Mitch Ping, Adelaide Personal Trainer. Blog #3.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Its an immune response where it’s trying to break down and remove damaged tissue.
Inflammation helps create energy for our entire body and also works on a cellular level.
This isn’t the type of inflammation of where you bang your knee and it swells up. I’m talking more about the chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is usually from lifestyle/nutrition or training and happens over a long period of time.
You may not even notice that you have a low level of chronic inflammation.
When you have this low-level chronic inflammation all the time it can cause trouble for your metabolism. Inflammation definitely isn’t a bad thing, its just when its present all the time.
How does inflammation occur?
It happens when our cells are wasting energy or in a toxic state where their ability to produce energy becomes inefficient and this becomes a stress.
It’s a bit like when you know that you have to do something important to do- like an assignment, instead of doing the actual assignment you just pull your hair out and stress about it. You know that something needs to be done but you’re wasting energy stressing about it!
To summarise, when you bang your knee and you get acute inflammation where it swells up, it recovers and heals so its not big deal. When you have a constant chronic inflammation, you won’t be able to really feel it. Maybe you have a little less energy that day so you feel like eating more food or drinking more coffee.
WHY IS IT BAD?
Inflammation blocks the effects of insulin on glucose transport.
In English that means that-
Normally when you train biceps the body will send out a response team (called insulin) to the biceps. Once insulin gets to the biceps, the biceps will come out the front of their house and hold the door open to let the team called glucose into the house to hook up the electricity.
When the cells are inflamed the response team never gets notified, so the biceps don’t know when to come out of the house to get the electricity installed.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If the biceps house is being renovated, there isn’t going to be much room inside for more people to come in and do all the electricity work.
Inflammation is similar to stress, its not a bad thing. Its good in small doses.
So, if the biceps house is never open it will never have electricity and it can be bad. The biceps won’t have the energy to perform and they will feel flat…
When the door to the muscle cells are closed, the energy (glucose) that’s floating around in your blood stream needs to go somewhere. Now if the glucose can’t get in any of the houses, where do you think it’s going to go???
This energy (glucose) is what we get from carbs, so… if you have low grade chronic inflammation, most of the carbs that you eat will go towards fat tissue.
Overweight people who are inflamed should usually follow are low carbohydrate lifestyle for this reason. The best time to eat carbs if you’re craving them is when you’re in the least stressed state or before your workout.
Fat tissue live in smaller houses so its harder to get the energy inside. What happens is more response teams (insulin) get called out to get the energy out of the blood stream.
Does anyone know what will happen if we have a lot of these response teams floating around in our blood stream? The body doesn’t like it when these response teams are racing around in the blood stream so it releases out stress hormones to deal with this.
Insulin & cortisol seesaw (see blog 1 on stress)
This is why taking a good month to really focus on reducing your stress and inflammation is so valuable. Get your body in a good place before you start training with high intensity. Otherwise if you don’t recover the fat cells in your body will receive all the energy.
Inhibited cellular metabolism
This chronic inflammation is creating a lot of waste products for your metabolism. This will cause the metabolism of that cell to slow down. Its going to be making less energy which=you won’t be able to recover as quickly and the efficiency of that cell will be down.
If it’s a muscle cell=you might not be able to recover from training
Liver cell= you can’t detoxify. If you’re a girl now you can’t detoxify estrogen
Inflammation will drastically inhibit the function of the cell.
If this happens over the entire body our metabolism goes down so we aren’t burning as many calories. We don’t want to eat less food though… so what happens is we put on more body weight.
When your body senses the inflammation, it knows that it doesn’t have the right amount of energy to run all of its processes at full capacity, so it lowers its energy.
Imagine a power plant. If the power plant loses have of its employees then it won’t be running as efficiently as before. The workers will need to compensate for the other employees that aren’t there, this doesn’t mean that the entire power plant will stop producing energy, it just means that the power plant will be producing less energy. It was the chronic inflammation that fired half of the employees and caused this.
This isn’t a bad thing either, if half of the employees took a little vacation but came back to work that is a good thing. Those employees are resting and recovering and will come back more efficient.
This is your body saying it wants to survive so it finds a way to keep living! Like I’ve said before, your body doesn’t care about having sex, having long lush hair or giving you a six pack.
What causes inflammation?
lifestyle. A poor diet. Maybe poor programming, so eating no carbs and doing all the cardio. This happens a lot with a fitness junkie.
Inflammation isn’t a bad guy, its just when the bad guy is around all the time.
Inflammation is catabolic
So its muscle wasting. You’re breaking down more tissue then you want. The biceps house is being renovated, it can’t get any energy in, but then the house gets broken down even more and doesn’t have the energy to rebuild it back up.
Inflammation is going to resist stress hormones. The role of stress hormones is to get the nutrients out of the muscle tissue to increase our ability to use fuel. When the tissue is inflamed it doesn’t respond well.
If it’s a fat cell, its harder to get fat out of the fat cell
If it’s a muscle cell it’s hard to get glycogen (energy) out of your muscle cell.
Stress hormones make these fuel sources available.
Chronic inflammation takes a long time to form.
Inflammation is going to prevent cells to responding from hormones (insulin, cortisol, androgens etc)
When we have systemic issues and have more insulin then we need (cortisol seesaw) if you can’t sense your androgens you can’t recover, can’t properly recover, can’t properly sense stress hormones, can’t get fat out of that fat cell,
Ultimately, you’re just in the case where you have less energy. At a cellular and a systemic level. So right in the cell and all over your body.
The last thing is your partitioning nutrients from lean tissue into fat. Probably wasting muscle long term because you’re not getting nutrients into the cell.
At a training and brain level, it effects things like our neuromuscular connection to the muscle. And creates a decreased ability to contract the muscle.
Do you feel it? When you can’t feel the muscle that you’re working or you really struggle with certain body parts. Inflammation basically jams up the signals.
Your performance will drop and your ability to feel the muscle, ability to produce intensity, use coordination will all decrease.
- RHR- below 60
- HRV- 70-85
- BP 115/75
- Sleep- quality, quantity, consistency
- Digestion/bowel movements- long hard shape sausage
- Menstrual cycle.
Mitch Ping is an Adelaide personal trainer, working out of Goodlife Marion. Amongst all the Adelaide Fitness Trainers, he specialises in strength but takes a particular keen interest in the areas that support an active lifestyle. He is available as a personal trainer in terms of boxing, nutrition, strength and lifestyle. Online personal trainer program coming soon.