If you’ve ever lost a substantial amount of weight, you’ve likely experienced one or more of the following issues:
- Loss of sex drive
- Slowed weight loss
And if you ask the Internet why, chances are good you’ll come across something about metabolic damage, slowdown, or adaptation.
According to many people, all these terms refer to a condition where various physiological systems have been disrupted due to dieting and, as a result, your metabolism begins to decline, making it harder and harder to continue losing weight.
And if you keep on pushing it, your metabolism can crater.
How accurate is this?
To find out, I invited Eric Trexler, who’s a bodybuilder, researcher, and the Director of Education for Stronger by Science, to hop on the show and break it all down.
In this episode, Eric answers questions like . . .
- What is metabolic “damage” versus adaptation?
- How and why does weight loss become more difficult the leaner you get?
- How fast (or slow) should you lose weight to avoid metabolic adaptation?
- How should you change your training while cutting to minimize metabolic adaptation?
- What’s the best way to transition from cutting to lean bulking to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain?
- And more
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
6:19 – What is the background of your paper? What is metabolic adaptation?
7:08 – What do you mean by weight loss becoming difficult?
12:02 – What are some metabolic adaptations?
33:05 – What are some strategies to minimize metabolic adaptations while cutting?
39:47 – What rate of weight loss should we be aiming for and what are the best practices?
48:50 – Do you have any rules on volume?
53:08 – Why is maintaining intensity important?
1:03:15 – Do you prioritize carbs when you increase calories?
1:11:06 – What’s the best way to transition from cutting to lean bulking?
1:29:25 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on The Show:
Mike : [00:00:03] Hey, hey I am Mike Matthews, and welcome to the Muscle For Life podcast. This episode is an interview with Eric Trexler about the topic of metabolic adaptation or as some people call it, metabolic damage. And so what is this all about? Well, if you’ve ever lost a substantial amount of weight, if you’ve ever cut for a significant period of time, you have likely experienced one or more of the following issues: hunger, fatigue, cravings, lethargy, loss of sex drive, and slowed weight loss.
And if you go ask the interwebs why, chances are good you will come across something about metabolic damage or slowdown or adaptation. And according to many people, these terms are interchangeable and refer to a condition where various physiological systems have been disrupted due to dieting, and as a result, your metabolism begins to decline, making it harder and harder to continue losing weight and if you keep on pushing it, your metabolism can crater.
Well, how accurate is this? I recently recorded a long-form monologue podcast on the topic, but I wanted to get Eric Trexler on the podcast to dive into it a bit more and to talk about some practical training and diet strategies that we can use to minimize these negative effects. Because as you’ll learn, although it’s not as bad as some people would have you believe, there are negative physiological consequences to dieting that do make it harder and harder to keep losing fat as you get leaner and leaner.
Now, who is Eric, you might be wondering? Well, he is a bodybuilder, he is a researcher, and he is the director of education over at strongerbyscience.com, which is one of the best resources for science-based training advice. Mostly they focus on training. I don’t think they’re publishing much in the way of diet nutrition these days. However, with Eric coming on board, that may be changing, actually. So definitely check out Stronger by Science. That is Greg Nuckols’ website you’ve probably heard of Greg.
And so Eric was nice enough to come on the show and break it all down. And in this interview, Eric is going to answer quite a few questions that I get, like what is metabolic damage versus metabolic adaptation? Why does weight loss become more and more difficult as you get leaner and leaner? How quickly or slowly should you lose weight to avoid metabolic adaptation? How should you change your training while you are cutting to minimize these negative effects? What is the best way to transition from cutting, to lean bulking, to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain, and more.
Mike : [00:05:15] Hey, Eric, thanks for taking time to come on my podcast.
Eric: [00:05:19] Yeah, thanks for having me on.
Mike : [00:05:21] Absolutely. So we are here to talk about metabolic adaptation, which is something that I’ve written about and spoken about a little bit. But I wanted to get you on the show to talk about it because it’s something I still get asked a lot about. And there’s a particular study that you’re going to be diving into and then explaining not just what metabolic adaptation is, but how we can minimize it.
