26/2/2021 0 Comments
We live in times where fitness has become a massive trend and paradoxically, fewer people consider it important, giving way to other things to get on top of their priority list.
The collective paradigm about health, nutrition, and fitness has been warped beyond belief.
This therefore leads to more people than ever getting lost in a vicious cycle of non-sustainable physical, nutritional and mental habits.
And while getting fit and starting a diet is just a “Someday” goal for many people, the truth is that it is the natural way the body should work.
The Modern-Day Lifestyle
Humans as a species have been on this planet for at least 200,000 years and for the most part, it has been a survival game.
It has only been the last 30 years that we’ve had easy access to such an abundance of foods, which can even be delivered to your doorstep!
So, you see where this is going, right?
We are way beyond our natural human patterns of movement and nutrition, working sedentary jobs and eating heavily-processed, nutrient-poor foods.
What we now call training is actually the way things worked for most of human existence.
Here’s The Best Part Though
Your HEALTH determines your performance in every other aspect of your life.
Think about it, too many people often get to the point where neglecting their body becomes habitual, rather than a choice.
This usually leads to an overall decrease in the quality of life, where they feel mentally and physically exhausted just a couple of hours into the day.
As this happens, it gets harder to focus and perform well on your other activities.
This is where physical, nutritional, and mental practices come into play.
Fitness & Nutrition as toolsBy now you should know that the best thing you can do to improve your performance in every aspect of life, is to keep your body & mind healthy.
And quite frankly, the physical part of it is really simple - Using your body’s active components (training) and granting fuel for performance & recovery (food).
As we mentioned above, the modern-day lifestyle imposes us to an environment where EVERYTHING we need is right around the block.
The question is, are you going to go to the gym or the pub?
Are you going to go to the grocery store or the burger joint?
Making all the right choices that will nurture all the various functions of the body, will ultimately set you up for a clear vision and good performance in all aspects of life.
The goal is to create a plan you can adhere to and bring into your older years, to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Physical & Mental Practices Anyone Can UseNow that we have a firm grasp of the fact that taking care of your body is the least and easiest thing you can and should do, let’s have a look at actionable steps you can take towards that.
1. Bring diversity in your nutrition
Nowadays, more often than not, there are fad diets that overwhelm people trying to set up a concrete nutrition plan.
Should you do keto, paleo, low-carb or intermittent fasting?
The short answer is - Use whatever you can stick to in the long term.
But when building out your nutrition plan, consider this:
A balanced approach to nutrition is the best way to go, as each and every macro and micro nutrient has its own purpose in your physiology.
Eat some meat, some fish, grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts and any other whole foods you may have in the local store.
Remember that the different colors of food simply show the different nutrients available in that food.
In this case, the more colorful your plate is, the better.
Enjoy food not only as a functional component of your health & recovery plan, but also a form of enjoyment and art.
2. Include endurance, strength & functional training
Your body is a complex biological machine that has a musculoskeletal system, used to move in the environment in a variety of ways.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, the modern-day lifestyle robs us of most movements which we would otherwise do.
This is exactly why, it is best to use as many functions of your body as possible.
Contrary to popular belief, your “fitness” is not just about going to the gym and lifting weights.
It is much more than that.
Your body can run, swim, climb, crawl, jump, pull, push, etcetera…
Think about it - Each of those movements engages a different set of active components (muscles).
The more of those components you frequently engage in challenging training sessions, the better your overall development will be.
This is mostly valid for people who are not athletes, as competitive sports would require a different approach, the goal of which would be to maximize on a couple of physical properties.
3. Take care of your recovery
Whether you are doing light cardio or grueling strength training, leaving a window for recovery before the next session is always mandatory.
It is this exact recovery window that allows the trained muscles/functions to reach the state of supercompensation.
Supercompensation is essentially the point during recovery, at which the exercised muscles/functions have a higher working capacity than they did prior to the training bout.
This is what progress actually is - Your body preparing for bigger challenges!
Here are our best tips to optimize your recovery:
4. Breathe more!
Besides robbing us of movement, the modern-day lifestyle often instills passive stress into the mind.
If your mind is stressed, so is the body and we all know that chronic stress has long-term side effects that manifest in many aspects of our lives.
And quite frankly - You don’t want that.
This is where breathing exercises come into play.
Now, breathing is normally an autonomous function... until the moment you think of it.
And this is actually good!
Consciously controlling your breathing pattern can have massive benefits on your autonomous nervous system (ANS) right away.
Just 5-10 deep, slow inhales and exhales can instantly act as a powerful signal for the body.
That exact signal tells the ANS that it is time to relax and recover, thus allowing many glands in the body to secrete health-nurturing substances.
