The term metabolic damage has gained lots of traction over the years. Researchers initially observed a reduced metabolic rate in subjects who had lost a substantial amount of weight. This is far from shocking, since reducing an individual’s body weight will simultaneously reduce their energy demands. What was unique in this case however was the metabolic rates of some individuals were far lower than what the researchers projected.
Contrary to popular belief, dietary interventions to produce weight loss are quite efficacious. However the rate of recidivism is high at roughly 85%, with research demonstrating a substantial portion of weight lost being regained within just a few years (1). This is not simply a result of lapses in adherence, and in fact has strong genetic, biological, environmental and psychological influences. Given the audience this article will be seen by, the focus will revolve around strategies to optimize body composition both from a muscularity and leanness standpoint. The objective of this article is to understand why weight regain is so prevalent by exploring the various mechanisms (both direct and indirect) involved. From there we can compile a series of recommendations and strategies to bypass or at least minimize negative repercussions associated with dieting and the feared rebound. Although this article is not specifically geared toward bodybuilders or physique competitors, the majority of the information and recommendations still apply. I want to be clear that these are suggestions for individuals who are healthy with no medical conditions. And as always, ensure you seek help from a qualified professional such as a dietician or physician before making any changes based on the recommendations contained in this article.
For every change you see in my body, my mind has gone through ten. When I began the journey that I am on in 2015, I was in one of the worst places I ever been. I was 330 pounds, thirteen years old and had just experienced loss for the first time. My first dog had died and I was trying to make sense of the world. I knew things and people died, I had seen things die, I had killed things before, I had never felt the ache of missing that comes with the loss of someone or something near to your heart.
Let’s talk about cutting for competition.
You want to drop down a weight class and you want to do it all within a 12 week prep cycle. You decide to drastically drop calories, throw in a bunch of unnecessary cardio to achieve any kind of weight loss, no matter the cost. Training starts off well, you’re dropping pounds but still getting stronger. Everything looks absolutely sunny.