Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ENDURANCE by Earle E. Liederman - Author and Publisher, (1926), - Chapter 8

I have brought out that good lungs are essential for endurance. The one who has the best “wind” usually wins the long distance or long drawn out event. As you know, the essential condition of breathing is the presence in the lungs of air and blood. The oxygen in the air purifies the blood that is pumped by the heart through the blood vessels. However, this is physiology, which can be found in any book on that subject; and those who have read my book Here’s Health will find complete answers to questions on physiology that may arise in their work.

Have you ever found yourself within sight of the railroad station and afraid of missing your train? There probably was a quarter of a mile still to go and your watch showed that there was less than two minutes till train departure. You rushed to make it. For months you had been accustomed to use the same gait, perhaps, in walking to the station. However, in this instance you have had to pluck up courage and run, or else wait for the next train. Perhaps you were in fairly good condition--your legs quite strong. However, after a few seconds a peculiar distress came on. Your breathing became difficult and your chest felt heavy. Mayhap you caught the train, but what happened after you entered the car? As the train started you sank almost exhausted upon the cushions. In spite of the fact that your exertion had ended, your distress continued. For some minutes you were out of breath--winded. You may have been surprised when you considered that though your legs were strong yet your lungs or heart appeared weak. Your legs did the real work, why didn’t they feel the fatigue first? But every time you work your legs you also give your lungs and heart an added amount of work; and in endurance tests it is these organs that first feel the strain, in those who are unprepared by graduated systematic and regular exercise.

I am a firm advocate of deep breathing and giving the lungs plenty of work. The more often you take deep inhalations through the day the larger your rib-box will become and the greater will be your lung capacity; but deep breathing alone, while sitting, walking or standing, will have no direct increasing effect whatever upon endurance if you desire to possess wind--that staying power that will enable you to reach your goal in endurance activities--you must go through the actual practice interest he sport in which you expect to excel. Deep breathing taken at various intervals throughout the day will, of course, help considerably in increasing capacity and strength of the lungs but it will not ring you endurance.

While attending normal school, studying to become a teacher when I first became interested in this work, I frequently played handball and squash with one of the Metropolitan Opera House bassos. Now, handball is a game that will “wind” one very quickly unless he becomes proficient in this pastime. By becoming proficient I mean experienced in the practice. This basso (whose name is immaterial here) appeared to be in excellent condition. His shoulders were broad, his body erect, and he possessed great depth to his chest. His arms and legs, also, had pleasing curves, which indicated that he had kept himself in excellent condition by some form or other of exercise. But he had done no running, and it was evident to me, after playing one game of handball with him and watching him pant for breath, that all the exercising he had done consisted of movements performed while standing stationary. He probably had squatted up and down for his thighs, rose up and down on his toes for the muscles below the knee and swung his arms to and fro, possibly with Indian clubs or dumb-bells, to develop his upper body. He was sadly in need of endurance work. Perhaps such work did not appeal to him, and as musicians and singers seem to live in a world of their own, perhaps he felt that endurance would not better in the least his singing ability.

Breathlessness is a general effect--a result of the total quantity of work performed by the muscles used in an exercise. On the other hand, muscular fatigue is but a local effect. It is localized and in direct proportion to the share in the work taken by each muscle used in the exercise. When the work is too light to produce breathlessness, it can produce fatigue if your effort is performed by a small group of muscles or by groups of very weak muscles. But if your exercises involve a great number of muscles or are performed by large muscle groups, the effort you put forth will be too great to produce local muscular fatigue and, therefore, you will find yourself breathless--winded. Breathlessness is caused partly by the over-driving of the heart, and by the congestion of the lungs which this immediately produces. When you perform an exercise calling for a maximum or prolonged effort, you will find that breathlessness comes on with astonishing rapidity.

