You Are Far Better Made Than You Think You Are.
“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering”. – Saint Augustine
One of my favorite topics in elementary and high school was physical science. What particularly got my attention was anything related to the animal kingdom and the great outdoors.
The incredible variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and streams, rivers, ponds and forests, mountains and deserts enthralled me then and still do today. To this day I am at my happiest when I am out of doors exploring and being with the wild and the free creatures and creation.
After I took up strength training in my early high school years though, another fascination in the arena of physical science developed.And that was the physical design and potential of the human body.
What I found perhaps most interesting involves human physiology and what is known as the “adaptive response” of the human body. More specifically, how the body responds physically, chemically and structurally to an outside force, overload or resistance.
Fitness professionals call this response the SAID principle, which stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. If you read much of my writing, you have likely heard about this before because I talk about it a lot.
In a nutshell, it means that if you properly and progressively impose a demand on a muscle, bone, joint or ligament, it will eventually be forced to adapt by becoming stronger, healthier, less prone to injury, more efficient, healthier and capable in regards to movement and work.
And, as a teenager who felt “physiquely challenged” at the time, I was particularly ecstatic that I had discovered the ability to create continual adaptive responses which developed positive improvements in my body.
Furthermore, even as a teenager I comprehended that physical adaptations and improvements (strength, muscle development, power, speed, health, movement skills) could be virtually limitless and ongoing until my life ended. Yep, I got that “aha” thought as a teenagerJ
Now, I have also come to understand that there are limits to what each of us can achieve in any arena of life. For example, there are some genetic limitations to what we can do physically.
No matter how hard I work for example, I can only get so strong, lean and muscular and there are limits on how fast I can run, how high I can jump or how much I can lift. As a teen one of my “crazy dreams” was to play middle linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and be like my boyhood idol, the fierce middle linebacker Jack Lambert.
I eventually had to accept the reality that in no form or fashion do I possess the athletic ability, size, strength, speed, quickness or power to play middle linebacker for the Steelers or even most college football teams. And, no amount of work would ever give me that ability to perform at those levels.
Which of course was meant to be as I believe that God had other plans for meJ
But having said that, I have also discovered that I am far better made than I USED to think I was. In my old way of thinking, I used to think I had “reached my peak” in my 20’s.
Yet at 57 I continue to be amazed and pleased at all of the ways that are still possible for me to continue to get stronger and improve my body’s potential for performance, movement and health. And as I do my hope for all areas of my life continues to exponentially expand too, which is just as if not more inspiring.
In other words, I am beginning to see more clearly that I am far better made physically, emotionally and spiritually and much more resilient than I once thought I was. And the same thing is very likely true for you too.
You too are far better made than you think you are.
And I can state with certainty that this is true most assuredly for you physically.
Before we go further with this point though let’s review the other three reasons for you to have great hope for your health, fitness, wellness and the whole spectrum of your existence.
Reason Number One: If You Can Move, You Can Improve. If you missed that, check it out here.
Reason Number Two: You Can Choose Active Over Passive. If you missed that, check it outhere.
Reason Number Three: You Can Choose Training Over Physical Activity. If you missed that, check it out here.
If you have already read through my 50FIT program and completed it, or read my past emails or blog posts, some of what I am about to say may be a repeat for you. If so, please bear with me.
Nonetheless, my feeling is that the factors I will be mentioning need to be continually pointed out as a reminder to us of what an amazing “machine” the body we have is!
But as I strongly stressed in my last post, to get the most out of your incredible body and physical potential, you will want to take part in an ongoing, scientific, professionally designed full body functional strength and conditioning system/program.
Momentarily I will outline a few components of what such a program would consist of but before I want to reemphasize the key aspect of why I have so much hope for your improved and possibly awesome fitness, health and wellness.
And that is how miraculously well made your body is. My good friend Dan Ritchie, PHD owns and operates two gyms in Indiana (USA) called “Miracles Fitness”.
Miracles fitness is aptly named because of what would seem to be the miracle results many of their members get there. Miracles fitness specifically works with “mature” women or men who are in their golden years.
That is, primarily the baby boomers ranging from 50 to 100 or more. Dan and his business partner Cody are amongst the top fitness professionals in the world when it comes to training mature clients.
And, because they used world class training programs/systems at Miracles Fitness, they more often than not achieve miracles for their clients. And though Dan and Cody’s methods are truly excellent I think that Dana and Cody would agree that they cannot take full credit for what they help people to achieve for themselves.
Because the truth is that much of the credit for the “miracles” that we can realize in our health, fitness and wellness results are due to the incredible and miraculous design of the human body. So, in my opinion, when I am personally experiencing the joy of movement or feeling stronger or training/teaching someone else to get those benefits I give most of the credit to whoever/whatever designed our human bodies in the first place.
This topic can of course open a big can of worms and stir up passionate discourse and controversy. Nonetheless, whether you believe it is God, some other form of intelligent design, mother nature or just a cosmic accident of some sort, whoever/whatever made the human body did a miraculous job!
The bottom line is that what drives my bold confidence and my passionate belief in what is possible for you and me physically is that I know I am working with the best “raw materials” in the universe. When someone starts to tell me all of the reasons that they cannot improve physically and in their health and fitness, I often find myself reminding them that they are far better made than maybe they realize.
And in so many cases, people are far far stronger than they think they are and have not even begun to scratch the surface of their physical potential. And this includes people past 50!
For example, did you know that the world record for push-ups and pull-ups are held by two different guys who are over 50 years old? A man over 100 recently set a 100 yard dash world record but did not start running until he was in his 90’sJ
How can this be possible? It is possible due to a combination of how well our bodies are made in unity with a few unique people who comprehend what they are capable of if they train hard, train consistently and train scientifically.
So that brings us to the topic of what does a professional, science based, full body functional strength training program/system consist of?
Again, many of you may already be familiar with this. Still, I am going to just mention each factor as the factors themselves are not the focus of this post.
A great training program will:
- Include weekly/daily strengthening and conditioning all seven movement patterns of the human body. These are; squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate/twist, bend/hinge and stride/gait (walk, jog, run).
- Include a focus on producing measurable improvements in strength, power (amount of work versus time), mobility, balance and endurance.
- Create improvements in physical health especially in a lower resting heart rate and blood pressure measurements.
- Include a programmed balance of antagonistic movements. For example, a thought through amount of both pulling and pushing movements.
- Include a programmed balance of closed chain and open chain exercises. This is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of world class training and becomes more and more important as we physically mature. This blog post goes into more detail if you would like to learn more about this topic.
But…no training program or personal trainer can ever takes us to our best physical potential unless we first understand and believe how miraculously well made we are.
I hope that from today onward you will start seeing and believing how you can have even greater hope for a better tomorrow because of the raw materials that make up your body. And in my next post I will give you reason number five to help you use those raw materials to feel more fully alive each and every day!
Until then, Stay Strong! Fred
Fred Schafer, MS, CFT