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A message from Egypt and a word about biology!

July 31, 2013 5 min read

Originating from the land of the Pharaohs has its own lure. Growing up to certain values and principles that I accumulated through my journey of life. It's called environment, it is where you affect and become affected. Torn as my heart is over current happenings in Egypt, my homeland, aggravated by the fact that I'm now residing in Khartoum, Sudan where I can't take part in the fascinating million-man marches where people chant at the top of their lungs against fascism and religious extremism and paying respect to the armed forces and its Chief General Sissi who reminded Egyptians of the everlasting charismatic leader; Nasser in his genuine patriotism and love for the country. The whole experience of participating in such rallies is nothing short than a spiritual experience, a lesson in faith, the power of one and a materialization that there's something truly special about this part of the world where people don't just seem to ever give up. They keep rising over and over again against all odds. Well this is all great but I've two questions for you Ahmed, my imaginary devil's advocate pops up in the all-known cartoon fashion and asks, "Your narration only tells half the story, I've heard about protests against the claimed military coup too and second what does all this have to do with the purpose of this blog?" True! there is always another side to every story. But my purpose was never to report a panoramic view of the situation but rather take you a few steps in my shoes which fortunately happens to be in sync with what Egyptians had to say in the marches carried out on the 30th of June which is thought to be the biggest mobilization in the history of mankind for a political cause. Second, what does this have to do with the purpose of this blog?! Everything! Firstly an all-emotional motive, knowing that this post could potentially be read in every continent of the world, apart from Antarctica probably unless someone is Bodyrocking there!, almost dictated that I put a few lines in my very first post about the part of this planet I love most, my own Egypt. Secondly building up on my opening statement about the environment, I wanted to briefly demonstrate that I come from a place that simply doesn't submit. A place to which I owe the faith I've been thankfully blessed with that transcends beyond self doubt and somehow keeps me hanging even if on straws when the loads life puts on my shoulders get heavier. Anyone working out knows the all familiar self-defeating chatter in their head that seems to have a louder voice whenever the going gets tough begging you to submit and end up your pain, or misery if I'm to be more accurate in my choice of words describing the picture in your head every time you push your body through the pain barrier of that last rip, that last lap or that final circuit. It's the sound of the most primitive reflex embedded in our bodies driven by the survival instinct. Need proof? Think about the very first thing you subconsciously do after tripping and falling, you stand right back up then rationalize about what happened. It's innate, it's in everyone of us and yes that does include every fitness idol you fantasized being in their shoes even for a while. It's the principle of homeostasis in medicine. The short and long of it is that the body fights to stabilize its equilibrium regardless of outer conditions. If you, like me, need an illustration to digest such ideas. Think about the biological thermal regulating center and how it maintains core body temperature of people living in tropical areas and those living the southern pole exactly the same despite outer conditions. Whenever you put your body under that amount of pain throughout a vigorous workout you disrupt that equilibrium by pushing your lungs into more ventilation, your heart into beating faster, pumping those arteries more efficiently, your RBCs into racing for those muscles declaring SOS in need of oxygen and nutrients and washing away carbon dioxide and waste products prominently, but not exclusively, lactic acid which,by the way, causes that burning sensation that we all have a love-hate relationship with! Your circulatory system intelligently responds to the demanding task at hand by constricting blood supply to unneeded organs during exercise like the digestive, reproductive and urinary organs while dilating those vessels supplying the heart and those working muscles to serve as a shuttle for that much needed oxygen and nutrients. You begin to sweat getting rid of waste products while at the same time emitting heat generated from all the burning of the body's most precious token, energy! As you progress in your workout regimen and accumulate more days of focused determined workouts under your belt your body starts to adapt and create changes that facilitate the demand you force it to endure by creating more and more efficient actin-myosin connections in your muscle tissue, hypertrophying your muscles filling it with needed energy and water, better vascularization to your systems and growing collateral vessels that further penetrates your muscles in a process similar to a tree growing more branches to get more sunlight. The above is no more than a very simplified far from inclusive picture of what is being orchestrated in your body every time you workout under the supervision of the conductor; the central nervous system or CNS for short, specifically the sympathetic part of your CNS, the part that is mainly in charge of the fight or flight situations. It truly is nothing short than a miracle when you take a moment to contemplate. When you think about the fact that all this and more take place when you actively take a decision to alter your life choices to healthier more consistent and self-rewarding ones. The best part is that it all happen without you necessarily being aware of what is taking place. It revitalizes your faith in yourself, in this life's most innate and everlasting truth that everything worth having is only grabbed by hard consistent work day in day out, your faith in the higher power, the Man above or God if you please holding all the strings and granting each and every one of us the greatest instrument in this whole universe; our bodies. Follow my posts as you take you through the fascinating world of biology concerned with the human body and its response to workout in a more detailed but simplified version for the average Joe and more importantly as I talk about the one thing that differentiate a man from another; the mind, the one thing God granted you total control over, the one thing that could take you beyond what you ever thought possible or drag you deep down hitting rock bottom. Until the next time I ask to pray for Egypt, I send you a message of peace and love and I leave you with a demonstration of where I was and where my mind has taken me, the two pictures are two years apart with the one on the right being the latest. I assure you it wasn't an easy ride, nor did I believe it was attainable at first. Looking at those pictures now and reflecting reminds me of a picture I saw a while back about success. Suffice to say that I'm a believer. More about my story with all its ups and downs in later posts. Cheerio! 2011    

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