Hi girls. I thought I'd send you a little article about calories in calories out which I guess is a common myth in the fitness industry and the most you've ever been working with, doesn't necessarily work the way people assume it does — because metabolism is actually really complicated.
It's like a thermostat that measures all the stress that we experience and it works out what's happening in the world.
Then at the sides, the messages it will send to yourselves via hormones and once you know those hormonal messages get yourselves a whole cascade of things happen like enzymes get released to make reactions happen or hormones promote certain actions in the cells.
That's metabolism. That's its job.
It reads what's happening and your metabolism's actual main priority is to maintain what we call homeostasis and wants your body to stay the same.
So it's trying to keep your blood sugar level. So if you eat sugar, you don't get heaps of sugar in your blood you get a heap of insulin because your body is trying to take the sugar and put it somewhere. It's keeping a lot of things stable like your blood sugar stable and tries to keep like how salty you are stable so you know it wants to keep you in electrolyte balance. It keeps your temperature dead stable. We know that if your temperature is changing, it's getting higher or lower, it's a bad sign.
So with temperatures getting higher, then you're really going to sleep or you're getting sick. So your body tries to regulate you and keep everything, keep homeostasis, keep everything nice and level and that includes the levels of your hormones.
So for example if people take certain steroids or certain drugs and they increase their hormone levels, your body will stop producing those hormones because it wants to keep it pretty level. If things go out of whack for a while, your body will often react the other way and try and maybe overreact or try and get them level as soon as possible. So it might not do it right now but it'll definitely try and do it later. One of the things that we've realised is homeostasis and keeping levels level or your levels the same applies also to your energy expenditure.
Let's consult the research...
So there's a really interesting piece of research done a few years ago with the Hadza. The Hadza are a hunter gatherer group who live in Africa, Southern Africa I believe and they live a traditional hunter gatherer lifestyle. So people are interested in them because they are living the way humans always lived in a revolution, not in a modern lifestyle.
So they're walking five, six hours a day. The men are hunting for protein in animals and the women are gathering all day. Now gathering is a really hard, actually maybe harder than hunting. You're all in the ground, they are picking things up carrying heavy bags and children and moving pretty big distances over the day.
So, difficult lifestyle exercising five hours a day and what they did was they tracked the total energy expenditure of the Hadza and they compared that to the energy expenditure of sedentary humans like us who are working in an office.
And obviously, as anyone would, they are expecting that the Hadza would have a huge energy expenditure.
Their metabolism would be ramped right up because they're doing all this activity. And what they found actually was that the metabolism of the Hadza and the metabolism of us sedentary people these days in a modern lifestyle were the same. They were burning roughly 2000 calories a day. It was slightly different depending the size and everything.
So that's pretty weird right?
Most people would expect that a more active lifestyle means you burn more calories.
... but they didn't.
How the hell are these people exercising five, six hours a day and ending up with the same energy expenditure as us in the modern world who are not exercising at all. And what it is, is your body just regulates the levels of energy expenditure that you want to take. So, we imagine if we go and do cardio and we burn five or 600 calories or 300 calories in that cardio session, that's 500 calories less of our total energy in energy out, we're going to lose body fat.
And then we don't, like what the fuck happened?
It's because your body regulates a whole heap of other processes.
So it might take energy out of your immune system. So your immune function decreases but you've got more total energy for the system or which is what happens for a lot of you girls, is that say let's take energy out of our reproductive system and you lose your period, or you affect your fertility in the long term, or you know you affect your health in the long term because these long term processes that are supposed to be happening in the background when your body heals itself stop happening, and you get injured six months later.
So you get injured, you get sick, you lose your period, you mess with your hormones — these are all things that can happen, or alternatively your body says:
Hey you can exercise all you like but when you're not exercising
- I'm going to kill you of energy.
- You're not going to talk.
- You won't move.
- You're really boring.
- You won't want to have sex.
All these things that happen, and so you don't expend energy in those places. We know when we look at energy expenditure, exercise, particularly intense exercises, is the smallest portion.
