Monday, July 21, 2008

Change It Up - Often!

We all have favorite exercises that we like to do, and while they can get us good and strong for a while, we really should change things up - and not just to keep boredom from setting and killing our passion, or because we’ve hit a plateau.

A new study shows that mixing it up every so often with a new routine does more than just build muscle, it prevents your Muscle-Tendon complex from degrading.

Your Muscle-Tendon complex is the point at which your muscles that generate force connect to your tendons and transmit that force. Having healthy tendons is essential because your tendons must be fairly elastic and flexible to correctly transfer and bear the forces that your muscles place upon them during a brutal workout. Zero flexibility equals zero functionality.

Researchers found that aging and disuse caused the Muscle-Tendon complex to degrade, and that the only way to keep our muscles and tendons in tip top shape is to chronically switch things up, subjecting our muscles to different workout routines. By doing this, the Muscle-Tendon complex is always challenged to grow stronger, instead of simply bearing the same workout routines over and over and never adapting.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Switch it up at regular intervals. By switching it up at regular intervals, you’ll get the most muscle possible out of a program and keep your Muscle-Tendon complex healthy and in good shape.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: NARICI, M.V, et al. Plasticity of the Muscle-Tendon Complex With Disuse and Aging. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 126Y134, 2007.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working Out: Get It Right!

Let’s face it: busting your butt in the gym and breaking down muscle fibers under a ton of iron isn’t easy, but it’s the only way you’re going to get the big and beyond ripped physique that makes you the envy of everyone you know.

But there’s a fine line between doing too little, and doing too much. And, unless you can do just enough work to grow – unless you can get it right – all of your hard work will be for nothing, and you’ll end up getting sick. And how, exactly, does doing too much exercise make you sick?

A study looked at the underlying mechanisms of exercise and found that too much exercise makes you sick by altering your physiology and that doing too much exercise changes the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (TMP) of leukocytes – key immune system cells – and increased cell death rates, while simultaneously increasing inflammation and triggering muscle breakdown.

So, here’s your FUSION FACTOID: To build muscle, you’ve got to get it right – and this means working with all-out muscle building intensity until you’re finished – and not working a minute later. By working with precision, you’ll get all of the upside with none of the downside – like massive cell death and skyrocketing inflammation.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: T-C Tuan, et al. Deleterious effects of short-term, high-intensity exercise on immune function: evidence from leucocyte mitochondrial alterations and apoptosis. Br. J. Sports Med. 2008;42;11-15; originally published online 15 May 2007.