Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This isn't a post to be taken lightly. Serious topic. I have too many good friends and I know friends of friends that unfortunately deal with this. I'm also aware that there are "coaches" and personal "trainers" that take shortcuts to get their clients to get lean as fast as possible while neglecting their health and aren't even aware of what Metabolic Damage is, just to make a quick buck off their clients. So let's move on..

What is it?
It's exactly what it sounds like. Your metabolism has been damaged.

How do I know whether I have it or not?
If you're at a caloric deficit(eating less than what your body needs to maintain weight in order to lose weight) for a long period of time and your fat/weight progress slows down or if you're no longer getting leaner while at a deficit, you may have it.

What causes metabolic damage?
Metabolic damage can be caused by being at a deficit for too long without re-feeding or by being at a deficit & doing a massive amount of cardio(1-2 hours/500-1000 calorie sessions) a day for a long period of time. *Some individuals may have even been at a blind deficit and not know it(hence the word blind).

Example of someone who has metabolic damage:
Let's say an individual(we'll call him Bob) has a maintenance caloric intake(the amount of calories needed to maintain a certain weight) of 1800 calories a day.

Now, Bob wants to lose weight desperately so he puts himself at 1200 calories which is a 600 calorie deficit. So now Bob is consuming 1200 calories a day. (THIS alone is ENOUGH to lose weight. In fact, he shouldn't even be going more than 150-200 calories of a deficit for health reasons.) Bob is consuming 1200 calories a day and burning 500 calories per cardio session). Now because Bob is burning 500 calories, his body thinks it's at 700 calories a day for this weight loss to work. This is a total caloric deficit of 1,100 from his MAINTENANCE. Overtime the 700 calories will no longer suffice and he would have to consume either less calories or do MORE cardio(which will take quite a toll on your joints. Too much of anything can be bad for you) to get even leaner. This is probably the most common thing to happen to an individual to cause metabolic damage.

Overtime something known as Metabolic Adaptation occurs. This basically means that your body has adapted to a certain calorie intake so that it can survive on simply just that. 

Why is metabolic damage so bad?
Eventually, Bob will hit a wall and he will no longer be able to get any leaner. Or maybe he gets where he wants but what happens the moment he binges? All that weight will come back INCREDIBLY fast. Because his body was so used to eating so little and burning so much, that a binge day would be an absolute caloric surplus for Bob.

How do I fix metabolic damage?
You can start by bumping up calories VERY slowly. Layne Norton, PhD in Nutritional science, suggests that you should experiment by starting with as little as 5g of carbs per week while backing off training. If that alone is causing you to get fat already, take it even slower like 1-3g of carbs a week. This will take TIME to recover from. And the amount of calories an individual can bring up varies from one person to another. Take this process as slow as possible. The longer an individual has been suffering from metabolic damage, the longer it'll take them to crawl out of it.  When backing off training, cut down your intensity and days of training to half the amount so that your body can make use of the nutrients towards an optimal recovery. Slowly start to up your water intake as well and take in at least 15-20g of fiber a day to help your body digest and better absorb nutrients.

FORGET cutting anymore calories or doing more cardio. Focus on repairing and fixing your health and metabolism. Think about the bigger picture. Your dream physique CAN wait. Fitness is a lifestyle so there is NO rush. No one is sticking a dynamite down your throat forcing you to look good for them. Prioritize and invest in your health/well-being.

How do I PREVENT metabolic damage?
When you're trying to get leaner or going on a cut, take it SLOWLY. A deficit of 75-150 calories from maintenance ALONE is enough to make you lose weight. In fact, a deficit in general is enough. You do NOT need to do endless bouts of cardio. And if you crave cardio, try going no further than 15-20 minutes of cardio. But if you're weight training I suggest sticking to HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) as your source of cardio but limit even that. Another thing to mention. When hitting your macros go no more than 5g above or below your macro needs as this will help to keep you towards your goals and prevent any massive unwanted changes in physique composition.

If you are being coached or trained by someone who is setting you at a blind caloric deficit for a long period of time and making you do a massive amount of cardio or work. Question them. Ask them if they are aware of what metabolic damage is. Try to track(refer to my "What is IIFYM" post) your calories and macronutrients for a week straight to figure out what you've been consuming. There are often too many times where a "coach" or a "trainer" will have you eating way too little and doing way too much because they don't care about your health. They just want you to get as lean as you can as fast as you can so they can get their money. This is almost a certain way to damage your metabolism.

If you guys need information on how to lose weight/fat, here's another post I made to help.

So that's pretty much it guys. Information provided is my own personal knowledge and understanding of it. You can go beyond and get different perspectives and approaches by simply researching.  Hope this helps. Thanks for reading. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle. Prioritize and invest in your health and well-being as well as you can.

-Neil Vegeta Dang

1 comment: