is Real and Not a Laughing Matter
July 29, 2003
train hard and eat right and are nice to kids, yet you feel like
a bowl of mush. There is nothing more revolting. The mirror is no
help whatsoever and either your jeans shrunk in the laundry or your
body stretched in the bottom. This can go on for only so long before
the kids are in for big trouble. The right eating goes next, then
the training and soon you find yourself shopping for a large-screen,
wafer-thin HDTV to hang on your wall, or worse yet, a comfy new
recliner. This is not a solution, it’s a catastrophe.
mushy feeling attacks everyone regardless of gender, breed, DNA,
level of accomplishment or time invested in the pursuit of strength
and health. The pros get it, police officers, Greeks, librarians,
mobsters and agoraphobics. It’s widespread, indiscriminate
and sometimes chronic. I get it every 10 minutes, have since the
spring of ‘59.
otherwise known as deflated, flat, shallow, soft, loose, spongy,
horrible and rotten, is part of the muscle development experience
and is attributed to more than one phenomenon, and generally a combination
of many. As is most of the information I offer, the following is
my best guess as to the causes of MTS, the mushy tissue syndrome:
warn you. Some of the following facts are disturbing and have been
Inadequate eating often results in low blood sugar and the cells
have neither fuel nor sufficient nutrients to accommodate robust
cellular activity, tissue repair and recuperation. The failure to
supply the body with a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats
and ample vitamins and minerals reduces its health to suboptimal
levels and that feeling of pumped well-being is compromised. Classic
eating -- ingesting the right foods at the right times -- promotes
health, strength, energy and full-bodied cellular repair.
Don’t starve the muscle to lose the fat. Exercising and dieting
with the primary goal of losing fat might cost you precious muscle.
Seeking sharp abdominals, thin skin, deep cuts, vascularity and
trimming the body of all fat does not contribute efficaciously to
muscle density and fullness. Train to build muscle and you will
lose the fat and avoid MTS.
your body weight low -- too low -- naturally, by choice or by oversight?
Are you dieting down, missing pre-workout meals, low on your total
daily calorie requirements? Check your protein, carbohydrate and
fat intake. Feed your body well and consistently to prevent the
mushy tissue slumps.
Lack of adequate water intake is another direct cause of MTS. Muscle
cells perform healthfully and enjoy an anabolic environment when
they are well-hydrated and well-nourished. They fail or die when
shortages are extreme.
levels and tissue responses depend on plenty of water all day long.
Do not underestimate the importance of H20 in life and muscle tightness.
Carry a bottle of water wherever you go and drink up regularly.
Overtraining or intense training is evidenced by loose and untoned
muscles within 24 to 48 hours. The hard-worked tissues are yet to
fully recuperate and that gratifying tight and full feeling is temporarily
forfeited as you rebuild. A fact of muscle-making life, dear brother
and sister, face it and deal with it. This doesn’t mean a
layoff or a rearrangement of your training is necessary. Greedily
welcome the ongoing condition of muscle repair, say thank you and
move on as usual. The sun will set and the sun will rise again.
Blast it tomorrow as you did today.
you periodically fall asleep at the wheel or have trouble recalling
your name, then and only then should you consider foregoing one
or two workouts. Eat, relax, stay warm and get some sleep. You’ll
wake up fresh, solid, bold and mighty in a day or two.
Temperature extremes, either slightly too hot or too cold
for one’s comfort, can effect one’s fullness or flatness.
The human organism is sensitive to hot-cold variations and makes
adaptations for survival. Restrictions in blood flow and heart-rate
modifications prepare the body for supportive action. Hence, a change
in muscle tone is not uncommon: puffy and loose when warm or shallow
and flat when cold.
6) Stress plays an important roll in one’s
healthy daily performance. It prompts the addition of adrenaline,
the action hormone, to our existing chemical mix and prepares us
for strong action in a tough environment. Undue and excessive stress,
however, introduces cortisol, a catabolic hormone, into the system
and commences an expenditure of muscle as fuel in the name of survival.
Further, heavy stress causes restriction of the capillary system
and inhibits the free flow of blood to the finer muscle fibers.
