Reversing Metabolic Damage
By trevorkashey Athletic Xtreme
If you grew up a fat kid like myself then you know how grueling it can be to get down to an appreciable body fat and maintain those levels (yeah right!). Some people just think they were born fat and are going to stay that way forever. Some get a fire lit under their ass and spend 6 months to look awesome and shredded (only to ruin it after a few weekends of binging)! I’m sure you have heard of the concept of “metabolic damage” that has been coined by Dr. Layne Norton (unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year).
Essentially described as the body’s mechanism of adapting to calorie restriction and excess exercise by slowing the metabolic rate. In one respect, it is amazing and genius. The body can essentially make more food go farther. This may have been great during periods before we had access to supermarkets, but in modern times this really is a hindrance.
When you reach the point of damaging your metabolic rate, a calorie is no longer a calorie. The truth is a calorie really isn’t a calorie, but for the sake of an argument, when the body has reached this stage then a calorie REALLY isn’t a calorie. After months of caloric restriction, the metabolic rate decreases. This is unavoidable. However, if one continuously yo-yo diets, or stays in a calorie restricted state too long, this condition eventually becomes semi-permanent.
It is actually possible to take advantage of the lowered calories in order to stay in better shape year round. Easy in principle, the concept of “reverse dieting” has been around a while. If you have an iron will, it only takes ONE TIME of going through this process in order to optimize your metabolic rate while maintaining low body fat. That’s right, this means that it is possible to tune your metabolic rate in order to consume many more calories while maintaining similar body fat levels. Now, obviously people who get ready for shows SHOULD repeat this process, but for the typical gym goer who wants to stay beach lean, then this process really only needs to be repeated once unless they really go overboard.
The more conservative method
Most people who go to the gym may not be at the body fat they want, but it is typical that body fat levels are respectable. This being said, 12-16 weeks is a decent amount of time to go from a little chub to a decent set of abdominals. The concept is simple, if you are within 3-4 months of a decent set of abs, simply (mentally) plan to diet twice as long.
Refer to my previous article about measuring everything.
If you keep track of everything you do in order to get down to the body fat of your choice, then simply reverse the process exactly. Example: If you lower your carbs by 40 grams every 1-2 weeks, and increase your cardio 10 minutes every 2 weeks, then simply reverse that process exactly.
I can guarantee that by the time you work your way back up to the calories you started with, not only will you weigh less, but you will have more muscle mass and maintain a lower body fat with the same amount of calories.
The less conservative (but still effective) method
Repeat the process, just do it in half the time! Post reverse dieting into the lean mass gain. Let me explain.
This process on its own will add a decent amount of lean mass, especially if you reverse diet slowly. You can even reverse diet slower than when you originally dieted. The slower the you reverse diet the more dramatic of a difference there will be when you are back into your original calories.
Once you get back to the calories you were starting at, slow down your caloric increases. I am a fan of increasing calories (mostly carbs) by 30-100 weekly. Personally I do 50 calorie increases. 10 grams of carbs and then 10 calories which are “slop” or “discretionary”. This may sound painstakingly slow, but they WILL add up fast.
By consuming more calories while maintaining lower bodyfat, you’ll have a less traumatic experience during your next dieting phase (both psychologically and physiologically). This process is not for the faint of heart and one MUST have an iron will. It may seem painstakingly slow, but this process is by far worth it.
The following photo is when I went through the EXACT same process.
I started at 255 pounds (left pic). I could pick up a car but couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs. I spent 6 months of my life dieting down to a respectable body fat at 205 (middle pic). I then spent the next 6 months increasing my calories at a painstakingly slow rate (right pic).
Can you guess the weight difference between the second and third picture?
The weight difference is ZERO. I spent months at the same weight but my body changed every single week. Now… it’s your turn!