SK14 – Exercise and Strength Training Today, For A Better Old Age

I’m often told that exercise and strength training is not really, for now, necessary as much as it is for when you’re old. Where you have tendencies to be weak and unable to stay fit and feel more out of shape. So it’s a preventative type of a thing. 

And for me, I guess it’s an excuse, but I really don’t have time. Going to the gym is absolutely out of the question. I just think that it’s too unnatural. And I’m sure many would disagree with me. But I want to naturally stay fit. 

So I want to be able to do things that naturally force me to do lunges, like going upstairs or going up a hill. Even walking more briskly, or a speed walk. That’s what I tend to do. But am I wrong? Should I actually be applying some gym like routines into my day? 

Do we need the gym for exercise and strength training?

In terms of muscle toning and strengthening, no I don’t think so. We are living in a world where there is such a discrepancy between what the science says and what we know and what people think they know. If we take, for example, one of the main human industries today, which is fitness centers, there’s a good argument that it is probably the most failed human endeavor ever. 

Although they can do well business wise, so a failed endeavor in what way? In personal results? Yes, absolutely. 99% of the people who go into these centers actually see no results. You cannot even tell the difference between someone who has been going to the gym for five years and someone who doesn’t.

Exercise and strength training - man in gray tank top and blue shorts doing push up
Exercise and strength training – do we need the gym?

Yes, I have friends that go to the gym and yes, it is discouraging for many of them. I think that they don’t really feel motivated, to be honest. And I have probably one I can think of, or maybe two in the past that I’ve come across that have been very diligent about going to the gym. Very dedicated, focused, and on one them, definitely the results show. 

But I don’t know how they have that kind of drive. For myself, it’s not normal. I certainly cannot do that. And the industry. It is pushing for a certain form of, being in shape, sometimes unrealistic. At the same time vending, sugary drinks and donuts on their premises. When we know that 90% of the shape of your body is determined by what you eat and not at all by the exercise. 

Be careful with what they feed you

And when you talk about those sugary drinks, it’s those electrolyte gatorade type of drinks which they give you. It’s in all the vending machines at these health clubs. And you’re right, it’s shocking that they’re actually not educating people on what to put into their body whilst working out on their body. 

Yes. There’s no way to outrun a bad diet at the end of the day. So in order to be in shape, you need to eat correctly. Eat what the human body is asking you to eat. And that is nutrient dense protein. Animal based food. Yeah. The nutrient density and bioavailability of the proteins with high fat is the key. 

It has to be fatty, animal based food. Yes. There is a discussion on the need for carbohydrates. If you are doing very intensive exercise because your muscles are working with glucose, okay. When you’ve exhausted your glycogen reserves, if you are not in ketosis and not used to it, there may be a need to assimilate some glucose. 

But there also people who are abstaining from any form of external sugar, they have these reserves of glycogen; of glucose that makes the muscles work perfectly well. And they actually increase their performance. I’m talking about strength training and even athletes who are runners, intensive sports. 

Busting a lot of myths

So there’s a lot of myths out there, and we know a lot about the muscle function. So that was going to be one of my questions. From what I understand, from the stuff that I’m reading, strengthening your muscles requires some form of weights in order for your muscles to get strengthened. At least that’s what’s out there as far as information is concerned. 

And it also says that lifting reasonable weights can also fight off osteoporosis, your bones will get stronger. Is it true that it’s the only way? Regarding bone density, we have to go back to the basics. What drives any adaptation of the body in terms of growing muscle or increasing bone density. 

There is an American researcher named John Jackquish who produced a book which is a bestseller on Amazon. It’s called Weightlifting Is a Waste of Time and So Is Cardio. So shares in this book all the studies that show the mechanisms by which you can really instruct your body to increase muscle mass. If you don’t have enough or if you want to increase it.

Even if you want to better your bone density. So these are two separate endeavors, but they’re all driven by the same processes. Which is that everything in your body is determined by the central nervous system. Okay? It is the central nervous system that will give the instructions through hormones. 

black and white bones hand x ray
Exercise and strength training – how much of it impacts our bones?

For example, build more muscle or build more dense bones. Right. And the idea of taking calcium because your bones are made of calcium, is evidently not true. We have all been writing on the blackboard with some chalk, right? This is calcium. It’s brittle. Yeah, you break it like nothing. You drop it on the floor. So our bones are not like this. Our bones are a structure of protein that contains calcium.

Okay? But calcium cannot be fixated on these structures without vitamin K2. And if you have calcium without K2, it’s useless and can be harmful because calcium can go into the wrong parts of your body to calcify your arteries, for example. So it’s not a good thing to encourage people to take calcium without the K2. 

And this vitamin K2, is mostly available in animal products. But I think in general, we’ve learned that just taking any kind of external supplements or minerals is probably not a good idea because you can get everything through your animal based food. Absolutely. 

Jaquish’s discovery

Jaquish’s mother had osteoporosis, and she was taking medication. She was aware of the side effects of medication. And when she was told that she should take such and such medication to improve bone density by a small percentage, she didn’t want to do it. 

