03 The Importance of Building Muscle

InForm Fitness Podcast


This episode Adam discusses the importance of building muscle beyond just looking good at the
beach or in a cocktail dress. You will learn about of the profound effects building muscles safely
has on all the organs of your body. Some questions answered in this episode are: Will I become
more “toned” working out with low weights and high reps? What is muscle failure and is it
necessary to build muscles safely. What is the dose-response relationship and how does it apply
to building muscle?

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Intro:               You’re listening to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with New York Times, best-selling author, Adam Zickerman and friends. Brought to you by InForm Fitness, life changing personal training with several locations across the US. Reboot your metabolism and experience the revolutionary Power of 10, the high intensity, slow motion, strength training system that’s so effective, you’d get a week’s worth of exercise in just one 20-minute session, which by no coincidence is about the length of this podcast. So, get ready InForm Nation, your 20 minutes of high intensity strength training information begins in 3, 2, 1.

Tim:                Alright. Welcome back to the InForm Fitness podcast with Adam Zickerman. My name’s Tim and we are at episode three, The Importance of Muscle. We’ll get down to that in just a minute but listen to that music in the background. Just kind of get that — it’s got a good groove to it. Don’t you think guys?

Adam:             Mhm [affirmative].

Tim:                Yeah?

Mike:              I sure as hell think so.

Tim:                [laughter] And of course was Mike Rogers, GM of InForm Fitness in New York City, who wrote and performed our theme music. What’s the name of that song, Mike?

Mike:              That song is called, “Allergic To The Medication.” I actually co-wrote that with my partner, Brian Lord, who currently lives in Portland, Oregon and hence the demise of the Hypertonics, that was our band.

Tim:                [laughs]

Mike:              But, you know, every once in a while, we pop out and we have a show every once, you know, to bring back the love but yeah, that was one of our favorite songs.

Tim:                Well, we’re going to put you on stage at our one-year anniversary show perhaps, maybe and we’ll have a show in New York and LA because that’s where we’re broadcasting from or podcasting from. Alright. Let’s get into it, guys. Let’s dive in. So, we’ve had a couple of episodes under our belt now. And if you haven’t had a chance to listen to episodes one and two, we invite you to go back and do so.

Episode one, we talked to Adam Zickerman in great detail about Adam’s history, what led him to building his empire at InForm Fitness and this slow motion high intensity workout which is what this podcast is all about. This show is for those that are looking to supercharge their metabolism, increase cardiovascular endurance and build muscle. That’s what today’s episode is all about, building muscle or just, The Importance of Muscle, beyond the obvious, guys. The obvious is, you know, functionality. We want to look good and get as many right swipes for all of you single people out there [laughs] I suppose. Adam, walk us through the importance of muscle. Not just the obvious, the things that we’re all aware of.

Adam:             Well, actually I do want, you know — yeah. First of all, the obvious is not so unimportant. I mean, there’s so many things but let’s start with the obvious.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             I mean, I guess the one obvious thing about building muscle would be looking better. Right? You know, looking chiseled, looking defined, looking strong, looking fit and that’s an aesthetic thing and that’s probably the obvious one. To me though, especially for baby boomers, I’d have to say that’s probably fifth on the totem pole of importance, you know. To me, probably the most important thing about muscle is the strength aspect that it gives you. To me, that is the foundation of any fitness program.

Tim:                Do you find that that is more prevalent, the importance of strength to, say, baby boomers because that’s when the age group that starts to notice that they’re not nearly as strong as they once were, is that why that’s at the top of their list?

Adam:             That’s exactly when they start to realize what’s important in life. [laughs] They have the family. They got the girl or they got the guy.

Tim:                Right.

Adam:             You know? They sell the BMW. They get the minivan and now they don’t want to be in pain anymore.

Tim:                [laughs]

Adam:             Now they want to be able to go play sports with their kids and not be in pain and to enjoy life and to not exacerbate or have the injuries they’ve had of their youth start creeping up on them. What this does, what strength gives you, it buys you more time to be pain free because those injuries they’re lurking and as soon as you start getting weaker, those injuries start becoming more pronounced. The main way I think to keep those things at bay is just to not lose any muscle strength as we get older.

