Keep Your Body Guessing (And It Will Keep You Guessing!)

June 29th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

One could say that we are all, at our core, lazy creatures.  One could also say that we are simply incredibly efficient creatures.

Same difference, I guess.

Our bodies are so much smarter than we give them credit for being.  As we push the constraints of our current fitness level, our body adapts and learns to live at that fitness level, until we push beyond that one.

It is gloriously without end.

As I run more, the act of running does not cause such a crisis in my body.  I have to run farther or faster or on challenging terrain in order to create that same “crisis” response.

One of my favorite experts, Jason Karp, PhD, describes it as threatening your body with what it considers near-death experiences.

If you aren’t saying “woah” or “wow” at any point in any of your workouts, you aren’t at that crisis point.  Your body is yawning while you are telling yourself you’re working “hard enough”.

It’s the same with lifting weights: you need to challenge yourself and your body.  If you don’t challenge yourself, you aren’t going to change your body.  You won’t increase your fitness level without change.

I know there was a time in my life that if I had to run a block, I would go low.  My body was being threatened by that run and it recruited everything it needed to accomplish my goal… including glucose.  Now, it takes a lot more than running a block in order to create that same crisis.  My body learned how to run… and it learned how to run efficiently.  I can run several miles now before a low becomes likely.

But, of course (and this is one of the great parts), if my body is busy learning how to do one thing very efficiently, if I do something else that my body isn’t used to, I’m back to creating a new threat.  If I rowed 100 meters this afternoon, I think I’d need to watch my glucose levels very closely!

As another example, I changed from an endurance weight training “maintenance” kind of routine for myself and began a heavier weight training routine this week.  I’ve been doing about a half hour each night before dinner of various dumbbell and barbell exercises.

And for the last three nights, I’ve been low at 3am. 

Changing things up with the number of repetitions, the speed of the move, the weight lifted, distance travelled, or any number of typical ways to increase intensity of an exercise will affect your blood glucose levels.  It will happen every time your body perceives a threat to its survival.

It’s pretty incredible, when you think about it.  Be it efficient or be it laziness, it’s an amazingly intelligent system—even if its pancreas has some issues.

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