Thursday, September 16, 2021

Taking Nothing for Granted

 It is very easy to get used to anything -- so much so that one takes these things for granted, and no longer envisions what life would be like without them.  The classic example is A Wonderful Life -- of a chance to envision what life and the world would be without them -- and everything one has and takes for granted.  In that way, we often lose sight of the value of all that we already have -- and all the trials ans tribulations it took to get there.

That is the value of writing and record-keeping -- so all of that is not lost, or taken for granted, and we lose that perspective and value such achievements epitomize.  There are reasons why things are as they are, and not otherwise.  If we didn't know what we know now, it is because that is what it took to get here -- and not that we should have known otherwise from the start.  Life and reality doesn't work that way -- it has to get better or it will perish, which doesn't mean it never happened.

Even the mistakes are Nature's way of getting there -- and those who do not learn better, will not survive.  Those are just the facts of life -- and not the political or social correctness that have often proven wrong -- though people of their time were so certain of their "rightness."

That is largely the function of time and age -- that reveals that what we were so certain in youth worked, reveals otherwise in time.  That is the problem with "exercise" and "practices" one were so certain were good in itself forevermore, proves impossible to do in older years.

The classic examples are the power lifts known as the bench press, squat and deadlifts -- named so because it allows one to lift the most weight, as though that was a good in itself -- and would cure everything as long as one continued to do them.  The problem is that by doing them with maximum weights, one eventually gets to the condition in which it is impossible to do any of them anymore -- and any thoughts and efforts in that direction, ceases entirely.

Then the explanation given, is that one is not doing them -- rather than that doing them, got them into that present incapacitated condition.  But at that point, it is a lesson learned too late -- and obviously the solution, is not to do more of them -- or to give up entirely, but to look for some other way of thinking and doing that enables and restores those capacities -- hopefully before the point of no return.  Sadly, many will continue down that path of no redemption and salvation.

That is the essential history of humankind and civilization -- not simply to repeat history, but rewrite it with each iteration.  That doesn't mean merely erasing past mistakes -- but actually learning from them -- and keeping those records intact so one accurately knows where one has already been -- and can go on to explore new paths, and go where they've never gone before.  But one will never know that if they erase all evidence of all their past mistakes -- as well as achievements as the milestones for where they've been.  For this to have immense value, it must be as complete and accurate as possible -- and not doctored to only tell the story one now wants to believe about their infallibility.

In that way, it is not possible to ever learn from one's mistakes -- and that is the repetition of them -- rather than the possibility of discovering something new and unprecedented.  The great problem of this age, as well as every other, is the limits to human functioning and productivity -- not only among the young and able, but more importantly, among the increasing numbers and proportion of those reaching advanced ages -- but in poor and declining abilities.  How do we change that? -- beyond the promises of miracle drugs -- and other innumerable commercial ventures promising to deliver those results?

The answer lies within.  That's what every wise person has said.  But what does that mean?  That means for any problem or difficulty, the solution is the obvious -- but never questioned, because it is always taken for granted that one knows what they are doing -- with absolute certainty, if there are any doubts remaining, all that is required, is to apply more brute force to make it work.  And for most of history up to then, that was the answer to almost all questions -- more brute force was the answer -- even if it crippled one more and more.  Somehow, some way, persisting doggedly in that manner, would make everything turn out right in the end -- and so the problem remained, whether one would live that long to see it happen.

Most, obviously, ran out of time -- and in many cases, mercifully so.  The path of deterioration can only travel so long before life is no longer viable and sustainable -- but is that how it must end?  We don't have too many examples of it not ending that way.  And that is what we would all like to know -- before taking it for granted that it is a foregone conclusion that must end that way.  That is the turning point -- at which one is determining that one is improving, or has irreversibly gone into decline -- the demarcation between vibrancy and hopeless aging.

Can we still find a way to win?  The answer is obvious -- instead of raising the bar further, we should be lowering it to remain active.  That is a very difficult thing for someone to do who has only been taught one thing in life -- and that is to make life more difficult and complicated as their competitive advantage.  That is what athletic competition largely conditions one to.  That is the instinctive response of most to demonstrate their competitive advantage -- to do what no one else can do -- rather than reveal the manner in which everyone else can also do -- as the universal wisdom and validity for what truly works.