As I stated previously, if you run upstairs you will find breathlessness occurring much sooner than when you run on the level ground. In certain muscular actions fatigue takes the form of breathlessness, and the respiratory distress forces you to stop exercising long before the muscles themselves are fatigued. You can swing your arms, for example, or exercise with light dumb-bells, following the old-fashioned dumb-bell drill, and continue until your arms are aching, and yet you will not be winded. This explains why a well-developed man, whose shoulders are broad, whose deltoids are rounded, and whose pectorals and upper arms have beautiful contour, may not necessarily be any good when it comes to endurance. He may have developed his upper muscular body without developing his lungs. But, if this same muscular individual has firm, well rounded thighs and well formed muscular hips, you can rest assured that his lungs are in A1 condition; for it is practically impossible for one to perform vigorous leg movements without bringing into play all the “wind” or lung power and capacity that he possesses.

Try the simple experiment of holding your arm out sideways. You will find that after about four or five minutes you will be compelled to lower it, and yet your breathing will be normal. Try the same exercise, holding in your hand a pair of three-pound or five-pound dumb-bells; still, even after your deltoids are thoroughly aching, you will find your breathing about the same as before you began the test. You may be obliged to stop these light upper-body exercises, not because you are out of breath but because your muscular or nerve force has been expended.

An authority on exercise once heard a horse trainer say, “A horse trots with his legs and gallops with his lungs.” This expresses well the importance of pace in the production of breathlessness. Why should a horse be more out of breath after a gallop than after a trot? The first thought would be to attribute the more prompt breathlessness to the greater swiftness, but we must not become confused between pace and speed. You can slow down the gallop of a horse until it falls behind another horse that may be trotting. There are some horses, as you know, so awkward that their gallop is as slow as a fast walk. However, no matter how slow a gallop may be the horse will become out of breath quicker than he would from an equally rapid trot. This is because more muscles are used at the same instant, the movements are more rapid even if the pace is not, and the entire weight is lifted from the ground at once, very frequently.

Therefore, one does not become breathless under the same conditions as produce local muscular fatigue, such as exercising the muscles singly, tiring the biceps alone as by curling, or the deltoids alone as by raising the arms sideways. It is true that it is impossible the exercise the arms, for example, without working the shoulders, the back and the chest to a considerable extent. Even though you concentrate wholly upon arm work, the muscles of your back and shoulders will be exercised to some extent by the arm movement. In spite of this, you will find that your muscles will tire long before you become winded. If you want to see the difference between twenty-five movements performed by the muscles of the upper body and twenty-five movements performed by the muscles below the waist, just do any exercise you may choose for the muscles above the waist for twenty-five counts and then jump as high as you can twenty-five times without stopping, and note the difference in your breathing after these two exercises.

The peculiarity in the breathlessness caused by heavy leg exercises is not that it is hard to inhale, but that it is hard to exhale all the air from the lungs. No better instance of this can be had than in swimming. It is a very easy matter when swimming the crawl stroke to inhale as much air in one gulp as is needed; but you will find when you turn your head sideways for your next inhalation that, unless you are an expert in the art of breathing, all the air will not have been exhaled from your lungs and you cannot inhale much. This breathing difficulty is one reason why very few of us care to become long distance swimmers. Breathing while swimming is an art which must be mastered, and there is not one swimmer in a hundred who has fully mastered it. These are the ones who swim a mile or two with small effort and at the end find themselves breathing just as normally as when they started.

Upon investigating the condition common to all muscular activities which are said to be capable of rapidly producing respiratory troubles, you will find that all movements that require a great expenditure of force produce breathlessness. Of course, breathlessness can be produced by holding the breath, and anyone who has endeavored to swim under water for any distance realizes when he has to come up for air that he needs it badly, also that he is somewhat winded. This is a voluntarily created breathlessness. I would not advise anyone to see how long he can hold his breath, for such a willful respiratory disturbance interferes with the heart action, circulation, and general health.

The condition of the extensor muscles of the thigh, and the other muscles of the legs as well, have a good deal to do with the wind. For instance, if you trot at a certain rhythmic pace, let us say for a distance of a quarter of a mile, you will not be as winded as you would be if, while keeping the same rhythmic pace, you sprang higher into the air or put more effort into each leg movement. In other words, the more effort placed upon the leg muscles, the quicker you become winded, even though you do not change the timing or the pace. This is because the greater effort greatly increases heart action and circulation and makes a greater demand upon the lungs for oxygen to take care of the larger quantity of blood passing through them at a more rapid rate. More nervous energy is used, and, too, the interest usually is more deeply aroused when one is undergoing more rapid exercise. These all affect the wind.

