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Thread: Questions On: Starvation & Muscle Loss page

  1. #1
    dalvarez's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel


    -At what point does the body begin to use muscle for energy?


    -Does the body use up all fat stores before going to muscle?


  2. #2
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    There is a long term and short term answer to this question. Over a long term period of caloric deficit, the body is likely to spare as much fat as possible and canabolize muscle tissue first - not the other way around. You don't see anorexics go through a phase of being well muscled with low body fat before they start to burn up their muscle. The muscle is the first to go.


    In a short term situation - for instance a 2 hour jog, or a 30 minute weight training session - the answer gets much, much more complicated and involves many factors. To try to keep the answer brief, if you want to maximize fat burning and minimize muscle loss follow the below guidelines:


    1. Do not severely restrict calories. If you run a caloric defecit, make it very small (no more than 500 calories / day). Eat a lot of protein (at least 1g / lb of body weight).

    2. Do not engage in extended cardio sessions. These can burn fat but also lead to muscle loss. Look at the bodies of long distance runners and cyclists vs. sprinters and powerlifters in terms of muscle mass.

    3. Cardio sessions should be short in duration and explosive in nature. Sprinting workouts are the best. If you can't sprint try a high intensity rowing session. Try to keep the overall effort to 15 minutes or less (this does not include rest periods between sprints).

    4. To maximize fat burning, work out on an empty stomach early in the morning. Again, keep the workouts short.

    5. Keeping your carbs low can also promote fat burning as your body uses fat for energy (body and dietary) rather than storing all of it and using carboyhdrate for energy.


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    Well put Conan.


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    Conan, if my calorie deficit was only 500 a day, I would not lose weight. OK, yes, maybe over some very long term, but not even weekly. I've played with the numbers and the scale and I need at least twice that to lose weight.


    I agree about saving fat during starvation, but I don't think my body looks at itself as starving. Taube points out some animals will die of heart failure due to muscle tissue loss and still have fat on them. I'm not sure if that is always the case with all humans, I look at the German concentration camp photos and there isn't a gram of fat left.


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    OTB,


    Those concentration camp people also didn't have any muscle to them either. The other thing to consider is that they probably didn't have a lot of fat on their bodies to begin with so when the calorie restriction (aka starvation) first started their bodies began burning fat for a little while. But as the starvation continued then the body turned to catabolism, but by then the fat stores were probably mostly used up.


    If an overweight person were to be starved, their body would burn fat at first but after continued starvation, it would turn to catabolism and leave the fat that was left, which would be more than the camp victims b/c they started out with more.


    Calorie deficit is good, severe calorie restriction is bad. What defines these terms can vary from person to person, but the concept holds true. Look up The Minnesota Experiment for some good info on starvation effects on body and mind.


  6. #6
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    I am concerned about under-eating, especially since I am going to start Crossfit training in two week. Take a look at my initial 30 day journal, looking back it seems as if I were not eating enough? just looking for some additional pointers. I don't see my protein intake totals where I "think" they should be....

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...%28dalvarez%29

    Thanks!

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    Clint's Avatar
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    Dalvarez-


    It's hard to tell from your journal if your macros/calories are good or not as there aren't many measurements of the food. The food choices are excellent, so don't change that.


    Unfortunately, the best way to tell if you're undereating is to get an accurate BF% meaurement regularly. If you're dropping weight buty your BF% stays the same or goes up, then you're not eating enough to sustain muscle. There are factors like fatigue, fogginess of the brain and other markers that COULD indicate undereating, but feeling those don't necessarily mean you're undereating.


    You may want to try to calculate your daily caloric needs and then measure your food for a while to meet those needs. That way you can see how much or little food it takes to meet the requirements and also how your body responds to that specific caloric load. Then you can make tweaks to you're diet from there. Then, you'll get better at "eyeballing" you're food and knowing how your body responds to certain caloric loads.


    P.S. I, personally, HATE measuring my food and I don't really do it. But when I first started out, it was a tremendously helpful process that allowed me to simplify my eating habits. But it's a pain in the @$$ at first. Like everything in life, if you spend a little extra time on the preparation, then the application becomes easier by an order of magnitude!


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    Thanks, Clint. I think what has been overlooked here and in my other thread is what you say: fat goes in and out, catabolism comes later.


    And I understand what you are saying about the concentration camp arrivals being mostly already in some state of reduced calories for a long time. Not that a movie director can do anything about it, but it bugs me to see all these normal people in films like Schindler's LIst.


    As to weighing food, absolutely vital if you want to understand what is going on. It just becomes part of the routine. I'm sure I won't do it forever, but during this weight loss time, gladly.


  9. #9
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    dalvarez,


    Your diet looked pretty solid to me but I second Clint's suggestion to weigh and measure your food. Once you weigh and measure for a while you will be able to visualize the amount of food you are eating and you won't need the scale. You will probably need to start eating a little more once you start CrossFit but I would just base it on how you feel - hunger, energy levels, etc. If you are crashing during your workouts, then add more calories.


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    Robb Wolfe has two interesting posts about leaning out. I presume that when you are leaning out you consume low calories and risk catabolizing muscle.


    http://robbwolf.com/?p=627

    http://robbwolf.com/?p=634


    "In the comments someone asked about leaning out. If you recall, I did a mass gain experiment about 9 months ago. Moved from 163-185. Strength was up, but I was pretty damn chubby. I have been following either CrossFit Football or Rutman’s ME-Black Box for training. For about 6 months I was still messing with some post WO carbs, typically about 50-70g depending upon the size of the WOD. Not surprisingly, my leaning out has been glacially slow. I thought back to when I just did cyclic low carb, what Poliquin had to say about leaning out (earn your carbs, be lean…) and I dropped to less than 50g of carbs per day with an occasional (once per week) larger carb meal that I just dropped in whenever. Result? Stunningly rapid fat loss. I’m about 178lbs but below 10% BF at this point. In general I’ve had 4 meals per day, large whacks of protien, just a little added fat and then loads of veggies. I have been using a post WO whey protein with coconut milk (40g protein, 20-30g fat) and I really like this. This was something I used in the past but this article from Mauro Dipasquale reminded me of the utility of a low carb PWO shake. I generally recommend against liquid food for fat-loss scenarios but as with all things, there are exceptions. Keep in mind, a low carb approach will NOT turn you into a CrossFit Super Star. It is however a nice approach to leaning out, getting healthy and not being a fat-ass for summer."


    "The Purpose of the PWO meal can vary based upon desired effects. Fasting produces a different effect from both low carb and high carb PWO meals. People get pretty spun out about which way is “right” but it’s really just a spectrum of options. In this situation the PWO meal of whey protein + coconut milk is providing quickly digested protein which will reverse catabolic actions of training, with just a bit of fat to suppress the normal glucose release of a large protein meal via glucagon. This would not be the end of the world but part of what we want with this PWO meal is the MAINTENANCE of insulin sensitivity. If we totally top off our glycogen stores PWO we impair insulin sensitivity and make it damn tough to lean out. So, one way to look at this is the a LC-PWO meal is focusing on muscular recovery and growth, while minimizing or limiting the effects of insulin or carbohydrate."


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