every one of my books, programs, and seminars, you'll find my
reliance upon a word I've used to coin the essence of the foundation
of physical change. That word is synergy. If you've
known me for any length of time, you've no doubt heard me explain
that "synergy," as I coined it, is the vital implementation
of three synergistic elements, the right nutrition, moderate
aerobic exercise, and a concern for muscle. Synergy is perfect,
at least in its relevance as a foundational principle. If you
seek physical improvement, and any one of the three synergistic
pieces is missing, you're going to wind up frustrated, disappointed,
or in a state of unjustified self-blame.
this article I'll share four simple mini-lessons, four lessons
that should be simple to grasp, four lessons that when complete
will help you understand why an alternative to synergy doesn't
exist, at least not as a fitness or weight loss solution.
#1: A neighborhood of cells
home is a unique environment. In it you have air that is different
than the air outside. What maintains the unique environment
of your home is a combination of perhaps brick or stone, plaster
or drywall, and insulation. Consider that the "barrier"
that allows the air inside to stay cooler or warmer than the
air outside. Of course, the air isn't stagnant. It moves as
the result of a powered mechanism that creates energy flow.
as your home maintains a unique environment, different than
the air outside, and different than the other homes in the neighborhood,
every cell in your body maintains a unique environment, and
together, those cells make up the organs and structures of what
you see in the mirror. The cell is complex, which is likely
why I hated studying biochemistry, so we'll discuss it in simple
but accurate terms. In each cell is the "power center"
and the "stuff" you're made of. Simple enough?
cell wall maintains the environment in the cell and is programmed
to know what to let in and what to send out. As long as the
cellular structure, the "stuff," the power center,
and the programming are all at their best, healthy active vibrant
cells combine to form a healthy active vibrant you.
get just a bit more scientific. The power center is the mitochondria,
the part of the cell in which fuel is burned and energy is created,
or perhaps better said, its the place where ingested nutrients
in their cellular form get burned as fuel. The "stuff"
is called the cytoplasm.
to the mirror and you'll see and feel the combined effect of
cytoplasm and mitochondria. In a very simplistic overview of
the effects of exercise, we can surmise that lifting weights
develops muscle and aerobic exercise increases energy capacity.
If we want to better understand the process we'll reframe the
statement to say, lifting weights causes the body to synthesize
proteins differently and reshape cellular material to create
more lean body mass and aerobic exercise creates greater power
production in the power center of every cell.
far the lesson should be simple, as promised. When we stimulate
physical change, ultimately, it takes place at the cellular
level. If you want a beautiful neighborhood, beautify the homes
in that neighborhood. If you want a beautiful body, optimize
the cells that call that body home. First lesson complete.
#2: Garbage in, garbage in
that you can envision the source of your performance and aesthetic
as a neighborhood of cells, you have to consider the three cellular
components I mentioned. The membrane of the cell, as the walls
of your home, must be well constructed if the internal environment
is going to be protected. The material you use to construct
the cell membrane comes from the food you eat, and one of the
primary roles of "the good fats" is to serve as the
raw material for cellular membrane.
structure of the cell is primarily protein, and guess where
that comes from? Yes, from the foods you eat. Eat proteins that
have been damaged in processing and your cellular material is
built from flawed material. Fail to eat enough protein and you
are going to break down cellular structures without enough material
for adequate repair.
mitochondria produce power and energy in the presence of oxygen
using fat and glucose as fuel substrates. If you fail to take
in "good fuel," or if you fail to take enough fuel,
energy suffers and protein will be used as a fuel source. The
power center can literally cannibalize muscle tissue.
this basic understanding of fuel and material, you can surmise
that if you fail to take in the good fats, quality proteins,
and optimal protein-sparing energy substrates (good fats and
unprocessed carbohydrates) the membrane, the cellular structure,
and the energy production all suffer. Exercise from here to
eternity. If you're ingesting garbage, you cannot possibly find
the thrilling positive change you seek.
to take in adequate nutrients, and the degradation of the cell
continues. Cells still exist, but their walls become permeable,
their environments become infiltrated with toxic invaders, and
energy production begins a gradual and significant decline.