The step-by-step breathing practice we have for you below, can be used daily to manage any type of stress and bring harmony back to the heart & brain.
This is essentially a meditation practice which has powerful effects even when done for a couple of minutes per day.
The main goal is to focus on your heart & lungs and induce a powerful self-regulation signal.
If any intrusive thoughts come to your mind, don’t follow and multiply them, just let them go and return your attention to the heart and lungs.
To Wrap It Up
Doing regular physical/training activity, eating well and practising mindfulness shouldn’t really be considered “goals”.
These are rather just the tools you can and should use to set yourself up for better performance in any other aspect of your life.
Modern-day cities provide everything you need for a complete biological optimization, right at your fingertips.
But the catch is that they also make it easy for you to create a full-on biological disaster.
The question is, which route are you gonna go?
Choice is yours, make the rest of your life the best of your life.
Alright, in part 1 of this series, we went over the two main types of injuries - Acute & Chronic injuries.
In case you did not read that article, let us briefly explain this further.
Acute injuries have an immediate onset, and happen when the working tissues’ capabilities have been exceeded, or a sudden clash/fall has occurred.
These are best managed by letting the area rest and applying ice in the first 48-72 hours, as well as training around the injury in a way that won’t aggravate it.
On the other hand, chronic injuries happen gradually over time and are mainly caused by poor exercise form, overexertion, and suboptimal recovery protocols.
Now, keep in mind, though these are two different types of injuries, poor management of an acute injury (even a small one), can snowball into a chronic injury over time.
If there are even small pains that persist, it is recommended that you do not neglect them and advise with a professional.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the best injury-prevention practices.
How To Prevent Chronic Injuries
Alright, as you already know, chronic injuries are primarily the end result of poor training decisions and poor recovery.
And though that sounds bad, it actually means that chronic injuries are preventable!
Here are our best tips to help you prevent injuries and enjoy a functional body for decades to come:
#1 Prime The Body For Exercise (Warm-up)
It is oftentimes that people neglect the warm-up in the beginning of their training sessions and go too hard too fast.
Well, the fact of the matter is that preparing the body before you jump into hard sets, is the best way to prevent any type of injuries.
Think about it - If you cold-start your car and put the pedal to the floor right away, what would happen? Something will break eventually.
Now here’s what a good warm up will do:
The first two can be done with low-intensity aerobic activities, such as jogging, rope jumping or simply walking at a higher pace.
Activating your muscle fibers is best done by gradually increasing the working weight, for the first 2-3 sets of your first exercise.
All of this will prepare the body for heavier work afterward and will massively reduce the risk of injury.
#2 Use Proper Exercise Form
Whether you are a beginner trainee or someone who has a couple of years of experience, your main priority should always be your exercise form.
If you sacrifice good exercise form for a couple of extra kilograms on the bar, you are setting yourself up for an injury, thus robbing yourself of progress.
Remember that each and every joint has a certain biomechanical position, at which it can safely exert the most force possible for its working muscle groups.
Anything less than that and you are speeding up the wear and tear of your joints and ligaments.
#3 Eat well & Drink Water
When a person experiences an injury, more often than not the instinctive reaction is to look for creams & gels you can apply on the injured area, to speed up healing.
For that exact reason, food & water intake are often underestimated when it comes to healing, recovery, and injury prevention.
But if you think logically, you’d know that they are REALLY important and can be a powerful ally for maintaining a healthy skeleton & musculature.
This is simply because food contains essential nutrients, which the body can’t produce on its own, but needs for optimal health and recovery.
Furthermore, specifically in the case of injuries, certain foods can actually increase inflammation, while others can mitigate it.
Here are our 5 best nutrition tips to prevent & treat injuries:
#4 Get Frequent Massages
One thing you should really acknowledge is the fact that your muscular system is REALLY complex and has many functional components.
As you use it, your muscles & their fascia get fatigued, and even after solid recovery, they may feel stiff at one point.
The fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that holds every organ, bone, muscle, and nerve fiber in place. As these active components go through stress, their fascia tightens up.
This is exactly where deep tissue massages can come in handy, to release the fascia and rejuvenate the working tissues & their nerves.
Besides releasing the tension from the tissues, deep massages will also improve blood flow to the area.
This in turn will allow the blood to deliver more oxygen & nutrients to the area, thus improving recovery and lowering the chance of injury.
If you do training activity regularly, it is recommended that you get a massage at least twice a month.
If you don’t like the idea of getting frequent massages, there are alternative ways to release the tension in the muscles & fascia on your own.
Stretching is in fact the best way to do so and it can further be combined with foam-roller exercises that will allow you to release the tension in-depth.
