Just What is your Fitness Intention?

Are you off to a good start with your exercise program? Or, are you going to try working out for awhile, until something else comes along?

Without a clear intention about what you’re doing for your health (like exercise), you may find frustration, lack of results, and eventually an easy reason to quit.

The Best Exercise

Take a look at what I call The Three “I’s”. Intention. Intensity. Integration. These are what I teach about life but specifically about exercise. The last episode was well into the first “I” -- Intention.

Let me explain by asking you a question.

Why do you exercise? What is your intention?

If you don’t very well answer this first then you are doomed to fail or at least going to have a difficult time with whatever it is your place your energy and focus. When it comes to exercise what is your primary intention?

Is it to:

  • Look good

  • Feel good

  • Lose weight

  • Impress other people

  • Impress yourself

  • Have something to do on the weekends

  • Get healthy and remain healthy

Your answer will determine your approach, your dedication, your outcome, and just about anything else related to the subject of exercise or fitness in general.

What is your intention?

And what goes with that question is the notion of information -- which should be the forth “I” in my trilogy but then it would not be a trilogy; it would be a quadratic.

But let’s talk about Information for a bit.

The last podcast episode was “012-Homeostasis to Metabolic Capacity” and I came up with the idea, wrote it, and recorded the podcast in about one week. Seems fast but the main idea -- Metabolic Capacity, struck me as how it perfectly fit into all the years of somewhat boring information about stress, physiology and a number of deceased smart guys who talked about these issues. I thought the ideas about Metabolic Capacity completed the description of what they were talking about.

And it is this: we all encounter stress and usually the stress goes away or we adapt to the stress and overcome it and life goes on.

But what I was saying is this: is it possible to increase our ability to adapt (to physical and metabolic stress) by increasing the stress -- in the case of exercise, increasing the intensity (the second “I” that I mentioned) just to the point of failure so our physiologic repair mechanisms improve their ability to respond.

In other words, you can exercise your biceps by doing curls. You can do this several ways, and I want to make it simple.

First, you can do curls with low weight and lots of repetitions, to the point of muscle failure.

Or, you can do curls with heavier weight and fewer repetitions, to the point of muscle failure.

In both cases you are placing stress on the muscles so that the muscle will respond by rebuilding and repairing the catabolic stress of muscle breakdown.

But did you notice in both of these cases that they went to the point of muscle failure? This is what the last episode was about -- pushing metabolism, in this case, muscle building of the biceps muscles -- to the extreme point of muscle failure. It is in this last zone of physiology that metabolic magic happens.

Metabolic magic. The zone of Metabolic Magic. This is the adaptation I was discussing with you last time although I didn’t use the term Metabolic Magic -- that’s new for today.

But that’s exactly the point of pushing homeostasis into higher levels of function. That’s the point of the SAID principle: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. It is taking Hans Selye’s project to a happy ending, a healthier ending.

Back to intention. If my intention to fitness and exercise is to get healthy and remain healthy then my intent is to increase metabolic capacity, improve SAID, improve homeostasis. How do I do this? By pushing the limits of exercise to the point of muscle failure. The safest, most important way to do this is to increase the intensity of the exercise so I get to muscle failure as quickly as possible without over-damaging (or over-training) the muscle. And the safest and healthiest way to do this catabolic muscle breakdown is to make sure I have a rest and recovery phase so that the entire muscle, metabolic systems supplying the muscle and the body, have sufficient time to do this.

So every maximum catabolic, muscle-breakdown phase of exercise must be paired with a maximum anabolic, muscle-repair phase of metabolism. This repair phase may be 3 to 4 times the length of time of the breakdown phase. It takes time to repair after complete exhaustion of a muscle. Now add the entire body workout.

I said something last episode that I heard but I’m not sure I agree with and so it might cause some confusion. I think I said that metabolic capacity equals homeostasis. I don’t think that is accurate. I like to think homeostasis is like your fuel tanks you have in your body. You have fuel in them to carry on normal function. Then, I think that Metabolic Capacity is your reserve fuel tanks, it’s what you have in the second set of fuel tanks that you don’t use much, only when you have to.

What I’m trying to get across is that I think you can increase your homeostasis levels (your fuel tanks) and your metabolic capacity (your reserve tanks) through intense exercising.

Fitness levels are really about energy production and energy reserves.

My next two questions; 1) how do we keep our energy up? and 2) how do we do more things? This is my intention of exercise and fitness.

So this begs another question. Just what kinds of exercise will do this? In my case I answered this by designing and building my exercise machine. It answers the major question I began asking myself years ago: What is the best exercise?

It’s the one that exercises the most muscles, the most effectively in the shortest time. Cardiorespiratory is what I’m talking about. The cardiac muscle is the most important muscle when it comes to choosing the most important muscle related to health and fitness.

If your fitness and exercise intention is for health and wellness then it becomes your benefit to learn more information about these things.