Another illustration is deep knee-bending exercise. You can squat and raise for, perhaps, one hundred or more repetitions before you feel slightly out of breath. (I am taking it for granted, of course, that you are in good condition.) Just try and do the same exercise but, instead of simply raising the body by the strength of your thighs, push off the ground vigorously and jump into the air. You will find that your respiratory organs will feel the effects of these latter efforts much sooner than the former.
To determine for yourself which of certain movements produce local fatigue and which movements produce breathlessness, sit on a chair and rotate your feet around in circles until the muscles of your shin become paralyzed from fatigue. This is an example of local fatigue. Next have someone sit on your shoulders or else have a bar-bell resting on your shoulders, and perform the squatting exercise; that is, bend your knees until you almost sit on your heels, and then rise again until your legs are straight. You will find after a comparatively few number of repetitions that you will be breathless, because you have used larger muscles strenuously in groups. You have worked the thighs, the calves, the back, and even the abdominal muscles in the performance of these movements. If you desire to develop endurance, it is much better to perform exercises that produce breathlessness than it is to carry out movements that simply produce local fatigue.

If you exercise the muscles singly, that is one at a time, until each one is thoroughly tired, you may develop them; but they will lack coordination and the muscle sense that will be required in performing endurance work. On the other hand, if you exercise the muscles in groups, you naturally induce breathlessness much sooner, but at least you are working them in harmony and coordination, and at the same time you are increasing your lung power, which will be needed in all endurance pastimes. In one of my other books, Muscle Building, I have gone into this matter in detail.

When an exercise causes breathlessness it is not wholly due to the contraction or usage of certain muscles or the disturbance of certain organs during the exercise. It is due largely to the excessive expenditure of force which the exercise necessitates. Breathlessness occurs whenever muscular work produces in a given time more carbonic acid in the blood than the lungs can eliminate in the same time. The quantity of work necessary to produce breathlessness, then, will not be the same in all persons, for all cannot eliminate from the lungs the same quantity of carbonic acid in the same length of time. Therefore, in order to avoid becoming breathless during an exercise you must regulate the work of the muscles by the eliminating power of the lungs in such a manner that the quantity of carbonic acid produced in a given time shall not be greater than that which the respiratory organs can dispose of during the same time.

Naturally, a man or an animal will adopt a pace in running from which he cannot materially depart without producing breathlessness. If a fairly violent exercise is performed continuously for an appreciable length of time, breathlessness always is produced in the end, even though the individual does not exceed his natural pace. If, for example, you can run at a moderate pace for five minutes without losing your breath, you will find breathlessness occurring in a quarter of an hour, even though you do not change your pace in the least. That is because, even though the work you are doing remains the same, the demand upon the lung power will become greater by the continuance of the movement, and the circulation of the blood through the lungs becomes increased.

A beginner in taking a cold shower usually makes plenty of noise. The shock of the water suddenly striking his body compels him to gasp for breath, and his respiratory organs are forced to undergo considerable activity. After a while, however, he becomes used to it and, of course, in time his body will require a greater shock to produce the same respiratory activity as occurred when the water struck his body early in this experience.

Every violent physical sensation, wherever situated, will react upon the lungs, just as any powerful emotion also will make its influence felt. Every time the rhythm of breathing is much disturbed, breathlessness is produced, even when you may be in the condition of muscular repose. The observing student will find that if his mind is disturbed by worry or the like while going through his exercising, breathlessness will come quicker than if his mind were at ease.

It readily can be seen that another essential point toward endurance is composure of mind. Worry will bring on fatigue quicker than anything else. If, while performing movements, you are worrying about the form in which you are doing them or are thinking too much about the muscles involved, you positively will tire much more rapidly than you would if you mentally relax, the only thing on your mind being your destination or goal.

An excellent illustration showing how breathlessness will hinder your physical activity can be gotten from anyone’s own life. How many times have you become provoked at someone? Unconsciously your fist may have clenched and you had a ‘chip on your shoulder,” so to speak, ready to begin hostilities at any moment. You may not have observed it, but if you will recall the way you felt, you will recall that there was great interference with your breathing the mental disturbance acting upon the general nervous system ion that case produced respiratory disturbances.

