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Avoiding Muscle Deflation

Tell us if this sounds familiar: you hit the gym, you blast through a tough workout, you work up a huge pump...and then a few hours later you look in the mirror and you look as scrawny as you did at the beginning of the day. This phenomenon is known as "muscle deflation syndrome", and it is a very real (and very unfortunate) thing.

Why do our bodies do this to us? How can we make so much progress in such a short amount of time, only to see it vanish into thin air a few hours later? Well, it turns out there's some pretty nerdy science behind it all. It's a lot of information to digest, but we'll break it down for you here as best as we can. Once you learn more about muscle deflation syndrome, it'll be a lot easier for you to avoid it - and to make the serious gains we know you're capable of here at!

Muscle Deflation

The Ins-and-outs of Muscle Deflation Syndrome

Muscle deflation syndrome (or MDS for short) revolves around how your metabolic system manages its energy currency. In a way, you can think of this as similar to economic systems in the real world. Most physical trainers and health experts actually refer to the root impetus of MDS as the glucose economy. Unfortunately, like a real economy, understanding the glucose economy can be almost as complicated as reality.

If you're following a standard American diet like most people are, then you probably already know that your body wants to burn glucose for energy more than anything. Unfortunately, many different bodybuilding goals include strategically reducing your carbohydrate intake during specific times of day or during cyclical intervals (known as "cutting" or "bulking" phases). But exercising while reducing your carbohydrate intake is the kiss of death for any pump.

This is especially true for fasted workouts, or if you don't refuel properly after a workout. your body has to get energy for your muscles from somewhere - and that somewhere is usually the muscles themselves. If you are well fueled with plenty of carbohydrates and protein in your system, you won't notice much of an MDS effect - if any at all. But you're going to be in trouble if your body is forced to extract that energy from your muscles.

The glycogen in your muscles takes up a lot of space between the muscle fibers. That, plus all the extra water you drink in order to stay hydrated during your workout gets shoved into your muscle tissue until it's is packed as full of water and glycogen as it can stand. Your body naturally sends these into the muscles you flex while you are exercising. But once you stop working those muscles and go back to the rest of your day, that energy gets extracted from your muscles and redirected to your organs or your skin or wherever else it is needed. Staying well fed and well hydrated helps combat this, but it's impractical to think you can eat and drink 24/7. No matter what you do, MDS will eventually catch up to you - unless you get help from us here at

We understand that's a lot of information to digest. So let's run through a basic scenario: you drink a high quality protein shake immediately before your workout, then you hit the weights pretty hard. Your body recognizes that your biceps need water, blood, and glycogen in order to curl that massive weight over and over again. But you're going to eventually stop flexing your biceps and lifting those heavy weights. When you stop lifting those heavy weights, you're going to start using other muscles and other organs which will be hungry for the energy that is stored in your pump if you don't keep feeding your body. Between sleeping and working and socializing, it's not possible to eat all the time in order to trick your body into keeping that energy stored in your pumped up muscles. So that's when your pump deflates and you go back to seeing a scrawny beanpole in the mirror.

So how do you keep this from happening to you? We're glad you asked. We have a ton of helpful advice for you here at MuscleHelp. We also have a ton of supplements you should invest in if you want to get that pump, keep that pump, and soar over your body building plateaus.

Priming the Pump - and Staying That Way

There are certain strategies you can employ if you want to help your pump last as long as you can and help your muscles stay as inflated as they can between workouts. We strongly suggest you try to do some or all of the following:

  • Drink enough water during the day. Drinking more water and staying well hydrated helps increase your blood volume, which means there's more fluid to pump in your muscles in the first place. On top of that, your body cannot store glycogen in your muscles without water to hold it there - kind of like the bars in a prison cell. Except in this scenario, the prisoner is your gains and, with any luck, they'll be serving 25 to life.
  • Eat more carbs! But make sure they're the healthy kind. Stuffing your face full of fast food will burn through your system too fast and leave a bunch of pro-inflammatory toxins behind, which will kill your gains. Sweet potatoes, whole grains, and brown rice are great carbohydrate sources. And the more fiber, the better.
  • Get sufficient, high-quality sleep. Your pump will deflate overnight if your body isn't sleeping properly. When you're getting good sleep, your body works hard to repair the damage of the day in to synthesize new protein for bigger, stronger, better muscles. But if you're missing out on deep sleep or REM sleep, you're not going to go through this protein synthesis process. And your gains will disappear the next morning as if they were nothing but a dream in the first place.

These are the basics you can do for free to keep your pump off the endangered species list. But you can do more than that. You can keep surfing around MuscleHelp and take a look at all of the supplements and bodybuilding blog posts that the fitness world has to offer. Don't take too long, though - your pump could be withering away right now!