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By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.
In my past article, “Back to the Future – Discovering the Real Fountain of Youth”, now posted on my website Boosworld.com, I delineated the following medical science facts. A primary marker for aging is a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is defined as “age-related loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function.” I also differentiated between the two kinds of muscle tissue and their functions, red muscle fibers (Type I) and white muscle fibers (Type II). Red fibers perform low intensity activity, i.e., cardio/aerobic, or any activity able to be performed for over three minutes to an hour or more. White fibers perform higher intensity activities, i.e., resistance/strength training, moving furniture, or hard work of any kind.
However, there is a big scientific catch. The muscle tissue that is lost during the aging process (sarcopenia) is not of the Red Type I fibers. It is of the White Type II fibers that do the hard work of life. Hence, dysfunction increases as more and more White Type II strength fibers forget how to stay strong. Not only do the White Type II muscle fibers provide more power and function, but they help us stay strong, independently functional, youthful-looking, and toned. They are much more able to be applied for shape, contour, and size, if that is your goal. If you would like to look and feel younger, and be as healthy as possible, recruit your white muscle fibers.
If you are already weight training in the gym, but not obtaining your desired results, you may not have discovered the correct formula. If you already have a trainer, but are still having problems with results, there must be a reason why not. Either the trainer is not the right one for you, you aren’t doing your homework outside the gym, or you may need a reality check (expectations may be too high). The worst case scenario is all three, but any one of these will generate a desire to quit.
So what ‘is’ the proper formula for your results? One, a reality check or revising your expectations so they are more realistic. The right trainer can help. A thorough interview from an experienced, educated, and honest professional is a must. Two, a willingness to do your homework outside the gym. Again, a good trainer should be able to explain what you need to do after your workout as far as nutrition, rest, etc. Three, if you are not incorporating the basic fundamental concepts in order to stimulate the Type II muscle fibers, your results will be greatly limited. Either obtain this education on your own or through an educated, successful, experienced exercise coach. A good coach should be able to answer your questions, provide motivation, and guide you with the proper protocol.
Your quest should be to maintain or improve your youthful muscle tone and overall health. To do this, you must exploit as much of your muscles’ potential as possible (strength muscle tissue). That is the true fountain of youth. The formula for strength and youth is no secret, but it is work. Muscles must be trained properly within an intensity range of 65% to 90% of what you are able to perform one correctly executed repetition of an exercise. This would place the exercise repetition range somewhere between 6 and 15 reps. Strength muscle fibers will respond very well if you work in this range.
Unfortunately, many personal trainers do not have a strong passion or deep understanding towards the client’s health or the aging process in general. Not only should exercise be intense enough, but it should also be biomechanically and orthopedically appropriate for the individual. Each client brings unique, individual issues that need to be addressed, especially the over-40 person who is not the picture of health. For the sake of exercising to maintain youthful energy, health, and appearance, it is necessary to understand that no one is born an exercise specialist. Knowledge and experience come at a price. In my 40-plus years in this passion, I have learned what not to do. I pass this valuable commodity onto others.
In summary, the formula for the fountain of youth is that you must train intensely enough (65-90% of your one rep max), you must train adequately and properly, and you must train passionately. Having a good guide by your side would also be a tremendous advantage. Remember…if you live strong, you will prosper because – LIFE IS A SPORT, TRAIN FOR IT!
John Boos is a two-time Mr. World/Mr. NY State champion certified by the NSCA. He is a licensed massage therapist, a certified medical exercise specialist and is ACE certified. He heads “John Boos One-on-One Strength, Fitness and Massage” based in Babylon, NY. He hosts “John Boos One-on-One Fitness” radio show Sundays at 7 am on 101.5 in Nassau County and 105.3 in Suffolk County. For more info, visit www.boosworld.com or call 631-587-4786.