There are two stages of training. The first stage occurs whenever the cell(s) is stimulated. During this stage, the cell is running in debt in terms of energy. Acid builds up. Some degree of injury is inevitable. The second stage is recovery and can only occur when the stimulant is withdrawn. At that point, the actual injury, energy debt, and/or chemical build-up actually drive the recovery. The end result of recovery is a cell more capable in the precise areas that were strained during the stimulation phase. Attrition will occur in any cell that is not stimulated. A cell constantly stimulated without a recovery will be damaged or somehow find a way to survive on the stimulant.
During stimulation the cell is always using energy faster than it is recharging. The fuel required is sugar. The body provides sugar to the cell via the blood. If a cell is asked to be stimulated at the same time not enough sugar is available something will give. This is what happens if you haven’t eaten and feel light headed, or hit the wall during a marathon. This is also the reason some people are completely exhausted after exercising. The body has to have the capacity to provide the nutrition that the cell needs.
During recovery, another nutrition system is used. Oxygen is used at at the end of a process where the sugar is completely burned. This process takes some time go get warmed up, but provides much more energy over a longer period of time. Again this system can only function when the stimulant is withdrawn.
The paradox of training is that one the one hand, the system has to be stimulated and on the other hand the stimulant has to be withdrawn. Most people are good at one of these processes and bad at the other. That is because it is uncomfortable changing gears. When you are relaxed, you don’t feel like exercising. When you are all worked up, it is harder to relax. Learning to alternate between training and recovery is the key to training and learning and having the right amount on your plate so not to be bored or overwhelmed.
Intensity: Everything the cell does requires energy. Concentrating, lifting weights, rebuilding, etc. Higher intensity activities always create a mess in the form of debris or toxins or tissue damage. This mess is only cleaned up at lower intensities when the tissues are also rebuilt and become stronger. These activities draw on the battery in the cell at a rate determined by the intensity at which the cell is working.
Nutrition Delivery System: The purpose of nutrition in the context of fuel is simply to charge that battery. The nutrition delivery system includes the lungs, intestines, liver, hormones, etc. Everything involved in delivering food and burning the food is under the umbrella of the Nutrition Delivery System (NDS).
Two Distinct Intensities/Nutrition Types: The cell can work for hours at a lower intensity and there is a corresponding type of nutrition and delivery apparatus dedicated to continuously charging the batteries. This system requires oxygen but takes time to get warmed up. On the other hand when the cell needs to work suddenly the rapid draw on the batteries is countered by a rapid delivery and burn of sugar which is the other type of nutrition system. Notice the lever that moves to shunt more or less of either nutrition system.
NDS Always Calibrates To Match Intensity: Both the cell and the NDS can adjust in the form of increased (conditioning) or decreased (deconditioning) capacity. The actual rate at burning or delivering fuel can increase or decrease of either system. Ultimately the amount of food the cell absorbs always has to be the same as the amount of food delivered by the nutrition delivery system.
Conditioning: Whenever cellular activity increases (think exercise for now) the capacity of the cell as well as the capacity of the nutrition delivery system will both increase after a recovery period. Whenever the amount of nutrition within the nutrition delivery system decreases (think fasting or low carb diets) the capacity of the nutrition delivery system will actually learn to deliver food more efficiently. A simple example is that if you don’t eat as much your cells are still used to having a certain amount of intensity and your body will perhaps find extra food in your digestive tract or fat cells.
Deconditioning: Everyone understands that your systems adjusts to hard work in the form of increased strength to enable you work hard. What is missed is the fact that your body has to be able to adjust in the form of diminished capacity to prevent the flooding of the cell. This is a feature of the design but almost always assumed to be some genetic flaw when it occurs. Whenever the nutrition delivery system delivers more than what the cell can process, deconditioning always happens in some form. Diverting the nutrition to fat cells is just one example but there are a number of ways the body can slow the flow of nutrition via the digestive, cardiovascular, lung, etc.
Delineation of Intensities: At a certain intensity the cell can work indefinitely because it can charge the batteries at the same rate they are being drawn upon, and the cell can rid itself of whatever by-products of metabolism at the same rate they are being produced. Normally as soon as you are upright the intensity is above that threshold and during sleep it is below.
Whenever you are awake and not doing anything difficult you are at the Posture intensity. The monk is the symbol for the posture intensity. The cell(s) have the minimal stimulation to stay awake, and because the cells are not working very hard and the fact that this intensity is prolonged they are able to use oxygen to completely metabolize the fuel. When you do something more intense and repetitive, up to a certain point you will be able to continue in your oxygen metabolism until a certain point. The max intensity where you can maintain an oxygen metabolism is the Endurance intensity threshold. Distance running is the best example of this intensity. Whenever you do something so intense with your whole body that you have to resort to the sugar metabolism, you are in the Excitability intensity. Crossfit, weight lifting, sprinting, etc all fall under this umbrella but so does waitressing, multitasking, etc. The entire system is challenged to provide enough sugar and get rid of the acid byproducts of metabolism. The last intensity is Focus, which is when the high resolution part of the brain, and not the whole body, is the focal point of the sugar metabolism. At any point you are in one of these intensities although they do overlap.
Information Processing: All learning requires a complete revolution of the above mentioned intensities. Excitability is necessary for all new memories/learning. However, prolonged excitability will lead to information overload. What happens is excitability creates clear unorganized information, which circulates in the head (processing) until a theme or pattern is recognized. From there, the person will Focus on the important piece of the puzzle, and looking at that piece more closely for shape, etc until one recognizes that the piece is familiar to another piece or perhaps finds a different piece. From there, the new piece circulates. during Endurance the information circulates in an idealistic way. Think of an idea you had for a business or something like that. There is an idealistic part that occurs at certain times, but when you are more relaxed during Posture the idea or piece circulates at lower intensity. All learning occurs in a similar way, and gaps in your training schedule will result in either being bored or overwhelmed. The health of the cell mirrors exactly the health of your learning, because the processing of fuel occurs at the exact same intensity as the processing of information.