Calorie Deficits Don’t Work

I’ve written before about why the fitness industry is wrong about fat loss. Let me explain to you what most don’t understand about calorie balance; it all comes down to something called ‘homeostasis’. Homeostasis is recognised in science as a major factor in every life form, but of course the fitness industry has overlooked this! Let me break it down for you.

Homeostasis essentially refers to the tendency of a system to become balanced. A body in homeostasis means everything is perfectly balanced to maintain its current state, so in the case of our clients, their body fat, muscle mass and energy in/out are all perfectly matched. The body loves to be in homeostasis, this is its survival mechanism and it will do anything it can to maintain this state. If an athlete is eating only 3 carrots and running 10km every day, the body will adapt itself to live off 3 carrots and handle 10km/day. Every biological reaction in the body will change to create this balance, and any weight lost initially will then be matched with the body doing everything it can to hold onto further weight. We have now created ourselves an athlete who is primed to gain body fat. When this athlete goes back to eating normal amounts of food we will see the classic rebound effect, where they gain unreasonable amounts of weight.

Here’s the cool thing- the same thing happens in reverse. If you are training adequately and eat so much food for so long you could in theory adapt to maintaining your bodyweight on 8000 calories. I have seen this happen many times, we have a list of girls at our gym maintaining bodyweight on 4000 calories and above. This is how we use homeostasis. In the same way as the athlete mentioned above, everything in the body will be trying to maintain balance but in this case, by shedding fat to maintain the same weight and match the energy demands of the training. Now that the body is working for us and primed to lose fat, it is far easier to manipulate.

Most people in our industry fight this mechanism. At Lifters League, we understand how it works and use this powerful tool to our advantage.


Cynthia Sepúlveda

Cynthia is a new members of ours at Lifters and is an amazing example comparing eating more to perform and how a calorie deficit doesn’t work. When she first come and seen us she was had been competing in powerlifting for a few years eating fairly low calories. She was already lean and wanted abs for a photoshoot. June 2016 she was 53kg @18% and had a 95kg squat, 50kg bench press and 130kg deadlift. We started on 1800 calories and up to November 2016 we worked her up to 3500 calories. In that 3-4 month period she changed her body composition to 51.2kg @13.8% which is a 1kg in muscle and a 2.5kg loss in body fat also resulting in adding 10kg on both her squat and deadlift. Her biggest complain now is she can’t eat anymore and given her new goals in powerlifting we want her to eat more but has been successful on adding fat 😉

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