I was wondering what you opinion is about the "Set Point" idea. I have heard this spoken about before. That the body has a weight at which it will automatically gravitate toward and it is difficult to drop below.
I seem to hit a sticking point at 154. I have been on my diet and training quite hard and I cannot seem to drop below 154. Could it be a "set point" or is my body just adapting to my diet and exercise program....
Personally, I believe that there's a bodyfat level which your body likes to hang on to (different for everyone, but let's say around 15% for a female). Below that, it can be difficult to cut down. It asks for different strategies, like lower carbing or more exercise. When I hit a plateau, I always change something... nutrition and/or cardio.
It can also be that your metabolism slowed down because of a long diet phase. In that case, you can increase your calories for a couple of weeks or so.
It's a strange thing, but I do believe it. I have allways had a low "set point". It may also be called homeostasis, but I can't be sure.
Given that I am trying to move up in weight, the strategy may be different, but I'll gain about five pounds, and have to keep it for several months, then gain a little more, etc. If in that period, before the point is established, I stop doing what I'm doing, the weight falls back to the previous point.
From what I've seen it goes the same way whether a person is trying to lose or gain.
I believe every single person has a "set point". A lot of people have been a certain weight their whole lives and their body has gotten used to it.
However,there are people that gain a lot of weight,no matter what they eat,that is usually a hormonal imbalance. My set point seems to be about 11% bf. Whenever I want to get below 10% I manipulate my hormonal system,especially when (or if) I plateau.
It is what I have always based my training on from the very beginning. It is why I believe in bulking up. I find it hard to believe that someone who starts out very skinny would gain 50-80+lbs of LBM without doing this and setting a new "setpoint".
for instance, for a long time I was stuck at 155. I started eating a lot more and busted out of that and 165 became my new plateau.
fast forwards a few years and now I'm trying to cut for my first time, to get to single digit bodyfat again and around 170lbs. my new plateau seems to be about 180-185 around 14%. It's a point I would've really liked a few years ago during the bulk. While I'm not huge by any means, my goals have slightly shifted since the first few years I started lifting.
Does the body have a 'set point'? it has a lot, it's called equilibrium. if you don't give it direction for change, it won't. sometimes direction is a drastic measure, sometimes it's a small change in diet. For example I lose weight relatively easy (which is nice having a furnace style metabolism) so for me to cut it's just a slight change in diet.
Everyone plateau's and it makes sense. Lets say you're 150 lbs and got there from 140lbs by eating 3000 calories a day. Now at 150 lbs you can't gain a fucking ounce of weight, so you lift more and harder, and your weight goes to 148. you need more food. Couple that with your increased apetite for lifting and you'll find 155 quite easily, then need adjust again.
Now take the guy who is at 150 and realizes that it's his 3000 calories holding him back. He decides to jump in and eat 4500 a day. he quickly gets up to about 165, but he's also packed on some extra flubb, and then stalls out at 165. is this a set point or is this just where you've pointed your body to?
I'm starting to realize that minute differences and a long term approach are the ways to go. trying to rush your body into the next plus/minus 10 pounds isn't the way to go for optimal body composition throughout the year.
maybe to be 200 lbs at 9% body fat you need 6500 kcals a day, but that doesn't mean you need to eat like that while at 155 does it?
Actually, no, that isn't what is meant by the term even though I can see why you would think that. Plateaus would be applied much better to someone who has already gained a significant amount of muscle and finds it hard to gain much more muscle passed that point even though they understand training. A "setpoint" would be more like weighing 150lbs, gaining 5lbs, but finding that 5lbs gain to be hard to hold onto even if you go one day without eating enough. Meanwhile, you could be deployed to Iraq and not drop much below 150lbs even if there wasn't enough food available to gain. It is the weight that your body feels comfortable at and isn't the same as a "plateau". Like was said, it is why I believe in bulking up, especially as a beginner. I weighed about 150lbs during high school graduation. Slowly adding weight wouldn't have allowed me to break past that as easily as I did once more food was available.
