Some terms seem to be all over the place these days. One of these terms is ‘metabolic damage’. Whether you flip the pages of your magazine, turn on the TV, or pay attention to your fellow citizens working out progressively in the gym, chances are that you have definitely heard the term metabolic damage before.
Given the fact that training your body has a lot to do with training and boosting metabolism, as well as finding the exact foods which will “charge” your metabolism, this is one topic you simple cannot ignore.
What is metabolic damage? Do you have it? Is it even real? We'll answer these questions and explore a few other things about metabolic damage in this article.
About Metabolic Damage
If you are already aware of what metabolic rate is, you can probably skip this section. If you're wondering what this whole ‘metabolic’ thing is all about, read on.
Here's the thing: the food you eat consists of calories. This may seem like a bad word (thank you pop culture), but it isn't.
A calorie is simply a method of measuring an energy unit. For example, if whatever it is that you're eating has 500 calories, it implies that it contains 500 energy units. And if you want to get all technical, you can seek out the number of units of energy present in every gram that you eat. Fat, for instance, has far more calories for every gram, as opposed to carbohydrates and proteins.
Once you have consumed your food, the energy units get broken down in the system and then are transported all over your body via the blood stream. It is the blood that then takes energy units to various cells which need energy. This process is known as metabolism, and the speed and efficiency at which this process occurs is known as your metabolic rate.
A fast metabolic rate is usually preferred, so that the body can easily burn the extra energy stored in the fat cells once it has burned through all available energy units. While fats cells do not increase or decrease in number, they do expand by absorbing in the extra energy. Burning the absorbed energy in fat cells helps someone reduce their extra weight.
Just as you can damage your metabolism, it is possible for you to boost it as well.
Much like metabolic conditioning, the concept of metabolic training deals with boosting your metabolic rate, and there are many ways to go about this, starting from the types and quantity of food that you eat.
Take for example fat and protein. Not only do they have different calorie contents (for the same quantity), they are also broken down in the body in different ways. In this case, protein is broken down far faster, and delivered to your cells faster as well. Therefore, by consuming a protein-rich, low-fat diet, you can improve your metabolic rate.
Working out regularly also helps regulate and increase metabolic rate. The body's metabolic rate changes once it begins to get used to workouts. In this regard, high-intensity weight-training workouts can really help with increasing your metabolism, due to the fact that it requires much more energy and does so in quick and short bursts.
This is where metabolic damage comes in, because there's always too much of something.
What Metabolic Damage Really Means?
What are people really talking about when they refer to the concept of ‘metabolic damage’?
Chances are that whoever spoke to you about the term doesn’t know much more about it than you do. Perhaps the explained that energy cells are not properly being used up or you are damaging your cells. Either way, they weren't very clear about what they meant to say.
While there is really a thing called metabolic damage, it is not what people generally think and talk about.
Here's what metabolic damage really means:
Despite being a trendy enough term to throw around here and there, metabolic damage is not as intimidating as it actually sounds. In the event that you are indeed suffering from it, it is fully possible to correct the situation without much trouble.
Often called by the alternative name of ‘starvation mode’, metabolic damage begins when the body does not receive a steady supply of calories, which sends it into this mode. Here, the body halts burning the energy present in the fat cells and begins to target your muscles, making them its primary source of energy and breaking them down in the process.
While this does help you shed weight, the weight you shed isn't actually good. In fact, you'll see your fat stay intact while your muscles start shrinking in size.
How Your Body Sustains Metabolic Damage
Believe it or not, the human body itself is a pretty smart cookie. It is not possible to easily trick your body to do something that it does not want to do.
For example, if you have made a goal and intend to lose weight, you have probably made a rough plan for yourself which involves increasing your workouts and cutting down on calories. Although that is a good plan, you still need to be careful.
The human body has to maintain a certain energy level to function properly, and will always make try to keep the energy burned and amount of energy absorbed more or less even. Not to mention the fact it can easily detect when there is a disparity between the two.
For example, if you're currently consuming 2,000 calories while working out for an hour every day, the results you want to see will show much more slowly. To make these two factors even, you can reduce your intake of calories to 1,300 a day, while keeping your workout session a two hour-long one. In this way, you end up burning an extra 1,500 calories per day.
So by simple logic, you should shed a couple of extra pounds per week till you have nothing remaining to shed, right?
