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Are bigger, stronger muscles healthier?
By: Dr. Skip Hellen ND, CNC (Health Doctor)
 Rev. 6/24/2013

I was once an aspirating professional bodybuilder, I trained extremely hard 3-6 hours daily, 6-7 days a week for years building my body into what I thought at that time was beautiful (a lean muscular physique). I increased my body mass from 175 lbs. to 245 lbs. I was extremely strong, felt very fit but I was not optimally healthy. It took me years to understand that while big muscles are aesthetically pleasing to many they are not necessarily an indication of optimal health. I learned how to build my body but didn’t understand the real principles of health and how to achieve and maintain optimal health. I, like most today, fell for the pervasive "milk does the body good" type advertising propaganda along with other distortions and falsehoods designed to generate profits not optimal health. Now, 25+ years later, it appears I did little biological damage during those naive years and I am grateful for that. 

During that time I came to appreciate just how dedicated most body building athletes are. The real serious builders dedicate their lives to sculpting their bodies into the personification of Greek god like forms. They alter every part of their life to become more muscular. Now with all the advanced sports enhancement drugs, food supplements and training techniques, many are pushing their bodies to new heights of muscle mass with what appears to be muscle on top of muscle combined with extremely low body fat to extenuate muscle size, separation, and definition. Modern day professional bodybuilders are physical monsters. As dominant that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his day, he would likely not even place in today's tough professional bodybuilding competitions.   

Most of these dedicated athletes adopt a high calorie, protein dominant diet to build huge muscles. While this diet does encourage muscle development when associated with heavy weight training it is generally not the way to achieve optimum health. Large amounts of calories and protein tends to promote chronic internal biochemical acidosis and nitrogen levels which will destroy optimum health homeostasis not promote it.

It is however not generally unhealthy to increase muscle size and strength the right way. This is especially true with advanced aged males. Moderate muscle size and strength increases can be accomplished much easier than most realize. Strength and muscle development is largely driven by physical demand training (especially resistance/weight training). Muscle not only atrophies quickly, it can be developed quickly as well. While it is true one can’t go from a 97 lb. weakling to a 230 lb. strongman over night, muscle size and strength can be developed in a relative short time frame with specific training techniques combined with proper nutrition and biochemical management. I went from 175 lbs. to over 200 lbs. in less than a year when I first started bodybuilding. Now I know that many scientific based books maintain that this large (25+ lb.) muscle gain isn’t possible in less than a year, but I and many other dedicated bodybuilders are living proof it is possible and without dangerous performance enhancing drugs (PED's). Many science books state that the maximum muscle mass a human can build in a year is around 4-8 lbs. This is simply not true. I recently got back to bodybuilding to naturally increase hormone production which is frequently reduced as we age and vital for optimal health biochemical activity. My current training program has again produced well over the science books reported maximum gains again and I'm over 60 years of age. I have proven this theory wrong twice now, once in my mid thirties and again over sixty. In fact, strength, muscle growth, and optimal health have no age limit anyone can achieve it with the right plan and effective execution.

Back to the topic, muscle building is driven by physical demand and resistance. Physical stress loads within the muscle during training sends signals to the brain that more strength is required to perform the task. These messages are the beginning of new muscle development. I have found through my own training experience (especially in the early stages of training) muscle responds rapidly and becomes stronger and larger vary quickly. In some cases a doubling in strength and significant size gain is possible in only a few weeks with proper biochemical management. The amount of exercise repetitions is not necessarily the answer to muscle growth rather that muscle is stressed beyond its ability to perform. This is called, “failure” in training circles and is one of the most important key factors to increased muscle size and strength.

While it is true that many repetitions tend to get more blood flow into the muscle tissue and creating the so-called muscle “pump,” pushing the muscle to failure yields the best results if the goal is muscle growth and strength. There are still many theories about how many sets and repetitions produce the best results but I have made excellent gains training with relatively few sets and reps to failure. In my opinion the amount of sets and repetitions is less important than pushing the muscle to failure during training. Of course it is important to warm up the muscle before pushing it to failure but one push to failure may yield more results than several reps short of failure so why waste the time and do the extra work. I recommend 1-2 warm-up sets per muscle group and 3-4 sets to failure for strength and growth.