It is recommended that you do your stretching exercises AFTER the training bout rather than at the start, where the goal would be to activate your muscle.
Think of it this way - As you go into the workout, your goal is to recruit and activate more and more muscle fibers, by contracting the muscles (opposite of stretching).
Throughout the workout the muscles get fatigued and at the end of the training bout it is time to relax that tension, by implementing stretching exercises
#6 Use Joint Recovery Supplements
Besides managing training intensity, exercise form, and taking care of muscle maintenance, joint recovery supplements are also a viable injury-prevention option.
Here are our best picks for such supplements:
Ultimately, these supplements won’t compensate for the lack of proper exercise form, nutrition & a methodical approach to training, so consider them a bonus!
Click herWe all know for a fact that doing regular training has numerous health benefits.
However, most personal trainers that try to get you motivated to start working out, never really tell you about the possible downsides of training.
Those are namely the injuries one may experience throughout their training process.
Now, if you have been an active trainee for a while, you know the impact that even a small injury can have.
Usually, once a small injury is present, we tend to completely cut off training and sooner or later, nutrition gets ditched too.
But the best part is that injuries can be managed and prevented, in a way that will not cease the momentum you’ve gathered up until the point of injury.
In this article, we’ll go over common sports-related injuries, to discuss types of injuries, how to handle them & how to prevent them in the future.
Types Of Injuries
It is important to understand that there are different types of injuries, which in turn will be treated in different ways.
However, when it comes to sports injuries, there are two main types defined by physical therapists - Acute injuries & Chronic injuries.
Acute injuries happen right away when the active components of your musculature and skeleton, are exposed to an amount of stress, greater than what they can handle.
This type of injury is mostly to blame on falls, poor warm-up, bad exercise form, and often times, using excessively heavy training loads.
The most common acute injuries are the following:
On the other hand, chronic injuries develop gradually in time as a result of consistent overexertion, poor recovery, wrong movement patterns, and often times, poor treatment of acute injuries.
As you may or may not know, when you take your muscles through a more intense workout, you technically create micro-trauma in the working tissues.
In the period after the workout, the body aims to recover that micro-trauma to ultimately make all those tissues stronger and ready for bigger loads.
However, there is a certain recovery threshold, due to the fact that intensity by nature is strenuous and requires time to recover from.
If you consistently go beyond that threshold, sooner or later the degenerative processes in those tissues will be greater than the regenerative processes, thus creating chronic injuries.
Chronic injuries are generally harder to recover from and can in fact return in time, even after you have treated them.
Here are the most common chronic injuries:
Acute Injury Treatment - Do’s and Don’ts
Acute injuries may happen to anyone and if not taken care of, they can grow into chronic injuries.
This is precisely why you should know how to manage acute injuries in a timely manner.
The quicker you do so, the fewer complications will follow afterward, and the quicker you will recover.
Generally, at a sudden onset of an injury, there are two primary things that will help you - Resting & Icing the area.
At the moment of acute injury, you have already surpassed the tissues’ limit and there is no more room to engage them in any activity.
Putting the injured area to rest will allow all recovery processes to happen as quickly as possible, thus leading to quicker healing.
If on the other hand, you decide to continue the physical activity that led to this, you are setting yourself up for a serious chronic injury.
With most acute injuries, there is an immediate onset swelling around the injured area.
Applying an ice pack may help reduce pain and swelling, during the first days of the injury.
It is recommended that you put an ice pack on the injured area for 10-20 minutes, 2-3 times a day during the first 48-72 hours after the injury has occurred.
Contrary to popular belief, compression on the injured area will not actually help with the initial swelling.
Even more so, a tight compression may even make things worse.
By using an elastic band and compressing the area, you limit the blood flow to the spot, thus slowing down the recovery processes.
As we mentioned, it is often that an injured individual will completely cease all training activity until the injury recovers completely.
However, in most cases, this is in fact the worst thing you can do.
The benefits of physical activity still remain, even if a certain body part is injured.
For example, if your knee is injured, nothing is stopping you from training your upper body.
In doing so, you will promote blood circulation and thus favor hundreds of recovery processes in the body, allowing the injury to heal faster.
In short - Rest the injured area and continue doing exercises that don’t aggravate it. Your body will take care of the rest.
To Wrap This UpThough training offers a variety of benefits, there are also certain risks involved, which should be considered.
Injuries are something that can bring your gathered momentum to a stop.
This is the reason why you should definitely keep an eye on even the smallest pain and take care of them in time.
In the second part of this article series, we are going to give you actionable tips you can use to manage & prevent chronic injuries, to ultimately bring a healthy body in your older years.
See you there!
