When it comes to the pursuit of a physique goal, more is not necessarily better

October 12th, 2015 by

EXCELLENT post written by Coach Steph with Curls & Whey Training.

If you are an LBC client, I suggest you take the time to read this.

– – – – – – –

How far are you willing to go to get the body you want? Do you realize the costs associated with the so called “lifestyle” you have chosen to live?

When you push your boundaries, things change. When you push to far, you break.

I often get the request for more cardio, fewer carbs, longer training session, or just fewer calories in general. This mindset is one that we have become accustomed to. The “if some is good, more is better,” mindset is a tough one to beat and I am not sure anyone has a perfect strategy for defeating it.

Of course I nearly always say no to the “give me more”, requests that flood my email daily. Why say no? I mean you would think I would be patting my clients on the back for the great attitude and beaming with pride from all the amazing progress pictures they are sending me. Calories in and calories out is a sure bet to fat loss, so what is the issue?

It just doesn’t work they way that people think it should. There is a point and time that what you are doing to improve your body, could be the very thing that sets you back. Too much activity, too few carbs/calories, or a combination of both is a recipe for disaster. Your metabolism does what it needs to do.

When you just start dieting it will burn through the calories you give it, and then some of the fat from your body to make up for what you aren’t giving it. That is the whole idea behind a calorie deficit. So far, so good. Now comes the impatience. Maybe you didn’t lose this week like you did the first two weeks, or maybe you did so great that you think if you just cut a few calories it will hurry it up even more!

The funny thing is that the emails I get are often accompanied by poor compliance to the program that is already in place. Just for entertainment purposes, lets say the program is being followed at 100% compliance, and the issue is just being impatient.

Here is what you think happens.

Cut calories, lose fat.

Cut more calories, add cardio, lose more fat.

Here is what really happens

The first part of the extreme deficit you feel good and motivated because you are seeing results.

Rather quickly you start to notice a sharp increase in hunger- you ignore it (some hunger comes with dieting so this is just normal resistance to change).

You start noticing that your lifting is suffering.

You start to slow down your everyday movements, with less twitching and fidgeting going on.

At this point your workouts have suffered and you’re moving less. Guess what that means? Your activity level has decreased to handle your lowered intake; because rather than eating enough to support your activity, your body has to change its activity to handle the lack of food. These changes can creep up on you and they go unnoticed until things get worse. Yes, they get worse.

Now that your daily expenditure has been reduced to match your metabolic activity, results are coming slower. Lets cut more calories to get it going again. This pattern continues until you can’t take it anymore. Where does this leave you?

Hungrier than ever before (insatiable), your sex drive doesn’t exist, you are finding yourself a little edgy, you’re tired but can’t sleep, hair is falling out, nails are breaking, your hormones have significantly dropped in production, and you can’t lose any more fat. Note that I said fat there, because at this point you are likely breaking down a fair amount of your muscle too (compounding the problem of course). If you let it go long enough you will have found the sure path to a big rebound, metabolic problems (possibly permanent), and a poor relationship with food at best or eating disorder and health issues at worst.

We all have our limits, and some of us can get away with a whole lot, while others seem to break down fairly quickly. Staying strong and committed is different than taking things to the extreme. Extreme behaviors aren’t a long-term solution and they aren’t the healthiest choice either. It is not worth comparing your journey to others.

Smaller deficits, using cardio as a tool (rather than a must-have), focusing on weight training, and a big dose of patience is the way to sustainable fat loss.

So what is a reasonable deficit? We generally recommend 10-12 calories per pound of body weight. I like to see people start as high as possible and only reduce if needed. Always accounting for the fact that small progress is progress.

– – – – – – –