I get a lot of emails that go like this: “I did cardio and starvation diets for years and now my metabolism sucks, what do I do?!?”
What do you do with a wonky metabolism? Can you ever fix it?
Heck yes! I’m handing this post off to my buddy Tom so he can answer this question.
Oh, and if you’re curious about Tom’s credentials, here’s his picture:
How To Repair A Damaged Metabolism
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Burn The Fat
If you’ve caused metabolic damage as a result of following starvation diets or losing weight too rapidly in the past, it can be extremely difficult to achieve any further fat loss at all. The good news is, metabolic damage can be repaired. All it takes is the right combination of metabolism stimulating exercise and metabolism stimulating nutrition (NOT just a diet), all done consistently over time.
The big irony is that most of the diet programs that claim to help you get rid of excess weight, only end up making it harder for you in the long run because they use harsh metabolism-decreasing diets and not enough exercise (almost never any weight training).
It may take a little longer if you have really messed things up with severe starvation dieting in the past, especially if you’ve lost a lot of lean body mass, but it is never hopeless. Anyone can increase their metabolism.
Most people get an almost immediate boost in metabolic rate when they start the Burn The Fat program. However, the results are not going to be “overnight.” Give it a little time…
Within 3 weeks your metabolism will already be more efficient. Within 6-8 weeks, it’s burning hot. Give me 12 weeks of consistent diligent effort, sticking with all the metabolism boosting strategies I teach, and your metabolism really will become like a turbo charged engine, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that.
What’s most important for upping your metabolism is CONSISTENCY in applying the Burn The Fat nutrition and training principles every single day.
* Meal frequency: eat 5-6 small meals per day
* Meal timing: eat approximately every 3 hours, with a substantial breakfast and a substantial post workout meal.
* Sufficient Caloric Intake: maintain a small calorie deficit and avoid starvation-level diets (suggested safe levels for fat loss: 2100-2500 calories per day for men, 1400-1800 calories per day for women; adjust as needed)
* Food choices: Select natural, unprocessed foods with high thermic effect (lean proteins like chicken, turkey, egg whites and fish are highly thermic, as are all green vegetables, salad vegetables and other fibrous carbs)
* Cardio training: Push up the intensity a bit if you really want to get a metabolic boost. Walking and low intensity cardio is fine, but higher intensity is more metabolism-stimulating
* Weight training: The basic exercises that include the largest muscle groups or even call into play the entire body as a unit (squats, front squats, split squats, deadlifts, stiff legged deadlifts, overhead presses, all kinds of rows and core-activation exercises) will have a much greater metabolism stimulating effect than isolation exercises (concentration curls, calf raises, etc)
The weight training is extremely important in cases of “metabolic damage” because this is the stimulus to keep the muscle you have and begin rebuilding new muscle tissue, which is the engine that drives your metabolism.
The men don’t usually have a problem with the weight training, but I still hear women say they don’t want to lift weights as part of their fat loss programs. Well, people who wont lift weights can expect a very, very long metabolism “repair process” if they achieve it at all.
Consistency is the key.
Nothing will undermine the “re-building” of your metabolism like inconsistency. If you stop and start, or skip meals and workouts often, you will not even get off the ground.
After your metabolism is back up where it should be, it takes continued “stoking” of the metabolic furnace to keep it there. Once you get your metabolic engine running, you’ve got to keep feeding it fuel or the fire will die down.
Picture an old fashioned wood burning stove…
Imagine you’re in a cabin up in the mountains in the winter. It’s cold in there and you want to keep the cabin warm. Can you achieve this by feeding the fire once or twice per day? Nope. Not enough fuel to burn, so not much heat is generated.
What if you just toss an entire pile of wood in the stove all at once? Will that work? Nope. Lots of fuel, but can’t all be used at once… it just smothers the fire and the excess just sits there.
How about if you throw some tissue paper or crumpled newspaper in the stove, will that work? Nope – too quickly burning.
You have to keep putting small amounts of wood (the right type of fuel) on the fire at regular intervals or the fire burns out.
It’s also difficult to get the fire lit again. In the case of metabolism, it’s like going through that initial few weeks of overcoming inertia all over again.
Your goal is to get your metabolism burning hot and keep it burning and this cannot be achieved by missing meals, missing workouts or with sporadic, infrequent training.
I have only seen a handful of cases where all these things were done properly and there was still a longer “repair” process.
For example, one case was former ballet dancer. At 5′ 5″, she was previously 110 lbs and had increased to about 145 or so. She didn’t want to reach her previous 110, but find a happy medium of about 125 lbs.
I figured with 20 lbs to cut, this would be a simple and predictable process, but she had a challenging time (and I didn’t know why at first).
I later found out that she had been anorexic and bulimic for many years. This had caused a lot of damage, and although she did reach her goal, it took about twice as long as we had anticipated.
The good news is, even in this extreme case, the same nutrition and training principles worked! It just took a little longer. And by the way her program included some serious training with free weights and she ate a lot more (clean) food than she had ever eaten before. No “starvation!”
That’s the power of burning the fat and feeding the muscles… Trying to starve the fat with crash diets is what causes the metabolic damage in the first place!
If you’re interested in the healthy, sensible way to take off the fat, while keeping all your muscle and actually increasing your metabolism in the process, then my Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle program can teach you how. No gimmicks or false promises. Just the truth – you have to work at it and you have to be patient.
So it boils down to just 2 simple things to fix your metabolism:
- Eat sensibly
Talk to you soon