Metabolism is a constantly used word in the fitness universe. This biochemical process is well understood. It is widely agreed that bodybuilding increases the rate of metabolism. But there is such a time when it slows down regardless of how much weight is lifted. This often happens before contest when the cumulative efforts that a person puts themselves through overwhelm the body.
Demystifying Metabolic Damage
When you subdue your caloric intake and increase the amount of training you do, your metabolism goes into a crisis. The body is by design, conservative. When you set out to lose as much fat as possible in very little time, the body becomes upset. If the calorie intake is not sufficient to offset the demand, the metabolism slows down. This self-preservation is due to metabolic adaptation. While your brain understands what’s going on, it sticks to the perception that you are starving.
Many hours of cardio, coupled with less food intake leads to metabolic damage. Your body is unable to compensate for the output, and thus slows down your metabolism in a bid to mitigate the losses. This is why, despite doing 2-3 hours of cardio a day, you might not lose any weight.
Is It Permanent?
Metabolic damage is not permanent. Adaptation is the defining characteristic of biological beings. If your circumstances change, your body changes along with them. If you cease to be too drastic with your fat loss ambitions, your body will reactivate its metabolic processes, and set you back on the right path.
Time is the one thing the body needs in abundance. Fat loss, like muscle gain, is a process that should not be rushed. Muscle is expendable as far as the body is concerned. If you push yourself to the limit, your body will enter into a catabolic state. It will break down muscle tissue to compensate for the energy demands that are not being met by your diet.
Taking your carbohydrates is important, even when you are cutting. They provide fuel for your body for all processes, especially metabolism. If enough energy is provided to sustain your body, metabolism will not stall. Similarly, you should not cut fat completely from your diet. Essential fatty acids should be consumed, regardless of your end goals.
Avoid putting too much weight in the offseason. This will take the pressure off when it comes to cutting, and prevent metabolic damage. Clean bulking is the way to go.
For your cardio needs, adopt HIIT instead. It is not as metabolically demanding as low intensity cardio, despite yielding the same results.
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