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The Power to Change, By Matthew Romans

Dr. Martin Seligman is a psychologist and author, and is one of the most respected people in his field. I recently read his book "What You Can Change, and What You Can't," and he discusses various aspects of one's life that can be changed and those that are fixed, particularly as it pertains to psychological topics like addiction, phobias, depression, anger, and many others. While there is a section in the book that discusses the pros and cons of dieting (he's not particularly optimistic about its success rate), he doesn't really discuss exercise, per se. While I got a lot out of the book, this is not a book review. Instead, the book's title and content led me to think about how this can relate to exercise, and it made me consider how much power we have to create positive physical and mental change through regular Total Results weight training.

We know that there are certain physical traits that are fixed. What can't you change?

VO2 Max. This is defined as the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense exercise. It is usually measured by a machine called a Breckman cart that attaches a hose to your mouth to measure your oxygen uptake during a treadmill run. It is largely predetermined by birth and cannot really be changed. The good news is that VO2 Max testing isn't a valid test of anything, and is not really important anyway (despite what most exercise physiologists will tell you).

Limb length. This is also genetically predetermined. While longer limbs create certain leverage advantages for certain activities or sports, it's not something you have control over. It's no accident that taller people gravitate toward sports like basketball and volleyball, largely due to selection bias (meaning they are drawn to be good at sports in which they are physically suited).

Tendon insertion point and muscle belly length. Tendons connect muscles to bones, and they also stabilize joints. While tendons do not have the same elastic properties as muscles, tendons can stretch a little to help facilitate muscular contraction. The muscle belly is the part of the muscle between its tendon attachments that contracts and produces force, thus enabling movement. The longer the muscle belly, the shorter the tendon attachment, and the greater force producing capacity the muscle has. This is something that Mother Nature decided for you, and that you have no control over.

Family medical history. Again, this is genetically predetermined. As the saying goes, you can't pick your parents (or grandparents, for that matter). But while you can't pick your genes, it's important to realize that not everyone with a family history of a certain disease ends up getting the disease simply because they are predisposed to it. Your lifestyle (which includes, diet, sleep, stress management, etc.) is something that you absolutely have control over.

Now that we have seen what we (largely) cannot change, what are some things that we have the power to change? This is where we can really take control and start living our best life, and it will take a lot less time than you think.

Attitude. This shapes your life philosophy and helps you to determine your course of action. Having a positive mindset means that you believe that you can accomplish anything if you are willing to invest the effort in doing so. Without it, nothing exceptional can be accomplished. As the saying goes, attitude is everything.

Knowledge. This ties in with one's attitude. Education should be lifelong, no matter what your interest or occupation. Always strive to learn. While I have said this before, at Total Results, we see ourselves as both learners and educators. We strive to keep learning and searching for a way to be better instructors, and we pass along what we have learned to you. As a Total Results client, having the mindset of being a learner will help pave the road to success.

Strength, metabolic, and cardiovascular conditioning. Skeletal muscle is one of the most plastic tissues in the entire body, meaning that it has a great capacity for positive change. The skeletal muscles are the only type of muscle tissue in the body that is voluntary; smooth and cardiac muscle, while very important, are involuntary. The skeletal muscles are the engines of the body; they enable movement and have the most impact on our body shape. High intensity Total Results weight training is the most effective way to increase your strength, which will also result in improved metabolic and cardiovascular conditioning.

Mood. Regular strength training has been shown to elevate mood and improve depression. Increased strength, ease of everyday tasks, and improved body image can and usually does lead to greater self-confidence.

Health care and insurance costs. While I don't see the the insurance and medical industries getting less expensive anytime soon, there are things you can do to lower your monthly and yearly health expenses. Regular Total Results exercise helps to protect against injury, lowers blood pressure, increases cardiac output, improves insulin sensitivity, and aids in combating the "diseases of modern civilization." The stronger and healthier you are, the less your insurance and health care costs, and this will help you to stay out of the system.

You have the power to change. While certain physical attributes that you have are fixed, others can be significantly improved. Total Results can be a major catalyst in creating a stronger and better you, and it takes less than one hour per week. While you may not have been given the genetic advantages to be an elite athlete, you can maximize your own genetic blueprint with Total Results. Take your first step today.

Posted November 05, 2019 by Tim Rankin