There is indeed a "metabolic set point" your body has established; this isn't a myth or a point of contention among those who know what they're talking about anymore, the physiology behind it is well studied. It regulates bodyfat, muscle mass, etc. to within about 10% of this point pretty effectively. In order to progress beyond this point and establish a new one, you do have to spend some time doing some pretty intense dietary monitoring/training. It has been my experience that how long it takes to shift the new setpoint down or up is HIGHLY individual (and this makes sense given how differently people's hormonal systems respond to things).
Just as a for example:
I left high school at 150.
3 months later I was at 160.
5 months later I seemingly jumped to 180 overnight (the time period was about a week I believe, been a while).
I stayed at 180 for about 4 months until I went on the Mike's Roast Beef diet and went up to 200. Going from 180 to 200 took about 3 months, though the scale showed the change happening in about 2 weeks.
The whole time I maintained roughly the same bodyfat except for 180-200. Right now I'm working on getting the 200 a little leaner.
Angelbutt came into college at a pretty high bodyfat, then she started lifting with me. Even though she was working hard and keeping her diet in order, it seemed to stay the same for about 4 months. Then, over the course of about 2 weeks, she got visibly leaner (we didn't do calipers, but my visual and tactile estimation is 3-5% lower). She then stayed at about that BF for about 6 or 7 months, getting very gradually leaner (maybe 1-2% the whole period), and recently her abs have become more visible with a few weeks of sprint training.
I guess the moral is hang in there and keep working hard and eating well and you'll get a bit leaner. You may want to incorporate a greater volume of training for a while in order to accelerate shifting the set point though. What's your current training like?
That's an interesting way of looking at it. I never thought of it as a point that can be 'reset' based on large gains/losses in weight.
I've always looked at it as more general set-point of your genetic ability to gain, and then hold onto, lean mass. As well as your ability to shed bodyfat while holding onto a varying degree of lean mass, again based on your "set point".
Either way, I just hope people don't use this "set point" as another excuse for why they can't bench over 185, or why they can't possibly get below 30% bodyfat no matter how hard they try...
Agreed the set point IMO goes both ways. For me that is/was 215 when I lost a ton of fat I went down to 215 and stayed there for about four years. After that I could cut down and then right when I came off the diet I would go right back to 215 bulking up I coulkd gain 15-20 and bam right back to the comfortable 215.
So now for the past 2+ years been on an extended bulk and am up to 250 and just trucking. I really feel you have to get somewhere and HOLD that for long periods or your body will go back to that comfort zone. If I stop eatting a TON I drop FAST. or vise versa id dieting down.You need time to create a new comfort zone.
This is definetly true for me. When I gain some weight I need to keep eating lots for probably 2-3 months then the new weight seems to become natural and I don't have to eat so much to stay the same. Befor this if I let off for even 2 days I can lose sometimes 5-10lbs.
Thanks for all the input. I had always leaned toward agreeing with this concept as well.
Unlike some of you my goal is to lose, not gain weight. I am down to the last 10-15, which tend to be the most stubborn. I have a solid base of muscle underneath that is just starting to show. I am switching up my cardio and cinching down my diet.
I think perhaps now that I am at my set point, maybe my maintenance calories are lower and since I have kept my diet the same over the last eight weeks it is time to give a further restriction.
Funny, when I first started this endeavor, my goal was 125-127 lbs and now I am thinking that at 135-140 I will be done, amazing the difference that muscle will make. I have decided to use the mirror for my final judgement.
Sure they are. AS you lose wieght you BMR goes down. even fat uses k/cals. plus your not carrying the extrta load etc.. I would however not go to low.
With a hypocaloric diet you should be easily below your setpoint. the set point being the point your body wants to be at when comfortable when eating regular. Same as gaining you can add lbs on but the minute you stop cramming the pie whole just a minute the body starts losing lbs to go back to the comfort zone.
So with both gaining and losing you need to maintain that new weight LONG term inorder to make that a new comfort zone.
I agree great choice on the weight thing and insted of the scale going by the mirror etc..