Tag: strength

Be Strong and Courageous

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The Deception

There is a negative force in all of us, and in the World, that teaches us to be weak. It says that we can’t do it. Some believe that this “voice” is the voice of negative parenting or some other authority figure in our pasts. I don’t know the secular origins of these thoughts, but I know that we are all influenced by them. I grieve every day watching people struggle, living so far below their potential. They believe that they “can’t”. Oh, nothing could be farther from the Truth. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Very few of us have any idea of our strength. If we did, the “bad guys” would be rendered powerless. If we did, disease would not reign over us because we would live a different kind of life. If we did, we would work harder and longer. If we did, we would be in control of our lives. We would not be the victim of every evil ever imagined on the face of the Earth. We would be the Victor.

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Physical Strength

When we say that someone is strong, we are making a comparison to other people’s strength and abilities. As best as can be observed by scientists, allowing for differences in variables such as climate, diet and age, a man walking on a level road can walk 30 miles in a day. If this man weighs 150 pounds, he has expended the amount of strength that would be necessary to move 23,760,000 pounds 1 foot in 1 minute. (1) Our physical strength is much greater than most of us can imagine. We were designed to survive. We are not fragile organisms at the mercy of any other force. Where our physical strength stops, our intellect starts. We were designed to rule the Earth. That is not possible for a weak organism. Remember that the next time you’re faced with a difficult task.

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Mental Strength

In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural pathways are formed every second. (2) Can you see how we are designed to cope and survive? So often I see people who are just quick to give up. When you encounter mental difficulty, do not quit and stop trying. Push. You have untapped potential. Your brain, regardless of your assumed abilities, is more capable than you have discovered. An interesting thing that I have observed is that some animals do amazing things that humans would not even attempt when faced with a task of similar difficulty. The difference is that the animal never considers that it can’t. It only knows that it must. We should learn a lesson from them. Have you ever felt like you had no strength but went ahead and worked out anyway? Some of those times you will have the best workout of your life. You may set Personal Records that surprise you . That negative voice in your head will always try to hold you back. Use common sense, but if the task at hand is something that needs to be done, odds are, you can do it.

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Emotional Strength

Emotional strength is the ability to manage and grow through life’s challenges. (3) Patience, optimism, resilience, gratitude and confidence are emotional strengths. These traits decrease our chances of experiencing anxiety and depression which are known destroyers of physical and mental health. They lower our stress level which can impair immunity. They strengthen relationships which improves immunity. Even if you believe yourself to be emotionally weak, look back at some of the most trying times of your life. You survived. Again, you are much stronger than you know. Most of you have already survived life events where the odds were against your survival, but after a season of grief, you carried on. Life goes on. Life continues. Even though you felt like you could not live through that event, you did. Right now some of you are experiencing the worst days of your life to date and you can survive them even if you don’t want to right now. I heard something years ago that helped me put some things in perspective. “I thought that I was on rock bottom and I heard a voice say, “Get off of me!” ” There are times that I have to say, “Hmmm…it could be worse.” Although there are events that make you wonder if that is true, it usually is. I am an American and we are so spoiled in this great Country. If you are American, please don’t complain too loudly. Most likely you have never been too hungry for too long and I daresay, you could always access water. There are places with no clean water. Be grateful for your Blessings. Be patient with those who struggle. Tomorrow it may be you. Always remember, “This too will pass.” My Mother who suffered with poor health and the chronic pain of crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis always said that. She was right. Knowing that even the worst of times are temporary can alleviate a lot of anxiety. While looking at the bright side of optimism can be a difficult task, it is a beacon in the darkness that can guide you home, safe, grounded and breathing through the most difficult times. Optimism creates resilience that enables you to grow and flourish through life’s uncertain days.

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Confidence

Self-confidence is probably the most important emotional strength that you can acquire. When we “trust ourselves’, we not only attempt what others won’t, we do what others can’t do. During devastating events and circumstances, instead of giving up, we are constantly reformulating our game plan because we “know that we can do it.” While this trait is critical in every area of our lives, it comes to play strongly in strength training. When I first began training, I was weak. Although I worked for a major weight loss company, I was losing muscle and strength fast because I was spending a lot of time on the road and missing workouts. When David presented me with the programming necessary to build strength I assumed that I could do it. I never doubted, even though this kind of lifting is formidable. Heavy lifting is just that, heavy. It pushes you to your limit. As I adapted and grew, my confidence soared as my physical strength increased. Learning to step up to the challenge taught me that I am capable of anything. In a heavy squat, I learned that all I have to do is stand up. That’s how life’s battles are. We may be on the ground when the weight hits us but when we engage our muscles and exercise our strengths, we can stand up. Whether you are a strength trainer or not, the same is true for you. Just stand up. If you are lacking in confidence, working to improve it will make you more aware of your God-given strengths and abilities and make you more aware that you can survive the hard times.

