Homeostasis and Implications for Performance

This article originally started out as the basis of how the nervous system can affect the muscular system, but when I examined my thought process, I began to realize just how vast the rest of the body can affect everything else.

At risk of oversimplifying – everything is connected, and everything matters.

Your Moment of Zen
Your Moment of Zen

On that note, the body is in a constant state of achieving homeostasis, which can be reflected via several systems throughout the body.

  • The endocrine system reflects this through hormone release and absorption.
    • If your body is lacking these hormones, it will reflect both internally and externally! (Fatigue, blood tests, etc)
  • The nervous system reflects homeostasis via sensory input and the interpretation of these sensations.
  • The muscular system reflects homeostasis via specific adaptation of muscles – if there is no stimulus or lesser stimulus than previous endeavors, atrophy occurs. And if there is a greater stimulus experienced at the muscular level, then hypertrophy (or strengthening) occurs, among other events.

It would be folly to ignore any one system with regards to enhancing performance, but these three are of the highest priority towards achieving the goals of higher performance.

  • Hormones can be mediated via the foods we eat, and the stresses we experience.
  • The nervous system can be mediated via rest and stress, and other sensors that we experience.
  • And of course the muscular system is how we adapt to these stressors from a muscular and nervous system point of view.

If your skeletal system is modified (or when you break a bone), then your body will aim to restore homeostasis in whichever method is most efficient. But at the same time, I don’t think a goal of anyone’s is to specifically restore or increase bone density in your pinky finger – it is merely a byproduct of a sound exercise program.

With that being said, I’d like to state the obvious and say that these systems are all interrelated – you can’t expect to see gains in the gym without sleeping, and you can’t expect to sleep well if you can’t breathe properly (respiratory system).

Broadly speaking, the body experiences a plethora of sensory input: from the nerves on your fingers, to seeing something in your peripheral vision, or the beat of a song coming through your ears (which can increase or decrease your hormone release), it is truly underrated the amount of sensory overload our bodies are taking from a holistic point of view.

Sensory Overload

With regards to increasing performance qualities, my job is to provide a positive stimulus, while reducing prevalence of chronic injuries, along with shifting your homeostatic values to increase these performance based qualities.

On that note, the nervous system can influence the other systems in such an indirect way that it is naive to ignore its power.

The next Google Glasses.
The next Google Glasses.

For example, if your specific performance goals are valued towards an increase in muscular power (which can be quantified through rate of force production), let’s analyze a few of the items involved with that:

Power and Items That Affect Rate of Force Production
  • Nervous System: Anything that improves motor unit firing!
  • Muscular System: Anything that increases the number of motor unit firing will increase the amount and types of muscle fibers fired – so it is wise to choose the movement pattern that will help positively modify the rate of force production!
  • Endocrine System: Over the course of an exercise program, it is expected for a positive influx of exercise related hormones to improve the release/absorption of these hormones to allow positive (muscular, cellular) gains to be seen.
  • Digestive System: If certain foods are ignored, then muscular (and other systemic related) growth will be stunted, and reaction times will be delayed due to Ca+ and ACh stores not being restored during the exercise program itself.

And on and on…

In Conclusion…

Perhaps this is myself having a Dan John moment, but if you don’t respect the fact that if you don’t eat appropriately, you won’t excel. If you don’t train appropriately (and specifically), you won’t excel. If you don’t sleep appropriately, you won’t excel. So how the hell can you perform better?

Show me one youth athlete that is sleeping 8-10 hours a night, eating well, and training (let alone lifting with proper form!), and I can show you about 100 other kids who aren’t doing anything to help them grow. Point being that it is never one singular issue why your youth athlete may not be recovering properly – it is a multitude of items and the lack of respect towards a holistic approach that is shortchanging your son or daughter (or yourself).

While this post may have been more of a stream of thought writing activity for myself, I believe that this will be useful as I can reference this later on in several other posts that I will be writing about in the near future. With that being said, expect the next post to be tangentially related to this post, a quasi-series of sorts!

As always,

Keep it funky.


Sweat Equity and Working Out on a Budget

Post college, I became highly interested in my financials – namely because of student loans.. So unfortunately, I couldn’t eat pizza every night (and morning), sleep until high noon, and expect to pay bills. So I did what any other person in the 21st century with a computer and an internet connection would do – I Google’d some strategies towards accomplishing this goal (besides the obvious path of working) and began the road to paying bills and being an “adult”. And with that, I learned a thing or two about finances and its accompanying lingo.

Now, the world of business, finance, and the like are admittedly out of my comfort zone. However, one term that I could identify with was sweat equity. In other words, sweat equity can be defined as: “Contribution to a project or enterprise in the form of effort and toil. Sweat equity is the ownership interest, or increase in value, that is created as a direct result of hard work by the owner(s).” While this term mainly deals with the initial efforts with regards to the beginnings of a start-up business, I realized this can tangentially relate to beginning a lifestyle change such as working out.

If I were to sub out the words related to business and replace them with regards to investing in your body, I would get this:

“Contribution to your health and fitness in the form of effort and toil. Sweat equity is reinvestment in your health that is created as a direct result of hard work.”

Essentially, sweat equity is a measure of one’s resourcefulness, or seeing results with limited resources.

You don’t need all the fancy equipment

… in order to see big changes.