So that would be good practical information for people who are cutting right now or who are going to be cutting and want to make it as straightforward and painless as possible. And then what to do after we’re done cutting to stabilize and to avoid the rebound regain. So let’s just start at the top. Right? So the name of this paper is Metabolic Adaptation to Weight Loss Implications for the Athlete, and if there’s anything you want to open with about the paper itself, we could just start there.
And then I think the first main question, big question to answer is what exactly is metabolic adaptation? So what happens as you lose weight? How does your body adapt? And probably along the way somewhere we should contrast that concept with metabolic damage, which many people also hear about and it sounds scary.
Eric: [00:06:40] Yeah, it certainly does. Yeah, so the paper that you’re referencing is actually the first paper that I wrote as a graduate student. So I got to graduate school about a week or two after competing in a bodybuilding competition. And as anyone who’s done a really substantial weight loss attempt, especially getting to very low body fat levels, as everybody in that situation knows, weight loss is not only difficult, but gets incrementally more difficult as you go.
Mike : [00:07:11] And buy difficult, what do you mean exactly, just for people listening? That’s something I get asked about. I mean, I’ve never gotten as lean as you had to get, but I’ve gotten fairly lean, photoshoot lean. Lean enough where I couldn’t maintain it without not feeling good most of the time basically.
Eric: [00:07:28] Yes. So by difficult I mean beyond the obvious. Obviously, when you lose weight you’re like, “oh, I might get hungry and that might not be fun.” But I’m more interested in when it goes beyond that. And when you can kind of tell that you’re in a unique physiological state. And so what I mean by that is, being remarkably lethargic. Having very obviously altered hormone levels. Many of the hormones we can’t tell, but like if you’re a young man and your testosterone becomes quite low, you can feel it.
I mean, you know it. So just the lethargic nature of it. The hormone changes it being largely unable to sleep at night. It just gets so, so difficult as you get lower and lower and as you get farther in that weight loss journey. And so in the obesity literature, there’s this concept of the thrifty gene hypothesis. And a lot of times we use that to explain why humans in the modern era seem so readily able to gain fat. And the general premise is, way back when before we had supermarkets where we could just go get our next meal, we had to budget in some kind of uncertainty about whether or not hunting over the next …
Mike : [00:08:40] These days we don’t even need supermarkets. Right? We just need an app. You just tweet Domino’s and they send you like a few thousand calories.
Eric: [00:08:47] [Laughing] Exactly. Yeah. It’s never, ever, ever been easier to access calories on demand. And very affordable calories. I mean, I remember reading an article a while back about how like, the McDonald’s double cheeseburger was the greatest innovation in nutrition science because, I mean, the calories and nutrients per dollar were just incredible. That’s not an endorsement to go eat a bunch of double cheeseburgers.
But so in the modern era, we have so much more certainty about our next meal. But a long time ago, we didn’t. And if we weren’t able to store fat now, just in case food supplies got pretty thin later, it really would have essentially threatened the survival of our species. And so people talk about that as like, well, if you had the genes that allowed you to gain fat when you overeat very readily, it’s more likely you were able to survive a famine later.
And when I think of metabolic adaptation, I think of the other side of that hypothesis. We always think about while during times of feast we’re able to gain fat. When it comes to metabolic adaptation, we’re looking at what happens during times of famine. And what happens is, it’s almost like putting an electronic device like your phone on low battery mode. It’s very clear that energy sources are very thin. And so essentially what the body does is it undergoes a series of temporary short-term adaptations that allow you to conserve energy.
Mike : [00:10:16] It’s almost like an energy triage mode, right?
Eric: [00:10:19] Exactly, yeah. It’s just like, “how do we conserve as much as possible while still technically keeping this machine alive?” And when you look at some of the things that happen, it’s very clear that it’s – yeah I mean, it really works from the top-down, starting with the hypothalamus in the brain. But basically, anything non-essential, you pretty much shut down.
So non-exercise activity subconsciously is reduced. Both men and women have pretty pronounced reproductive side effects when they start really dieting hard and getting a low body fat. So we’ve always seen this with endurance runners like female endurance runners are – it’s quite well known that amenorrhea becomes a very real risk.
Mike : [00:11:00] Which is the loss of menstruation, the cycle period. Just for anybody not sure of that.
Eric: [00:11:04] Yeah, exactly, so disruption of the menstrual cycle and in some cases a complete cessation.
Mike : [00:11:10] Yeah, true, I guess it doesn’t have to be lost, it could just be a disruption.
Eric: [00:11:12] Yeah. So yeah. And then we see a very similar thing with very severe weight loss. One’s body fat is low and you have a huge energy deficit, you’re clearly not meeting your energy needs. And yeah, we see in both men and women, reproductive side effects, hormonal side effects, and that’s on top of the obvious stuff, the ravenous hunger, the low energy levels, and things of that nature.
So basically, I got to graduate school and I was in that state and like it was clear I could feel it. And so I was really interested in taking a look at what we know about how the body adapts to weight loss, why it does that, and in the process of looking at those things, are there any things we could do to maybe try to offset them? So that’s kind of the background for the paper.
Mike : [00:11:58] Great. And I think the most obvious place to start that discussion, right, is what are some of these adaptations exactly in terms of, you have mitochondrial efficiency, you have how hormones change, you have effects on energy expenditure, and I guess if we could just drill into the energy expenditure, one in particular, because a lot of people that maybe have experienced that it gets more difficult to continue losing weight as they get leaner.
But also, there are a lot of people who believe that you burn less energy because your metabolism becomes damaged or because your basal metabolic rate just goes down, down, down. But it’s not that cut and dried, right?
Eric: [00:12:45] Correct. Yeah. So as you alluded to, there are many aspects to metabolic adaptation. We could start all the way up at the brain, we could end all the way down at the microscopic mitochondria. But focusing in on the big picture stuff, the energy expenditure thing is the one everyone cares about because it’s the one that’s actionable. You know, it’s like, ” well I used to be losing weight, eating this, and now I am no longer”
Mike : [00:13:10] “So what do I do? Do I just, like, eat less? Do I just move more or like, what do I do?” And well I guess first is, “why is this happening?” And then, “what do I do about it?” Right?
Eric: [00:13:19] Exactly, yeah. So that’s the one everyone cares about. And there are some very common misconceptions floating around. One being is that it’s purely a resting metabolic rate thing. The other being that, you know, it’s broken and damaged and that there’s potentially some kind of permanent harm being done or something like that.
Mike : [00:13:37] Or semi-permanent. Like it remains in effect until you do something special, like reverse dieting or something, you know.
Eric: [00:13:45] Right, yeah. And so if you really wanted to hone in on, like, the big picture, “what’s happening here?” Most of what we associate with metabolic adaptation, we can really blame it on leptin. And so leptin is a hormone that is primarily produced by fat cells. And high leptin basically lets our brain know specifically the hypothalamus that everything’s cool, you know.
So leptin responds to two different things. Well, I mean, many, but two primary things in weight loss, leptin goes down if our fat cells shrink, which means we’ve lost fat basically. Leptin also goes down if we just acutely restrict energy. So even if you have lost no fat, but you go on like a crazy crash diet, four days after you begin that crash diet, you probably haven’t lost much fat, but your leptin will plummet.
And so when it comes to metabolic adaptation, we’re looking at two related concepts that are concurrently there. And so what that is, is the short-term energy deficit, just the day-to-day under-eating. And the other side is the gradual reduction of fatness. But when we look at what leptin does, I mean its effects are multifaceted.
Leptin effects thyroid hormone, it affects sex hormones, it affects hunger hormones, so a lot of those reproductive side effects, we’ve talked about hunger, obviously is through the roof, but leptin has a really pronounced effect on what we call non-exercise activity thermogenesis, and so I’m going to call it NEAT from now on.
But NEAT is basically the energy that you expend when you’re not really thinking about it. So if you work like a job that requires you to be on your feet, you’re going to have very high non-exercise activity. It’s basically all the physical activity you do throughout the day that is not intentional structured exercise. And it’s crazy, if you just like if you hang out with somebody when they’re fully fed, go away for a while, hang out with them again when they’re, like, almost ready for a bodybuilding show, it’s night and day.
I mean, they just become a slug. If they’re a person that fidgets a lot when they sit, they’re done. I mean, they will not be fidgeting. Their posture can look different because they just don’t feel like holding their body up. The joke is, it’s like if I’m sitting in a room and you know, I have a bodybuilding show in a couple weeks and the room is like on fire, I’ll kind of size up the fire and be like, “do I really have to get out or do I think this thing will get extinguished?” Like, you are just so unwilling to do the day-to-day stuff. You know, if you walk past your mailbox and you’re like, I should probably check the mail today, if you’re in prep, you’re just not going to do it.