1-Visualize the outcome that you want and work towards that end.

2-Affirm yourself, pat yourself on the back. Give yourself that “Atta Boy!” for every small step that you make towards realizing your potential.

3-Stretch your limits every day. When presented with a difficult task, don’t back down. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”

4-Question your inner critic. When that voice says you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t, answer that you can, will and should.

5-Make arrangements for success. Sometimes this is so simple and it’s something that we frequently overlook. I have been working out in the same batch of workout clothes for 2 1/2 years. Those clothes made me feel frumpy and hindered me mentally. In heavy lifting, your mind is everything. “Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will.”-(unknown). Yesterday I bought serious workout clothes that will cause me to work harder to wear them well. Make provision for success. I have my gym equipment in my basement so I don’t have an excuse to skip workouts. I have had people say, “Oh, I don’t have that kind of money.” Really? I’m the sole supporter in my household on an L.P.N. income. I put my money into what builds my confidence. I don’t eat out except on RARE occasion. I don’t buy clothes that I don’t need. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. I put my money into my health and welfare. Use your resources to build your life, not destroy it.

6-Above all, in order to build your confidence, take care of yourself. You will be more confident in a healthy body. If you need to make sweeping life changes to live your best life, do it. I made radical changes in March of 2018, escaping a terrible life situation and becoming my own best self-advocate and have never looked back. You are the only one who can create the body and life in which you want to live. This is an ongoing process. Constantly look for ways to improve your health and your life. Unless you test your strengths, you will always think that you are weak.

You are stronger than you know.

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(1) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/human-strength/

(2) https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/

(3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pregnant-pause/201901/understanding-your-emotional-strengths

Ladies, Forget About Getting Bulky from Strength Training

Resistance training with weights is the best form of exercise for anyone, male or female. Yet far too often women will shy away from it. Besides maybe a lack of knowledge on how to proceed with a good strength training program, many women shun it because they are afraid of getting too bulky. News flash; You will never get bulky from lifting weights on accident. Weight training takes a considerable amount of work even for men to get bulky. The female body does not produce the testosterone to do so. If you think you will become bulky, lose your femininity, and look like a freak, it will be only because at some point you made the conscious decision to become a She-Hulk. It will never just happen. But what will happen is you will become mentally stronger as well as physically. Your self esteem and sense of self worth will increase as you begin to enjoy your new look. Ladies, strength training will improve your life in countless ways as every time you get under the iron, you will feel more and more formidable. It is guaranteed to make you better across the full spectrum of your life.

Why care about muscles?

When it comes to weight loss, many of you on on too large a caloric deficit and  lose muscle along with the fat you are losing.

This is not a good thing!

It will only serve to keep you at a high body fat percentage even if you have hit your goal weight. The loss of muscle will slow your metabolism and also make you weaker.

This is a fact.

And then, if you regain the weight you have lost without also replacing the lost muscle, your body fat will only be at a higher percentage than before and therefore your metabolism will be slowed even more. And when you yo-yo diet, you are only compounding the problem with each and every up and down cycle you take your body through this insanity. Any time you lose your lean muscle mass, you are only making yourself physically weaker. At some point there could be severe consequences from not maintaining lean muscle mass.

We all know that our muscles give us the power to lift heavy objects, whether it is a bag full of groceries or a crying baby we need to comfort. They give us the power to stroll around the zoo with our children and or grandchildren, and the ability to accomplish a multitude of fun activities. None of these activities require us to be star athletes, but they do require a modicum of strength and endurance to take part in. You need, and should desire that your muscles have the ability to accomplish the basic functions of life and then some. Yet many, lose these simple abilities that most of us took for granted before our nation’s obesity problem became an epidemic. Resistance training is of great importance for a healthy body, while hormones are directly responsible for a large portion of your metabolism, your muscles ramp up your ability to burn off unhealthy and undesirable fat, your muscles will expedite the burning of calories while at work or when at rest.

