The reason I explain “the pump” and “flatness” is because it is an essential tool in training and dieting. Sometimes, the mind/body connection, is more significant than any other factor with regard to fitness/athletic training. I am trying to give the reader a ballpark idea, of what the “physical symptoms” of muscle gain, and muscle loss are.
If you are experiencing Flatness (during dieting), you are in “muscle loss” mode. You are too low on protein, too low on carbohydrates, or too low on calories.
When you are dieting so hard, that you feel weak (flat), it is time for a cheat day or a refeed (this is applicable to drug free athletes). Insulin Sensitivity will be peaked in this state (because your muscles are flat [empty]), and if you eat (refeed) soon enough, you can lose the fat you were trying to lose orginally, without losing muscle.
If you tend to feel a strong pump in your muscles, eating more is not entirely necessary, or productive(during dieting). This is the ideal state to be in, when one is about to cut carbs/ or kcal. Your muscles are well fed, and eating more is more likely to accumulate fat, than add nutrients to your already full (pumped) muscles. This is also when your metabolism is going the fastest, so it is the ideal time to try and burn fat (because your muscles are not in a state where they are likely to atrophy (shrink)).
Extremely useful pseudoscience.
1. WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE INCREASED FLATNESS WHEN DIETING (at rest), TREAT THAT SYMPTOM WITH A CARBOHYDRATE AND/OR KCAL REFEED (SOMETIMES CALLED “CHEAT DAYS” ALTHOUGH IT IS ANYTHING BUT CHEATING IF IT IS PLANNED). LACK OF PUMP IS CORRELATED WITH ELEVATED CATABOLIC HORMONES (meaning you need to eat, you are beyond just fat burning, and into fat and muscle simultaneously burning by this point).
2. WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE A PUMP AT REST WHILE DIETING, THAT IS THE IDEAL TIME TO DRASTICALLY CUT CALORIES OR CARBOHYDRATES, YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO LOSE MUSCLE. THE PUMP IS INDICATIVE OF ELEVATED ANABOLIC HORMONES. (When muscles feel full it is usually because they are full of glycogen and nutrients, meaning the muscle will not shrink if the blood is absent of kcal and carbs).
3. PERSISTENT LACK OF ABILITY TO ACHEIVE A PUMP IN THE GYM INDICATES LOW T AND ELEVATED CORTISOL (OVERTRAINING OR UNDER-RECOVERING), MEANING IT IS TIME TO TAKE A BREAK FROM THE GYM, AND EXAMINE AND RE-EVALUATE WHY YOUR TRAINING/DIET/NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION/LIFESTYLE DESIGN IS FAILING. If everything is balanced correctly and on point, there should never a need to take more than a day or two off (Unless it is programmed into the original program (planned ahead intentionally), like in Charles Poliquin’s .50 caliber training).
Let these “symptoms” govern your actions in the gym, as well as your dieting strategy, and you will be ripped (for men) and toned (for women) in no time.