Mike : [00:16:37] And you’re saying that is someone who’s not an inherently lazy person, that’s not your normal mode of being. It’s interesting that – see, I never got that far in terms of I mean, I’ve been maybe down to six or seven percent body fat, and that’s it. And so I never got that far. I got to a point where I felt like my workouts were harder than they should be and I wasn’t able to eat as much food, like I could never feel very satisfied with my meals and maybe a little bit less sex drive. That’s about as far as I got in the process.
Eric: [00:17:08] Like for me, what if I’m doing a bodybuilding weight loss diet, the first, like 85 percent is fine. It’s really the last, I usually lose like about 35 or 40 pounds for a competition, it’s usually the last 10 that really get me. You know, some people react to it differently than others and it almost certainly depends on how your brain’s wired. I’d like to think I’m not lazy, but maybe I’m more susceptible when I’m down in that status to be kind of like, “yeah, I’m not giving up.”
I think whatever your kind of baseline level is for your propensity to jump up and be active, I think everyone sees like a gradual shift downward in that stuff. So the thing that’s tricky about non-exercise activity is part of it is volitional like you make choices and decisions about it. And it’s the kind of thing where, you know, you get a few steps out the door, you realize you forgot something up in your room, and you’re like, “maybe I don’t really need it,” and you just keep on going.
Or your friends want to go do something active and you’re like, “that just does not sound appealing to me,” so you skip out. The other stuff is completely non-volitional, these are things that we can’t really make conscious decisions about, like, do you fidget less than your chair? For me, whenever I’m thinking hard, I pace around the room. If I’m deep into a contest prep, I no longer pace when I’m thinking.
And it’s not a conscious decision, it’s just your likelihood of doing that is just lower. And it’s something that’s been observed in the literature in many different ways with many different types of experiments. So as you can probably imagine, NEAT is pretty difficult to measure. So there are many, many, many different ways that people have kind of tried to approximate NEAT.
But when we look at metabolic adaptation, there is, in the short term, a drop in resting metabolic rate, but that’s more related to the acute energy deficit. And so what I mean by that is, let’s say I diet from 20 percent body fat to 10, or let’s make it extreme, 20 percent to 5 percent body fat. So just so we know, like we’re really in it now. When I’m at five percent body fat, but I’m still on that low-calorie diet, my resting metabolic rate is probably gonna be lower than predicted.
But even just a little bit of short-term overfeeding can get my resting metabolic rate back to normal. But it’s really when it comes to the substantial fat loss and kind of the lingering effects, the non-exercise component of energy expenditure is the most notable change. And I think there’s a review paper by Rosenbaum and Liebl, I think they said that approximately 90 percent, give or take, of what we consider to be metabolic adaptation in terms of reductions in energy expenditure, I think they approximate that about 90 percent of that we can pin directly on NEAT.
Mike : [00:20:04] And that can be significant because I can hear people thinking like, “how much does it really matter though, we’re fidgeting or pacing?” But it can be, I mean, NEAT can range anywhere from like a few hundred calories a day for maybe medium terms of energy burn. Medium NEAT types, to upward of, am I remembering correctly, upward of even a thousand calories a day plus in high NEAT types, people who do tend to just move around a lot outside of any sort of exercise?
Eric: [00:20:35] Yeah. I mean there is a paper suggesting that that range of variability is probably about 2,000 calories a day. For people of the exact same body size. So the variability is huge. I mean, so an example of that, I ran a study for my dissertation that it was high paced. I was walking around the lab all the time and I felt like I could eat anything during that study because I was just on my feet all day, consistently going above like 25,000 steps a day.
Now, under normal circumstances, I’m a researcher, so I just sit at my computer and type all day, you know, and run stats and read. So even just within my own life, that variability had huge implications for how many calories I could eat without gaining weight.
Mike : [00:21:20] And just to put that in perspective, for people wondering, even just with walking, for example, you can burn, if you’re walking at a medium pace, a few hundred calories an hour. 300, 400 calories an hour’s probably average. Right?