If nobody else can do it, I'd propose that it doesn't work for anybody -- and not that it has to be the new standard of fitness for everyone.  Yet that is precisely the approach and mindset of most fitness "experts," and self-proclaimed authorities on these matters.  What everybody can do, is obviously a universal truth on the matter.  At such a suggestion, many will lose interest -- because it is not something that they know and everybody else does not.  Fitness is not only what you know and nobody else does, but what everybody knows to be true -- but just never thought about it.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Genius is making the Difficult and Complex, Simple and Easy

And not vice-versa.  That is the important lesson and principle usually lost in instruction.  By that, one will be able to distinguish those who know enough, and those who have no idea what they are talking about -- and so everything is equally impressive and intimidating.  Unless it is so, nobody will listen to them -- and think them important messengers and interpreters of the gods themselves.

In their world, it is most important to be highly regarded as an expert -- and never humbled by their own ignorance, which is the beginning of every journey to great discovery.  That's not what they are interested in -- really and vitally, and it is only that passion, that opens the doors to endless discoveries.  And so it is not so important how much they already know, but the great discoveries that await them.

That is the great disillusionment of "aging" -- that what they know, is not all that can be known -- and there are worlds yet to be discovered, that they have to begin like everyone else -- as though they know nothing.  That is the hardest lesson to learn -- that what one knows, is only the beginning to what can be known -- and is not all that can be known forevermore.  That is the quandary of every time and age -- and the difference between the young and the old minds.

The young mind wants to know what works; the old mind holds on to what it knows despite that it does not work -- now and if it ever did.  Yet it will be unchanging in what it knows -- and insist that is what everyone else must also know -- even if what they know, doesn't work.  That is knowledge for knowledge's sake -- as though merely accumulating as much as possible, was the magic.

The mass media would like us to believe that the only reason their explanation does not work, is because not enough people believe it -- and only when there is 100% belief in it, that the miraculous will happen.  Of course, the reason people believe something, is that it works -- regardless of how many people believe in it, or even nobody believes it. It is the belief that has to be brought into line with what is actually happening, and not the belief -- that unless everybody is in on the mass delusion, reality will not manifest.

And so every attempt is made to undermine individual experiment and discovery -- in deference only to the experts (high priests) and those who feel they should have exclusive rights to tell everybody else what to believe.  In no event, should anybody be allowed to think for themselves -- just as it has always been -- according to them.

According to their dogma, The Truth has always been passed down from one generation of the Chosen to the next -- and everybody else is forbidden from that knowledge, or even inquiring into it.  That is their turf, or exclusive jurisdiction.  It even says so -- in The First Commandment, and First Amendment -- that there is deliberate intention to create a caste above all the others -- as The Fourth Estate -- beyond the kings, nobles, clergy and peasants.  That is just the way it has always been -- as God intended, and they were charged with enforcing.

Thus thinking independently and for oneself -- becomes the ultimate trespass against the social order -- as much as they can get everyone else to subscribe to -- and like.  But it goes far beyond "liking," and letting each individual determine such matters for themselves.  They must be forced to conform for their own good -- and nothing else will do -- because only they know better, what is best for all.

That is the stuff of parables -- since the beginning of consciousness.  There is a reason ancient wisdom rings true for every succeeding generation -- and that always begins with the advice to Know and Trust One's Own Judgment -- no matter how much pressure is placed on one to conform to what one knows violates every sensibility they know to be true.

In such quandaries, they must resort to the basics of what they know to be true -- and test each assumption they've accepted without questioning, or even suspect that it couldn't be true -- and get down to the error of their ways.  Only then does the possibility of discovering a greater possibility than ever thought possible become the inevitable.

The greater life has a mind and intelligence of its own -- far more than anybody's small part of it -- that they think to impose upon the whole.  That is the proverbial Zero-Sum Game -- of one seeming to dominate all the others -- at their expense, for however long that lasts.  But it too, will not be forever.

