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muscle mass

Embrace The Hate

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

“I hate this one.”

“This exercise never gets easier.”

“I do this but I hate this.”

“You like to see me struggle”

These are all common statements from fitness clients and physical therapy patients.  They have complaints about certain exercise activities that are difficult, unsteady, aggravating, and just plain annoying.  The activities that provoke these responses usually involve getting up and down off the ground, single leg biased training, carrying a weight, and / or pushing a sled.

These comments are usually followed by—

“..but I know they are helping.”

“I don’t have that pain anymore.”

“My legs are so much stronger.”

“I hiked in the mountains with my grandchildren.”

To make progress in rehab and fitness, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If your fitness regimen involves scented candles, soothing music, and nothing that makes you uneasy, then I doubt it has much value.  Training challenges that restore movement skills, improve strength, and add muscle mass will create some discomfort.  Developing the mindset that embraces the challenge makes all the difference.

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

Biceps“I don’t want to get big and bulky”.  I hear this often from people who are new to exercise as well as lifelong gym members when it comes to lifting weights.  Don’t worry.  It’s not that easy. Bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts spend a lifetime trying to achieve it.

Most people’s goals to tone up, decrease body fat, and increase strength and mobility, require them to build more muscle. Let me explain why:

Research has demonstrated that after about the age of 25, Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) starts to decrease by 2-4% each decade. This means, that by age 55, your RMR will likely have decreased by 6-12% or from 2000 calories/day to perhaps as low as 1760 calories/day. If your nutrition and/or activity levels don’t change, this will lead to weight gain.

This easily explains why the average American gains 3lbs every 5 years. Interestingly, we also tend to lose about 5lbs of lean mass (which is metabolically active) per decade after the age of 25. This is no coincidence. With less muscle, our metabolism slows, and we tend to gain weight in the form of fat. We start to move less because it’s harder, which leads to more muscle loss and a slower metabolism. It’s a vicious cycle. This cycle happens so slowly that many of us don’t see it coming until it’s too late and hard to reverse. We have now stored more fat (less toned), lost strength (and power), and don’t move as well.

Looking for the good news?  It’s all 100% preventable.  In many cases, it can also be reversed. Resistance training with the goal of hypertrophy (muscle growth) and strength gives your muscle reason to grow, or at the very least, not atrophy or wither away. Nutrition plays a vital role in this process as well.  You need adequate nutrients (particularly protein) in order to build and repair muscle. Increasing your muscle is a great way to “tone” and helps to ensure success with your long term fitness goals.

Step off the treadmill, pick up something heavy, eat a steak, and give your metabolic rate a fighting chance as you age.

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS