Lord of the Flies

Did you ever see a body builder that had a huge upper body but their legs were skinny? There is a reason for that beyond the obvious. Though contributing factors include not working those muscles (as much or not at all), the main reason is because their body is eating itself to satisfy the need to build the other muscles. Sounds a little strange, but true.

When we workout, our muscles fill with red blood cells, amino acids, water, oxygen and waste (lactic acid). We can guess where the oxygen comes from. Water is a little trickier. A bottle of water isn’t an immediate source, but it does replenish the water that is stolen from the other cells in the body that went to the muscles in need. Unless we’re hooked up to an IV for a blood infusion, the red blood cells obviously came from somewhere else in the body. The amino acids (broken down protein) also comes from somewhere else in the body. The waste is produced by the working muscle.

As for the oxygen, some muscles require more than others. The big muscles of the legs for instance need more than the forearm. Our bodies are smart enough the send the oxygen where it’s needed when it’s needed there. Getting into a habit of breathing by filling our stomachs first (lower diaphragm), then our upper lungs to get as much oxygen as we can possibly get into our system is the only way to get air to the muscle that needs it. If we cut our breath short, we still have stale air in our system AND we’re limiting the lymph system’s ability to remove the waste from the muscle (causing fatigue to set in earlier).

As for the water, our bodies are made up of 50-60% water. Blood is 83% water, our lungs are 90% water and our muscles are 75% water. We’re not quite watermelons, but it does give you a new meaning of body of water. So, if we don’t drink water before, during or after a workout, the muscle that demands the water WILL be taking it from somewhere else in your body.

The red blood cells: the amount we have in our body before a workout is the same amount after a workout. So guess where the demanding muscle gets what it needs. From somewhere else in the body. There’s a pattern here. Consuming iron will increase your red blood cell count, but it is very harmful if you take too much and it’s not immediate like a breath would be. So, a gradual increase of new red blood cells will work long term, but certainly not during a workout when you need them immediately.

Lastly, the amino acids (muscle building protein) is needed right when it’s needed, not 12 hours before nor 12 hours after. There is a brief window of time when you can supply that muscle with the amino it needs to get bigger/stronger and it has to be able to be broken down quickly enough so it doesn’t go to waste. Let’s just say that the right amino wasn’t supplied to the right muscle at the right time. That muscle is going to TAKE IT FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE BODY!

Our bodies are cannibalizing itself to get what it needs at that moment. The reason some body builders have a huge upper body but skinny legs is because the muscles up top stole what it needed from the legs. That’s a very visual example, but just imagine all the stuff we can’t see that’s going on in our body. That’s just another reason why nutrition is so important.

So next time you hear “This little piggy went to the market” he didn’t leave your body. Actually it would have been Roger going to the cannibal market.

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