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Having a fit body is very crucial to your health. It gives you the energy and nice shape to keep on doing your daily activities without failing. Despite the benefits accrued from working out, some people have neglected their body fitness. This has resulted in lifestyle diseases, laziness, and lack of motivation to get things done. However, this is a challenge that can be dealt with by relying on the following tips to ensure you are not only healthy but also fit in 2021.
Switch To Outdoor Activities
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic saw many gyms go out of business since they could not achieve social distancing -one of the guidelines put in place to help fight the deadly coronavirus. With the closure of training facilities, some of the fitness enthusiasts fall out of touch with working out but others resolved to turn to other options to ensure they keep working out. And this is where outdoor training facilities come in. Now that most people are still not in a hurry to return to the gyms, finding an outdoor activity will help in terms of enhancing your body fitness. You can engage in outdoor games such as golf, tennis, swimming, or soccer to keep your body active and fit.
Put Your Phone Aside While Working Out
In your quest to achieving your intended body fitness, you will face various challenges. Some of the obstacles come in form of distractions, such as having to respond to a phone call or reply to a message. This can be avoided if you choose to put aside your phone every time you start working out. Switching your cellphone off will allow you to focus 100% on your body fitness. No longer do you have to keep glancing at your phone to see who is calling or texting you.
Write Down Your Fitness Goals
Your brain cannot memorize everything you want to achieve this year in regards to your personal life, body fitness, and career. This is why you must note down your fitness goals. Once you have written them down, they will act as reminders of what you need to achieve this year in keeping your body fit and healthy. Every time you feel demotivated to keep working out, go back to your written goals and find motivation. If your goal is to gain more lean muscles, note it down in your notebook. Keep reminding yourself about that target as you continue working hard to achieve it.
When it comes to body fitness, you must be decisive. You need a plan to see you through in your journey towards maintaining the right body mass, eating healthy, and keeping fit. Doing all that will not be a walk in the park. Sacrifices such as staying away from your phone while working out or finding a new outdoor sport will all come in handy. You must remain dedicated and focused by writing down your targets to keep reminding yourself of what you ought to do. In that connection, you get the courage and urge to keep pursuing your fitness goals religiously.
2020 has taught us how life can be unpredictable. It has enlightened us about the need to be flexible and keep up with ever-changing times. One of the main highlights of 2020 was the effects caused globally by the Covid-19 pandemic. But as 2021 sets in, there is a need to start fresh and stay motivated. Below are some of the different ways you can remain focused and motivated this new year.
Write Down Your Goals
Writing down your goals gives you the hype to work hard towards achieving those goals. For instance, if in 2021 you intend to pursue your body fitness goals, then it is very important you note those targets down. Once you have done so, ensure you keep reminding yourself about those fitness goals. This will give you the motivation to get to the gym or subscribe to a workout program that suits you well and guarantee you the desired results.
Capitalize On External Accountability
Having someone keep you in check, will ensure you stay motivated towards achieving your goals in 2021. If working out is your new year’s resolution then opt to have a reliable workout partner. This partner should be ready and willing to walk with you throughout your fitness journey. In doing so, you will find joy in turning up for your workout sessions alongside your friend whose responsibility is to ensure you remain focused on achieving your intended body fitness goals.
Create A To-Do List
Having a to-do list gives you a comprehensive list of the things you intend to do. If it is visiting the gym, or participating in an online workout session ensure you have it on your to-do list. Whenever you feel like losing your motivation, you just have to peep at your list, and you will get the drive to do the task at hand. Ensure you focus on achieving all that is on your to-do list before moving to the next project unless you have to attend to a reasonable emergency.
Set Considerable Timeliness
You must have a due time for achieving your goals if you want to stay motivated in 2021. By having due dates and deadlines, you get the urgency and need to do a particular task. If your goal is to shed a certain amount of weight for the purposes of body fitness, have a set date when you expect to achieve that target. You will get the motivation to keep working out and putting in place other efficient weight loss management procedures to propel you towards your intended success.
Human beings tend to have a short concentration lifespan. It is very easy to lose focus of your goals. However, regardless of that possibility, you can still motivate yourself to keep on working towards achieving your goals. Some of the interventions you can use include having a plan, setting goals, creating a to-do list, setting due dates among other more guidelines. That will keep you focused and remind you of the magnitude of what you intend to achieve, thus keep you motivated.
25/1/2021 0 Comments
In the blog text Metabolic adaptation part 1, I discussed what metabolic adaptation is as a phenomenon and how to recognize it. Read Metabolic adaptation part 1 here
In the blog text Metabolic adaptation part 2, I discussed what kind of physiological processes are behind metabolic adaptation.