A simpler, more powerful truth will be revealed.  The many ad hoc explanations give way, are integrated and assimilated into one more comprehensive, simple explanation.  The one thing, is more significant than all the others -- that merely cancel one another, rather than giving greater force to the essential truth of the matter.

It doesn't matter how difficult and hard a movement appears that makes it productive -- because what really matters is the movement of blood and essential nutrients within that accounts for all the productivity in healthy benefits.  That is true for the dying as well as the world-class athlete.  When that movement stops, life ceases, and further growth is not possible -- because it is that sustenance and connection with the greater environment, that has to be maintained and enhanced for the highest actualization of all those possibilities.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Learning from Everything

Life is very instructive: too bad too many don't attend to the wisdom of their own lives -- for that is real intelligence, and not simply a trick to make others think so.  By that measure, we call "intelligence," but is nowhere close to being all that can be known -- at all times.  The mind that is completely open to all the intelligence around them, is letting the intelligence of all humanity guide them -- rather than thinking they alone can reinvent the wheel, in everything they do.  That is not likely to be an efficient way of living -- even for the most intelligent among us.

Instead, what one must be able to do, is assess and absorb the intelligence of all those around us -- who may know more than we do -- about that particular thing.  That implies knowing which to trust, and which to overlook, in providing that information.  Often, there are ulterior motives for providing that information -- often for self-serving purposes.  You only hear what is advantageous for them -- and not that that information can be beneficial to oneself.  In fact, it could even be detrimental to one's health and well-being -- but that is also what one can learn.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.  One merely accepts and takes in that information -- before deciding that nothing is going according to plan.  If one is paying attention, it could lead to a new beginning -- of everything they know.  And that is a good thing -- rather than a bad thing, because it is easier to relearn everything, than to just change one thing.  Then, one has to change every bit, as though it is unrelated to every other thing -- until one makes those adjustments.  But if they're learning everything with a fresh mind, one doesn't have to do those infinite adjustments -- the world is born wholly new, in a higher understanding.  

And that is what it is most difficult to learn -- that everything one knows, is not perfect knowledge, but some corruption of it.   It probably is an imperfect understanding of reality.  And so one is always finding out -- whether that knowledge, actually represents reality -- or whether they should find out directly by engaging it.  In that latter mode, one will learn more than they realized was possible.  Every moment has that significance -- in going many ways.  They are pregnant with the many possibilities.

A rare few make the best of them.  Most fritter away unlimited opportunities -- never making the best of any.  So the trick is -- how to make the best of anything?  That requires learning from everything -- from moment to moment, and the situation is always fluid, always in flux.  If it is knowledge of 50 years ago, the world has changed several times over since then.

There is no knowledge for all time -- and forever after.  Always, something new is coming into being, and something old is leaving -- and so the world is ever changing.  That need not be disruptive or ruinous, but simply the truth of the moment -- which too will change in time.  Only the mind attempts to make it a permanent thing, and life is not that way.  It is a flow of one reality to the next.  Everyone comes to realize that what was true when they were 20, is not the truth for when they are 60, and when they are 100, truth is what they make of it each day -- and only those who do, continue on for another.  But that is fair enough -- they've had more than their fair share of time, to do with it as they will.

What lies beyond that, is anybody's guess.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Finding Out for Yourself

Before asking another for the answer, one should always try to see if they can answer the question for themselves -- as that is more likely to be the truth of the matter for themselves, rather than a generalized other.  That is to say, if it works for you, then it doesn't matter that it doesn't work for anybody else -- because you are the person you are, and not some theoretical or average other.  That's probably the hardest lesson to learn.

Likewise, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't matter how many others it works for -- because the reality is you.  So in asking what is the best program of conditioning, it depends on who you are -- and that is why finding out who one is, is critical to asking any other question.  Thus, all the wise, have advised to find out who one is -- and that is the key to understanding anything else, because nobody else can answer that better.

