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Habituating Hardcore
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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
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Posts: 17085

Habituating Hardcore


You walk into a dark room and can't see. After a minute, you can see just fine.

You notice the sound of a ceiling fan when you first turn it on, but soon you can't hear it anymore. You only notice the sound when it's turned off.

You notice the odor of the garbage can, but if you stay in the room a while you'll no longer notice it.

If you never wear a watch and then you start wearing one, you'll feel it on your arm and be aware of its presence. But after a while, you'll stop feeling it and even forget you have it on.

These are examples of something called habituation. Expose an animal, including a human animal, to a repeated stimulus and soon it will no longer respond to that stimulus. Habituation can be a mental thing or involve neural adaptation in sensory nerves.

Cool, geeky stuff, huh? Now let's apply habituation to training and diet.

Do Too Much, Sometimes

Lift weights when you never have before and the new stimulation will cause a response: you'll get stronger and build muscle. But if you keep exposing your body to the exact same stimulus -- the same training program, the same weights, etc. -- then the response will diminish as you habituate.

Not good. Time to adopt a new plan, add weight, or switch up sets, reps, splits, tempos, or exercise choice. New stimulus, new response. That's a good thing.

How else can we manipulate the habituation phenomenon to our advantage? Every once in a while, do something very hard. Do something that's "a little too much." Push it a bit too far. In other words, habituate hardcore. Reset the bar. Force new physiological and even psychological responses.

Push a Prowler, do 10 sets of sprints, do a strip set of leg presses, play a game of Metabolic Fetch. In other words, shock the system. Keep the new stimuli coming. Teach your body that what it thought was hardcore wasn't hardcore at all. This will help you dodge adaptation, which is spelled S T A G N A T I O N in the body-transformation world.

Double-Edge Diet

Dietary habituation can also be a double-edged sword. Eat something that's toxic to your body (a new stimulus) and you'll feel bad or get sick (response), but keep doing it and your body may get used to it... you'll no longer respond in a healthy manner.

I believe that people habituate when it comes to junk foods, fast foods, and packaged foods. Those foods still do plenty of damage to our bodies, but we no longer feel sick from eating them. Our natural response is blunted with repeat exposure. In fact, we may feel temporarily sick if we don't eat them. (Fast food and heroin have a lot in common in that regard.)

But habituation can also have a positive effect. Many TNATION programs -- The V-Diet, the Pulse Fast, the Pulse Feast -- "shock" the body with new stimuli: protein shakes instead of lunch at Wendy's, metabolic hits of MAG-10 instead of breakfast and lunch, large anabolic meals after a day of "priming."

Bad habits (eating mindlessly, stress eating, food addictions) are replaced by physique-supportive habits (mindful eating, increased body awareness, re-sensitization of instinct, food rehab).

The Lesson Here?

Make hardcore a habit. Take control of habituation and you'll take control of your body, telling it exactly what you want it to do: build muscle, lose fat, perform optimally.

The tools are here. All you have to do is pick them up and go to work. -- Chris



PS: Rants (and more) in 140 characters or less. Follow me on Twitter.

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n8tive
Level 10

Join date: Oct 2009
Location: Montana, USA
Posts: 1692

Great picture and very motivating on this cold clear morning - thanks for the inspiration!!! Push the limits!

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corstijeir
Level 100

Join date: Mar 2010
Location: Tennessee, USA
Posts: 3389

"Make hardcore a habit" - habits can be broken, make it unconscious

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texis300
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 99

I am happy to say that I was a little "hardcore" this morning.
Prowler workout at 5am, 19 degrees ( windchill was down to 7), I stopped feeling my face after the first 10 minutes.....
I feel GREAT !!!! I pass these onto my friends as I find your words Inspirational.

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jfram
Level 3

Join date: Jul 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 76

Great read!
I try to use this approach with everything, diet (doing the v-diet), training, and even more so in my daily life... push harder to get more work done, spend more energy on my kids when I am exhausted, do it often enough and what seemed like impossible becomes standard.
Thanks Chris.

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xoxonikkixoxo
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Join date: Jan 2009
Location: Ontario, CAN
Posts: 21

Good Read! I'll def apply this, and look for new ways of switching things up.

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Kungfushish
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Join date: Feb 2010
Location:
Posts: 139

Hardcore?

I have to get this of my chest.

The whole idea of slightly upping cals cleanly and lifting hard with some fat gain over the course of a few years is something i dont see, like gaining 17 lbs of muscle but gaining 7 lbs of fat as well in a year or going from 12-14% bodyfat but with 70% of the weight gained being muscle,

noo you must pulse fast once a week and perhaps reduce your calories by 33% every other day or else you will ballon up to 30% bodyfat in a week while a Surge Workout Fuel and Recovery pre workout mix with lower carbs the rest of the day if you are "GASP" above 8% bodyfat to prevent any unwanted fat gains is the way to go to become a strong and healthy beast, dont forget a V-Diet every third month too.

I AM EXAGGERATING OF COURSE!