In the third and last text, we delve into the most interesting section - what we can do to undo metabolic adaptation.
Metabolic adaptation causes in over an extended timeframe (months to years) long-term changes in hormones, the nervous system, and habits, where the most important is the significant slowing down of metabolism. This very easily causes an increase in weight after diets and other “regimes”. The body protects itself from dying by conserving energy. In practice, we must tell the body to stop conserving to undo these processes. Next, you will find a step-by-step program on how to undo metabolic adaptation. The program requires an appropriate diagnosis of metabolic adaptation and that other reasons have been excluded (food diary, blood tests and other requirements).
1. Start eating!
Start with protein. Most dieters do not eat enough protein, which should be 1.5-2 g/per kg/day. It causes a decrease of fat-free weight, muscle atrophy and slowing down the metabolism of muscle cells. In one research, where protein intake was increased to 48g/day on average, it was found that the people researched increased weight only half of the amount compared to a control group, and most of this was fat-free mass. (1)
2. Start strength training
Increasing and/or intensifying strength training is the second most important step after increasing protein intake. Musculature and metabolism get the best kick out of intensive musculature strain. If you have not done any strength training before, start slowly and less often, for example with a two-split program (upper and lower body) 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time. If you have done strength training before, increase the intensity, decrease repetitions, add multi-joint movements, shorten breaks, increase loads. With this you, above all, will ensure that all weight that “comes back” is metabolically active muscle tissue.
3. Increase the amount of energy eaten.
When you have increased your amount of protein to 1.5-2g/kg/day, start increasing other macronutrients. If you have been on a low-carbohydrate diet, start adding slow carbohydrates periodically, for example, +20g/day for every week. There are many misconceptions and phobias about carbohydrates but one thing is clear: they work just like gas to a flame for your metabolism. If you have been on a balanced diet, start increasing good fats and carbohydrates proportionally (depending on the final goal). The amount of energy eaten should be increased incrementally. How fast depends on how long the low-energy period, weight loss and metabolic have been, how much the metabolism has slowed down and how intense your strength training has been.
Example: Mary has been doing a “3-month low-carbohydrate “Super Diet” from Weight-Loss-Guru XXX” and during the regime has lost weight from 100kg/220lbs to 85kg/176lbs, but the weight has increased back to 95kg/209lbs in the next 6 months. The slowing down of the metabolism has lasted for 9 months in total. Before she started the ‘Super Diet”, she ate 2500 kcal/day which is approximately the amount of energy needed to maintain her weight. During the regime, her calories decreased to 1300 kcal/day when the diet ended. Today her daily caloric intake is 1800 kcal/day and her weight is slowly increasing.
1. week - 1900 kcal (+ 25 g of protein)
2. week - 2000 kcal (+ 50 g of protein)
3. week - 2100 kcal (+ 50 g of protein, + 15 g of slow carbohydrates, + 5 g of fat)
4. week - 2200 kcal (+ 50 g of protein, + 30 g of slow carbohydrates, + 10 g of fat)
5. week - 2300 kcal (+ 50 g of protein, + 45 g of slow carbohydrates, + 15 g of fat)
10. week - 2800 kcal, 180 g of protein, 200 g of carbohydrates and 142 g of fat in total
You probably noticed that the final amount of energy eaten is higher than it was before “Super Diet” that maintained the weight with 2500 kcal. This is on purpose - Mary’s muscle mass and metabolic rate increased that much, so she can eat more.
4. Increase the intensity of strength training
If we want to get rid of metabolic adaptation it is essential that we will not rely only on old methods (nutrition) but add muscle training and increase its intensity constantly. This doesn’t mean increasing the lifting weights, but only the intensity.
Let’s use Mary as an example. Mary has never done any strength training before.
1. week - 2 x 20 min
2. week - 2 x 30 min
3. week 3 x 30 min
4. week 4 x 25 min
5. week 4 x 30 min
6. week 4 x 40 min etc.
Note! Most dieters and people with metabolic adaptation have been doing a lot of low heart rate endurance training. This slows down metabolism because the body thinks it is important to conserve energy so it functions better over long distances. Have you ever seen a muscular long-distance runner? Instead of long and low-intensity endurance training, you should start an intensive HIIT -program which accelerates metabolism better than anything else without giving the body a message to lose muscle mass.
5. Get sleeping in order
Proper hydration; lots of fibres; increase activity; control your stress, dietary supplements, and others.
In addition to the 2 most important concepts, there are also many things that we can do to fix our metabolism and it depends a lot on the person.
6. Monitor different variables.
Without a quick feedback system from our body, we do not learn as efficiently, and we can even do something harmful. No one’s body works in the same way as another. Especially at the beginning of the process, we must monitor variables that we can use to make necessary changes quickly. For example, a food diary, exercise log, weight, body measurements, blood tests etc.
