What's the balance?
What is the magic pill? How do we burn fat and keep lean mass at the same time? Or, how do we put on lean mass with a minimum of fat gain?
The fitness world would have you believe that it is as simple as calories in, calories out. It really should be as simple as that but, there’s so much more to it.
“G-Flux, otherwise known as energy flux, is the complex and interdependent relationship between the energy that flows into and out of a physiological system. It’s the balance between the two. You can also think of it as the amount of calories you ‘turn over’”, says Ryan Andrews of Precision Nutrition. In order to achieve optimal body composition and health, it’s important to find the right balance between eating and exercising. Keeping your G-Flux high is the best way to stay lean, healthy, functional and strong.
We’ll talk more about how to raise G-Flux in just a bit, but first what happens to you when it’s decreased. If we find ourselves inactive, eating poorly while we’re (something we just can’t avoid) aging, this will certainly guarantee a decreased G-Flux. As we age, our metabolisms slow down and because muscle is so metabolically active, it takes more to maintain it. If we’re sedentary and eat poorly, we’re just asking for issues as we get older.
What can we do to raise our G-Flux, no matter our age?
First, let’s look at someone that’s trying to lose weight. Generally, people think that by just cutting some calories, they’ll lose weight. For a while, this might be true. As our metabolism slows from too little calories, that deficit will only have to increase to continue moving forward in weight loss. As we’re losing weight that way, we’re also losing a lot of muscle mass. More lean mass (muscle, bone and tissue) keeps you healthier and more functional, so losing that lean mass in the long run will probably not help keep you from getting sick more often or active in life.
Studies have shown that someone is eating 2,000 calories a day and burning 2,000 calories will probably stay the same weight. Then looking at someone of a similar gender and size who is eating 3,000 calories a day and burning 3,000 calories, they found that the result wasn’t the same at all! One would think that calories in/calories out would keep this person the same weight as well, however, they found that that person lost fat, had increases in metabolic rate and increases in lean mass! If that same person dropped to 2,000 calories in a day and burned 2,000 calories a day, the results shifted back to no change at all.
What’s the deal with that?!
More exercise leads to better nutrient partitioning, better insulin sensitivity, protein turnover and tissue remodeling. Meaning, building more lean mass, burning more fat, and making a stronger body. The moral of this story: exercise more, eat more and be healthier. That doesn’t mean that you get to eat whatever the heck you want! Let me repeat in all caps for you, THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU GET TO EAT WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT! We’re still going to be focusing on lean proteins, loads of veggies, high quality carbs and having some good fats at every meal. For those of you working on the ProCoach program, we’ll get into this deeper later in the year. For now, focus on the things that we’re already working on. What this means is that, the more active you are, the more your body uses nutrients more efficiently. In simpler terms, you become a machine!
Here are FIVE simple steps to increase your G-Flux:
- If you aren’t already working out 5 hours a week, e.g. in Get Fit Camp every day, work your way up to 5 hours a week. No one should just jump right in and do high intensity workouts every day, that will be a recipe for injury. Ease into it starting with 1-2 days a week and go from there.
- Implement ProCoach style eating.
- Every week, check in and see how you’re doing. How are you feeling? Are you getting the results you want? Are you recovering well?
- After you get to 5 hours per week, work on building up to 8 hours per week without eating more. (I’ll talk about how to increase exercise in another post.) You can increase your muscle gain by keeping exercise the same and increasing food intake by about 10% (do this slowly as well! Don’t just jump into 10% more every day, slowly increase your intake). For those of you not interested in putting on muscles mass, just don’t eat as much. Focus on more veggies if you’re feeling hungry. The fiber will be filling and won’t do much to put on mass.
- Keep checking in and observe how you’re doing. Are you getting where you want? If so, keep doing what you’re doing until you don’t get the results. If you’re not getting the results, change something. And if you need help changing something, reach out to me and we’ll talk.
At the end of the day, you are what you eat and your fitness is based on how active you are or aren’t. Be honest with yourself and really ask how consistent you are with your eating habits and fitness habits.
Once you get started, consistency will trump hammering yourself into the ground once or twice a week. Again, I’ll be talking in the future how to incorporate more exercise into your life, without worrying about intensity or “doing it right”. So, for those of you that “don’t have the time”, this will be a good post too. Keep your eyes peeled!
4x12 Chin Ups (Bands)
100m Farmer Carry after each RND