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Every Six Months - Training Today for Fitness Tomorrow - The Lunch Hour Athlete

Training Log For: 10/23/09

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Posted by Mike

There's a lot of different factors that go into your own fitness level. One of the most interesting parts for me is the concept of how your muscles and body in general grow and regrow. In principle this whole process is pretty simple. Your body tries to adjust to the normal activities that you put it through. When you exercise, you damage your body. When your body is damaged, it rests and heals itself. When your body heals itself, it adds extra cells to support the parts of your body that were damaged. After you are healed with this extra support you are stronger overall. Rinse and repeat. Of course it is possible to exercise or rest too little, so that you don't gain benefits from healing. And it is also possible to overtrain, so that your body is damaged beyond the point that it is able to repair itself. But in general, this is how the body works.

Your body grows muscle at its own pace. Some people grow muscles fast, others take longer. I can't seem to find my exact citation for this, but in general it takes about three months to nine months for you to regrow your muscles. This is regardless of whether you are training for a marathon or not exercising at all. But it raises a very important point for athletes. Your legs are pretty much brand new every six months. This doesn't mean that in three to nine months that you can be the fastest runner in the world, or even reach your own maximum potential. It does mean that what you do today can affect you up to six months.

Your diet and activity will affect your body for six months. For me this is both daunting and inspiring. When I'm debating whether or not to work out or not, or when I'm deciding what I'm going to have for dinner, it occurs to me that what I do today is going to have a pretty lasting impact on my fitness. And if I want to be even stronger and faster in six months I need to put the time in today.