I have found that investing the time and effort in cardio training to get the heart in top condition is time and effort better spent than weight training if the goal is to achieve optimal health, reference my article on “optimum cardiovascular condition” in this section. Also a little cardio training can produce significant loss of subcutaneous, intramuscular as well as the most health threatening visceral fat is not only possible, it is normal with proper training technique. Keep in mind that specific training programs and techniques are necessary for maximum results. I recommend a blend of resistance cardio training as well to bring the body into the highest fitness state as possible. This is the best training path to optimal health and wellness. For the elderly, resistance training is required because advancing age is frequently associated with less natural hormone production and far less exercise. We must become more disciplined with all the principles of health as we age not less because the body is accumulating biological damage (doesn't work as well) or we will invite rapid aging, illness, disease and  premature death. 

I want to remind all that while muscle can be attractive it must be kept to moderation if optimal health is the goal. Internal biochemical pH balance and cardiovascular condition is much more important to overall optimal health than large muscles and strength. For those who are interested in maximum fat loss and optimal metabolism as well as optimal health, read the article on "interval training" in this section.

HELP! UHRI has produced optimal health step by step programs designed to guide you through all the challenges of personal excellence and optimal health acquisition. Take the challenge and become the best that you can be, then teach others to do the same.

"Illness and disease are optional, choose not to participate" ~ Dr. Skip Hellen

Important understanding
It’s important to understand that optimal health can only be achieved and maintained when nutritional, physical, and mental requirements are met resulting in systemic biological balance (homeostasis).

The following are the cornerstones of success with anything in life, make these qualities an important part of your life strategy and you will achieve excellence in anything you do. 

   Personal responsibility encourages excellence,
requires personal excellence,
advances positive action,
strengthens personal power,
promotes success ~ Dr. Skip Hellen 

1. (Develop) a strong sense of self respect and discipline
2. (Pledge) Take the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledge
3. (Test) Complete the health assessment test (establish a personal health baseline)
4. (Decide) Set a goal to achieve personal health excellence (optimal health)
5. (Education) Learn health principles how to achieve optimum health
6. (Heath Compass) Buy a pH litmus test kit, start testing frequently – keep a test result log
7. (Manage/Adjust) Change behavior habits for best results
8. (Commitment) Stay the course until achieving personal health excellence
9. (Mentor) Help another achieve personal health excellence

Since behavior habits and nutrition are critical components of human health and longevity, denial, shortcuts and misguided beliefs can be very costly not only in terms of lost monetary wealth but in compromised health leading to rapid aging, illness, disease and death. DON’T TAKE YOUR HEALTH FOR GRANTED. IF YOU DON’T TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOUR HEALTH, WHO WILL?

The important thing to remember is consumptive habits (foods) will form the foundation of either optimal health or illness and disease. The old saying "you are what you eat" is absolutely true when it comes to health.

Developing strong personal character (respect, belief, knowledge, discipline, commitment) are the cornerstones of all personal excellence accomplishments. Taking the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledges and adopting the behavior principles solidifies a vital first step on the road to optimal health success. These pledge commitments not only help develop the skills required to accomplish the goal but better define the path to personal health excellence. The second step is purchasing a litmus test kit to accurately monitor health progress. (see below for event test kit sale)

Perhaps the hardest part of achieving optimal health is changing unhealthy behavior habits to healthy habits.

YOU provide the Courage, Dedication, Commitment and Action,

To get health help and learn more about “Mastering the Secrets of Ultimate Health” and achieve personal health excellence goals, log onto the web site below. UHRI is ready, willing, and able to help everyone achieve optimal health.

Litmus test kits are on sale for $10 (Events Only)
(A litmus test kit is an absolute must for those who are serious about ultimate health)

To learn more information on how to resolve health problems or achieve personal health excellence, refer to UHRI at www.uhealthri.com. Educational classes, programs, mentors and consultants are ready to help you achieve all your health goals including optimal health. Contact UHRI Office at - 714-969-1681

Live long, happy, ultimately health and wise

Dr. Skip Hellen

"Death by Medicine"

The above study was conducted by a team of leading doctors. It revealed for the first time that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the USA. Click "Death by Medicine" above to read the study.


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 Sense proper health habits form the foundation of human health and vitality, shortcuts and misinformation can be very costly not only in terms of lost money but the pain and suffering of compromised health and productivity, early biological degeneration, illness, disease and death.



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