Mon 2 Sep 2013
I did the following WOW before heading into work. I am still on a 3-way split because of a hectic work schedule. This was the shoulders/arms portion. Wendy was due to workout this week, but because I was working the entire holiday weekend she and a friend took the kids to the mountains. Unlike me, she has little angst about missing a workout and will probably just pick it up again next week.
MedX Overhead Press, TSC simple row, Thick Bar Biceps Curl, Nautilus Plateload Triceps Extension, Thick Bar Wrist Flex/Extension
I have been scanning the literature lately and a new buzzword that is cropping up is “Sarcopenic Obesity”. The term is used to describe the loss of muscle mass and the creeping obesity that can occur as one ages. Reading the literature on this topic is quite interesting. The first thing that really stands out is that both muscle and adipose tissue are very active endocrine tissues. The second thing that stands out is that these endocrine actions are almost in direct opposition to each other. Arthur Devany has made the case that the tissues of the body (especially fat and muscle) are like competing colonies, working in competition for energy resources, rather than in a cooperative or auto-regulatory fashion as previously thought. It seems that the science is proving him correct.
I am providing a link to a full text review article on sarcopenic obesity below. An interesting exercise is to get out a pencil and a scratch pad and write all of the mediators and their effects in separate columns labeled “muscle” and “fat”. This will make very clear to you the competing relationship between these two tissues. Age seems to dictate which tissue has the competitive advantage. When you are young, muscle has the competitive advantage over adipose tissue and the advantage slowly shifts toward fat as the years go by. Unless…you take measures to make sure this doesn’t happen.
While it is certainly not stated explicitly in the article, I think this lends credence to observations that I have had with clients over the years. If you begin paying attention to diet and exercise (particularly strength exercise) in your youth, you seem to front-load muscle’s competitive advantage such that, as long as you keep it up as you get older, the competitive advantage never shifts to adipose tissue. It is probably no coincidence that Art Devany, and Clarence Bass began their serious training around age 15 and never let up. For those that never exercise or stop in early adulthood, the competitive advantage can still be turned toward muscle, but it is definitely a more intense battle. We all obviously have strong opinions about the best methods to accomplish this, but the most important thing is that people perform strength exercise.
Another thing that is suggested by this article is that the common notion that it is impossible to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously is not necessarily correct. If and when this occurs (losing muscle with fat), it is probably an indication that the person in question has let themselves get too fat and let the competitive advantage tip towards adipose tissue. The idea of bulking up and dieting down probably works only to a certain point, but then can backfire if you go too far. Arthur Jones and Ellington Darden both recommended getting lean first, and then attempting to add muscle. This was precisely the advice that Arthur Jones gave Clarence Bass that launched Clarence’s approach to diet and training. I suspect that if you are vigilant, and never allow yourself to gain too much adipose tissue, that you can actually experience an increase in muscle mass when you tighten your diet in an attempt to get leaner.
As a final note, I am planning to change the format of my posting for a while. Rather than posting every time I do a WOW, I will try to limit my posting to times when I have come across a substantive article or topic. I am hopeful that discussions will be confined to the topic posted and not deteriorate. If things do deteriorate, I may consider continuing in this format, but with comments turned off, or, if it is not too labor-intensive, blocking those who resort to ad-hominem, profane or juvenile tactics.