Sunday, February 3, 2013

Legal Doping

You hear all the time about pro athletes getting busted for using banned performance enhancing drugs, steroids and using a technique called blood doping.  Blood doping is basically removing some of your own blood, waiting till your body has replaced it and then injecting the removed blood back in.

We can accomplish much the same thing without breaking the law.  Instead of taking performance enhancing drugs we can eat a healthier diet and nourish our body better.  Our cells are like little engines, we can make them better engines by giving them better fuel.  Those muscle cells can be much more efficient if we look at the whole cycle of what they do.  They take in oxygen and food from the blood, do their work and then expel the waste products of their work in the form of lactic acid.  The better we can support that cycle the more efficient those cells can do their work, moving our bodies.  Eating a balanced nutrient rich diet and getting regular cardio workouts will help the cells work better and drinking our required water and other fluids helps the blood flush out the waste.  Massage and stretching also help with moving pockets of lactic acid out of the muscles.  That is why we are often sore the next day after a hard workout.  Once we massage out that waste and let the body flush it out we aren't sore anymore.

Now the blood doping.  Most of us can accomplish that by losing some weight.  Our lungs can only take in so much air.  We will take in the exact same amount if we are carrying a lot of fat on our bodies as we do if we are at a good lean weight.  The oxygen, delivered by the blood, has to go to all the bodies cells including the fat cells so those muscle cells have to share that needed oxygen with all those fat cells.  So if we reduce the fat we increase the oxygen available to the muscles.  The same with the blood supply not giving away the fuel the muscles need to the fat cells.

Now the steroids for muscle growth, we can accomplish more muscle growth by doing the proper kinds of workouts and following all of the above.  Proper nutrition, reducing fat and doing the three required types of workouts will build stronger muscles. 

We need one long slow workout each week to build endurance:  When your body does work it's conservatively, unless your running for your life from a bear or doing a 100m sprint your body is only going to use the amount of muscle required to move us.  When those muscles get tired then the body starts using more of the available muscle fibers and there fore those fibers are now being trained.  the longer you train the more muscle fibers your body uses until finally all the muscle fibers are working and getting trained.

Our muscles are composed of two types of fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch.  The long slow workout trains the slow twitch.  The fast twitch fibers are trained by doing track workouts.  Where you go faster for a distance and then go slower to recover and then speed up again. This is called interval training because you have speed then a recovery interval to let your body catch up with the getting fuel and oxygen to the muscle cells and then speed up again.

The third type of workout you need to do is one where you kind of split the difference between the other two workouts and do a pace that is challenging but that that you can hold for a good distance.  Doing these workouts as a minimum and following a good nutrition plan along with allowing your body to get enough rest, will do as much for us average adult athletes as any of the drugs and doping without the risks.

Thanks for reading.

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