Tuesday 5/31

5 Rounds for time:
10 Deadlift @ 225/155
30 Lateral Hops

There are many a time I find myself thinking this when I read weight loss advice or see people participate in weight loss programs that promote low calorie, low fat diets paired with high intensity workouts, essentially what you would see on The Biggest Loser. Yes, you will experience weight loss by working out and starving yourself, but it’s short lived. Your body isn’t a closed system where you can simply keep depriving it of energy and not expect it to compensate. 

A few weeks ago we posted an article about a study conducted on contestants of the reality weight loss show The Biggest LoserMany former contestants, even former champions have experienced weight gain since ending their season on the show. Some are even heavier now than when they started the competition. While it’s easy to dismiss their weight regain as a lack of willpower (that’s how obesity is treated in general in this country) stemmed by a character or moral defect, the results of the study show there is more to the story. In fact, not only are many of these former contestants working just as hard as they did at “the Ranch” to keep the weight at bay, their metabolism is actually working against them. 

The former contestants of the show who participated in the study had lower resting metabolic rates as well as lower levels of hormones that signal being full and an increase in hormones that signal hunger. So what does this mean? The prolonged combination of severe dieting and excessive working out has triggered a survival mechanism within the body that keeps the amount of energy spent at rest (calories burned while not exercising) while making the person feel hungry more and take longer to feel full. If that’s not a recipe for weight gain, I don’t know what is. 

The best way to avoid ending up with this kind of metabolic derangement? Eat food. I know it sounds flippant, but when you workout, you get hungry, hence the saying “working up an appetite.” Working out and depriving yourself is only going to cause your metabolism to respond by slowing down to hold onto energy and store more of it as fat and to increase hormones that make you feel hungry. Your body doesn’t know you are trying to lose weight, it knows you’re moving around a lot and food is scarce, like maybe there’s a drought or famine. The more you underfeed yourself, the more your body will compensate in response. 

Instead of focusing on “burning” calories, focus on eating real food, and enough to keep you energized, you know:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.                                     Greg Glassman


Categories: WOD

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