Contrary to belief, is inflammation good for muscle gains? Or is it something to be avoided at all costs? Find more about the complexities of the body’s natural immune response to inflammation.
Inflammation has become a buzzword in various industries, with everyone from celebrities to doctors promoting products and protocols to combat it. However, the narrative around inflammation is not as simple as it seems.
Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s immune system to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. It is a complex process that involves a coordinated response from various cells and molecules. Inflammation can be acute or chronic.
Contrary to the common belief that all inflammation is bad, there are nuances to consider. This article explores the multifaceted nature of inflammation, delving into its types, functions, and when it can be beneficial or harmful.
Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, is a well-respected professor in the bodybuilding community. He doesn’t only talk about workouts and fitness tips, he often dives deep into health and nutrition.
It was Mike Israetel who shared a lot of information about inflammation, if it is good or bad for muscle gains, in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel and that we use as background information for this article. Check it out.
Is Inflammation Actually GOOD for Muscle Gains?
The first misconception to address is that inflammation is a one-size-fits-all problem. In reality, there are two main categories of inflammation: local and systemic. Local inflammation occurs in specific areas, like an inflamed elbow or sore muscles after a workout. On the other hand, systemic inflammation involves the entire body and can be assessed through blood markers and scans.
Surprisingly, inflammation is not always the villain it’s made out to be. Local muscle inflammation, such as the soreness experienced after a workout, plays a crucial role in muscle remodeling and growth. High doses of anti-inflammatories around the workout window can hinder muscle growth, highlighting the complexity of inflammation’s role in the body.
Moreover, research suggests that even in cases of traumatic injuries like broken bones or torn tendons, excessive use of anti-inflammatories may slow down the healing process. Short bouts of local inflammation are essential for healing, making it clear that inflammation is not universally detrimental.
While inflammation can be beneficial in certain contexts, it becomes problematic when excessive. Even local inflammation, if too intense, can impede the healing process by causing secondary damage. Systemic inflammation, especially when chronic, is often an indicator of underlying health issues. Conditions like metabolic syndrome and obesity are associated with systemic low-level chronic inflammation, demanding attention from medical professionals.
Chronic inflammation, whether local or systemic, requires careful consideration. In the case of acute bouts of inflammation, the body’s adaptive process is at play, making individuals stronger and more resilient. However, when inflammation becomes chronic and low-level, it can persist unnoticed, leading to potential long-term health issues.
Inflammation is a complex aspect of the body’s response to various stimuli, not always an adversary. Its nuanced nature demands an understanding of its diverse forms and functions. While acute inflammation is a natural and essential part of the healing process, chronic inflammation, if prolonged, can lead to health issues like arthritis and cardiovascular diseases. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach of seeking anti-inflammatory solutions, individuals should approach inflammation with a nuanced perspective, considering its context and potential benefits or harms.
Addressing the root causes of chronic inflammation is crucial for long-term well-being. Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate sleep, contribute significantly to chronic inflammation. Additionally, underlying health conditions like obesity or autoimmune disorders may amplify inflammatory responses. Instead of focusing solely on symptom relief, a more effective strategy involves identifying and rectifying these root causes.
A holistic perspective on inflammation emphasizes the importance of lifestyle choices in promoting immune system balance. Prioritizing a nutrient-rich diet, regular exercise, stress management, and sufficient sleep can contribute to reducing chronic inflammation.
This proactive approach not only mitigates the risks associated with persistent inflammation but also fosters overall well-being by supporting the body’s natural healing processes. In summary, understanding inflammation’s nuances and addressing its root causes provides a comprehensive strategy for maintaining optimal health.
Watch the video below for more information from Mike Israetel himself.
What types of exercise are best for reducing inflammation?
All types of exercise can help reduce inflammation, but some types are more effective than others. Aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, and biking, is particularly effective at reducing inflammation. Strength training is also beneficial, as it can help to build muscle, which can help to reduce inflammation over time.
How much exercise do you need to do to reduce inflammation?
The amount of exercise you need to do to reduce inflammation depends on your individual fitness level and goals. However, most experts recommend that you aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Other tips for reducing inflammation
In addition to exercise, there are a number of other things you can do to reduce inflammation, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in processed foods and added sugar
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress levels
- Taking anti-inflammatory supplements
If you are concerned about inflammation, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
- Legs muscle growth: Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels