If you know the process of taking out and paying back a loan, you know all about building muscle!

The process of building muscle is not that difficult to understand.

If you’re confused (or you know someone who is) this analogy will end that confusion once and for all.

Let’s have a simplistic look at taking out a loan from the bank.

  • Take out a loan (you’re now in debt)
  • Interest rate applies
  • Pay it back over time
  • Because of the interest rate you pay more back than the actual value of the loan

So what has all this got to do with building muscle?

It’s exactly the same kind of process.

Taking out a loan and getting in debt = the workout itself. Remember that working out is catabolic i.e. it breaks muscle tissue down. Just like you can’t form scar tissue without first cutting yourself, you can’t BUILD more muscle without first breaking it down!

Catabolism stimulates anabolism. So when you train you create a ‘debt’ or deficit just like when you take out a loan. There now HAS to be a payback.

What’s the interest rate on that loan? If you took out a zero percent interest loan, you would not pay back any more than that which was taken out. This means that you would only COMPENSATE for the deficit.

In terms of building muscle, what is ‘only compensating’ or taking out a 0% loan?

Those people who do not seek to increase their reps and/or weights in every workout are only going to compensate i.e. they perform a workout of sub-maximal intensity and do not stimulate ADDITIONAL growth.

Yes, even these pointless workouts will create a deficit and therefore a necessity for recovery. However, the body will only compensate, not OVERcompensate i.e. put back more muscle than was there before the workout.

Are YOU borrowing at 0% interest?

Obviously we want more than 0% in this analogy i.e. we want more muscle put back than was broken down. How do we know if we have achieved this with our workouts? Answer: OVERLOAD.

Once you train beyond a certain INTENSITY you can be sure you have overloaded a muscle and that your body will not just compensate (0%), but overcompensate for the deficit created.

Your body perceived the workout to be of a sufficient THREAT to warrant an adaptive response i.e. pay it back with interest. Remember, building muscle is a defence mechanism. You can train every day for 10 years and not build a single pound of muscle if you don’t train with enough intensity. The point at which you cross this threshold of intensity is what we call Overload.

So ‘interest’ is ‘overcompensation’ in this context.

But paying back a loan, especially when there is a high interest rate, takes time. Building muscle also takes time and the more growth stimulated, the longer the payback (recovery and overcompensation) will take.

This is what I’ve coined as the ‘Peak Overcompensation Point‘ or POP.

A workout only STIMULATES growth. The growth itself happens in the inter-training periods. Quoting from Total Anabolism 3.0:

“Sufficient rest or recovery between stresses, or training sessions, must be allowed for adaptation to occur. Adaptation will only occur during the inter-training recovery periods.”

The body itself produces the growth, you just have to ‘stimulate’ it. A cut will heal all by itself, you only had to make the incision.

So we:

  • Get in debt / train with intensity
  • Loan has interest payments / OVERcompensation is stimulated
  • Pay back over time / rest, recover and grow

By using the THT program we train with the requisite intensity to stimulate an overcompensatory adaptive response.

Then we allow our body to payback the debt we created by training i.e. wait until POP has occurred. Then we do it all over again with progression in mind to ensure overload is reached. Now repeat ad infinitum or until you’re happy with what you see in the mirror when standing butt naked. 🙂

In terms of this analogy, always ensure you take out a loan with interest and wait until it’s paid back before taking out another one!

Stay Motivated!

Mark

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