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You Are What You Are

May 5, 2021

Have you ever noticed that some people work out half as much as you do, but seem to grow muscles twice as fast? Or, have you tried to pick up running or cycling just to find that you were so slow that time seemed to be moving backward?

Everyone is good at something, but most people are average. At least, in terms of muscles, they are. On the outside muscles look similar. Some are bigger, some are smaller and wirier. If you could look inside, you’d see even more differences.

The fibers of your muscles come in three different types. The first is called type 1, or slow-oxidative. That’s the endurance running type of muscle because it moves slow but can keep chugging away forever.

The second type is called 2x, or fast oxidative. This is the hybrid of muscle fibers. It’s kind of fast, kind of slow, and can transform to whatever type of activity you’re doing.

The third type is the sports car of muscle fibers, type 2b or fast glycolytic. This muscle fiber is like a lion that sleeps all day then does one big burst of activity. It’s the pure weightlifting type of muscle, and just so happens to be the biggest as well.

Most people have a little of both the super slow and super-fast muscle types and a bunch of the hybrid. That means they can train to be pretty good at anything. However, some people have disproportionately more of the extreme slow or fast fibers. With a lot of the slow fibers, they might have small muscles but they can run a marathon without a problem. With a lot of fast fibers, you can build muscle easily and lift the heaviest weights at the gym, but can’t run a mile.

As you try different types of workouts, pay attention to how your body reacts compared to others. What do you excel in, and what do you hate? Or, are you the jack of all trades and master of none? Regardless, you are what you are. Play to your strengths. 

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