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The Myth of “Lengthening & Toning” Muscles

JUNE 2024

Fishing for that vitamin sea?

Oh yeah, buoy! Don't worry, anything is popsicle.

Water you waiting for?

These puns are shore-ly getting more so-fish-ticated...

HAPPY JUNE to you all!

Time to soak up the sun, soak up all the love and knowledge PEX has to offer and soak up the rain collected in our basements from all this dreaded rain.

The forecast looks great. Warmer days are coming and everything here is cooling down for a great summer season. Let's all sit back and have some fun, shall we?

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Mike's Monthly Message

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The Myth of “Lengthening & Toning” Muscles

By Michael Campanella

In the world of fitness, few terms are as widely misused as “lengthening” and “toning”. These terms sound appealing, especially to those who want a lean and elongated physique. But what do they really mean? Let’s debunk the myths.

Muscle Lengthening – A Misconception

Muscles have fixed attachment points on bones. When they contract, they pull bones closer together, and when they relax, the bones move apart. No exercise can change the length of a muscle or its attachment points. (You would have to be a genetics engineer to do something like that.) The idea of “lengthening” muscles through exercise is a misconception. While certain activities like yoga or Pilates emphasize flexibility and can increase your range of motion, they don’t change the actual length of your muscles.

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What about Toning?

Toning, as most people understand it, suggests achieving a firm and defined appearance without significantly increasing muscle size. However, what many refer to as “toned” is actually a combination of reduced body fat and muscle hypertrophy (growth), which reveals the contours of the underlying muscles.

Building Muscle vs. Lengthening and Toning

To get that “toned” look, you need to engage in hypertrophy training, which stimulates muscle growth. This requires resistance training and consuming an adequate amount of calories to support muscle repair and growth. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t achieve muscle tone by under-eating in the kitchen and doing high repetitions with very light weights in the gym. Muscle growth is essential for definition.

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Fat Loss is Only Half the Battle

Aside from building muscle, reducing body fat is necessary to showcase muscle definition. This is achieved through a combination of a diet that supports the maintenance of lean body mass, an appropriate amount of cardiovascular activity, and high intensity resistance training.

Genetics: The Natural “Lengthened & Toned” Look

Genetics play a pivotal role in our baseline physique. Some people, due to their genetic makeup, naturally have longer muscle bellies or carry less fat over their muscles, presenting a “lengthened and toned” look. Just like I will never be tall, some of us simply don’t have the genetic makeup to look like Gisele Bunchden, no matter how hard I (er…I mean, “we”) try. While training and nutrition are influential, it’s essential to recognize and embrace our genetic predispositions.

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It’s essential to approach fitness with a clear understanding of what’s possible and what isn’t. While “lengthening” muscles remains a myth, achieving a toned appearance is entirely possible. This requires a commitment to resistance training, a balanced diet, and understanding the principles of muscle growth and fat loss.

How are your shoes feeling lately?

Plantar Fasciitis 101

(also by Mike)

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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. When inflamed, it can cause a stabbing pain, typically felt during your first steps in the morning or after long periods of standing or sitting.

How Do You Get It?

Several factors can contribute to plantar fasciitis:

Foot Mechanics: Flat feet, high arches, or an abnormal walking pattern can affect weight distribution, putting added stress on the plantar fascia.

Age: It’s more common between the ages of 40 and 60.

Certain Activities: Exercises that stress your heel and attached tissue, like long-distance running, and racket sports, can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.

Excess Weight: Extra pounds can put additional strain on your plantar fascia.

Occupational Risks: Jobs that require long periods of walking or standing on hard surfaces might damage the plantar fascia.

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How Is It Treated?

Soft Tissue (Massage) Therapy: This is a hands-on approach involving manual manipulation of the foot’s soft tissues. The goal is to alleviate tension, improve circulation, and stimulate the healing process.

Stretching: Stretching the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon can help alleviate tension and reduce pain.

Dry Needling: This involves inserting fine needles into specific points, often areas of tightness or ‘knots’ in the muscle, to stimulate healing and relieve pain. The mechanism is believed to be twofold: breaking up tissue adhesions and increasing blood flow to the area.

Laser Therapy: Also known as cold laser therapy or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), this treatment uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate the body’s healing processes. It’s believed to reduce inflammation and pain, and promote tissue regeneration.

Ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to generate heat within body tissues, promoting healing. It can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and break down scar tissue. For plantar fasciitis, it’s used to stimulate the plantar fascia and surrounding tissues.

Orthotics and Night Splints: Customized shoe inserts can distribute pressure more evenly when you walk, providing support and relieving stress on the plantar fascia. Night Splints can hold the foot in a dorsiflexed position overnight, which stretches the plantar fascia and can help reduce morning pain.

Medication: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These are often recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.

We highly recommend seeking out a trained clinician (like Brendan Gates of Champion Physical Therapy or Paul Hagerty of Resolve Acupuncture & Fitness) to help you to treat a nagging injury like plantar fasciitis!

Coach Spotlight - Isaac!

Shout out to Isaac Rynowecer, owner of Strength-Based Training, for completing his first marathon earlier this month with a time of 4:01:10! Way to go, Isaac!

Do you want to know how he did it? Do you wish to introduce running into your strength training routine AND still be able to maintain a strong weightlifting program? Do you want to run faster with LESS pain? Reach out to Isaac today!

Send him a message at: isaac@strengthbasedtraining.net

Needham Heights Fun New Addition

PEX Needham Heights has a fun new patio space and it is NOW OPEN!

Come enjoy lunch OR coffee OR some great company.

Eric Ayers Fitness Spotlight:

Celebrating Dedication and Progress

This month, Eric Ayers Fitness is proud to highlight two remarkable individuals, Jyoti Gandhe and Kapil Kulkarni, for their unwavering commitment to health and fitness. Training consistently three times a week at 6:00 AM for over six months, their dedication is truly commendable. As working parents, Jyoti and Kapil have managed to carve out time for their well-being, and the results are evident in their impressive strength gains and enhanced full-body mobility.

Their journey began with a goal to increase mobility, and through a carefully crafted program of progressive overload strength and circuit training, their bodies have undergone a significant transformation. As they progressed, it became necessary to adjust the intensity of their workouts to continue challenging them and help them reach new levels of fitness.

The trainers at PEX are thrilled with Jyoti and Kapil's achievements and are excited to continue supporting them on their fitness journey. Their story is a testament to the fact that with dedication, consistency, and the right guidance, remarkable health transformations are possible.

Congratulations to Jyoti and Kapil on being the fitness spotlight for June, and may your journey inspire many more to prioritize their health and achieve their fitness goals.


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We're Accepting Applications!

PEX is accepting applications! Know of any fitness professionals in the area looking to advance their careers in the fitness industry? Send them our way! They can fill out this form to schedule an interview.

In Conclusion

Ta ta fo

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Ta ta for now,


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