7. Be patient and persistent, enjoy the change.
Fixing metabolism is a similar process to the reversal of any other lifestyle disease. It requires time and energy. You will not get results during the first weeks. Quite the contrary - your weight will likely increase a bit when the body wants to conserve all the fluids and the contents of the bowels increase. Do not give up! Make a 3-6-month plan and stick to it. Remind yourself daily about why you started the program and what’s the goal. Imagine a newer and happier you in your mind that you will be after a while.
High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss in humans.
Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Nijs I, van Ooijen M, Kovacs EM. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan; 28(1):57-64.
22/1/2021 0 Comments
After weight loss, energy consumption can decrease by up to 50%!
In my first blog article, I mentioned what kind of a phenomenon metabolic adaptation is and how to recognize it. Now I will tell you a bit more about what kind of processes are behind the physiological background of the phenomenon.
To understand how metabolic adaptation starts, we need to understand what is included in total energy consumption.
Resting metabolic rate
Resting metabolic rate is the energy consumption that the body requires for maintaining physiological processes - blood circulation, breathing, metabolism in the cell-level, brain activity. It is the amount of energy consumed daily if one lies still in the bed, not eating in a neutral state of mind. Depending on one’s activity level resting metabolism rate is up to 75% of daily energy consumption, which is the most important process that burns calories for a regular person (~1500 kcal/day). The more the person eats and exercises a day, the higher the resting metabolic rate is. In the same way when losing weight, the resting metabolic rate decreases, especially if exercise doesn’t include strength training. This is due to the decrease of muscle mass and that strength training has an increasing effect on resting metabolic rate. Good muscle training increases the resting metabolic rate by 4-10% for a day, which is 60-150 kcal/day (1, 2)
The mere loss of muscle mass doesn’t explain the significant decrease of total energy consumption (8 kcal/kg/day for each fat-free kilograms of body weight, so a 100 kg person who has 30 kg fat in their body = 70 x 8 = 560 kcal/day (3)) which means that the energy consumption of the cell-level decreases.
It happens through:
- slowing down of the activating (sympathetic) autonomic nervous system
- decrease in thyroid hormones
- decrease of leptin
- or decrease in insulin
The biggest problem is that even if the weight rises back after a weight loss, the resting metabolic rate can stay low even for years.
Most traditional weight loss programs do not prevent these changes even if it would be a lot easier than fixing them later on. The biggest mistake dieters make that is that weight loss is mainly caused by a significant decrease in caloric intake. The less one eventually eats, the less they lose weight.
Heating effect of food
The human body can’t use all of the energy it gets from “burning” food. 3% energy from fat, 5-10% energy from carbohydrates and 20-30% energy from protein is transformed into heat. However, the macronutrient composition of a diet does not have a significant effect on total energy consumption, although foods high in protein increase energy consumption slightly.
Home chores are important activities that burn calories
Daily activities are the second biggest source of energy consumption for most of us. This includes all activities that we do daily - job, hobbies, chores, sex, everything but exercise. During weight loss, the body starts to utilize energy more efficiently, so the same amount of activity consumes fewer calories. Another thing is a change in subconscious behaviour - subconsciously we are more passive after a weight loss to conserve energy.
Dieter, take care of your muscle mass!
Since most of us exercise rather moderately, the amount of energy consumption from exercise from total energy consumption is rather small. Physically active people consume relatively small amounts of energy from exercise compared to their daily activities and resting metabolic rate. However, exercise has two important roles in total energy consumption - maintaining muscle mass and increasing the resting metabolic rate. Both will be elaborated more in the next section.
Hence, during metabolic adaptation in our body:
The biggest decrease in total energy consumption comes from the decrease in the resting metabolic rate. It is mostly caused by changes in hormones and the nervous system, but also from the significant decrease in muscle mass.
During metabolic adaptation, the body conserves energy, which means that we consume less energy during daily activities than before losing weight, where the amount and level of activities decrease subconsciously.
The less we eat, the less our body works to digest food.
In the next section, I will tell you what to do to prevent and treat metabolic adaptation.
1. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1993 Oct;75(4):1847-53. Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate. Melby C1, Scholl C, Edwards G,
2. Bullough R. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):71-81. Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women. Osterberg KL1, Melby CL.
3. Long-term persistence of adaptive thermogenesis in subjects who have maintained reduced body weight. Rosenbaum M, Hirsch J, Gallagher DA, Leibel RL Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct; 88(4):906-12.
