Right now, there are only 4 physiological states that you can possibly be in: Homeostasis, the alarm state, the resistance/growth state and finally the state of exhaustion. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Homeostasis is characterized by a state of “normalcy”, where neither muscle growth nor muscle loss exists. This is the guy sitting on the couch watching Sports Center. While he isn’t losing any muscle, he surely isn’t gaining any either. There simply isn’t anything going on to tip the scales of anabolism or atabolism in either direction and thus, he stays the same (or worse).
The Alarm State is characterized by the introduction of a new stress. This is the guy who has just started a new training or dietary program which the body recognizes as “different” and needs to be dealt with. The body really hasn’t begun laying down any new muscle yet to cope with the demands, but it IS mobilizing itself to do so. Properly managed, a brief burst of progress awaits.
The Resistance/Growth State is where the “money” is and where you want to spend the majority of your time. This is the same guy as above but now the body is adapting to the alarm state which set in motion the muscle and strength gains we are all after. Most trainees fail to recognize when they’re about to exit this state and even fewer know how to “milk” it for all it’s worth by amplifying and extending the results. Stick with me, you’re about to learn how.
The Exhausted State. This is characterized by the body fully adapting to and now “protesting” that new routine (which isn’t new anymore) by virtue of halting all progress. Again, this is our same guy who just days ago was in the growth state but doesn’t know he needs to change gears. He’s already losing ground and digging a deeper hole. Most trainees reside here, unknowingly content to keep up the same old routine, continuing to clock up gym hours showing little to no progress. Even worse, some trainees will reason additional work should be added, leading to injuries and a depressed immune system. I call it the body yawn, and it’s an easy trap that many of us have fallen into.