The biggest portions are incidental exercise, how much you move around outside of that "net" which is how much you like fidget and move around outside of your training, and then all the processes that we need your body to work. So, your metabolism which is a thermostat that measures stress works out what's the stress coming in or God we're doing all these exercises, let's just down regulate energy for everything else.
So what does that mean for us who want to get on stage to compete and all that kind of stuff?
It means a couple of things. It means that we need to actually get ourselves to the point where we use a lot of energy each day that will help. If we can increase the amount of energy that we use it seems like from the experience we have we've got more of a buffer to drop it and your body will lose body fat.
This is why a 1200 cal diet causes bad things to happen.
So what most people try to do is go, hey I'm going to eat 1200 calories for the next 12 weeks and then I'll get lean and you will. For a period of time it will work but your body's going to try and get you straight back to homeostasis and you put heaps of body fat and a lot of bad shit happens.
What we try to do with you is increase the amount of calories that your body will use and will work on and that's possible. We've seen over and over again. And then when we drop the calories, you will lose body fat because your body goes: that's cool, we're in a bit of an energy deficit but not so low that there's this huge swing back.
The other thing that just tells us is that huge calorie deficits don't work because your body is too smart that it outsmarts it. And what happens is people just keep ratcheting down their calories until they get to plummet and fuck themselves up.
The big take away is you can't out-exercise it.
You can't just keep exercising more to burn more calories. It doesn't work like that.
So what it's got to be is unfortunately for those of you who are looking for the stupid answer or the crazy answer which is what we've done most of our lives. Not you girls actually, people on the outside of what we're doing in here in the Sports Model Project.
The answer has to be, a reasonable calorie deficit that your metabolism recognises as being OK.
We're in a band of a deficit that's fine. We're just going to use some of the body fat that we've got and lose some of that body fat but we're not going to take energy out of all the other processes and the only way you know when that's happening is you do your training program, you track all the food you eat and we see what happens.
Did you lose the amount of fat we need to?
Are you feeling okay in all the other areas?
Did your metabolism get messed up or is it okay?
Cool. Let's stick with that and let's lose a certain amount of weight and that's why over a period of time there is a certain amount of weight loss that you can do that's maximal over a six or 12 month period.
So it's that time of year everyone is losing their mind and doing all these bootcamps, detoxes and you guys might even be selling them which is fine if you're in the fitness industry because I know look it's a way to get people to start exercising; bootcamps, six week challenge, seven day detox... etc. As long as you don't believe it.
Like it's not going to work for them for a long time.
It's just not going to work. The science is dead against it.
So if it's a lure that you're using to get people across the line because they're low commitment and you get them started and you give them a good experience, and they lose a kilo or two and they feel great, and they lose five kilos and they go, wow this is great! And that's what you use to get them exercising, I totally get it. But just know that you can't apply that to yourself here in the next level or next four levels above that; doesn't work anymore.
This is the truth. This is the science.
So just to go through those points and then I'll leave you.
Our body will always seek homeostasis.
It wants to stay level.
So no, you can't put yourself on a huge calorie deficit. It doesn't work. Your body will always just find a way to only expend around 2000 calories a day.
This is well studied; now it's proven.
It's changing all, all the people are really next level thinking about fitness are like, holy shit. What I was doing was right and all those other people in this huge calorie deficits were wrong this whole time.
Now we've got evidence for it.
So the only way we can do it then is to be in a relatively small calorie deficit. And we need to track what happens to our body and what happens to our hormones and how do we feel, so we know if we're in the right amount of calorie deficit. And then you've got to give yourself the time, it's in the "tag" to lose the body fat.
You can't really speed it up because your body is too smart for that.
It will just mean that you can't get a period. You don't want to have sex. You're no fun and then you may affect your health long term.
If you're not in the fitness industry you need to know this. If you are in the business industry, you definitely need to know this and you should be looking at this research if you get the chance.
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