Our body’s lean muscle mass give us the metabolic ability to more efficiently burn calories every time we move. This is true whether we are under the iron, swimming in a pool, or even just getting up and pushing a vacuum cleaner around our living room. Our lean muscle is constantly burning calories, therefore, the more you have, the more calories you will burn even at rest. A simple factoid for you; Our muscles will burn 40 to 120 calories a day just to sustain it’s existence, while fat will only feed on 1 to 3 calories per day. That is a pretty stark contrast between the two components of our body’s. Just by adding about 16 ounces of lean muscle mass to your body  , about enough to fill a soda pop bottle, your metabolism will continue to increase your ability to burn off body fat.

Ladies, when you think of strength training, no matter the form in mind, forget the idea of becoming the female equivalent to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not going to happen without a lot of hours expended in the gym, and then only with the help of illegal steroids. You are not going to bulk up, but your muscles will appear fuller as your body fat decreases. This will make you look as healthy as you will feel with your newfound body.

By focusing on compound muscle groups in your workouts, and following the right workout plan, you will firm up and stimulate the amount of growth your body requires to burn more calories each day. The best thing is, you do not need expensive equipment or gym memberships in order to realize a difference. You can accomplish everything you need from the comfort of your own home while using your own body weight to get there. If you have questions about strength training, Brenda Sue would be happy to answer them. I began training her in free weights a year and a half ago. When she began, she could only dead lift about 50 pounds. She recently dead lifted 215 pounds. And she has not become a bulky She-Hulk, nor has she lost any of her femininity in the process. Despite me now referring to her as the “Beast of Bama”, she is still a proud and petite Southern Belle in all aspects of how she lives and conducts her life.

We Were Designed to Work Hard

I am 55 years old and besides enjoying the open road on my Harley Davidson, my leisure pursuit of choice is weight training and anything that can help me be the most physically fit that I can be. And of course these questions arise frequently;

Aren’t you getting a little old for all this craziness?

Short answer, Nope, not at all.

Aren’t you afraid all that weight lifting is going to hurt you?

Again, Nope, not at all.

No, I am not getting too old for weight training and physical fitness in general, and neither are you. I do not give a damn how old you are, there is always something you can do (health allowing of course) to move your body and keep it healthy. If anyone younger than my friend at my gym says they are too old, I really want you to speak with Clarice. This beautiful woman is 83 years young. She suffered a stroke about a year ago and still goes to the gym for cardiovascular and strength building exercises on a regular basis. This gal has more back bone than many young men I know personally.

Moving on to another example. My co-author Brenda Sue is an individual I became acquainted with through Weight Watchers social media Connect. I had joined Weight Watchers to be supportive of my wonderful wife Loraine who had also joined, and for my own benefit. I am a power lifter and had gained a lot of weight eating 6000 calories per day to fuel my lifting. Note, this kind of weight gain is not the healthiest even if you are gaining massive amounts of strength. I began posting on Connect not only my weight loss progress, but also my physical fitness regimen which prompted Brenda Sue to ask me if I could advise her in weight training. That was about 10 months ago and I began training her via online video as she lives 800 miles away from me.

Brenda Sue is a 62 year old nurse who works long hours at a very demanding job. Yet, every task I have placed on her to accomplish with a barbell, she has attacked with great effort in getting it right and in getting strong. I now have her on an intermediate level power lifting program and must say her progress has been quite remarkable.

Many people, besides myself, shrug off this aren’t you “too old” nonsense.

Don’t wimp out damn it, you are capable of more than you can ever imagine if at first you just decide to put in some effort at living a phsically fit life. Most people who fail at any endeavor, first fail in their own mind. Now, back to am I afraid of getting hurt. Brenda Sue puts it best with “Being sedentary will hurt me worse than lifting weights ever will”. This is so true on many levels. Lifing weights will:

  • Obviously, get you stronger than you were before.
  • Physical challenges will become easier for you.
  • Mental challenges will be mitigated.
  • Your self confidence is going to improve.
  • Your body is going to look better.
  • Your bones will strengthen and lessen your risks of Osteoporosis as you age.
  • Your self esteem is going to grow by leaps and bounds.
  • If you suffer depression or Post Traumatic Stress, your symptoms are going to be reduced.