18/1/2021 0 Comments
Metabolic adaptation is a state where the body's metabolism slows down to a level where losing weight based on caloric intake is constantly becoming more and more difficult, eventually becoming impossible.
“I’ve tried to lose weight but I’m not succeeding. My body must be adapting metabolically.”
If you are one of the many who has been thinking that this is happening to you, this article for you. Everyone who is starting their “weight loss project” needs advice on how to avoid damaging metabolism.
Metabolic adaptation is a fact but also one of the terms that are used way too freely. It is a rare and complex concept.
Metabolic adaptation is a state where the body's metabolism slows down to a level where losing weight based on caloric intake is constantly turning more and more difficult, eventually becoming impossible.
Metabolic disorder also distorts appetite.
Theoretically: if the difference between caloric intake and consumption is - 9000 kcal a week, a person should lose 1kg/2.2lb of weight a week (1 g of fat = 9 kcal). If a 100kg/220lb person reduces caloric intake to 9000 kcal for a week, does it mean that after 100 weeks there is nothing left anymore?
Your body’s main task is to ensure staying alive for as long as possible. It stores energy when it is available and conserves it when it is unavailable. As soon as we eat less than we consume, it sends a message to the body that “energy is scarcely available, so you should conserve it - because we don’t know who long this will last.”. Due to this weight loss is never a linear process. Typically, weight loss looks like this:
As you can see, the longer the energy deficiency lasts the slower the weight decreases. But what does this have to do with metabolic adaptation?
In metabolic adaptation, the metabolism of the body has taken use of long-lasting mechanisms to stay alive with a minimum amount of energy. Our bodies are super smart. They have been created to stay alive as long as possible, not to achieve the body of a fitness model.
Metabolic adaptation is often “diagnosed” very often and easily in situations where weight loss is not achieved. However, 4 out of 5 times it is something completely different.
Metabolic adaptation is common for:
● Yo-yo dieters
● People who have lost weight by eating less without adding exercise
● Women - Women usually avoid muscle mass - apparently for cultural reasons. We will get back to this later.
● People who have lost weight the wrong way - by eating fewer carbohydrates and protein, where the one accelerates metabolism and the other retains muscle mass
● People who have lost weight very quickly
● Some illnesses (hypothyroidism in bad condition, eating disorders, medication that slows metabolism - beta-blockers)
* in the research it was noted that weight loss decreases the energy consumption of the body to 3-4 kcal/kg of fat-free body weight and even if the weight would increase to the same level as before the level of metabolism stays low. For example, after the Biggest Loser Television Series, the weight of the contestants increased by about 41kg/90lbs and the metabolism rate stayed 700 kcal lower than in the beginning! (1, 2)
“But how do I know that I am experiencing metabolic adaptation or something else?”
There is no easy answer to this. Surely the state of metabolism could be accurately assessed using expensive medical research and methods, but if you are not a competitive athlete, these methods are quite unnecessary.
The easiest way to find out how the body consumes energy is to take a 2-week nutrition test.
1. Count every gram of food and drink you have every day. Follow a similar formula for 2 weeks. Exercise just like before - if you did not exercise at all do not add anything, and if you exercised three times a week keep on going the same way.
2. Weigh yourself daily. After 2 weeks you will see a trend - if your weight has stayed the same or decreased. If your weight is the same (not including small normal physiological changes) the situation is clear: consumption = caloric intake. If you have lost weight, do the following calculation:
Lost weight in kg x 7000 kcal (7000 kcal because the body rarely loses weight only from body fat, some of it is also muscle) / 14 + caloric intake.
As a result, you will get an approximate daily energy consumption
For example: you ate 1200 kcal every day for 2 weeks. Eventually, you lost 1.5 kg.
1.5 x 7000 / 14 + 1200 = 1275 kcal
There are also other important factors - such as hormonal balance - but to interpret these factors one must be very skillful and to know the person’s whole history. Rarely a doctor who is unfamiliar with this subject has sufficient know-how in this.
The level of metabolism is individual - metabolic adaptation is an extreme phenomenon of it.
From below what amount of energy does the metabolic adaptation start?
Again, there is no simple answer. This is muchly dependent on the person and the length of energy deficiency (as can be seen from the formula above, the stabilization of energy consumption is not a linear process). The body starts the process of metabolic adaptation already in the first days when the energy balance changes to negative. Roughly it can be said that if you eat 25% less than your daily energy consumption, a significant slowing down of the metabolic rate is in effect (typical to a person who has lost a significant amount of weight. The need for energy that has decreased over 25% is a sign of metabolic adaptation that has progressed quite far, and I have seen quite a few of these kinds of situations also.
Calculate your daily energy consumption: Calorie Counter - Bodyfirst Personal Training (bodyfirstpt.co.uk) NOTE! The calculator is only approximate and easily overestimates consumption!
