Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Organic, Not Mechanical

I'm just like everyone else in this world who really likes and appreicates decisiveness in answers. It's the universal sign of clear thought, direct action, and even honesty. All three are absent in people who just can't get anything done, like the sterotypical politicians and lawyers. So it stands to reason that I'd appreciate that when I ask questions about exercise and fitness. Unfortunately, that just doesn't always work in the matters of the body. The fact is that there are endless variations in the body that make a clear, decisive answer to a question just not possible.

The problem is that we think of our bodies too much like machines: preciesely built from one to the next with the same exact size and shape parts from one to the next capable of producing the same exact results from the same effort. The truth is that we're much more organic than that. Sure, we have the same organs organized in the same systems and being held together with the same types of attachments and supported by a skeleton. That's where the similarities end though. The muscular system alone has numerous variations from one person to the next. Some have higher concentrations of fast twitch fiber which makes them capable of lifting heavier objects or running short distances with incredible speed, provided that they have the proper placement of the muscle's points of origin and insertion. Otherwise, their leverage may be dramatically different. Then to further complicates things, if the bones are different lengths, then the leverage could be different. I've just scratched the surface of the differences in one body to the next.

There is endless variations and these variations translate to different athletic capabilites. I can do Hindu Pushups with the ease that many would envy. The last time I tried, I got 150 hindu pushups out of my body and I could have still kept going. I've heard people who are about my size struggle to even get to 50. So, is the Hindu pushup a beginner or an advanced exercise? Well, DEPENDS, doesn't it? Obviously I have different athletic attributes that make it easy for me and hard for others. If you asked me which is harder, pullups or chinups, I'm going to respond chinups. Most say pullups. Whose right? NEITHER ONE OF US. I could easily eat ice cream several times a week and never gain a pound. Many aren't so lucky. It took me 8 months to gain 23 pounds of muscle. I've heard of some doing it in 3.

Organic, not mechanical. That's the lesson. Machines are consistent, organic beings aren't. The sooner we realize this, the easier it will be to understand why there are so many struggles, so much variation, and so few decisive answers. Life is so much easier to understand and accept if you just think about your body this way.

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