If you put hydrogenated fats, chemical preservatives, processed
foods stripped of nutrient value, and toxins into your body,
your cells take them in and hold them. The entire structure
is modified and the garbage you've consumed becomes part of
#3: Deciding what goes where
might not have been necessary as a frequent regimen hundreds
of years ago, but realize that the world was different then.
People moved. They didn't move around in cars or reach the far
corners of the planet using a computer and Wi-fi. Foods weren't
processed. They were grown and eaten. Livestock ate real grains
and moved freely through fields. Fish weren't raised on farms
and fed pellets. We weren't exposed to chemicals in our air,
food, and water.
thanks in part to medicines (which is an issue all to itself),
and to developments in surgical procedures and science, our
lifespan is extended, but why settle for a longer life with
a reduced quality. You MUST exercise if you are gong to maintain
any control at all over the way your body looks, feels and functions.
if you eat the better foods, you take in good fats, good proteins,
and ideal energy substrates, unless you require the burning
of the good fuel, and unless you ask the building material to
be turned into strong cellular tissue, the excess will be stored
as fat, the power centers decline due to an insufficient demand,
and after the age of 30 the body begins its own deterioration
through degradation of the cells.
gives you control. By asking the body to rely upon the mitochondria,
and by challenging muscle and asking the body to resist, you
program the cellular network (nothing to do with your phone
service) to develop new healthy metabolism-supporting muscle.
With enhanced demand you get good at moving quality food through
the digestive system and the hungry cells absorb and use what
far here's what we've learned. We become the sum total of our
cellular structures and those structures contain stuff and a
power source. We must put quality fuel into our bodies if we're
going to provide the cells material and fuel to deliver optimal
health and fitness. We must challenge muscle frequently so our
bodies become programmed to develop and maintain muscle and
to keep metabolism youthfully stoked.
#4: Pump it
break down to nutrients, and nutrients become cellular matter
and fuel. Nutrients are transported out of the digestive tract
and into the bloodstream, and then . . . they've got to move.
The cellular delivery system is the bloodstream. Much as the
turtles in Finding Nemo rode the Jetstream, proteins, fatty
acids, and energy substrates have to travel and they're moved
along powered by the cardiovascular system. When waste products
are released from cells, they too are moved to be excreted.
We expel waste through breath, we excrete wastes through the
intestinal and urinary tracts, and we cleanse internally through
a network of organs including the liver and the lymphatic system.
Failing to ensure optimal performance of the pump leaves a broken
delivery system, and in that hungry cells are left wanting,
toxic cells are left holding more than they'd like.
something specific to optimize the efficiency of the heart and
lungs is another "must." We can call that aerobic
exercise. Interestingly, while serving the nutrient delivery
system and waste removal system, aerobic exercise also works
to repair damage to the mitochondria. Good food, muscular challenge,
and aerobic exercise. Synergy. A perfect formula.
these four lessons shared, Synergy should make perfect sense.
We become better by eating the right foods with optimal frequency.
We control the use and distribution of those foods by asking
the muscles to do a bit more than they're used to, and in that
we're rewarded with aesthetically pleasing lean bodies with
the ability to perform at high levels in whatever arenas the
owners of those bodies choose to pursue. We ensure the cells
are well fed and well cared for by doing something aerobic to
take care of the heart and lungs. Put it all together and you
get it. Synergy is the key to positive physical change.
there other lessons? Sure. I can talk about how important
it is to incorporate rotational action in an exercise program
to ensure ease of movement at any age. I can talk about how
important it is to breathe deeply and to manually stimulate
health and immune function by moving lymph through the body.
I can talk about the hamstrings, the lumbar spine, and the challenges
that come from neglect of those areas as we age. There are many
lessons . . . which is why, if you haven't read them yet, you
should download and read my Seven
Letters. They're outlined below.
those of you who live in South Florida, if you are not at your
best and you want to be, if you struggle with an unfulfilled
wish for fat loss, if conventional medicine has you medicated
for issues related to thyroid, blood sugar, or blood pressure
and you're not sure how to be proactive, or if you're simply
not living in the body you'd like to inhabit, I'm presently
accepting clients to go through my ALIVE
protocol. It's a 28-day strategically aggressive program
aimed at restoring wellness and health. If you have interest,
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and share no more than a paragraph describing your present condition
and your want to improve