Other possible symptoms of metabolic adaptation:
● decreased or increased appetite, varying appetite (overeating varies with loss of appetite)
● decreased mood and interest in things
● decreased libido
● tiredness, sleepiness, decreased physical and mental performance
● decreased muscle strength
● slowed down bowel movement
● a decrease in sleep time
● changes or halt in menstrual cycle for women
● slowed down healing of wounds and longer / more frequent infections
● a shift of body fat to the belly/torso
In part 2 I will discuss what is behind metabolic adaptation at a physiological level, and in part 3 I will tell how to avoid and reverse metabolic adaptation. Stay tuned!
Resting metabolic rate: the energy consumption of the body in a totally passive state - if were to lay in bed for the whole day without eating or drinking, in a neutral state of mind
Total energy consumption - all the energy consumed daily - consists of resting metabolic rate, all physical activity, and all elsewhere the body consumes energy
Metabolic adaptation - a term that refers to lowered resting metabolic rate as well as total energy consumption
Kcal - kilocalorie - unit of energy (to warm 1 g of water for 1 °C, 1 kcal of energy is needed). For example, by “burning” 1 g of fat we get 9 kcal of total energy - note: the body can only use a part of it. Some of it is transformed to heat.
1. Leibel R.L., Rosenbaum M., Hirsch J. Changes in energy expenditure resulting from altered body weight. N. Engl. J. Med. 1995;332:621–628.
2. Fothergill E., Guo J., Howard L., Kerns J.C., Knuth N.D., Brychta R., Chen K.Y., Skarulis M.C., Walter M., Walter P.J., et al. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. 2016;24:1612–1619
The covid-19 pandemic has revolutionized how people live and interact with each other. With social distancing being one of the primary guidelines for combating the coronavirus, the year2020 has proved to be isolating. Many companies have embraced working from home and on line to minimize the chances of the virus spreading from one person to another. As a result of the pandemic, social places such as the gym have had to shut down or put in place stringent measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among fitness enthusiasts. In a bid to get used to the new normal, new fitness trends have emerged that support digital fitness and home workouts. Below are some of the best fitness trends to be on the lookout for in 2021:
Open Air Fitness Facilities
Limited space has caused several gyms to go out of business since they are unable to achieve social distancing and still make a considerable amount of revenue forthwith. This predicament has since inspired the emergence of open-air fitness facilities. They are perfect for preventing large crowds and ensuring there is social distancing. The facilities are equipped with essential equipment such as air conditioners and heaters that ensure people still achieve body fitness working outdoor regardless of the weather conditions.
Mobile Training Services
In 2021, people are still not in a rush to return to gyms. Covid-19 is still a real threat, and therefore it would be very important for anyone to be even more extra careful as the fight against this pandemic continues. Mobile training services will help bring the gym to the home of any fitness enthusiast. This trend will also help save on purchasing fitness equipment which might be quite expensive considering that you already have a professional personal gym instructor.
Online Fitness Subscriptions
With working from home becoming the new normal, working out at home is increasingly growing popular among fitness devotees. These packages offer a wide variety of services such as dance, gymnastics, yoga, and strength training to keep you fit while at the comfort of your home. The good news is that you do not have to purchase any fitness equipment. All you need is reliable internet connectivity, a fitness subscription of your choice, and get ready to have amazing work out sessions from the comfort of your home.
Online Fitness Experts
Coming up with your workouts can help you keep your body fitness in check while at home. However, with time, your workout programs might become boring. This is why online fitness experts are considered the perfect remedy to provide professional advice, guidance, and
motivation in relation to keeping fit. The professionals will also provide efficient fitness programs so that you enjoy tremendous progress in your journey to keep fit.
Change is very inevitable. This is pretty much evident in the fitness industry putting into consideration the ever-emerging different fitness trends aimed at achieving maximum customer satisfaction. The digital space is proving the best bait in expanding the different ways through which people can be able to exercise. With the inception of online fitness experts, expansion of mobile training services, and the necessity of open-air fitness facilities, it is becoming pretty much easier for people to work out even from the comfort of their residential areas.
New years tend to give us a fresh start. It is at that moment that people come up with new resolutions to lead them for the next twelve months. An individual can decide to change their lifestyle, take up new habits, or choose to pursue a new career at the onset of the year. When it comes to habits, you have to be very careful. If you have laid down some fitness goals you intend to pursue then there are habits that must define you. They include:
I have been weight training, running and cycling for 37 years and I have gained a vast amount of experience in fitness both as a Soldier in The British Army and in the past 21 years having been involved in the fitness industry.