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Excercise and the Starvation Response

hey guys,
ive been reading tom venuto’s book “burn the fat feed the muscle”, and just finished. everything sounds great and is all gravy with me except one concept that he was unclear about.

this concept was the ‘starvation response’ as he called it. in his ‘program’ he says to eat roughly 400-500 calories less than what your body burns on a daily basis. he says that if you have a larger calorie deficit than that, your body will go into the starvation response in as little as four days, decreasing your metabolism. your body thinks you are starving because you are consuming less calories than maitenence, so your body retains fat and halts metabolism to a screeching halt.

my confusion lies here: he says that exercise is the key to fat loss. makes sense, but lets say i do a good amount of cardio every day, 30-45 minutes of cardio. i also eat PERFECT, everything from 6 meals a day, to carb and calorie tapering, no processed foods, with a 400 calorie deficit from food alone. IF i do the cardio, i burn about 400 (rough guess) calories per session. -400 from cardio and -400 from food per day is an 800 calorie deficit (not to mention resistance training)! this sounds great, as this adds up to about 2lbs of fat loss per week.

but according to him, 800 calories is too big of a deficit, and my body will engage in the starvation response. he also says later in the book that if i increase my excersice, i in turn increase my fat loss. pretty obvious, but basically what im confused about is this: do i have to count what i burn from exercise in my calorie consumption/deficit? or if i have a perfect nutrition routine at the perfect amount of calories, can i work out a hypothetical ‘unlimited’ amount without initiating the starvation response? because if that is so, ‘theoretically’ i could eat 2500 calories per day, burn 5500 calories per day (through diet and a LARGE amount of excercise), and lose 1 pound of fat per day (i know it doesn�??t work like that, but im just talking in theory). sorry for the long post, i feel lost :frowning:

try to estimate (because you can’t really ‘count’ with reasonable accuracy) your total daily caloric expenditure (that means maintenance + cardio + lifting + everything else), subtract ~400 from that amount -> number of calories you should be consuming on that day to lose weight without damaging your metabolism.

[quote]Petrichor wrote:
try to estimate (because you can’t really ‘count’ with reasonable accuracy) your total daily caloric expenditure (that means maintenance + cardio + lifting + everything else), subtract ~400 from that amount -> number of calories you should be consuming on that day to lose weight without damaging your metabolism. [/quote]

maybe im just an impatient bastard, but 400 calories a day seems a little light (even though i know better and have read alot on the contrary). one would think that if i only cut ~400 from my calorie intake from food, and didnt work out, i would lose the same weight as if i worked out 6 days a week, but ate more so it is ~400 deficit also. there has to be something else to help motivate me to work out and do cardio as opposed to just eat ~400 less. (i dont care much about muscles right now, just maximum fat loss).

with that said i am still very confused. what happens when you hit a plateau? usually, increased excercise is the answer, but wouldnt that just increase the deficit, making me doomed because of the starvation response? still confused :frowning:

[quote]kungfutaxifool wrote:

maybe im just an impatient bastard, but 400 calories a day seems a little light
[/quote]

if your caloric deficit averages ~500 per day over a week, you lose about 1 lbs per week, which is a good pace and you’ll still feel somewhat healthy and energetic (which is an important factor in the long run)

[quote]kungfutaxifool wrote:
one would think that if i only cut ~400 from my calorie intake from food, and didnt work out, i would lose the same weight as if i worked out 6 days a week, but ate more so it is ~400 deficit also.
[/quote]

This is correct. The key to body composition is diet. You cannot ‘out-train’ a bad diet.

[quote]kungfutaxifool wrote:

with that said i am still very confused. what happens when you hit a plateau? usually, increased excercise is the answer, but wouldnt that just increase the deficit, making me doomed because of the starvation response? still confused :frowning:
[/quote]

You may experience some sort of weight loss ‘plateau’ when you lost enough weight for your maintenance to drop just below the level that allowed you to lose fat before. If that happens, you either adjust your diet, or your workout regime, or both.

Start worrying about that when you get there.

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