So Jaquish, who loved his mother very much, tried to find a way to solve this problem for her. So he studied hard to find out if there are any humans anywhere on the planet that have high bone density. So he looked at different countries. He didn’t find much difference, but he finally found one group. The people who have the most dense bones on the planet are gymnasts.

Okay, so why? Yeah, it’s because this central nervous system that drives the building of your body. Whether muscle or bone density, is like the best engineers in the world. But they are locked up in a room without windows. They cannot look outside and see the shape of your body. Whether there’s much here or there’s not enough muscle there. They don’t know. 

So they need to receive a message, a signal from inside the body that says, hey, we are lacking bone density here or lacking muscle there to trigger the signal. This is the whole point. Once you trigger the signal, it goes to the engineer team, and then they instruct the body.

They then produce the hormones that are necessary. And if the building blocks are available, then you get what you want. Building blocks, meaning through the food. That the correct food that you eat, the fat, et cetera. The animal based nutrient dense food. 

So if you want to address the osteoporosis, how do we instruct the body to grow bones to make it denser? You have to send the signal that the bones are not strong enough. And it has been determined that, for example, if you jump from an appropriate height where the force creates an impact on the bone. Then the captors will say, oh, it’s not strong enough. I need more strength, more density. 

All this because, with that jump you caused the bone to bend ever so slightly. In order to make that happen you must apply three times your weight to the bone, which is why you jump from a do-able height. Meaning that you would have to jump very high from like a two meter height. And have a high impact on to the ground. 

Then you would trigger the signal. Anything lower than this doesn’t trigger any signal. So when I hear that people are jogging or just jumping around thinking this will trigger the signal, it’s proven scientifically that it’s not true. 

This is why the gymnasts do it the best way. When they land on the floor from a height, sometimes the impact is like ten times their weight. And they’re pretty versatile and flexible, but at the same time very strong. I used to be a gymnast, and I’m surprised at how much of that stayed with me over the years. 

The problem is that not everyone can do it the way gymnasts do. It’s also very taxing on the joints. So what’s the solution for the average person then? How can they do that? Well, it’s just that when you are a child, see how they jump and run and jump and run? They are sending this signal. 

The active lifestyle of a child keeps their bones not as rigid as adults. So you build your bone density until you’re a teenager. And then you maintain that by your proper nutrition.

As for the high jumps, it’s not advisable when you grow older, because now you would really be taxing your joints. So Jaquish devised a machine called OsteoStrong. They’ve seen very good results here. The machine really compresses the bones a few millimeters to send the signal. You would stand in this machine and you would start to feel a bit of a compression effect. 

It’s not an exercise machine. And it’s for people who couldn’t otherwise do it through acrobats. And it works. But for normal people who cannot access or afford a machine like this, It’s very important to maintain your bone density by eating correctly. Fatty animal products.

Exercise and strength training - photo of male gymnast practicing on gymnastic rings
Exercise and strength training – what we can learn from gymnasts

What that machine does, can weights do that? Or some sort of lunges or squats where we’re actually lifting our body up and down? No, not for bones. You really need an impact. You really need to stress the bone. How about the trampoline? It’s probably not enough. It’s too soft of a landing, too, because you don’t make that type of an impact when you land. You kind of go all the way down. You squeeze down. 

So I’m afraid just maintaining your bone density and not losing it is the way to go. With the right food to help you to maintain and optimise it. Once you’re an adult, it is not that easy to do that level of impact sessions on your bones. Except by usage of certain machines.

Food is the best way

So it sounds like food is really the most powerful way. And what you and I discussed, don’t let yourself be in a state of bone porosity because of lack of proper nutrition. When the body is lacking nutrition, it will tap into its reserves. The bones have large reserves of nutrients, too. 

As for building muscles, Jaquish says that weightlifting is a waste of time. It’s because the signal that is sent to the central nervous system for building muscle is on par with the signal that is needed to build bones. You need a strong signal and a very clear one. There must be a signal that muscle is missing somewhere. 

Okay, so the only way you grow muscle, especially someone who is very thin and doesn’t have much muscle. For example, a vegan, would likely be losing muscle because proteins are lacking. So the body will only survive by first sacrificing the muscles of the person. So you see them becoming very thin. They can be fat, yes, but their muscle is very thin. 

Yeah, I’ve noticed that in some of my vegan friends, they just don’t have much body strength. Exactly. And when they switch to a diet which is animal based, they lose fat and they grow muscle. Yeah, because they have a lot of toxic fat that builds up. But not only that, it’s also they are getting proper nutrition in a sufficient way. 

And without restricting yourself, the body has a target. It has a shape that is ingrained in its DNA, and it will and can reach this shape. So people are growing muscle without any exercise. People are surprised. People are saying, you know, I could not even do a push up. And after two months, now I can do 30 and I didn’t exercise at all to get these muscles. 

How your efforts compliment the results

So when we can, of course, we should be doing the odd push up and the sit ups and whatever. I mean, that is kind of what I sneak into my day. Because as you and I pray five times a day. Sitting on my prayer mat, I will let myself then stay on the prayer mat after my prayer and I’ll start doing some stomach crunches and I’ll start doing some push ups. 