Mike:              You know what I’ve noticed from all the years I’ve been training and really, really thinking about this and living it as well is that around age 30, you know, people, both men and women are losing muscle just from the nature of aging. Maintaining that has become and should become the priority in our life. I mean, everything sort of slows down a little bit. We start to store a little bit more fat. Our joints get a little weaker. When we’re playing sports, the little injuries that used to go away in a day or two sometimes linger a little bit longer, those little aches and pains and I mean, I’m an active guy and so that happens.

Sheila:             A lot of it, what women think is toning, “Oh, I want to tone up. I want to tone up. I want to tone up.” Well, girls, that’s muscle. That’s what it is. It’s muscle and you get, you know, and you’re not going to bulk up, you know, and get — you’re going to be the best you can be. Right, Adam? Why don’t we talk a little bit about bulking up?

Adam:             Alright. The thing about muscle is this, we all think that if you work out one way, the muscle will respond one way and if you work out another way, the muscle will respond the other way. For example, if you do — the old adage is if you do heavy weights low reps, you’ll bulk up. Your muscles will get big and bulky. And the other thought would be if you do high reps, then you get toned. You get cut. That’s like ridiculous.

Alright. When a muscle gets stimulated, when a muscle is fatigued, it makes itself stronger and the way it makes itself stronger is by creating more, what they call, myofibrils which are the cells within a muscle fiber and the muscle fibers get thicker and thicker and stronger and either it’s stimulated enough for that to happen or it’s not stimulated enough for that to happen. Period. It’s not like it’s going to bulk up one way — a myofibril is a myofibril. It’s the same. That’s the reaction. More myofibrils, thicker muscle fibers.

Tim:                So, Adam, when I started my workout with Sheila several months ago and she was explaining this work out through the Power of 10, the slow motion high intensity strength training system that you developed at InForm Fitness. Sheila did a great job. I loved the word she used when I was in the middle of the work out. I was getting a dose. I feel like I’m getting a deeper penetration into the muscle. Am I visualizing that correctly? Are there different types of muscle fibers that are being stimulated through this protocol?

Adam:             Right. Well, first of all, let’s talk about dose and usage of the word dose. I’m so glad that you that resonated with you.

Tim:                Very much.

Adam:             That that made that kind of effected, “Oh, like,” because, you know, Doug McGuff author of Body by Science talks — had a whole chapter in his book, Body by Science, about the dose response relationship. And Sheila, you used the word ‘dosage’ because in her head that’s how she sees it.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Because that’s exactly what it is and the dose response relationship that McGuff talks about is a relationship that every medical student, every doctor has to know and deal with. And that is understanding the dosage of a certain medicine to get the proper response. And doctors all know that they have to balance just the right dosage to get just the right response because if the dosage is too little, there’s not going to be a response.

Mike:              Or too much.

Adam:             And if a dosage is too much, it becomes toxic. So, this it’s balancing act of having exact right doses deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. Now, exercise is exactly the same way because medicine is a dosage and a high intensity exercise experience is a dosage. And while we need to do it individuals, understand what dosage works best for us to get the response we need. And that dosage in general, on a bell curve of the human population, is about once a week that dosage. It can vary for the individual by days and even weeks for that matter but you have to start somewhere. When you look at the general population, it seems that one week, one work out per week, you start seeing progress, you start seeing muscle strength and muscle gains.

Tim:                Wow, that fast.

Sheila:             But this type of workout. Not just any workout, right? If anything —

Adam:             And the analogy works really well with more or less than you need. If you have too much exercise, well now we’re getting into my personal story about how my boss said I didn’t look very good even though I was always very fit because I was tired, I was overtraining. I was getting hurt a lot and then you have the opposite. You have people that, you know, they do it half assed. Let’s face it. They go through the motions. They go to the gym. They’re talking and reading People magazine and they’re not really getting any real doses even though they might be spending a lot of time. Point is, they’re not going to get any response. The dosage is too weak.

Mike:              Yeah. I think we’re always trying to figure out how to create this balancing act and it is a little difficult sometimes because we’re all individual. We’re all very different. Some people can benefit from going two times a week, sometimes one time a week is absolutely appropriate. And the thing is, I think depending on what you’re doing and how intense you’re doing it, we have to try and figure this out.

And figuring out the right dose, you know, we always start on a conservative level when we’re trying to understand peoples’ bodies but then — and then it usually becomes very intense very, very quickly. But understanding this dose response relationship I think is one of the most important things in how we think about our health in all aspects. From what we’re eating, to how much we’re sleeping, to the how much in the frequency of our exercise. So, it’s something that is worth everyone thinking about a little bit.