That is true whether the subject is diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.  It should come as no shock that each of us is different -- and so what is best for any specific individual, may not be best for any other -- and we usually discover that by slow increments rather than leaping to extremes.  A little bit more weight might make one stronger, while a lot, may crush you -- and more importantly, discourage you from finding out your own "optimal."

Every individual lies somewhere on the spectrum of all the others.  Some are tall and some are short; some are quick and some are slow -- and both have their unique strengths.  There are degrees of improvement with a certain range -- but the runner will not likely be the gymnast because both require different strengths -- the latter upper body, while the former lower body -- and those traits are not reversible and interchangeable -- and so one is better off finding out what one is, and work with those natural born advantages -- especially if they are competing among those who are truly gifted for that activity.

It might be that one creates their own category -- and of course, will be the best at that.  The problem and difficulties arise when someone convinces everybody that they should only play and compete at their game, favorable to them alone -- while convincing everybody they are starting equally, and having an equal chance at all the prizes.  Of course that is patently unfair -- as in everything in life.  One always begins where one is -- and understands about the whole of life.

Just one leg doesn't get one there.  It's got to be the total package -- leaving nothing behind.  So from the very beginning, one wants to ask the right question, and not merely have all the answers to the wrong questions.  That won't do.  That's why people don't get the results they think they ought to.  They overlook the details -- in preference for the generalities -- that may or may not be an accurate approximation of the realities.  The idea is not the thing itself.  

 But in an era in which most of what they know has been taught to them -- rather than what they learned on their own, the idea becomes more real than the realities.  There are fields in which those differences are more manifest: athletics, finance, writing, speaking, health, attitude, emotional intelligence, etc., but that is not the be-all, end-all of human possibilities -- but simply the beginning of each individual's development and explorations.  Most of the world is not known but unknown -- which is hard to believe for many -- especially those who have been taught in the manner that what they say, is all that can be known -- and so any quest for truth beyond that, is illegal, and prohibited.  In earlier times, that was called "taboo" or "kapu" -- where one is forbidden to go, even on the punishment of death -- and beyond (fear).

In that  way, we have never come that far -- from those who threaten, "My way, or the highway."  Which means to say, there is no other game in town -- and beyond that, lies only treacherous seas, before falling off the edge of the world into the great abyss.  Naturally, that deters a lot of folks from ever finding their own way -- much less, any other way -- and one has to try many ways before finding that one that works optimally for themselves -- but if they never embark on the quest, then they are doomed to whatever fate someone else determines for them -- and never knowing the difference.

In every time, that was the hero's quest -- that defined such lives -- even in a mass media culture demanding total obedience to the meme of the day.  Literature is replete with countless tales of trials and tribulations of such individuals -- or there would be no stories to tell.  The noteworthy individuals were invariably those who had to find their own way -- and in doing so, blaze the trail for many to follow the better way.  But we don't know that before embarking on the quest -- and many never do, so ingrained are they in their knowledge that the one way -- is the only way, and will be forever more.

It is easier to see in more primitive societies and cultures -- but this desire for absolute certainty in the most insecure convinces them there is only strength in numbers, and never standing alone.  But such individuals are the only way any significant leap in knowledge has been achieved -- and why it is so important to find out the truth of any matter for oneself, which does not preclude learning from everybody and everything else -- but the self-designated experts.

There is just not one person who knows -- but many, and putting all the knowledge and information together, is the essential work of every individual, in every time and place.  That is the quality that distinguishes the most modern person of any time and circumstances.  "They have it all together" -- and not merely fragments and pieces, amounting to nothing.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

High Intensity Exercise (and Peak Performance)

 "No amount of low-intensity exercise will produce the same effects as a very brief and infrequent amount of high intensity exercise." 

Those were the words expressed to me in the summer of 1969 at the Teenage National Championships held in York, Pennsylvania, conveniently at the YMCA -- making it one of the great gatherings of people interested in such matters back then.  Virtually all the people known as the "golden era of bodybuilding" were staying under one roof, and one person in particular, introduced his ideas on revolutionizing this activity for anyone who would listen -- but unfortunately, few were so inclined, and those who did, chose to argue rather than listen to new ideas.

