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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

Are Bodybuilders Bigger but Weaker?

Are Bodybuilders Bigger but Weaker?

“All you have inside your arms, is water. And water doesn’t make you strong” This is what a girl once told me, after touching my biceps.

At that time I was training nearly every day per week. This sentence from a girl is the last thing that you want to hear when you spend most of your free-time training in a fitness center. It turned out that the girl was extremely body conscious and unhappy in her own skin. She was speaking out of envy.

Increased muscle size is not due to water, but mainly due to an increased amount of muscle cells. The amount of muscle cells in your body is a crucial factor in determining physical strength, but surprisingly not the only one.

Physical Strength Comes In Multiple Forms

Before I explain what physical strength is, we first have to define the term properly. For one person, strong is defined as doing 100 push ups; for another person, it is bench pressing 225 pounds.

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While all these different definitions may be part of being strong, According to the dictionary, strength is the organisms capability of exerting force on physical objects.

    The Factors Of Strength

    One of the factors to physical strength, are how many muscle cells you possess in your body.

    The muscle cells contain elements that shorten on command. The shortening of the elements creates a shortening of the entire muscle, which creates a movement in the joint. If you have bigger muscles due to your training, you’re increasing the amount of your muscle cells. You’re having more elements that are able to shorten on command. Due to having more elements, there will be more force that can be applied to the joints. Therefore technically, more physical strength.

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      But muscle cells are not the only things that are important for physical strength. I previously stated that muscle cells contain elements, that shorten on command. The command comes from nerve cells. Generally neurons, this is a fancy word for nerve cells, adapt fast to your workout schedule. The adaptation of your nervous system is responsible for most of your strength gains within the first few months of training, where your brain is simply learning to activate your muscle cells more efficiently. Strength is limited by your neural activation.

        Another part that can limit your physical strength is your nutrition. If your muscles don’t have the right energy to create the force, they won’t be able to shorten on command properly.

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          The House Building Analogy

          An easy way to understand the muscle cells relation with strength, is the house building analogy. Imagine that you were trying to build a house. For that endeavor, you’re hiring a company with construction workers, which will be working at your construction site full time. The construction workers are your muscle cells.

          Naturally you want to finish the house building process as soon as possible. The house building process is your strength. The faster you build a house, according to this analogy, the more strength you have in your body. Increasing the number of the construction workers might speed up the process, but it’s not the only factor.

          If the construction workers don’t have the right manager, the manager is your brain, they will slack off during work and play angry birds. If the construction workers don’t have the right tools, the tools being your nutrients, you will never finish the house.

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          Physical strength is a combination of these factors. Muscle cells are not solely responsible for creating physical strength, yet they play a crucial part.

            Strength Are What Muscles Are For

            If you have a lot of muscles, you can also expect to be strong. As we’ve seen the amount of your muscle cells are not the only factor in determining your strength, yet they’re a crucial one.

            Generally your body will adapt all factors due to weightlifting. It will increase the amount of muscle cells, the neural connections and the nutrient uptake. One of the best ways to even get muscular, is building extreme strength.

            When you’re training in the gym: try to increase the weight of your work-set. Keep the repetitions between 6-12 most of the time. This way your body will adapt all it’s structures to increase your physical strength.

            You can watch an animated video about this topic by clicking here.

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            Florian Wüest

            Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

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            Last Updated on September 20, 2018

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

            If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

            1. Breathe

            The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

            • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
            • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
            • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

            Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

            2. Loosen up

            After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

            Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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            3. Chew slowly

            Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

            Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

            Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

            4. Let go

            Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

            The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

            It’s not. Promise.

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            Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

            Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

            21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

            5. Enjoy the journey

            Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

            Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

            6. Look at the big picture

            The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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            Will this matter to me…

            • Next week?
            • Next month?
            • Next year?
            • In 10 years?

            Hint: No, it won’t.

            I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

            Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

            7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

            You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

            Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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            8. Practice patience every day

            Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

            • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
            • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
            • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

            Final thoughts

            Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

            Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

            Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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