Dr. Layne Norton (@biolayne) has recorded 3 videos about metabolic damage. They have caused a major uproar in the industry. Today I want to review the contents of the metabolic damage video, not for entertainment purposes, but to help Layne spreads the word. I normally embed the video much lower in the article, but today I want to be sure you've seen the video. If not, please take the time to listen to the video before you continue reading this article.
BioLayne Video Log 9 – Metabolic Damage
Layne Speaks for Himself
The points Layne makes in this video pretty much speak for themselves. He presents them clearly and concisely. I want to just address the issues that really hit me as someone who has gone through a contest preparation cycle twice.
Metabolic Damage Defined
Layne discusses how he is a big believer in science, but based upon the nearly 1,000 people he has worked with he knows certain things to be true yet doesn't have the scientific evidence to back it up yet. Metabolic damage is one of those things. Layne sees this problem as one of the biggest issues for long-term body fat loss.
Metabolic damage is defined as the point where your metabolism is so repressed that you lose the ability to drop body fat without starvation. Layne then gives the example of a mythical bikini or figure competitor who has a coach. This coach has put them on what is essentially a starvation diet — 900 calories a day and 2 to 3 hours of cardio a day and yet they do not lose weight. This is because they have destroyed their metabolic capacity.
Always Preparing for a Contest
A typical scenario is there is a bounce back after a show. The competitor gains weight and fat. They have already caused a problem for their metabolism. They then want to compete in another show and have to start dieting down again. The problem is that their body won't let go of the body fat.
By always preparing for the next contest you never give your body a chance to bring the metabolism back to its maximum capacity. That's the purpose of the off-season. Layne gives an example of a guy at 15% body fat and needs to lose 25 to 30 pounds for the stage. If one guy is maintaining their weight at 250 grams of carbs per day or the person maintaining their weight on 500 grams of carbs per day, which one is able to get stage lean easier? It is obviously the one with the 500 grams of carbs per day.
How do you fix this?
Layne has some good recommendations for fixing the metabolic damage that has already been done. The first thing he tells you is to stop competing.
He takes you at your baseline of calories and macronutrients and then slowly adds carbs at a rate of 5 grams per week. As your carb intake increases your body weight (for some reason) does not increase. The body somehow just absorbs the small change in carbs. He continues to build this until he gets you to the point where you gain some weight. He then keeps you at this level because you are now at a good set point.
Layne gave an example of a client of his who he used this approach on. She started at 800 calories a day and 2 hours of cardio per day. After 18 months she was maintaining her weight on 325 grams of carbs per day, a woman who weighs close to 110 pounds. She improved her metabolic capacity so much that getting lean was easy for her.
He also recommends that you should be doing 3 to 4 HIIT cardio sessions a week and to avoid doing a ton of LISS cardio. He says that LISS cardio has been shown to damage the metabolism.
Think It Over
This video really made me think. I have always wondered if we were possibly making trouble for ourselves by dieting the way we do. I saw this potential in action in my own progress.
When I first started taking weight off I utilized a place (seems they are no longer in business) called PhysiqueTransformation.com. They had a very detailed system. You were required to log everything you eat. They would grade you. The goal was to get as close to the macronutrient ratios they set as possible. If you got it spot on you got an A+. This got me thinking about the importance of the macronutrients. Clearly their system was focused on them. Another thing their system did was recommend calorie increases or decreases over time. After the first 2 weeks of logging food the system would begin to recommend a plan of action. Ironically, for me, it kept raising my calories yet the weight kept coming off.
My second experience was when I plateaued on my weight loss. I had lost 40 pounds and was stuck. Chris Albert of Metroflex Gym Long Beach took me under his wing. The first thing he did was increase my calories for 2 weeks and make me eat a lot of food. I began to lose weight almost immediately. It was pretty crazy.
I am glad that I have not fallen for the extremely low carb dieting plans that are out there. I have always been suspicious of them and now I seem to be vindicated by what Layne says in this video. What are your thoughts?