250,000 lb Leg Workout – No Mercy
After reaching 200,000 lbs, a new personal record, it was time to re-asses and ask the inevitable question. What gains are possible and how quickly – without incurring injury? Understanding appropriate training methodologies and their relationship to injury avoidance is important. As many bodybuilders, power-lifters and other athletes know when the body is subjected to a stress, such as a continuous workout at a level on intensity between moderate and high, a peptide produced in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus is released into the central nervous system. This peptide is an endogenous opiod biochemical compound, better known as an endorphin. Endorphins that are naturally produced in our bodies are of a very similar structure to drugs in the opioid class such as morphine, methadone and heroin, and therefore have a similar function as the aforementioned drugs.
The opioid receptors are most commonly found in the part of the brain responsible for integration and perception of pain and emotions. It also explains why some refer to endorphins as the body’s natural pain relievers. The intrinsic pain killers were important for thousands of years when successfully fighting through temporary pain could mean the difference between living and dying. The more endorphins an individual had the longer they could fight or run. Today we can use these functions to our advantage when training, but only up to a certain point. If we pass a certain stress threshold, even if we are unaware of it at the moment, we will know later that we are injured when the endorphins are no longer needed, leave the body, and the pain sets in. This delayed pain signals that now the event has passed and that rest and nutrition will be required to heal the body and restore its pre-stress strength.
Knowing this we return to our original question: How much extra stress can the body endure without injury? The answer is since everyone is unique you must understand how your individual body adapts to, and recovers from, stress. The factors I use in the days following a workout to asses how much further I can increase my workout volumes next time are: muscle soreness, joint pain or discomfort, and recovery time for soreness to subside. Of course, nutrition intake and activity levels will affect recovery times. Monitoring these factors I have been successful in harnessing my endorphins to increase the productivity of my workouts on a steady basis without injury.
Using this strategy, I can maximize my training and when workout day arrives, especially for legs, the largest muscle group in the body, I have a good idea of what goal I would like to reach next with no excuses and… no mercy!