If one actually chose to exercise with such high intensity, they could not last more than ten minutes without throwing up, or the body completely shutting down in revolt for such a full-on assault -- self-imposed.  But I said I would give it a try, and pass on that knowledge to everyone else who might be interested in unprecedented fast and dramatic results -- if they were willing to endure that tremendous discomfort (trauma) which the body then would adapt to -- for as long as one persisted in that manner.

And so the notion of pain as the stimulus of gain, began to supplant the convention of moderate and painless exercise -- to largely maintain the status quo of maintaining the condition and movement one presently had.  Most of the people taking up exercise up to that time, were often doing so because of illnesses or genetic defects -- that made them feel the necessity to.  More normally developed people were not so inclined -- to waste their time in that manner.

People did not suspect that one could actually achieve remarkable transformations in just five minutes -- if one were willing to go all-out and deliberately produce that effect.  Needless to say, it is very stressful on the body to do so -- or one would be doing it all the time, but as originally forewarned, it had to be very brief, and infrequent -- or the body would simply break down, and not recover -- until forced to do so by its own innate intelligence.

Initially, they were just principles that could be applied to any manner of exercising or activity -- which were later incorporated into the Nautilus exercise machines -- so that they would be "foolproof."  But the inventor underestimated the extent to which fools could undermine the wisdom of the machines -- and defeat its intents and purposes -- and thus created a need for personalized supervision of every repetition to ensure that they were done properly.  That was an admission that the machine was not foolproof -- and what was really lacking, was the proper understanding of those principles.

As originally presented, one could achieve the high intensity effect, using any equipment -- or none at all, because what was required was simply to exceed one's momentary ability -- and that created the stimulus for the body to adapt to this higher level -- over time, in recovery.  Thus this recovery ability became as equally critical factor -- as the breaking down process that makes room for the new.  It was not enough just to exercise as much as possible -- or all the time, because it was equally important to provide adequate rest and nutrients to rebuild at a slightly higher capacity -- anticipating the next challenge to one's capabilities.

That is how one programs themselves to improve -- and not simply annihilate oneself -- at an inappropriate time and circumstances.  The challenge must be great -- but manageable given one's present resources -- and not merely taking on a freight train believing they can conquer anything if they only put their mind to it.  Thus it has been observed, that "the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak."  Meanwhile, true fitness and survival, is knowing one's capabilities and limits, and utilizing them appropriately in the right time and circumstances.  Many people get these qualifiers wrong -- and think only in the absolutes -- that all-out, or 115% rules the day.  Instead, one may never recover from that miscalculation of abilities to the challenge.

So one must always allow for a margin of error that one could be completely wrong, overmatched, or misreading the situation -- as when dealing with an unfamiliar life form (foe) and assuming one has seen it all, and compares it to everything else they have experienced before.  Who knew that the crocodile wouldn't take kindly to being patted on the head?  So in anything one does, it is best to approach it tentatively -- and then taking it a little farther to familiarize oneself with the possibilities and territory -- to find out the the truth of the matter.

In that exploration and learning, one has already become a better person -- and not that they were born with perfect knowledge and so must never admit to not knowing anything, because that realization, is the awakening of intelligence.  That is high intensity exercise for the brain -- which then exercised through the neuromuscular structures -- produces growth in one's total being.  Such people, we say, are firing on all cylinders -- because they are not just thinking with their brains, but every cell, tissue, and organ in their body.  Such highly charged states, do not have to be practiced for hours, day after day, but is enough to experience for even one second -- to have a transformative effect on the body.

It is the highest level of attainment achieved -- and predictably, cannot be sustained or duplicated -- but at that point, one has achieved what they set out to -- that momentary highest level of achievement.  That then becomes the prototype for all one's future attainments.  But no amount of mundane, routine, boring activity -- has that same magical, transformative effect.  One must be entirely "there" -- as the template for which all the cells henceforth, will be rebuilt to adapt to.  

