Metabolic Adaption

  1. Metabolic Adaption


    If anyone can provide any textual, scientific, etc type support I could use it. Here's the jist;

    Girlfriend is 45yrs old, female.
    5'3", 135lbs ish.

    athletic history was most not required until about 8 years ago discovered crossfit and found it helped her resolve heal back issues she had for many years prior, most likely due to strength training for the first time in her life.

    In the last 2-3 years she has found her self gaining about 15lbs that she struggles to shed.
    She's currently lifting 3-5 times a week and trying to throw in occasional morning spin bike cardio for about 20-35 minutes although it's not a daily occurrence.

    She's now in a bootcamp type class. (we haven't been able to attend our old crossfit box for about a year and half due to schedule conflicts)

    Every caloric counter we find suggests she should eat around 1300 calories to find a slight deficit. Again, she's only 5'3" and 45yrs old. This number sounds a little low, but not really.

    Her boot camp class is telling her to eat 1700 calories. Saying that she needs to increase her calories to lose weight. They give this same nutritional plan to everyone in the class though, varying ages, heights, etc. so. that's flaw number one to me.

    I'm aware of the idea of metabolic adaption but I do not know the facts behind it other than the idea that your metabolism could slow down if you don't eat enough. at 1300 clean calories a day, she feels content with the amount of food she's eating.


    Does 1700 sound high for a woman her age?
    Does 1300 or less sound way too low?
    What are signs of a slowing metabolism due to lack of food intake?
    She hasn't had any issues with fatigue, injuries, etc so I don't really see the point in adding 400+ calories a day. Although she is struggling to drop those few lbs she wants to drop so I'm trying to get ideas for her. (and learn more myself)


  2. Cant comment on the evidence but as far as that class telling every person to follow the same diet shows how little they know about nutrition
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  3. Quote Originally Posted by Smont View Post
    Cant comment on the evidence but as far as that class telling every person to follow the same diet shows how little they know about nutrition
    well, yeah.I have lots of issues with the "programming", lol. But for the most part my biggest question I think is trying to gauge normal caloric intake for a person of her age and size. I'm ten years younger than her, 50lbs heavier, strength training, and male. So my caloric intake has about fifteen reasons to be higher, and this proves to be true when tested.

    But I'm looking to get a feel for how low she can safely drop calories, and how to know when they're too low.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Dustin07 View Post
    Her boot camp class is telling her to eat 1700 calories. Saying that she needs to increase her calories to lose weight. They give this same nutritional plan to everyone in the class though, varying ages, heights, etc. so. that's flaw number one to me.

    I'm aware of the idea of metabolic adaption but I do not know the facts behind it other than the idea that your metabolism could slow down if you don't eat enough. at 1300 clean calories a day, she feels content with the amount of food she's eating.
    1300 seems a bit low IMO, but if she is content with eating that and it's sustainable then I don't see a problem with it at all. @135lbs that's on the lower than average side, but nothing too extreme. I wouldn't listen to the "generic" cookie cutter recommendation - and jumping up 500 calories could have a significant impact on her weight and overall progress.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin07 View Post
    Does 1700 sound high for a woman her age?
    Does 1300 or less sound way too low?
    What are signs of a slowing metabolism due to lack of food intake?
    She hasn't had any issues with fatigue, injuries, etc so I don't really see the point in adding 400+ calories a day. Although she is struggling to drop those few lbs she wants to drop so I'm trying to get ideas for her. (and learn more myself)
    1700 seems high, very high for someone @135lbs. From what I've seen, signs of a slowing metabolism can vary, but tyipcally include tiredness/fatigue, uncontrollable hunger, reduced strength and endurance, etc. She would know if she was undereating, and she wouldn't be feeling well if she was under eating for a prolonged period of time and doing bootcamps and high intensity training.
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  5. In all reality you can only get a ballpark idea of how many calories you need because every day of your life is different. If you worked manual labor today and hit the gym for a hour then your maitnence calories will be much different then if you had the day off and hit the gym or completely took the day off from everything. Start her at a given number thats a little bit higher then you expect it should be, after a week if the scale dose not move then drop 200 calories. Its all trial and error
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  6. At the end of every week make adjustments.

  7. Agreed with all you guys said. The irony now is the trainer is putting her on IF and has her eating only from 11am to 8pm. Which is fine, in theory, if you subscribe to intermittent fasting. However its harder for her to get her calories in during that window because it's a lot of food for her to eat.

    The irony is, I told her that she's just going to make her trainer and I argue with each other over who was right in the end because he will have made her do intermittent fasting but in the end she may end up in a caloric deficit if she doesn't get her meals all in. lol

  8. This program shes following just sounds like 1 big gimmik or fad program. They give you a bunch of rules to follow to sound like they know what there doing. Usually its all bs. These programs are made for ppl who cant think for themselves. I dont know how well your lady and you get along when it comes to stuff like this but my x was one to constantly fall for stuff like this and even tho she would ask for my help she would get pissed if i dissagreed with anything in her program. So eventually i stopped trying to help. Mpnths went by and she got little to no results other then the first few weeks. When she asked me to help again i refused to because of how rediculous she acted in the past. So outside of telling you what you already know i cant offer much more lol