Many people are greatly affected by shock, a sudden shock causing such a state of breathlessness as to make a person more or less gasp for air. There is a striking resemblance between the respiratory disturbance due to a violent moral impression and that which results from a powerful physical sensation. The man running, the man under a cold shower for the first time, and the man overpowered by fear, experience a kind of shock in the region of the nerve centers which preside over the respiratory movements. Therefore, in order to acquire endurance you must have the respiratory system working in perfect order, and not easily disturbed by various influences. The mind should be free from emotional disturbances, and there should be harmony of thought.

The one chief difficulty experienced by endurance athletes is breathing; and especially, strange as it may seem, the exhalation of the air. If during a run you keep the same rhythmic pace, you will find that more steps will be taken while inhaling than while exhaling. This is the case if you are breathing naturally. But after you stop running you will find just the reverse--the exhalations will be longer than the inhalations.

Those of you with experience in weight lifting will know this only too well. I have attended many contests in weight lifting and in some have acted as a judge, and, therefore, have had ample opportunity to observe the various physiological results from this pastime. I remember that while acting as a judge in one contest a strong man who possessed a very powerful build performed the lift of “two hands anyhow.” This lift consisted of raising an enormous bar-bell to arms’ length overhead with as many stops between the floor and straight arms overhead as the lifter desired to make. He first brought the weight to the height of his knees, and rested the bar thereon by slightly bending his legs. Next, with a tremendous heave, he brought the bell to the upper part of his thighs and held it there, wile assuming a slightly squatting position. With another mighty heave he brought the bell to his belt line, there resting it on the belt and securing it in the fatty folds of his abdomen. The next tremendous effort brought the bell to the height of his shoulders and there it was locked by the strength of his arms and balanced on his upper chest. During each one of these series of lifts he took a deep inhalation and had to hold his breath during each ascent. Finally, with a mighty upward jerk he pushed the bell upwards about a foot or so, quickly bending his knees and ducking under the weight and then standing erect while holding the weight at full arms’ length overhead. After balancing it there for a moment he let the bell drop heavily to the floor, and while doing so the air came out of his lungs with a roar that could be likened to the gushing of an oil well. His respiratory system was affected for a short time afterwards and his breathing was done under difficulty.

Here is an example of effort in practically only one feat of strength performed, yet the nervous concentration, plus the physical exertion, created breathlessness, while the entire performance was of not over one minute’s duration. Every exercise which demands a series of efforts at short intervals for even a short period of time very quickly produces maximum effort of the heart and possibly fatigue of that organ, and affects the respiratory organs.
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2009 Sports Nutrition Guidelines - By Nancy Clark, MS, RD,

The Athlete’s Kitchen, Copyright March 2009: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Hot off the press from three prominent nutrition and exercise associations—the American Dietetic Association, AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine, and Dietitians of Canada—is the 2009 Joint Position Stand on Nutrition for Athletic Performance. While there is little earth-shattering news in this comprehensive document (available on www.eatright.org; on the left side of the screen, click on Position stands), the authors comprehensively reviewed the research to determine
which sports nutrition practices effectively enhance performance. Here are a few key points, and the reminder that what and when you eat powerfully impacts how well you can perform. I hope this information entices you to “think again” if nutrition is your missing link.

• Don't weigh yourself daily! What you weigh and how much body fat you have should not be the sole criterion for judging how well you are able to perform in sports. That is, don't think that if you get to XX% body fat, you will run faster. For one, all techniques to measure body fat have inherent errors. (Even BodPod can underestimate percent fat by 2 to 3%.) Two, optimal body fat levels depend on genetics and what is optimal for your unique body. Pay more attention to how you feel and perform than to a number on the scale.

• Protein recommendations for both endurance and strength-trained athletes range from 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound (1.2-1.7 g/kg) body weight. For a 150 lb. athlete, this comes to about 75 to 120 g protein per day, an amount most athletes easily consume through their standard diet without the use of protein supplements or amino acid supplements. Vegetarian athletes should target 10% more, because some plant proteins (not soy but legumes) are less well digested than animal proteins.If you are just starting a weight-lifting program, you’ll want to target the higher protein amount. Once you have built-up your muscles, the lower end of the range is fine.

