My Truths #144 (the “pump”)

by Stephanie

The “pump” is immediate feedback that your hard work makes a difference.  You know that pumped up look your muscles get when you’re engaged in heavy lifting? That pumped look happens because your muscle fibers contract during a high intensity workout and then fill up with blood and lactic acid. It’s that build-up of pressure that gives your muscles that bulging look.

Some people (mostly men I believe but probably some women too) “pump up” their muscles (particularly biceps i.e. their “guns”) by working out just before going somewhere where they want to “impress” others. The let-down is that once that blood and lactic acid dissipates the muscle might look like a deflated balloon. In fact, the “pump” is so sought after among bodybuilders that it’s given rise to an entire category of supplements (nitric oxide) that focuses on doing one thing…prolonging the pumped look you get in the gym.

It’s often hard to stay motivated to work out when the results can take week, months …even years to really show themselves. The pump is like crack for the ego and it’s what keeps many going back to the gym because it’s immediate feedback that all their hard work is paying off.  The question remains… Does going after “the pump” have any long term effect on your results? I guess it really depends on the results you’re seeking. From what I’ve read, if you frequently experience the pump when working out this will likely result in bulkier muscles long term…especially for men.