The more I learn about physiology, the more I realize the need for all trainers and coaches to understand the basics.
Here’s some truth for you all:
Instead of running advertisements to help trainers and athletes form sales funnels, we need to increase the quality of our trainers and coaches as a whole. All over social media you can see unqualified people soliciting money from people without a darn clue as to really help them.
Ok that’s my rant. Now instead of me sounding like a bitter old man, I am going to start doing just that. Daily I am going to give free advice in the areas of physiology, biomechanics, and some physics. I will also help you relate that information to your craft – for example, physiology as it relates to nutrition, biomechanics as it relates to bar path, and physics as it relates to certain lifts that place different demands on the body.
Up first: Osmosis
Let’s start this journey by discussing osmosis – and why you probably shouldn’t use distilled water when cutting weight because of osmosis. First, what is osmosis?
Osmosis is the movement of water from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. When you drink lots of distilled water, it is so pure that it causes the water to rush into the cells. The cells swell and sometimes rupture, causing an excessive loss of ionic compounds/electrolytes. This can lead to severe cramps and in extreme situations death. The heart needs calcium and potassium in the correct levels to continue beating. The same goes for all of your muscles.
One other bad idea you might have is taking a magnesium bath to enhance recovery. Osmosis is still the culprit – but in the opposite way. The bath water is filled with magnesium, which means the total concentration of water is lower due to sharing space with magnesium. You definitely won’t absorb the magnesium, but you will sweat excessively. Plus, the skin has selective permeability, so that wouldn’t happen regardless of osmosis.
Let me explain the boundary formed by our skin, so you can see what I mean. The epidermis (outer layer) of the skin is comprised of four (and in some cases five) layers, not to mention the dermis (the two even thicker layers beneath the epidermis) and then subcutaneous fat.
In the epidermis, you have the Stratum Basale, which is attached to the basement membrane by hemidesmosomes. Basically sewn firmly to the basement membrane. This section is the home to basal cell, which are stem cells that constantly replace the dying cells of the epidermis.
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Above that you have the stratum spinosum. Every time a basal cell divides, one of the new cells enters this level. This level is filled with keratinocytes, which are designed to protect the body from anything dangerous entering the body or important molecules leaving the body. The next layer, stratum granulosum, consists of cells displaced by the layer below. Here they have stopped dividing, and now they start to form the protein keratin. Keratin is extremely durable and water resistant. Keratin cells develop into thinner and flat fibers like a protective sheath. In this layer, the outer layers of the cells thicken and the cell dies.
In your palms and on your feet, you have a stratum lucidum, which is just another layer of protection for areas exposed to more dangers. The final layer is the stratum corneum. This is a multi-layered section of dead, interlocking keratinocytes. This section is water resistant as well.
As you can see, water would have a tough time getting in, let alone an atom or compound containing magnesium. When you add the osmosis factor, it is going to be impossible for magnesium to get into the skin via a bath.
However, magnesium can be added to the body with other transdermal agents – just not through salts in a bath. I hope this helps shed light on these two subjects. For all of you coaches out there, you should never stop learning. You have to market, but it can’t stop there. You are the product. Remember that! Your goal has to be to deliver the best product possible.