This is true to some extent. In the very beginning, when your body has extra weight and has not yet detected a pattern, you will shed weight. But when the body finally realizes that it is not getting the energy it needs regularly, it will start preserving its present energy storage. Once this starts, your body enters “starvation mode” and starts breaking down muscle tissue.
This also happens if you start your work out far too suddenly and strenuously without checking to see your calorie intake.
For instance, you're consuming 2,000 calories a day and working out for an hour, and out of nowhere, you want to get a body like Michael Phelps. Do achieve this you decide to work out in the nearest pool for over 12 hours a day. This will end up burning thousands of calories, if not more, from your body.
At some point, your body won't be able to keep up the pace, and instead of burning fat-stored energy it will target its muscles.
In fact, this is the reason why long-term diets with limited calorie intake fail to work. While you will burn calories and reduce your fat storage initially, your body will eventually catch-up and halt the process.
Not to mention the fact that this entire ordeal will make you feel weak and wanting to eat whatever comes your way. There goes your dream of getting into amazing shape.
Are You Experiencing Metabolic Damage?
Now that you aware of the fact that metabolic damage is indeed very real, you must be wondering if you’ve been causing it to yourself as well.
There are ways to tell if you've sustained metabolic damage. If what is going on in your body is corresponding to metabolic damage symptoms, chances are that you do have it. You should be careful as to not over think it, however.
Having just one of the many symptoms does not mean that you're sustaining metabolic damage. You may simply have eaten a burrito with extra beans earlier that day. However, you should be concerned if you've crossed all the symptoms, or at least most of them.
Symptoms for metabolic damage include (but are not limited to) heartburn, gas and bloating, mood swings, low energy, sleep issues, loss of muscle tissue, sudden weight loss, untimely food cravings, and fluid retention (specifically in the lower part of the legs).
What To Do When You Experience Metabolic Damage Symptoms?
Now that you have checked off all visible metabolic damage symptoms, where should you go next?
In case you're worried as to whether you'll have to abandon your current routine, don't. Rather than changing your whole routine altogether, you simply need to make some slight adjustments to your lifestyle, and you will be set.
Never Over Train Your Body
Have you been working out several times a day in the pursuit of getting into better shape? If you have, then stop, and take one of the many workouts out of your routine. Have you been doing cardio workouts for hours on end?
Stop, and lessen the amount of time you are taking on these workouts. You can keep doing the strength workouts, but do take care to start with a lower number of workouts in the beginning.
Remember, the key here is to not train so hard that your body takes too long to recover. As far as training your body is concerned, less really can be more.
Cut Down On Stress
Remember, all work(out) and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, do something that will allow you to unwind and de-stress. If you're using your workout as a de-stress method already, try finding another activity that goes along with it.
When you pursue a separate activity with the sole intention of de-stressing, you reduce the chances of over training significantly, and in turn have a lower risk of sustaining metabolic damage. There are many activities that you can pursue, from going on a relaxing yoga routine to meditation, reading a book, or even going for a nice bubble-bath when the day is over.
Remember, the key here is to find a method of reducing stress.
Don't Miss Out On Sleep
Beauty sleep is far more important than you can imagine. Besides being beneficial for your mind, having a good night's sleep is also beneficial for your body. After going through a strenuous workout, your body's muscles need to repair themselves, which can only be done when you're sleeping.
When you sleep less, your body is unable to undertake the recovery process repairing muscle tissue, which in turn causes your body to over train and leads to various problems.
Metabolic Damage Review Summary
By now, you probably understand that metabolic damage is indeed very real and very damaging.
That said, it isn't as intimidating as it may sound, and can easily be avoided with the right kind of action. By having a clear understanding of what metabolic damage is and the ways in which it can affect your body, you will be able to successfully avoid the problem. In the event that you do experience it, you will know how to remedy it and will be able to do so at the earliest possible moment because you will recognize it quickly.
The best way to avoid metabolic damage is to stay away from diets which are long-term and low on calories, and to constantly monitor your health and the way your body responds to workouts. By doing all of this, you will gain a sound knowledge of how and when your body sustains metabolic damage, and will therefore be able to successfully avoid it.
If you are planning on sustaining a low calorie diet, it is bet to consult with your doctor and ensure that they are monitoring your progress and keeping a close eye on your results to ensure that you are successful in losing fat and gaining muscle, and not the other way around.