I just dont see any "hardcore" results in a couple of the regular posters, i was guilty of slacking too. Some have been here for years and months and are still unable to deadlift twice their bodyweight. I am not saying you should be a sumo wrestler.

Is the tendency to put on more fat in bulking than muscle due to having shit genetics or is it the crash dieting many did before they tried a bulk?

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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 17085

Kungfushish wrote:

Is the tendency to put on more fat in bulking than muscle due to having shit genetics or is it the crash dieting many did before they tried a bulk?


It's just natural. For most people (ectomophic teenagers and steroid monkeys aside) fat piles on way faster than muscle.

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Kungfushish
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Join date: Feb 2010
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Chris Shugart wrote:
Kungfushish wrote:

Is the tendency to put on more fat in bulking than muscle due to having shit genetics or is it the crash dieting many did before they tried a bulk?


It's just natural. For most people (ectomophic teenagers and steroid monkeys aside) fat piles on way faster than muscle.


What about the rest of TNation, many are not afraid to put on fat especially the hardcore ones, are you saying the rest of this site is filled mostly with the cream of the crop in genetics?

Maybe increasin your cals by 500 a day rather than 800-1000 might be a better option for a traditional bulk.

Honestly, i feel that when the V-Diet has come into place many people are being held back by this science of sorts. Throwing aside the squats and beef for hammer swings and pulse fasts.

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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 17085

Kungfushish wrote:
Chris Shugart wrote:
Kungfushish wrote:

Is the tendency to put on more fat in bulking than muscle due to having shit genetics or is it the crash dieting many did before they tried a bulk?


It's just natural. For most people (ectomophic teenagers and steroid monkeys aside) fat piles on way faster than muscle.


What about the rest of Tnation, many are not afraid to put on fat especially the hardcore ones, are you saying the rest of this site is filled mostly with the cream of the crop in genetics?

Maybe increasin your cals by 500 a day rather than 800-1000 might be a better option for a traditional bulk.

Honestly, i feel that when the v diet has come into place many people are being held back by this science of sorts. Throwing aside the squats and beef for hammer swings and pulse fasts.


If someone doesn't mind getting fat to add muscle, they can go for it. I don't see too many natural guys able to lose that fat though and keep it off. I see mostly what Thibaudeau calls "perma-bulkers" -- chubby guys who lift weights.

500 cal a day increase is fine, but up to 1000 is too from clean sources. Very easy to do, with no need to instill bad dietary habits or pack on excess fat. Not as "fun" but then again you don't have to walk around chubby most of the year or battle bad eating habits.

Just be aware that what works for steroid users doesn't work so well for the natural guy. And even for the steroid user, it's a rented physique, to borrow another Thibaudeau term. (We're sharing a house this week, so forgive the Thibaudeau-isms.)




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Kungfushish
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Join date: Feb 2010
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Chris Shugart wrote:
Kungfushish wrote:
Chris Shugart wrote:
Kungfushish wrote:

Is the tendency to put on more fat in bulking than muscle due to having shit genetics or is it the crash dieting many did before they tried a bulk?


It's just natural. For most people (ectomophic teenagers and steroid monkeys aside) fat piles on way faster than muscle.


What about the rest of TNation, many are not afraid to put on fat especially the hardcore ones, are you saying the rest of this site is filled mostly with the cream of the crop in genetics?

Maybe increasin your cals by 500 a day rather than 800-1000 might be a better option for a traditional bulk.

Honestly, i feel that when the V-Diet has come into place many people are being held back by this science of sorts. Throwing aside the squats and beef for hammer swings and pulse fasts.


If someone doesn't mind getting fat to add muscle, they can go for it. I don't see too many natural guys able to lose that fat though and keep it off. I see mostly what Thibaudeau calls "perma-bulkers" -- chubby guys who lift weights.

500 cal a day increase is fine, but up to 1000 is too from clean sources. Very easy to do, with no need to instill bad dietary habits or pack on excess fat. Not as "fun" but then again you don't have to walk around chubby most of the year or battle bad eating habits.

Just be aware that what works for steroid users doesn't work so well for the natural guy. And even for the steroid user, it's a rented physique, to borrow another Thibaudeau term. (We're sharing a house this week, so forgive the Thibaudeau-isms.)







Ok i see your point,

two questions

How low bodyfat is to bulk? I think below 20 lb of fat is good. Cuz if you weight 160 lbs you might be 12.5% but if you weigh 200 it might be 10% and so and so.

How many calories above? If you dont have a workout day then it should be 500? then 1000 cals extra on an extreme hardcore leg day?

What are your guidlines?


Heh.. A young wilful kid my age asking you this, i would be slapped a hundred years ago but this is the internet, it is also kinda the age of young people being in more control.

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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 17085

Kungfushish wrote:

What are your guidlines?



See my article in the archives: Get Big Without Getting Fat. It's a bit dated, but the guidelines are there for the most part.

Also see the "Pec/Belly" test blog post. There are a few others too.



Lastly, be on the lookout for a new Lonnie Lowery article that, I think, will contain a very smart mass plan for natural guys who want to control fat gain while bulking. We're working on it now for TNation.

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