• Athletes in power sports need to pay attention to carbohydrates, and not just protein. That's because strength training depletes muscle glycogen stores. You can deplete about 25% to 35% of total muscle glycogen stores during a single 30-second bout of resistance exercise.

• Athletes who eat enough calories to support their athletic performance
are unlikely to need vitamin supplements. But athletes who severely limit their food intake to lose weight (such as wrestlers, lightweight rowers, gymnasts), eliminate a food group (such as dairy, if they are lactose intolerant), or train indoors and get very little sunlight (skaters, gymnasts, swimmers) may require supplements.

• If you are vegetarian, a blood donor, and or a woman with heavy menstrual periods, you should pay special attention to your iron intake. If you consume too little iron, you can easily become deficient and be unable to exercise energetically due to anemia. Because reversing iron deficiency can take 3 to 6 months, your best bet is to prevent anemia by regularly eating iron-rich foods (lean beef, chicken thighs, enriched breakfast cereals such as Wheaties and Total) and including in each meal a source of vitamin C (fruits, vegetables).

.• Eating before hard exercise, as opposed to exercising in a fasted
state, has been shown to improve performance. If you choose to not eat before a hard workout, at least consume a sports drink (or some source of energy) during exercise.

• When you exercise hard for more than one hour, target 30 to 60 grams (120 to 240 calories) of carbohydrate per hour to maintain normal blood glucose levels and enhance your stamina and enjoyment of exercise. Fueling during exercise is especially important if you have not eaten a pre-exercise snack. Popular choices include gummi candy, jelly beans, dried fruits, as well as gels and sports drinks. More research is needed to determine if choosing a sports drink with protein will enhance endurance performance.

• For optimal recovery, an athlete who weighs about 150 pounds should target 300 to 400 calories of carbs within a half-hour after finishing a hard workout. More precisely, target 0.5-0.7 g carb/lb (1.0-1.5 g carb/kg). You then want to repeat that dose every 2 hours for the next four to six hours. For example, if you have done a rigorous, exhaustive morning workout and need to do another session thatafternoon, you could enjoy a large banana and a vanilla yogurt as soon as tolerable post-exercise; then, two hours later, a pasta-based meal; and then, another two hours later, another snack, such as pretzels and orange juice.

• Whether or not you urgently need to refuel depends on when you will next be exercising. While a triathlete who runs for 90 minutes in the
morning needs to rapidly refuel for a 3-hour cycling workout in the afternoon, the fitness exerciser who works out every other day has little need to obsess about refueling.

•Including a little protein in the recovery meals and snacks enhances
muscle repair and growth. Popular carb+protein combinations include chocolate milk, yogurt, cereal+milk, pita+hummus, beans+rice, pasta+meat sauce.

•Muscle cramps are associated with dehydration, electrolyte deficits, and fatigue. Cramps are most common in athletes who sweat profusely and are “salty sweaters.” They need more sodium than the standard recommendation of 2,400 mg/day. Losing about 2 pounds of sweat during a workout equates to losing about 1,000 mgsodium. (Note: 8 ounces of sport drink may offer only 110 mg sodium.) Salty sweaters (as observed by a salty crust on the skin of some athletes) lose even more sodium. If that’s your case, don’t hesitate to consume salt before, during and after extended exercise. For example, enjoy broth, pretzels, cheese & crackers, pickles and other sodium-rich foods. The majority of active people can easily replace sweat losses via a normal intake of food and fluids.

Final words of advice: If you can make time to train, you can also make time to eat well and get the most out of your training. Optimal sports performance starts with good nutrition!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her SportsNutritionGuidebook, and food guides for new runners, marathoners, or cyclists are available via www.nancyclarkrd.com. See also sportsnutritionworkshop.com.

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Sports Nutrition Services
www.nancyclarkrd.com (books,teaching tools)
www.sportsnutritionworkshop.com (home study)

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 2008 Edition
Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions
Food Guide for New Runners: Getting It Right The First Time
Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance

Healthworks, 1300 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill MA 02467
Phone: 617.795.1875 Fax: 617.795.1876

"Helping active people win with good nutrition."
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