As a newly appointed college graduate the idea of expensive gyms, fancy gym clothes, and the owning the newest version of the Shake Weight was not within my current mindset.

Emma Stone - Shake Weight
I’m just as confused as you are Emma Stone.

How Can I Work Out if I’m On a Budget?

My first advice to you is to not buy into the gimmick that involves shaking any weight; my second piece of advice involves prioritizing your budget needs to accommodate for a healthier lifestyle. Admittedly, sometimes work, life, and/or family gets in the way of our gains and it is difficult to pick up momentum to get into the gym.

Do You Even Lift, Bro?
Family or Gains? Priorities…

With this in mind, there are other alternatives towards getting a good sweat or pump. Anecdotally, from the ages of 14-18 I never really set foot into a gym with the intentions of getting a good “workout” – I knew that I can get a great workout with simply my own bodyweight. Modifying what I know now, I would tell myself to pick up a few more basic yet great tools, and to follow these simple guidelines as well.

Exercise Tools:

  • Body: This tool is your most useful out of them all, yet highly underrated and under appreciated when it comes to using it.



Your body can do some pretty amazing things.

  • Kettlebells: These usually run for about $1.10 per pound. So if a KB weighs about 35lbs, it will cost roughly about $40, not including shipping and handling. However, the versatility that comes along with this piece of equipment is mind-blowing, and definitely worth it when you consider the amount of exercises that this simple tool can provide, versus a commercial gym price of $20/month on the low end, and obviously reaching higher and higher as you go up the chain.


  • Suspension Straps: There are a few definite suspension straps out there, the most notable of them involving the TRX Suspension Strap system, and Jungle Gym straps. These can go from $99 to $150 or more, depending on what you get with it.

35lb Kettlebell = $40 (without shipping)
Suspension Straps = $99 (cheapest version)
Your Body = You are priceless (seriously though…).
Total Cost of Equipment = $140

If your goal is maintain your movement patterns or strength levels, I provide several different variations, starting with basic level exercises and progressing to advanced variations. The main idea with these bodyweight exercises are to continually improve from one version to the next, using the following principles.

Alter Base of Support

Progressing past basic level exercises is a good goal if you are aiming to increase your movement repertoire and still get a good workout. No one wants to be stuck doing regular push-ups forever, so try it out with a slideboard and do a one-arm push-up variation.

Increase Repetitions By “Clustering” Your Efforts

Sometimes “greasing the groove” will provide a better stimulus that will allow you to make further gains for a difficult exercise. If you’re stuck at 5 chin-ups for example, perform one or two less than your max reps for chin-ups. So do 3 repetitions, and perform “clusters”, or chunks of 3 reps every so often throughout your day. This will provide a greater neurological effect than simply failing over and over at 5 or higher amounts of chin-ups.

Perform A Regression or Lateralization of Similar Movement Patterns

If you are stuck on performing max reps of a pistol squat, perform a lateralization, or different variation, in order to prevent stalling. Aim to master slideboard one arm push-up before moving onto the one-arm pushup.

*Note: Any exercise below that has a dumbbell or weight plate can easily be swapped with a kettlebell for simple weight substitutions.

Upper Body Pushing and Pulling Exercises

Pushing Exercises



Pulling Exercises

Lower Body Quad and Hip Dominant Exercises

Quad-Dominant Exercises

Hip Dominant Exercises

“Core” Exercises

Sample Workout Sessions

There are tons of variations here for you to perform with just your bodyweight alone! Now, the key is to figure out how to organize these exercises for you to use within a single workout. Whenever I need to lift in a hurry I keep these ideas in mind:

  • Perform a wide variety of movement (push, pull, quad dominant, hip dominant, and anti-flexion/extension/rotation with the core is a good start).
  • Use supersets, tri-sets, or circuits for time to condense the amount of work in a session.

With these in mind, I can develop a great workout, performing a circuit of movements back to back with little rest until the end of the set. So let’s choose one or two exercise choices from each category of movement patterns to get a wide spectrum of movement patterns!

So, for example:

Sample Workout Session I (Circuit)

A1. Suspension Rows – 8 reps
A2. Goblet Split Squat – 5 reps/side
A3. Push-Up – 8 reps
A4. Single Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift – 5 reps/side
A5. Chin-Ups – 5 reps
A6. Front Plank – 20sec
A7. Side Plank – 20sec

Perform exercise A1, then A2, etc. through A7. Repeat A1-A7 four times, and record your time. Perform 2x a week and attempt to beat your previous record.

Another type of exercise that can be utilized is density training.

…Why density training?

This type of training allows you to get a buttload of work done in a little amount of time

Sample Workout Session II (Density Training)

A1. Suspension Rows – 8 reps
A2. Goblet Split Squats – 5 reps/side
A3. Push-Up – 8 reps

Perform A circuit for 10 minutes straight. Record sets completed.

B1. Kettlebell Swings – 10 reps
B2. Chin-Ups – 5 reps
B3. Turkish Get-Up – 2 reps/side

Perform B Circuit for 10 minutes straight. Record sets completed.

Similar exercises when you compare apples to apples, but the amount of work is amplified due to the fire that is lit under your butt due to the time restraints.


If you find yourself strapped for cash (or time) in the near future for any reason, but still want to maintain some semblance of a movement related lifestyle, give these circuits a go to keep your physique.

As always…

Keep it funky.