Obviously, that is taking life to a higher level -- which is actually what every life form has been preprogrammed to do -- and why we have evolution and progress.  That is the integration of all that has come before -- in the synthesis of the new, more powerful life force -- or there is disintegration -- the breakdown into greater disorder, anomie, atrophy, and entropy.  Greater life force is increasing orderliness and adaptability at higher levels, while disintegration inevitably leads to increasing probabilities of disease, injury and death -- because it doesn't learn from its own living -- to get better.

So when the leading edge researchers describe "high intensity" training, it is this qualitative effect they are alluding to -- and not merely more of the same and familiar (quantitative) -- that isn't working, no matter how much of it one does.  Those limits can be breached no matter what present condition one is in -- and that is particularly important to note -- because it depends on breaching one's momentary levels of ability and not merely personal or world record bests.  That is meaningful because those are the most severe challenges one is likely to encounter in life -- when they can turn their fortunes from utter vanquish to feeling whole and well again -- in an instant.  Some call that "resiliency" (recovery ability).  Like people who have made a fortune and lost a fortune, those in supreme health, know how to change their own fortunes -- and that is what the early pioneers of bodybuilding and the greater health movement, blazed the path for in that they were often willing to risk their health and lives for a brief moment of glory -- and no rational argument would stop them.

However, many died prematurely by overtraining and overstraining their own organs to failure -- beginning with the heart -- which does not have unlimited capacity for work and overwork.  Something has to give when demanding 200% effort day after day.  Usually the body informs them in some way that that cannot persist for much longer -- and most voluntarily quit, before they have a tragic medical episode.  That's all part of learning -- just like why it is inadvisable not to drive at full throttle whenever one can.  Most hope to outgrow it.

The problem of intensity is similar to acceleration -- one is either increasing -- or decreasing, momentarily.  But the only thing that matters is the peak -- and not that it has to be sustained indefinitely in order to be effective, and once attained, already produces an unprecedented stimulus for desired growth no matter what stage or age one is in.  But like any powerful force in life, it has to be managed prudently -- or it can be one's undoing.  Too much of a good thing can be damaging.  Too much food, too much money, too many drugs, too many influences, etc.

The proper dose makes the medicine/poison.



Thursday, April 01, 2021

Two Critical and Essential Movements to Understand

The first two machines Arthur Jones thought to embody and exemplify his Nautilus Training Principles into foolproof machines -- were the Pullover and the Hip and Back -- the latter which never caught on as well as the former -- because for many bodybuilders, let alone less enthusiastic trainees, the lower body is almost a foreign concept (and alien appendage) -- which eventually comes home to haunt them.  Thus bodybuilders who still compete after their 70s, are notorious for having grossly disproportionately underdeveloped lower bodies -- even while still maintaining impressive biceps and abdominals -- and in many cases, that is all -- even if they have great difficulty climbing the dais to claim their trophy.

The rationalization is usually that what could one expect? -- having damaged their knees from squatting and their backs from deadlifting -- the standbys through which they hoped to develop those particular areas, but rather, have destroyed them.  Obviously, those two movements that eventually result in these disabilities, are exactly what one should not do -- but in the Opposite Universe -- one will do them until one no longer can -- and that will be proof of their effectiveness and value.

The genius in his selection of the Pullover and the Hip and Back reflect the understanding of the two essential power producing fulcrums of the human body which engage the most and largest muscles of the human body at the shoulder and hip girdles.  During the '50s and '60s, the most commonly employed exercise to build up the chest was not the bench press but the pullover -- in the recognition that it would directly expand the ribcage -- or breathing capacity, because that particular movement is the best breathing exercise -- let alone, muscle developer.

As the upper arms move back towards the head and beyond, the chest volume increases, and when the arms come down towards the hips, chest volume is decreased -- and it is the alternation of the chest volume that moves air in and out of the lungs, and why manual chest compressions are helpful in achieving this effect in those who have stopped breathing.  This is also noticeable as the chest rises or falls with normal breathing -- particularly when one is breathing only through the natural passage through the nose.  When the mouth is closed, it forms a perfect seal through which the only passage in and out is through that opening -- and the pressure caused by the alternating chest volume -- working in an atmosphere of about 15 lbs per inch.  Nature will not allow a vacuum to exist without instantly seeking to equalize those pressures.

