Homeostasis, Negative Feedback Mechanism and How it Affects Muscle Building and Power Training


Today we will discuss a bit about the Homeostasis and Negative feedback mechanism and how they affect your progress in lifting. However this post is only a bit of a background; we will not tackle too many jargons, complicated, scientific stuff lest we confuse ourselves and be lead astray from our main point.

The reason I wrote this post is this: When you lift, no matter what your goal is, your results and progress will always be affected by the body’s mechanisms – particularly its balance or “Homeostasis” seeking mechanisms mainly the “Negative feedback mechanism”.

In many physical and biological systems, qualitatively different influences can oppose each other. For example, in biochemistry, one set of chemicals drives the system in a given direction, whereas another set of chemicals drives it in an opposing direction. If one or both of these opposing influences are non-linear, equilibrium point(s) result.   In biology, this process (in general, biochemical) is often referred to as homeostasis; whereas in mechanics, the more common term is equilibrium.

The reason for that is that the body seeks to be in what is called “balance” or “equilibrium”. Too much of anything will lead the body into a state wherein it negates the overflowing stimulus. That whole process is called the negative feedback mechanism.

This illustration pretty much tells everything about negative feedback mechanism:

homeostasis and negative feedback mechanism

Make no mistake – This mechanism is VITAL for our survival. Just think about this: when you experience excessive heat, your body will do its best to reduce temperature – that is what negative feedback looks like. That process by the way is called “Thermoregulation”.

Negative Feedback Exists Everywhere:

Now before we discuss how negative feedback affects you as a lifter, it is first very important to realize that this mechanism exists everywhere – it even exists in your psyche. Imagine this: When you are overflowing with cash, for example you just received your paycheck; it is very easy to be emotional and overspend. Then after a few days when you barely have a penny, you return to your “thrifty” mode making each dollar count. That is a natural reaction to anything and that is impossible to combat without conscious effort or discipline. If you let your nature dictate the way you spend it will always overspend at times of prosperity.

Consider this: the negative feedback mechanism of the body with regards to water is that when hydrated the body increases water excretion and at times of dehydration it retains water. Therefore the tendency is that your muscles will never look defined when you are H20 depleted since you have water retention. Just like the times when your water got cut (or is about to be cut) for some reason. You will tend to save the little that you have and if you can you will store water in large vessels for later use.

To make it simple too much of anything and the body will be stimulated to counteract, bypass, or excrete the exceeding element. And likewise too little of a vital element will lead the body to be in a state of increased retention until such time that there is a steady supply once again.

Now let us not look any further. Let us take a look at relationships: A guy showing too much “love” and affection to his woman will only lead the girl to despise him and leave him. Basically that is a negative feedback. Too much of you and you will be “excreted”.

If you have ever read the bible, Proverbs 25:17 reads: Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house; otherwise, he’ll get sick of you and hate you.  You see even the bible recognizes the power of “negative feedback”.

So it is really an understatement to say that “negative feedback mechanism can be found everywhere” when in fact – negative feedback mechanism is behind everything that we experience.

You see how it takes just simple common sense to figure that out? Too much of anything and that thing looses effect. Too much testosterone from vials and your body aromatizes hormones into estrogen all of a sudden. Even using tribulus will only give you an initial boost after that it loses effect and the body will counteract it. For steroids there are available medications to counteract the negative feedback of the body in reaction to steroids but I am not the right person to advise you about that,

Too much of a certain macronutrient and your body will no longer metabolize that and will even excrete that. Likewise staying in the same diet regimen for too long eating certain foods and suddenly they lose their fat burning effect.

Staying for too long in a certain training regimen and the regimen loses its effect in due time. An introduction of a new stimulus or a new way which you stimulate your body for muscular hypertrophy will be welcomed by your body with open arms since it will be treated as a foreign stimulus.

That is why it is vital to cycle your training schemes or change the way you stimulate your muscles in a different way from time to time in other words – do some “mini periodization” schemes with your training. We did a full post on periodizations or changing up your regimen from week to week here:  Avoiding the Minimal Energy State Thru Periodization Schemes. Basically you should change up the rep schemes, the tempo or your reps, the intensity, or the rest periods from week to week to avoid stagnating.

So you see; your body’s Homeostatic mechanisms really affect your progress in lifting be it on diet, training, muscle gain, or strength gain. But remember that this is also the reason why “shock training” works really well especially on diet and exercise. The effect of Negative feedback to the body however is too broad to be discussed in a single post. Do you want to add more stuff where negative feedback mechanisms affect exercise and diet? I urge you to do so. Please share them below thru the comments section. Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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