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Like a Frog in a Pot
#1 Posted : Thursday, April 07, 2011 3:44:16 PM

Posts: 36

Have you ever heard of the way to cook a live frog? As the little saying goes, if you stick a frog in a pot of hot water, it'll jump right out. However, if you put it in cold water, it'll stay. Even as you gradually turn up the heat, the frog will still stay in that pot until it's cooked alive. Sorta brutal if you think about it, but it does come with a lesson.

Admittedly, I haven't ever tried it. For some reason, the idea of eating frog just isn't appealing to me and the idea of boiling something alive is even less appealing to me. Perhaps if I ever get stranded somewhere and the only thing to eat is frogs, then I may put this advice to use. Until then, I'll just have to use it as a lesson. That lesson is a very simple one:

When faced with large changes, we recognize them and tend to react appropriately. However, when faced with slow changes, we often don't recognize them until it's too late.

There are plenty of examples of bad things that bite people all the time. Perhaps your health is slowly fading, but it's gradual and you never bother to do anything about it. Meanwhile, people who suddenly have heart-attacks tend to make big life changes as a result. Or perhaps you're in a relationship and it's slowly deteriorating. Someone on the outside sees it very clearly, but since it happened very gradually to you, you stick with the bad relationship as it keeps getting worse. Again, if the relationship had been good or okay and then suddenly got real bad, you'd probably run for the hills fast. The slow deteriorations are the toughest to react to.

If you think about, you'll notice plenty of examples in your life where you act like the frog and suffer because of it. If you learn to recognize those situations and adjust appropriately, you should be able to give yourself a better life. However, I'm a bit curious, is it possible to use this lapse to our advantage? I don't mean taking advantage of others using it, I mean to our own advantage with ourselves.

I believe there is at least one way as it's something I've been running into while working out lately. Even if you recognize something, it doesn't mean that your muscles do. For awhile now, my primary exercise has been an extremely high impact workout. My muscles protest very quickly and I tend to quit before finishing the workout. And then I have a strong urge to not do it again. Sure, I make some progress when I workout, but nowhere near what I expect of myself.

However, I remember something that happened to me a long time ago. I love to make up exercises and try them out on myself. One day when I was below my average fitness level, I decided that I would walk on a treadmill and do a bicep curl using very light weights with every step. At the time, I could probably do a set of bicep curls with 40lb weights, but I decided to just use 5lb weights for this exercise. If I remember right, after about a quarter mile on the treadmill (half mile?), my biceps were really burning. Hey cool! That's really the goal of exercise and is completely normal, a successful exercise had been created. What wasn't normal was what happened the next morning.

I used to sleep next to a window air-conditioner and I'd often keep it running overnight and then shut it off when I woke up. So on that summer day, I rolled over in bed and reached out to shut off the air conditioner. THUMP! I landed face first on the floor. A little confused, I stood up and tried to reach out for the air conditioner again. I couldn't. My arms were almost locked in a bent position. I quickly realized the culprit: my biceps had tightened up so much that they weren't letting my arms extend. I had fallen out of bed because I hadn't been able to reach out and brace myself against the air-conditioner as I turned it off.

For the next few days I had to brace one arm against the other in an attempt to stretch it out so it could fully extend again. It was quite a painful process that felt like it included a lot of muscle tearing, but I did get my arms to fully extend again without pain. It took less than three days and the general pain went away in a little less than a week. That's what I call a success! Hah.

But the really cool thing about the situation was how much stronger my biceps had gotten in just one day of exercise. Sure, I had been stronger in the past and it's much easier to regain muscle than to gain it the first time, but this was still remarkable results. There's no way I would have made that much progress by doing a few sets of curls with a more normal weight (30lb+). If I had used more normal weights, my muscles would have protested much earlier and made me quit earlier. They wouldn't have let me go that far or get that strong that fast.

Your muscles act a lot like the frog. If you try to burn your muscles fast, they reject it quickly and don't let you go as far as you'd like. However, if you slowly turn up the heat on your muscles, they let you get away with much more. If you really want to make some big muscle gains, perhaps the best way isn't through extremely intense workout, but instead by cooking your muscles slowly.
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