Thus one does not need to practice proper breathing as a separate function -- but is optimized by the change in chest volume in the pullover movement -- which is also engaging the most, and largest muscles of the torso concurrently.  It is the most effective way to make breathing the critically and essential movement to get better at -- throughout one's life.  When one stops breathing, the consequences will be disastrous, if not fatal -- and in better circumstances, is the key to optimizing the highest capabilities of the upper body as well as its entirety -- obviously.

That movement can be performed lying on a bench with a light dumbbell or barbell -- with a straight-arm or bent arm -- for 50 repetitions -- focusing on increasing the range of motion in both the backward and forward positions, rather than increasing the resistance.  Increasing the range naturally and automatically increases the resistance -- even while using a light weight.  The reason light weights are often unproductive, is because no attempt is being made to increase the range of movement -- which is the whole point of that exercise, and not adding more weight while hardly moving, or shortening the movement so one can handle the heavier weight.

That is the reason many people can presumably increase their resistance while showing very little in increased muscle gain and strength in moving to greater ranges.  In every case, it is the athlete or performer with the superior range of movement that impresses, rather than those who load up the bar, and do nothing significant or recognizable with it.  The legendary strongman at the turn of the 20th century, almost without exception trained with extremely light weights, doing many repetitions -- and so even halfway through the 20th century, many older YMCAs still had these wooden shaped dumbbells that many up and coming bodybuilders wondered why were these here?

That's how people used to exercise -- using those props in their movements (calistethics) -- if they did that.  That kind of movement, was capable of achieving and maintaining those impressive physiques of their time -- not unlike those of the sculptures of the human form of antiquity.  That would still be impressive by today's standards.  So once we understand how that can be achieved with the more familiar upper body, we can take a deeper dive into the proper understanding of the requirements for lower body development -- and why it is something other than we've come to think of it -- that bypasses the destruction and limitations of the knees and back, and why the Nautilus Hip and Back was the superior movement -- although most could not get used to the novelty of the position it placed them in.

You cannot engage the gluteus by moving the femur forward; the femur has to be moving backwards -- but it is not enough just to move it inline with the torso -- because its range of movement is much greater than that for the fullest contraction to occur.  The contraction of the gluteus muscle only begins from a straightline -- and then back, which is exactly what the Nautilus Hip and Back machine did.  And then when the glutes are engaged, then the back muscles that form the arch in the small of the back, are also activated -- and the deviation from that characteristic and structural integrity, is the cause of back pain -- and rounding of the back.  That is how the back is injured -- when it contracts maximally into a rounded spine -- rather than an arched one in which the back muscles must be contracted strongly and thus provides strength.  In the rounded lower back, the muscles must be relaxed -- and thus afford no such protection -- even while a person may lift a higher weight.  And that is precisely the back position we see in people attempting heavy squats and deadlifts -- that eventually catches up with them.

But now that Nautilus machines are generally unavailable, the closest simulation, are the traditional yoga positions called The Bridge, and Upward bending Bow -- both directly resulting in the arched back strengthening.  It is also commonly performed in the gym with a barbell held on top of their legs with a bench supporting the upper body -- but whether that is an improvement over no weights with increasing range of motion is again questionable -- because the increased resistance only rationalizes decreasing the range of movement that happens whenever the resistance is increased.  The tradeoff is counterproductive and eventually injurious.

For that reason, many people think that lifting weights don't work -- and that is the reason it doesn't, and makes one justifiably weary of doing more -- as they are encouraged to push prematurely until they are definitively injured.  But a light weight used as a prop for achieving greater ranges of movement, is another matter entirely -- and in fact, manifest instant results as the self-evident truth.  The more one increases the range of movement in the direction of its proper contraction, the stronger that contraction is manifested -- immediately and actually.  It has very little to do with the weights.  It is the manifestation of the proper understanding that is instantly actualized.