Physical activity helps you feel and perform at your best. There are no exceptions to this rule my friends, as sitting on your ass on your couch watching reruns on the bood tube will never make you feel as good as exercise will. The key to sticking with a regular physical fitness regimen is to choose activities that you wll enjoy. Be flexible and try many things. Remember that you do not have to spend 60 consecutive minutes engaged in physical activity as a few minutes here and there add to the benefits of moderate activity. Just ensure you get your heart rate increased for it to truly count. But, bear in mind, any activity that gets you moving is good, but doing more is always going to be better. The goal is to have a physically active lifestyle my friends.

Mounting evidence suggests that our bodies need regular, moderate physical activity that gets our hearts beating and forces our muscles to wok harder than they usually do in order to remain healthy. Physiologically speaking, overall fitness is a balance between different body systems. With respect ot the joints, flexibility is important. With repsect to muscles, strength and endurance are important. Optimal nutrition contributes to athletic performance, and conversely, regular exercise contributes to a person’s ability to use and store nutrients optimally. Together, the two are indispensable to a high quality of life. No one who is, or can be fit, has to settle for less than optimal physical fitness, period. It is choice made by each individual when they live a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to yield healthy benefits. Moderate amounts of physical activity are recommended for people of all ages. However, at present, only about 33 percent of adults engage regularly in sustained physical activity of any intensity. About 38 percent of adults report no physical activity at all. And we wonder why there is rising costs to medical care, besides all the blame that can be placed on insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, we as citizens are also responsible when we accept obesity and all the associated health issues which go along with it as the new norm of modern life.

In proceeding with a physical fitness program, keep in mind that fitness builds slowly, so activity should increase gradually. For beginners, consistency is very important. Establish a regular pattern of physical activity first (for example, 30 minutes cumulative to start) and plan to increase that amount over time. View your physical activity time as a lifelong commitment.

If you are just starting on a fitness program, a few precautions are important. For most apparently healthy people, moderate physical activity such as walking should not pose any problem. However, medical advice concerning suitable type of activity may be necessary for anyone with any of the risk factors shown in the margin or for anyone diagnosed with cardiac or other known diseases.

Always remember, fitness does not, nor should it be an all or nothing activity. The term fitness is not restricted to the seasoned athlete. With a basic understanding of the concept of total fitness and a personal commitment to a physically active lifestyle, anyone can become fit. To be fit, you don’t have to be able to finish the local marathon, nor do you have to develop the muscles of a Mr. Universe or Miss Olympia. Rather, what you need is a healthy body weight and enough flexibility, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardiovascular endurance to meet the everyday demands that life places on you, plus some to spare. Do not let perfection be your stumbling block, everyone in the gym was once a novice too.

No matter how old you are, you have the body of a modern human being, and that body was designed more than 100,00 years ago. You can even conclude that that we humans have inherited enes that have been fine tuned to support a physically active lifestyle. In fact, scientists from University of Missouri, University of Pennsylvania, and East Carolina University not only hypothesize this to be true, but go on to say “that physical inactivity in sedentary societies directly contributes to multiple chronic health disorders”. They conclude that all physical inactivity is an abnormal state because our bodies have been programmed to expect physical activity; this is why inactivity causes the metabolic dysfunctions that lead to a host of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabets and high blood pressure. Nearly all of your biochemistry and physiology was fine tuned by and for conditions of life that existed more than 10,000 years ago. However, what we eat has changed drastically more in the last 50 years than in the previous 40,000 years. So what in the hell is the big deal? Our genes do not know it. We still process food the same way our ancestors did, very efficiently. To understand this concept, you need only compare “yesterdays” diet and physical activity patterns to “todays” diet and physical habits. When you make this comparison, it is of no wonder there are more obese people in American society than there are physically fit.

In closing, you are never too old for physical fitness. You can be too infirm or injured, but that is not the same as being too old. Of course, the reality is your injury or infirmity may likely be the result of a sedentary life style coupled with less than healthy dietary habits. Bottom line is if you do not want to keep looking like a cream puff, keep sitting your ass on the couch and munch away on those cream puffs. If you want to be physically fit, and not look like a bag of cookies, then you have to eat healthy and move your body accordingly. Wanting to look and feel good will never cut the mustard if you are not willing to make permenent changes to your life.