PSN No.5: Muscle: The Health Engine

Muscle is the health engine of the body. It’s what drives the train along the tracks; it’s what pulls the entire line and leads the body forward. There’s no motion, no movement and no action without muscles contracting as one, and that takes energy. Muscle is all about energy. It’s also about health. Skeletal muscle needs to serviced, looked after, nourished and rested. It cannot be neglected or it will atrophy and die.

I remember coming across an article in Muscular Development Magazine a decade or more ago written by Dr. Colgan. He was writing about how glutamine is lost from muscle after a workout and how important it is to the immune system. He said that white blood cells can’t reproduce without glutamine and that glutamine’s production occurred in myocytes, meaning muscle cells. And that’s when I really got the connection between muscle and my immune system. Let your muscles go and you can kiss your immune system goodbye. So the immune system is directly related to the health of muscle.

Skeletal muscle is voluntary. We command it into action. It’s under our direct control provided our nervous system and brain are well. So there’s a definite relationship between the health of our neuromuscular system, skeletal muscle, central nervous system and brain. Systems Biology is what that means. Everything is connected.

Muscle is where fatty acids are burned for energy. To burn fat and oxidize fatty acids, we need the driving force of a strong muscular system. Lose muscle and you gain fat. Lose muscle and your metabolic rate decreases faster than life itself races by. Lose muscle and you lose the furnace that produces the heat for thermogenesis. Lose muscle and fats starts building up in your arteries and around your organs.

As a health collective, we need to promote weight training and get that message across by our living example. That resistance training is how you build, maintain and preserve our glorious muscle. That it’s a good thing and that we can utilize the force of gravity to our advantage. To command nature we must obey her.

Sarcopenia implies the slow, gradual and inevitable wasting of flesh overtime. But it accelerates like a wildfire if you ignore your muscle. The catabolic forces of life, namely oxidation, cosmic radiation, gravity and entropy, are working 24/7. They never ever take a break and they all work against muscular health. That’s why we have to train and keep our anabolic drive alive.

Training muscle correctly is an act of discipline. It’s a philosophy of science and thought. When we go to the gym, when we run, swim, cycle or play sport and use what we have, we must train with intelligence and intensity.

Muscle symmetry is also very important. No one sport uses every single muscle uniformly in balance and evenly, meaning both sides of the body. Who uses their left and right arm equally throughout the day? How about your feet or legs? We need to support all of our weaknesses, the weak links that are created by living in this century.

We’re only as strong as our weakest link so identify what the weak links are. Embrace them. For most people muscle itself as a whole is a weak link. It’s been largely ignored for most of their life. These same people often take health, and muscle, and function and their bones and brain all for granted. We can’t. That’s crazy. It’s nuts to ignore what we cannot replace. That’s how we lose something of great value.

Muscle is the seat of our immune system. There are approximately 640 individual skeletal muscle fibers in the body and they will all decay individually if we ignore them. Muscle must be worked like a show dog or champion racehorse. If not we can’t expect to keep it working well or operate at peak efficiency for long.

It’s our personal obligation to look after the muscle we own and functionally possess. But no one can do that for us. To ignore our wonderful muscle is to ignore the very essence of the philosophy of health.

“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger


PSN No.5: Muscle: The Health Engine - Clinical Review (Audio Tutorial) SNU V10N2a




As always...stay well and live free.

Dr.C