Monday, March 01, 2021

The Greatest Difference

 The greatest difference in the world has always been the difference between 0 and 1 -- and with that ability to discriminate that simple and fundamental difference, it is possible to derive very complex answers -- that would have seemed like finding a needle in a haystack, or one in a million, otherwise.  Attempting to identify the one in a million, seems like an impossible task unless one goes about it systematically -- first distinguishing with certainty, what is not -- from what is, and in this process of elimination (discrimination) -- arriving at an inevitable answer.  That is the fundamental strategy of information processing -- done once, or a million times -- to get it right.

Any evolution, also plays that same role -- of doing something over and over again, until it gets it right -- but then, the game doesn't abruptly stop there, but continues indefinitely refining the answers.  Where anyone is in that process, nobody knows with absolute certainty -- and wise and intelligent people, do not presume as much.  We can only get that much closer to being right -- but not necessarily for all time, and all circumstances -- for sometimes, everything we know, can change -- and that which was first, will now be last, and the last, will miraculously be first!  So any truth, is not a permanent thing -- but the truth of the matter now, for the best that we can determine presently -- and can proceed with that confidence, which is not to be mistaken for absolute certainty, and an eternal truth.

In most cases, the truth of the moment, is as good as it gets -- and what we have to work with -- but each moment, builds upon the previous -- and that is why we practice, and eventually become better -- at what we actually do.  If it is the wrong thing, then we get good at doing the wrong thing -- which obtains very different results from practicing the right thing -- and that should be obvious.  No amount of doing the wrong things, will get one the right results -- and should never presume they are doing all the right things, but getting the wrong results.

The world (universe) doesn't work that way.  Those who are most certain they are doing all the right things are seldom as successful as those who begin with uncertainty and seek to find out a better way each time.  For such people, every effort is not simply a repetition of one thing -- whether it is right or wrong -- but the practice of improving, and changing their world in that real and meaningful way.  They don't just live in their heads and in virtual worlds, but in their bodies -- integrating what they know as the manifestation of their being.  That is the real meaning of health -- being as whole and complete as possible -- and not fragmented in all the ways conceivable -- as though that was a good thing.

In this way, each individual is the manifestation of reality -- as best as they understand it.  When everything seems to go wrong in their lives, that is not a manifestation of perfect knowledge -- but the need for improvement in one thing or another.  It is not productive to conclude that one had no input in their outcome -- and bad things merely happened, despite anything they could do.  Always, they could have done something better -- and that would have made a difference.

Anybody who has ever brought about change in their lives -- knows that is true; it makes a difference what one does -- and not that the situation is hopeless, so why bother?  That is the perfect prescription for despair, not caring, and not being able to tell any difference -- so why bother?  The little things, make as great a difference as the big things -- if that is all we can do -- at the moment, but that changes the possibilities for the next moment.  Even the smallest change can lead to the biggest difference -- persisting in that manner.

That's how people become good at what they do -- by doing only one thing right -- and then going on to the next.  Nobody is asking them to set a world record from the start.  That's not how great things are done.  They begin with doing the simplest thing well -- whether that is getting out of bed, or writing a simple sentence that becomes a great thought.  That is the difference between 0 and 1.  You only have to do the one.

That becomes the foundation for everything else one does -- whether that is just getting out of bed, or a chair, or out of the house.  For many people, that is how they have to restart their lives -- from the dormancy of the past year.  They don't have to make giant leaps -- but are better off taking baby steps in the right direction.  Don't even think about marathons -- as they may be entirely unnecessary and even counterproductive.  They rightfully should start all over again -- as though they know nothing, and discover anew what has value, and what is merely rote conditioning -- and let it go at that.  That which is useful will be rediscovered, while that which is useless, need not be remembered -- but it is not necessary, to purge those memories; they will simply fall away.

That is the new economy -- doing only what needs to be done, and forgetting all the rest.  That was last century, or even last year -- and we just need to pick up and move on.  You make the best of the present situation -- and not fight the battles and the demons of the past.  It is a golden opportunity for those who recognize it -- as their time -- because they are born anew.  That is the Promised Land.

You don't need to rewrite the past; that has already been done.  One needs to write/live the present -- which will become the future.  Everyone starts from where they are -- and measures that progress.