Kicking Ass is a term that each of us can relate to in one fashion or another. In Lifetime Body terminology, it is not just the act of getting things done — it is the reality of efficiently and effectively achieving high levels of outcomes across every category in which you participate in life. Some would say you are “crushing it.” I prefer Kicking Ass as the more definitive descriptor.
This perspective stems from my experience in working with multitudes of clients toward goals and successes in many areas of life. These interactions and observations were based around three foundational elements: wellness, performance, and longevity. The highest achievers in health, sports, and business invariably have these three things in common. They are the ingredients in the recipe known as Ass-Kicking. I’ll provide a brief description of each of these pillars.
- Wellness: This is not just the absence of illness. Ultimate Wellness represents the attainment and maintenance of the highest possible levels of health, happiness, productivity, and contribution. The optimization of everything we are and do can only truly occur when we have wellness.
- Performance: Peak performance is the preferred nomenclature here. Getting the best out of ourselves; in fitness, sports, business, and relationships (to name a few) is the name of the game. The quest for excellence and wringing out every last drop of potential from our beings is ultimate performance. To accept challenge, create success, and inspire others is the art, and essence, of performance.
- Longevity: Wellness and performance are diminished if they are not long-lasting, and paired up with maximum longevity. When we pursue our wellness and performance practices optimally (for each individual), we maximize both the quality and length of our lifespan. There is an ongoing debate that excessive focus on performance can compromise wellness, or healthspan. This depends upon context, and the TLB position is that all three can be accomplished simultaneously. We need to combine science and wisdom so that we can, as Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.” Or, as I say, “Kick Ass for Life!”
This is an exceptionally brief view of the motivation behind all the TLB products and services. Kicking Ass for Life is the underlying theme in the books, blogs, videos, podcasts, and workshops that we provide. The message is intended to be uplifting, collaborative, and informative. It is based in perpetual learning, growth, and sharing. It emanates from the question that I ask clients and that I ask myself…”What do you/I/we really want out of life?” And the answer is invariably not just wellness and longevity. It’s to kick ass at everything we do in life…to kick ass at living life itself! Thanks for reading this and keep Kicking Ass! You are Awesome!
Now that we have established the preceding information, let’s look at just one of the many secrets of Ass-Kickers worldwide. You can imagine that there are a multitude of keys for elevated living, and they include aspects of cognition, nutrition, and condition. Here is your pearl for the day…MUSCLE helps you to Kick Ass!
This might seem obvious if you see yourself jumping and kicking like Chuck Norris or David Lee Roth. However, muscle does so much more for our wellness, performance, and longevity. I’ll provide a few examples.
- Muscle impacts wellness quite powerfully. It is a relatively metabolically active tissue that helps us to burn calories more efficiently, even at rest. It functions as a “glucose sink” that enables us to effectively dispose of excess levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and thus regulate glucose and insulin levels more desirably. Muscle helps us to balance hormone levels, provide oxygen to our brains, and to maintain ideal posture.
- Performance and muscle go hand in hand. The ability to move, endure, and propel our bodies through life is in large part a muscular one. Muscles respond to training and adapt to enable us to perform in basic functions such as mobility and fall prevention as well as athletic endeavors. Our muscles work intimately with our neurologic system to function as a neuromuscular system. Our brains can sense where we are in space and how we are moving, and we can also conjure the most artful and skilled movements in sports (envision a dancer), hobbies (such as knitting or woodworking), and basic life skills (brushing our teeth and preparing food).
- Longevity is perhaps where today’s most important take-home message lies. We lose muscle as we age. This is undeniable and unavoidable. This is known as age-related sarcopenia and it is strongly correlated with declining function and death. However, we can actually make those losses incremental. And, with proper training, we can even build muscle, at any age. This may not occur to the same extent as when we were younger, but it still works. Consequently, it’s never too late to work on developing and preserving your muscles.
So how do you build or rebuild your musculature? Honestly, there are a million answers to that question, and they are all probably correct in one way or another. We are not going into an advanced bodybuilding seminar here. But the simple Kick Ass way to build muscle is to do three three critical things.
- Perform resistance training. This is strength training and it can be accomplished using free weights, machines, bodyweight exercises, elastic bands, etc. The selection or prescription of specific exercises and program design should always be tailored to an individual’s current health and conditioning status, goals, and with safety in mind. That stated, the key to resistance training is overload. This means that at least some of the movements must be taken to momentary muscular failure to create the anabolic stimulus to the muscle. After this stress (unique to each person) is applied, the body will undergo muscle protein synthesis (strengthening and enlarging its fibers) over the next few days of recovery. Resistance training is the true fountain of youth.
- Eat enough protein. The peptides and amino acids in meat, eggs, fish, and other protein sources provide the building blocks for muscle protein synthesis. Strength training in the absence of adequate protein has been shown to have minimal and even sometimes negative results. There is currently a strong and ongoing debate surround the ideal amount and source of protein in the diet, as well as how these requirements may differ with respect to age, gender, body size, and activity levels. I have generally seen good results when clients consume 1.0-2.5g protein/kg target lean body mass, in cyclic fashion (eat more protein when training hard, less when not). Do your own experiments and find what works best for you and your health.
- Get enough sleep. The resistance exercise creates the stimulus. The protein intake provides the building blocks. But it’s during sleep that most of that muscle protein synthesis takes place. Fitness, as well as muscle building, is the sum of training plus recovery, and sleep is king in the latter regard. 7.5-9.0 hours of sleep per night, of hiqh quality, usually get the job done for most of us.
And there we are. The message of TLB to Kick Ass for Life. The foundations of wellness, performance, and longevity. And one of the major secrets to Kicking Ass…MUSCLE!