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Another Look at Metabolic Damage

Originally I was going to do a full writeup of the recent study making the rounds suggesting that both low- and high-repetition training generate the same muscle growth but I’m going to save that until next week; this topic makes more logical sense given last week’s video on BMI and weighing frequency.  It was also stimulated by a private message I got on FB regarding the topic.

That topic, of course is the idea of metabolic damage, something I have written about on the site previously.  But rather than write something new, I just got permission from Alan Aragon to reproduce an interview I originally did for his (highly recommended) research review.  It’s only $10 a month and chock full (that’s right, CHOCK!) of the most current research on diet and training along with interviews with top current coaches and feature articles on all topics big and small.  Go subscribe, subscribe now.

Ok, so what exactly are we talking about here?  As originally claimed, metabolic damage referred to a phenomenon wherby dieters (typically females) who had been on low calories and performing a large amount of cardio (i.e. typical physique sport contest prep)

  1. Stopped losing fat despite
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A time-efficient reduction of fat mass in 4 days with exercise and caloric restriction – Research Review

Calbet, JA et. al.  A time-efficient reduction of fat mass in 4 days with exercise and caloric restriction. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Mar 6. doi: 10.1111/sms.12194. [Epub ahead of print]

To determine whether a fast reduction in fat mass can be achieved in 4 days by combining caloric restriction (CR: 3.2 kcal/kg body weight per day) with exercise (8-h walking + 45-min arm cranking per day) to induce an energy deficit of ∼5000 kcal/day, 15 overweight men underwent five experimental phases: pretest, exercise + CR for 4 days (WCR), control diet + reduced exercise for 3 days (DIET), and follow-up 4 weeks (POST1) and 1 year later (POST2). During WCR, the diet consisted solely of whey protein (n = 8) or sucrose (n = 7) (0.8 g/kg body weight per day). After WCR, DIET, POST1, and POST2, fat mass was reduced by a mean of 2.1, 2.8, 3.8, and 1.9 kg (P < 0.05), with two thirds of this loss from the trunk; and lean mass by 2.8, 1.0, 0.5, and 0.4 kg, respectively. After WCR, serum glucose, insulin, homeostatic model assessment, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced, and free fatty acid and cortisol increased. … Read More

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Training the Obese Beginner: Part 6

So my meticulously planned schedule managed to get messed up which is why this is a day late and you’ll have to wait for my next video until next week.  So it goes.  In any case, today I’m going to finish up the republication of this series (with a couple of added sections).  And this piece if very long for which I apologize, when I originally wrote this I was forced into 6 parts for some reason.

In Training the Obese Beginner: Part 5, I made a case for the inclusion of both weight training and cardiovascular training for the obese beginner, despite having listed some initial limitations to both in earlier parts of the series.  I also gave a general overview of what I did in the first session with those clients.

Today I want to look specifically at how I approached that first day/weeks of training (again noting that there are obviously more ways to approach the situation than just this one).  I’ll also look a bit at some things I might do differently now as well as talking about progressions, variation, etc. to keep the obese beginner moving towards their goals in the longer term.

So … Read More

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Training the Obese Beginner: Part 5

Ok, almost to the end.  Continuing from Training the Obese Beginner: Part 4 today I want to start start to bring together everything I’ve talked about in this series.  First I want to address why I think the inclusion of both weight training and cardiovascular/aerobic training of some sort is important for the obese beginner along with why I think both should be done from Day 1 of the training program.

Then, I’m going to describe how I personally approached the first workout with the obese (and usually the non-obese) beginner in terms of structure along with talking about some generalities of training.  I’ll finish up in Part 6 (next week) and talk about progressions in the weight room, on the cardio deck, etc.

Let me note up front that some of what I’m going to write simply represents what I did/found to work in this population when I was working as a personal trainer all those years ago; some of it will be more what I would do now were I still working with that population.  You’ll note that nothing really would change now except in degree (e.g. I might do things a touch differently in the weight room … Read More

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Training the Obese Beginner: Part 4

In Training the Obese Beginner: Part 3 I basically summarized everything to date to conclude that the best approach to target all of the various issues going in this population on was a combination of progressive volume higher rep weight training (to deplete muscle glycogen) along with dietary modifications (both carbohydrate and/or calorie reductions).

This would ideally be combined with progressive amounts of cardio as fitness improves to both burn of fatty acids directly and start to retool mitochondria to overcome that defect.   Which is all well and good but doesn’t provide much in the way of practical guidance.

And, make no mistake, I’m going to talk about those very things in the last two parts of the series (again, remember this is all leading into a brand spanking new video at the end of this mess).  Today, I want to take a slightly different approach to the topic by looking at of how not to go about training the obese beginner.


Breaking them In without Breaking Them: Part 1

As I noted in Training the Obese Beginner: Part 2 and talked about in the Beginning Weight Training series (in a different context), most beginning trainees have a low … Read More