Muscle pump is limited and life looks glum.
and nervousness do not promote the vascular, pumped musculature
strong, be courageous and be tight.
Insufficient sleep or rest contribute to the drawn and weak condition
that depresses the trainee. Achy, listless and rundown describe
the tired muscle maker. Fatigue of the mind, weariness of the spirit
and exhaustion of the body negatively affect the response of the
muscles. Too pooped to pump.
Mood and attitude have a definite effect on one’s wellness
and full-bodied vigor. The musclebuilder feels hard, ready and tight
when his or her spirits are high. Again, the body chemistry, glandular
system and hormones, the electrical system, neurotransmitters and
pathways are in cooperative balance. The vast complex is under control;
the captain is at the stick.
and depression are invariably accompanied by a sluggish and droopy
creature. The muscles hang onto the bones as the body leans against
posts, walls and tabletops. The tank-top uttering “Who cares?”
and “Woe is me” does not a ready and well-honed body
Excessive subcutaneous water retention and bloat due to excessive
salt or carbohydrate intake is another condition to avoid when seeking
health, muscle growth and a happy, pumped-all-day experience.
10) Too much aerobic activity or daily busy-ness
will interfere with muscle rest and muscle recuperation, resulting
in an over-worked system unable to perform efficiently. One must
learn to pace one’s self. The body’s not tired or malfunctioning,
it’s just too darn occupied.
There are biorhythms that mysteriously affect the human being; at
least they’re a mystery to me. Everything can be in order,
nourishment, hydration, attitude, training, rest and ease of living,
yet the body is off 45 degrees. The footings for a record-setting
workout are in place, but the muscular system is silent and unmoving.
Intensity and a good pump are clearly in the training plans, though
an isolated, indefinable discomfort causes suspicion.
body feels sort of… umm… mushy. Oh, well.
hand on the bar is like cold liver on cold steel. The weights travel
from the rack to the chest rapidly and they return with unbelievable
effort, one rep feeling like the last of 10. Sitting upright, baffled
and disturbed, the thought of continuing the drudgery for 90 minutes
is utterly unbearable, almost frightening. The muscles are flat,
like the poor bugs on a well-traveled windshield. Ugh.
room loses its color and takes on black and white and gray tones.
Geometric shapes replace people and things. Distinct sounds become
white noise in the distance. Standing up is now a willful effort
and a walk in circles to gain comportment and perspective produces
spinouts. A vacant look at a passing stranger for help, a wring
of the hands as if grinding in the chalk and an elongated stare
through the wide-open double glass doors leading to the wonderful
outside world offers enough time for a thousand thoughts: get me
outta here, I can’t go on, life’s short and cruel, anthrax,
go, stay, go, leave now and regret it forever, anything is better
than nothing, blast it.
audible sigh followed by a flop on the bench confirms victory or
defeat, depending upon the occupant of the body. Another set leads
to another and action begets further action begets circulation begets
pump begets inspiration and, lo, the see-through exit doors to freedom.
Another cycle, another day, another workout.
Sometimes we get too close to the subject and can’t
tell a good day from a bad day. We want all good days, and any day
that is not a super day is a disappointing day and misinterpreted
as a bad day. Privately, we fret and it’s human and it’s
erosive and we must stop. Get real, step back, grow up.
is not a replacement for being young at heart; maturity is understanding
our youngness that we may enjoy it now and retain it forever.
Sometimes it’s not in the body but in the shirt you wear.
I intentionally wear a size too small to guarantee that true-to-life
muscular sensation. Call it cheating if you want, but it’s
worked for the last 10 years, ever since I turned 50. Childish outbursts,
lasagna, an outdoor shower or a good hair day often improve my deflated
condition. Laree takes in a matinee and popcorn, alone.
glory in the splendid days and am enriched by those days that are
far less than splendid. I tolerate the days on end that load my
shoulders and heart with the heavy things of life. I endure them
with hope, and savor their bittersweet taste another time.
pump comes and goes, bombers. Brothers and sisters in iron and steel
are here to stay.
cool, glide on… DD
here to order Dave's new Top Squat
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