGH PROTEIN INTAKE
of the major causes of the epidemic of osteoporosis in this country
is excess protein. As is generally recognized, protein is made up
of amino acids. These acids are, logically, acidic -- that is, they
have a pH of less than 7, which is neutral. The human body cannot
operate in an acidic environment -- it must be alkaline, that is,
above 7 or about 7.2. So when you take in protein powders, pills,
or animal protein such as egg white, fish, dairy, poultry or beef,
this acid load has to be neutralized. Our bodies have the perfect
buffering system. We use the same mechanism you see advertised on
tv ads for Tums and other antacids for "acid stomach", which is
calcium. And where do we store our calcium? In our bones. Our bones
are very active living tissue, and calcium is constantly moving
in and out of them, so if we consume a high acid meal, especially
animal protein, our bones are called upon to give up some calcium
to neutralize or buffer this acid so that we can keep the heart
beating, muscles contracting, and nerves firsing. These processes
all stop if we go into acidosis, a state of too much acid.
of building muscle is fairly straightforward: Overload a muscle
and it responds by getting bigger and stronger. Is there a limit?
Of course, there is. You see this in natural body builders where
genes play a role in limiting or enhancing the building of hypertrophic
muscles. In order to go beyond genetics, some body-builders have
to resort to the use of anabolic steroids, something our body produces
naturally but insufficient in the minds of some competitive body-builders.
This comes with many health risks, and, unfortunately, many focus
on short-term gains and would rather risk their health in the long
What about women?
Women are sometimes advised to get into weight training to gain
or maintain muscle and bone strength, but their fear is the opposite:
that they might develop these huge, bulging muscles that they find
unattractive on a female. Well, they need not worry because, again,
their genes control the limits of muscular development. And for
those women who want to develop, say, calf or pectoral muscles,
popping protein isn't the answer. The same principles apply: you've
got to overload those muscles.
How much weight
to lift and how often? The body in its present state can handle
"x" number of pounds. Add about 10% and work the muscle to exhaustion
and then stop. Give it at least 48 hours but no more than 3-4 days
to recover and rebuild, then do it again. Gradually, that muscle
will be able to handle "x" plus "y" pounds. Continue this progression
and you will see the muscle grow. Remember that rest and recovery
is just as important as the overload. Eating a diet of vegetables
and fruit will provide all the raw material necessary.
So, this is
the secret to greater muscular development. The more weight the
muscle has to push, the bigger and stronger it will get! You get
Ruth E. Heidrich,
Ask Dr. Ruth: http://www.vegsource.com/heidrich/