Sheila:             And one of the thing that, you know. I — that really had an impact on me when I first heard this is, and Adam said it, was the fact that muscle dictates to the rest of the body what happens. Basically, the muscle is the most demanding tissue in your body. So, when you place a demand on that muscle, it makes the rest of the body stand up and pay attention.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Sheila:             Right?

Adam:             Well, now you’re bringing up something different now. So, we got the dose response thing which means, you know, you have the right stimulus. Alright and therefor you’re waiting for the right response. The response that we’re looking for is strength. Now, what does strength, getting back to the beginning of this podcast, what does strength give us? Why is strength — why is muscle so important? That’s what Sheila was referring to now when she talked about the demands of muscle. Right?

The demands of muscle — another analogy I like to make is like the demands of a population. What happens when a lot of people start moving into a new town and start developing a new town? Alright. The more people that move into that town, the more services need to be built to service those people. Alright. You’d have to have more restaurants. You’d have to have more supermarkets. You’d have to have a better transportation system. Everything has to improve to meet that demand. The utilities, new electrical units whatever that they call that stuff when they build out a city. So, that’s the demand and demand is the people.

So, when you’re building muscle let the demand [inaudible 11:54]. The more muscle that you put on your frame, the more demands you’re making on your body to meet those demands. And what does that mean? That means the heart, the transportation system, has to become more efficient. The infrastructure of the town has to improve. The roadways what do you — well that’s our bones. That’s our skeletal system. Once again, that’s it’s more of a common fact that people understand that building strength will help with bone density. The idea of strength training and exercise and staving off the effects of osteoporosis has been known for a while now. Well, it’s because when you have strong muscles, again, the bones have to support those new stronger muscles and they become more dense.

Tim:                So, question I have, is you bring that up and that’s a fantastic analogy of the demand and supply and using that city analogy and you’re talking about with the building of the muscle, the strength training and its effect on various parts of the body like Sheila introduced a minute ago. What about organ functionality? You mentioned the heart as well too but does that also — does building your muscles and becoming stronger also help you with other functionalities? What, like say, for digestion?

Adam:             Exactly. [Inaudible 13:07] digestion, our ability to utilize — our glucose metabolism improves. That’s a very interesting point because when I talked about these factors that I wanted to have separate podcasts about. One of those things, the research being done on myokines. Myokines are these proteins that are generated from the muscle after high intensity exercise. They have anti-inflammatory properties but they also have what they call organ crosstalk. Your muscles can release these myokines and talk to other organs in your body to have them perform better.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Like the pancreas is actually utilizing insulin better. The liver’s ability to store more glucose improves. All these types of things, the mobilization of body fat for fuel improves as a result of these myokines being generated from the muscles. That really high intensity exercise can only do for you. So, and this is recent stuff that we’re learning about.

So, it’s called organ crosstalk. So, when you never thought in the past that high intensity strength training — it only lasts 20 minutes once a week mind you, have these profound effects. Not just on our strength and getting rid of our aches and pains and allows us to put something in the overhead compartment in an airplane, but to be able to actually improve a digestion to be able to help us mobilize body fat in a more efficient way. Fantastic stuff that we’re just learning about, anti-inflammatory properties. It’s beyond what I ever thought possible. And the thing that just really, really turns me on about this is the bang that you —

Mike:              [Crosstalk 14:52].

Tim:                [laughs]

Adam:             The bang that you get for your buck. I mean we’re talking about yes, an intense experience but we’re talking about a 20-minute intense experience on an average of once a week to have these really profound effects occur. I mean you’d think that for those types of positive effects you’d have to work out every single day, hours at a time, to have these things happen.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             But, no. So, to wrap up what we’re talking about as far as the importance of muscle, of course we started with aesthetics. Everybody wants to look good and one of the challenges that we have as trainers in our field, in our particular business, because we’re not selling the pipedream about you’re going to look amazing. And this is the problem because everyone expects exercise to give them the body that they want and to lose all the, “In once a week I can look like this?” Well, no. I mean body fat loss is also another part of it and nutrition is as important as the strength training part.

