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From Dan's Desk: Good or bad, the body always adapts

Updated: Sep 1, 2023



Good or bad, the body always adapts. You may have heard this phrase before. One term I want you to familiarize yourself with is "homeostasis." The National Cancer Institute defines homeostasis as “a state of balance among all the body systems needed for the body to survive and function correctly…body levels of acid, blood pressure, blood sugar, electrolytes, energy, hormones, oxygen, proteins, and temperature are constantly adjusted to respond to changes inside and outside the body, to keep them at a normal level.” This means that your body's whole mission is to keep you alive and running, for as long and as efficiently as it can. To put a number on it, think of homeostasis as your body being at 100%. Know why you start to slow down over the course of a long run or when lifting weights? Your brain doesn't want you to do it because those activities are a perceived threat. Same reason why we subconsciously bend over to pick up our grocery bags instead of using our good deadlift form. Our brain knows groceries aren’t heavy, so why should we waste good energy by squatting down to pick them up when it’s more efficient to just bend over quickly? When inputs go down (rest, sufficient calories, macro and micronutrients, hydration, etc.) then outputs will go down, (effort, energy levels, strength, speed, coordination, etc.). Ever notice you're a little off balance when you wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? It's because your body knows you're not supposed to be up and moving about in such a tired state and tries to protect you by slowing you down.


It's all about balance.


If you eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, avoid regular alcohol and drug use, and just practice good lifestyle choices overall, your body will adapt in kind. You will stay closer to that 100% mark. Do the opposite of those things, and the body will adapt the other way. You will head farther and farther away from that 100% mark. If you're someone who routinely practices healthy habits and lifestyle choices, you know how great that 100% (or close to) can feel. Or maybe you're someone who isn't quite there yet or simply doesn't want to be there. You might even say things like "Yeah, but I still feel pretty good so why can't I keep doing what I'm doing?" This is where I ask, "How long have you been doing things this way?" The reason you may feel good despite your poor lifestyle habits is because, you guessed it, homeostasis. In short, your body has adapted every facet of your life to feel 100%, but maybe you're at 60%. The body downregulates your efforts, inputs, outputs, and more so that you will "feel" good every day even though you're not giving the body what it needs. This is a slippery slope. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete in their prime or 60 years old. Good or bad, the body always adapts. Give your body some good.


Talk soon, Dan


One more thing


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