Your Body is an Adaptive Machine (What Areas You Need to Focus on in Fitness and Nutrition to Reach Your Goals)
- Your body is an adaptive machine, and will always try to reach a point where it is functioning well given its current environment.
- Some of these adaptations are positive, but many are negative.
- In training, identify your goal (strength, hypertrophy, mobility) and tailor your program to that.
- Maladaptations in nutrition are common – Many people’s “normal” is a state of low-grade inflammation due to the foods their eating, and they might not even know it.
Homeostasis – “a relatively stable state of equilibrium or a tendency toward such a state between the different but interdependent elements or groups of elements of an organism, population, or group.”
Last rep. 500 pounds on your back, high energy music blaring into your earholes, tunnel vision forwards. Pure focus.
With one last breath out, you breath in, Valsalva against your belt, and break at the hips and knees. Slow, controlled decent, and you hit the hole. Now all you have to do is stand up. Engaging every muscle in your body, you begin the slow, painful ascent.
You notice every vein and blood carrying-tube in your now lobster-colored face and neck popping out in the gratuitous gym mirror.
Finally able to lock your knees, you rack the weight. You catch your breath; slight head rush. Feelings of elation and accomplishment. The completion of your last heavy set.
The same happens when you’re following a higher volume routine.
Six sets of an isolation exercise with 12-15 reps finished and 2 reps left in the tank, perhaps taking the last one or two sets to failure; shorter rest periods in between sets. Not quite as taxing on the nervous system, but you place a repeated higher load on the muscle, causing more muscle damage and the build-up of metabolic waste products.
This (amongst a host of other things known and unknown) signals the muscle that it needs to grow and expand to be able to handle the more extended time periods of stress placed upon it, and hypertrophy is the result with strength secondarily occurring. More adaptation.
Marathon runner? Your body will strip off all unnecessary mass, both muscle and fat, to make you light as possible for the task at hand.
Take repeated ice baths? Induction of brown fat and more body heat production.
Repeated use of the sauna? Increased sweating and induction of heat shock proteins to better handle the stress later.
Fall asleep on the beach sans sunscreen? That painful red turns into a natural sunscreen – your golden tan – that will aid you against those UV rays later (unless you’re me – then you just go from tomato to pink-rose and back to white).
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
The takeaway on the training side?
My Maladaptation Anecdote
Subtle Maladaptations in Nutrition