Now, what I want to point out all the time to people when they say because you can see the disappointment in their face when you hit them with that dose of reality that no exercise program is going to make them have that hard body that they’re looking for if they’re not watching what they eat. Everyone wants that exercise to be the magic bullet for them

So, they first go, “Ah, are you kidding me? You’re telling me that this once a week work out is not going to like give me — and I’m not going to lose 30 pounds the next 30 weeks this way.” Well, no. Not from the exercise alone but let me tell you something, if you don’t lose a single ounce here but you come here once a week and you work out really hard, you’re going to be getting so many other benefits and you’re going to have a lot of benefits and still be overweight. [laughs] I’d rather be strong and overweight than weak and overweight.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Now, if you want to be strong and svelte, then you got to do the nutrition part too. And you can make that decision whenever you want to make that decision, but if you just did this. If you make the decision to do this once a week, you’ve found the fountain of youth and you might be overweight but you found the fountain of youth. Your bones will be stronger as a result of it. Your glucose metabolism will be a little bit better because of it and these are things that people don’t see and this is the challenge.

When I try to tell people, forget about the fat loss, you’re getting all these other benefits, they’re like, “Eh, I just want to look good in a cocktail dress.” Like that’s almost all that matters and it drives me nuts because there’s so many more important things about strength training than just losing body fat especially since weight training or any other exercise [gets louder] is not all that good at helping you lose body fat anyway.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             I mean I just never got that. It’s about these incredible profound things that we’re finding out are happening, just from 20 minutes of intense exercise. That’s what I want to say in conclusion of all this. That you should understand that there’s so much more than meets the eye. I mean, the weight loss and looking good is a tip of the iceberg and when you go underneath it’s like, “Oh my God, look at all this.”

Sheila:             Just do it.

Tim:                Well — just do it and all this takes is, I don’t know. What? Five to seven exercises to supercharge your metabolism, increase cardiovascular endurance, and it will make you leaner and it will make you stronger if you follow those three pillars. Again, Adam, tell us what the three pillars are please to support the Power of 10 in this protocol.

Adam:             Exercise, to maintain muscle mass. Nutrition, that will help foster fat loss. And of course, the secret weapon, and what came up in a way with our discussion on dose response, enough rest. This is the third pillar, rest and recovery. Which is the response part of the dose and response equation.

Tim:                Now, that is all explained in detail in Adam’s book which you can get at amazon.com. It’s right here, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution. I’ve got highlights. Everything’s highlighted in here. I’ve got tags. I’m going through it and really digesting this information and it’s changing my life and you can do the same thing as well. There are several locations if you’d like to try to work out for yourself in California, Colorado, Virginia, New Jersey and New York where Adam and Mike are. We invite you to join InForm Nation. And to find an InForm Fitness near you, just visit www.informfitness.com and when you call, please mention the podcast and maybe they’ll throw some swag your way. I think we’re working on some swag. Aren’t we Sheila? You talked about some InForm Fitness shirts and what do we got?

Sheila:             Yup. We are. Yeah.

Tim:                Alright.

Sheila:             We’re working on some InForm Nation shirts. Yeah.

Tim:                InForm Nation. That’s right. We’re looking for you to become a member of folks is InForm Nation. And now, if you have a question for Adam, Mike or Sheila or a comment regarding the Power of 10 or something we’ve talked about here on the podcast, you can shoot us an email to podcast@informfitness.com. You can also record a voice memo on your phone and send it to podcast@informfitness.com. And pretty soon we’re going to start including some phone calls, some questions and some comments from our listeners. The phone number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3 and hopefully we’ll go ahead and get some of those pretty soon to start including those on the podcast.

And finally and very importantly, if you wouldn’t mind, please, if you like what you hear, if you want more of these shows to continue to be released through iTunes and SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio and Acast and wherever you might be getting your podcast from, please leave us a review and subscribe to the show. That will ensure the success of this program and make sure that we have more episodes coming your way. Alright guys, great discussion today on muscle. The definition of muscle and why it’s so much more important to build and maintain than just to look good in a cocktail dress. Thanks guys for joining us today. Good job.

Adam:             [laughs]

Tim:                I’m Tim Edwards reminding you to join us again next time as we open up a series on intensity, high intensity in your work out. We’ll define it and discuss the many benefits that await you by joining InForm Nation. Thanks for listening to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with Adam Zickerman and friends on the Inbound Podcasting Network.