And I do see a difference. Yet these things will not really grow muscle. They will make your muscle more efficient, stronger.  So you have the same muscle fibers in quantity, but they become stronger. Does it also increase the insulin, optimize the insulin in your body? Not necessarily. Because they often say that when you do lifting or any kind of exercising, it does give your insulin a boost. 

It’s just because in this case, you may lose fat and you may control more what you eat. Really? Insulin is really dependent on what you eat. No way around it. Now, if you want to grow muscle, you need to send a signal to the central nervous system that muscle is missing. If you do your push ups, et cetera, at some point you will be exhausted. 

You go to the ground, you go up, and at one point you can’t go up anymore. And this is because your muscles in your arms, in your biceps, they are limited in terms of strength. The strength is not the same. For example, you do a push up, you are up, you go down half and you go up and you go down half and you go up. It’s very easy. 

Yes, it’s very easy. But when you go down more, you cannot go back up. Why? It’s really painful because your muscle, when it is not fully extended, is very strong. But when you are totally collapsing it and then starting from the bottom, you have less strength.

Exercise and strength training - man in gray jacket doing push ups during sunrise
Exercise and strength training – do until you can’t do anymore

So when you do push ups and you go down, you do it correctly at one moment, you cannot go up anymore. It is this first range of motion that is exhausted. Your muscle cannot take it anymore. But if someone helps you a bit to get through this phase, then you can do 50 more. And you should definitely do it until you cannot anymore, because now the second range of motion is exhausted. 

It is when the full range of motion is exhausted, that the signal comes. It’ll tell you, “oh, my God. We don’t have enough fire”. You’ll almost feel your body’s responders saying, “we need to build more muscle”. And that’s when your body says we have to get stronger because you’ve exhausted yourself.

It’s like when you lay on your back and the bar with weight is above you. You push it up and let it down. You could keep loading it up to a point that you cannot lift it anymore. If someone helps you to go a little bit further, then you can lift. You are limited, until you are assisted to push yourself even further. But you can’t because you’re weaker. 

At the end, when your muscles have gone as far as possible, you are seven times stronger than at the beginning. So the muscle works in a progressive way. It would be ideal for everyone to do weight training. But weight should change at the beginning of the movement when you start lifting. You would have a weight that is x at the middle three y, and at the top seven z. 

In this case, when you do this movement, up and down and up and down, with the weight changing all the time, you would exhaust everything. You would do it until you cannot move one inch. And in this case, the central nervous system would get the message

Using elastics

fit elderly man stretching with resistance band
Exercise and strength training – it all goes to the end results

Is there any apparatus we can use to help us to do that? Yes, again John Jaquish has come up with elastics. Yes, we have that at home. This is elastics called the X3 bar system. These are a range of strength in elastics. They range from being for someone with weaker muscles to someone with stronger muscles. They can go up to 300 pounds. 

These elastics really help you in just using them for ten minutes a day. He provides you with a program that helps you to exhaust all ranges of motion. Once you totally exhaust the muscles, now you actually grow muscle. I need to pick it up again. 

You taught me, and it really did feel good. And with this X3 system, you are working with your own weight. You’re also competing with your own record. Because the elastic is about how far you can pull with your own body. Everyone will be different, and everyone’s results will be equal to what their body type is.  It’s a remarkable invention. 

When you are a professional, you want to master the art of deadlift to win a competition. This is something different than just wanting to be in shape. And most of us just want to be in shape. None of us want to be competitors. Or that bulky weightlifter that we see on TV. 

There’s a whole range of medical science that is opening now. It’s a muscle centric science, where they’re discovering that muscle is not just the way we move. It is also the biggest hormone producer of the body. The muscle is the biggest organ of the body. And it is very important for longevity. 

Seeing people coming in the ER after an accident where triage is to be performed, doctors immediately know who’s going to survive and who’s going to die just by seeing their muscle mass. Oh, my. So if your muscle is that important, then I wonder why we’re not taught this in early school science or biology class? 

You’re saying that a whole new field in medicine is coming out on just the study of muscle. But I certainly hope that they don’t think that they have to come up with medication to treat our muscles. The solution is so simple and natural, as you described.

Yes, muscles should not be tampered with by the pharmaceuticals. Exactly. And you know what happens? People are taking the steroids and so many other things, of course, which is horrendous on everything from mental health all the way to body function. 

Of course steroids build muscle, but it is a muscle of different quality that is not in tune with the body. And not natural. The central system is lost and people who take steroids are basically killing their liver and their kidneys with these pharmaceuticals. 

That’s why I’m hoping that this field of medicine that’s focusing on muscles now is not going to be pushing drugs. The point is not to have big muscles, it’s to have functioning muscles and to be fit.  As we age, one problem is that we are eating less and less protein. And look at old people, they’re told they shouldn’t eat much meat, et cetera, but it’s the opposite. What a crime. Now we see this range of sarcopenia. Which is when people age, they lose their muscle and it’s a terrible, terrible thing. There’s no reason for it. Maintaining a good muscle mass should be a priority for anyone who wants to live long and in good health.

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