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Smont View Post
    This program shes following just sounds like 1 big gimmik or fad program. They give you a bunch of rules to follow to sound like they know what there doing. Usually its all bs. These programs are made for ppl who cant think for themselves. I dont know how well your lady and you get along when it comes to stuff like this but my x was one to constantly fall for stuff like this and even tho she would ask for my help she would get pissed if i dissagreed with anything in her program. So eventually i stopped trying to help. Mpnths went by and she got little to no results other then the first few weeks. When she asked me to help again i refused to because of how rediculous she acted in the past. So outside of telling you what you already know i cant offer much more lol
    Yikes, my past and future have been summarized in one paragraph. lol. #canrelate

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Smont View Post
    This program shes following just sounds like 1 big gimmik or fad program. They give you a bunch of rules to follow to sound like they know what there doing. Usually its all bs. These programs are made for ppl who cant think for themselves. I dont know how well your lady and you get along when it comes to stuff like this but my x was one to constantly fall for stuff like this and even tho she would ask for my help she would get pissed if i dissagreed with anything in her program. So eventually i stopped trying to help. Mpnths went by and she got little to no results other then the first few weeks. When she asked me to help again i refused to because of how rediculous she acted in the past. So outside of telling you what you already know i cant offer much more lol

    Its less fad/gimmick and more "one size fits all" lunacy, but you're essentially correct.

    I've watched these so called trainers. They harp on crossfit daily and for really really poor reasons. I'm not going to say that crossfit is the savior to fitness and it has it's problems, but they find really incredibly stupid reasons to bag on it.

    Then they told her she needs to start eating clean. She says we do eat clean. They go no, like you need to start cooking and using real foods "from the earth". she's like ok you're an idiot, that's how we eat.

    she and I have both been basically 80% paleo for 4-6 years. we cook breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day (every single day) except on date night once a week, and even then we typically share a salad. we eat zero fried foods, no junk foods, no ice cream. We live largely off chicken and egg whites but throw in full eggs for fat in the morning and we also mix in fish and red meats multiple times per week to gain balance. we eat fruit every day at snack time. Our fatal flaw is wine, we do drink a lot of wine. But we other wise eat unprocessed whole foods that we cook ourselves in a very healthy way 7 days a week.

    I believe her biggest challenges is that a few years back she went back to work. When she was a stay at home mom she did mid day crossfit every day, but then also ran around to do kid stuff all day so she never stopped moving. She got strength training, HIIT training, and ate very clean paleo. now she's a little older, on birth control, unable to lift as often and has a desk job. So it's time to really apply science to her nutrition and training to get the most bang for her buck. She's not fat. the weight she wants to lose is vanity pounds. Personally, I don't care I think she looks absolutely stunning. But if losing 10lbs of vanity weight makes her feel happier and sexier then I'm all for it. Plus anything that is good for your health, I'll endorse.

    I'm going to watch to see how her training plays out.


    One thing I didn't mention yet in this thread because I didn't want to throw her under the bus, is that the only time in the last 2 years I've seen her make strong gains was last december when she spent a month training with me and eating under a nutritional plan that I provided for her. It was more or less robbed from a bikini class competitor, and at around 1250 calories/day to 1350.

    The lifting program I had her on was a mix of strength training and crossfit style wods. I like to encourage heavy lifting with balance in these applications because I think heavy lifting drives a metabolic and hormonal response that drives everything we need as humans from aggression, to libido, to good moods and fat burning. I also would combine lower weight but high intensity style wods sprinkled in because I believe you get the value from the HIIT, but your CNS can recover quicker than if you were to pound heavy barbells day in and day out.


    anyways... I'll get off my soapbox. it seems like you guys all agree with me so I feel a little validated. My biggest concern was that i wanted a reality check on my own approach. her other trainer had made me question myself and whether or not she was shifting into a slower metabolism by accidentally starving herself and I just don't think that's the case. I'm not seeing any strong evidence for it.

  11. You definately can have calories too low and it be a problem. But if they have every women there eating the same amount of calories thats a bigger problem and if i were her it would be a instant red flag on nutrition

  12. So...if she is getting 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, the calories don't matter much at all. So, for her, I probably wouldn't drop below 500 calories a day.

    Metabolic "adaptation" is way way overblown and misunderstood. You are wise to ask for a scientific reference for it, because it is, I will wager, impossible to find, at least from a "caloric output" perspective. You CAN find references to metabolic slow down, but no studies showing it actually happens.

    In other words the idea that if you aren't losing weight at 1300 calories you will lose weight on 1700 calories is moronic. It just makes people feel better about over eating.

    Having said that, I am discussing in another thread a mechanism through which one might become good at burning fat for energy and thus hinder weight loss. Wrap your head around that, huh?

    Rather than up calories, if you want to try a crazy idea - keep the calories the same and if she has been eating higher fat and lower carbs - up the carbs with complex carbs and drop the fat pretty low.

  13. 500 cals a day? Thats insanely low

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Smont View Post
    500 cals a day? Thats insanely low
    So?

  15. Thats a starvation diet. I would increase my activity a ton before starving.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Smont View Post
    Thats a starvation diet. I would increase my activity a ton before starving.
    That would be even more counter productive than starvation though. Reduced recover, decreased leptin, etc. Would be much worse for you than eating the min. Calories needed.

    On 500 calories from at least 100 grams of protein a day, she would lose no muscle and drop weight fast.

    Just some things to consider that often get over looked.

  17. And also keep in mind I'm not recommending that she go on a 500 calorie diet. I'm just saying she could. It would be extreme and it sounds unnecessary. I'm just pointing out that she's nowhere near the point of what she should be worried about anyting.

  18. Just getting back to this after a weekend away, thanks for the comments guys. Sounds like we're 90% on the same page.
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