Eric: [00:21:34] Yeah. I mean, that’s another thing I was going to say is like, when I really need to get some thinking done, I told you I like to pace a lot, and if I’m really in need of some insight, I’ll go take a walk around the neighborhood. And it’s those little things like that that you subconsciously start to constrict and constrain a little bit and all of a sudden you could see a pretty meaningful reduction in energy expenditure.
Now, I don’t want to oversell it. Metabolic adaptation is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just merely something to forecast and to plan for. The magnitude is not insurmountable by any means. So you’ll hear people concerned that they’re going to get to a point where their weight loss is fully stalled and there are no options and their energy expenditure is going to get so low that weight loss is no longer on the table.
I’ve dealt with a lot of people and I’ve never found that person. So if the idea of metabolic adaptation makes you nervous about your prospects of having successful weight loss, that really shouldn’t be the way it’s viewed. It’s not a particularly huge magnitude of adaptation for most people, but it varies a lot and it’s something that should at least be accounted for because what I find working with clients is not that there’s any physiological barrier that cannot be overcome, but it’s usually the ones that we don’t expect or understand are the ones that seem very difficult to circumvent.
Mike : [00:23:01] Yup, especially something like this, because you start Googling around and who knows where you might end up.
Eric: [00:23:07] Yeah.
Mike : [00:23:08] You might end up on Dave Asprey’s website, now you’re drinking MCT oil. You’re drinking a cup of MCT oil a day trying to …
Eric: [00:23:16] In the name of fat loss, right? [Laughing] And so metabolic rate is tricky because there’s the metabolic adaptation component where people are like, “my weight loss just hit a wall.” And it’s great when you’re working with a client, if you can say, “well, yeah, I expected that, so now it’s time for phase two,” and if you mean it, not if you’re full of shit. [Laughing] Just say it like you mean it, you’re like, “yes, I expected that we would have to make an adjustment soon and now we do.”
Another thing that really bothers people is this concept that their resting metabolic rate, just the luck of the draw that they were born with is crappy, so weight loss is just not in their future. And in reality, like, I’ve spent way too many mornings in my life measuring people’s resting metabolic rate. The variability is mostly just explained by how much you weigh and I’ve known people that can do like, legit bodybuilding weight-loss diets on pretty high calories because they’re like that one in a million person with a high metabolic rate.
I promise you, they’re still miserable during weight loss. Miserable is an overstatement, but all the things that we worry about with weight loss of being hungry and lethargic and low sex drive, it still affects them to the same magnitude, it’s just that instead of them getting that way on 1,500 calories, they get that way on 1,800 calories.
Mike : [00:24:39] In a way they’re disadvantaged because it costs more money to eat more food and it’s just more annoying. When you’re cutting, it’s like you’re eating necessarily, of course you can eat the foods you like, but there’s stuff that is just gonna be out because it’s too calorie-dense. So there’s actually no benefit to the, “oh, what? That’s bullshit. You never have to go below 2,200 calories to get as lean as you want.” That sounds nice until you factor in what you just said, which is like, “yeah, but the experience still actually sucks equally on the 2,200 with the person finishing their cuts at 2,200 or 2,000 versus the 1,700, 1,800 crowd.”
Eric: [00:25:16] Yeah, I mean, the only, like, real tangible benefit I can see from it, as you mentioned, it is more expensive, like that’s non-negligible to consider.
Mike : [00:25:24] I’m halfway joking. [Laughing] But it’s just to make people feel better, you know what I mean? Like, yeah, they’re spending more money and they’re just spending more time eating food that’s probably not the most delicious food. They’re just like putting it down, basically. But you’re going to say, though, there’s a benefit to wha, more carbs?
Eric: [00:25:38] Well, I was going to say, like when they’re bulking, that price adds up. Like, if you have to bulk on like 5,000 calories, like these are the people who can hardly get their food down when they’re bulking and have to eat all the time. The other thing I was going to say, the only real, like, tangible benefit I can see, and I don’t think it’s a huge deal, if you can diet on more calories, it gives you a little more flexibility for fitting in like a treat here or there if you’re into that. I’m not.
If I fit a little bit of something really good into my diet on a weight loss diet, that actually really is not a good thing for me because it’s like, I’ve had just a taste like, just enough to remind me what I’m missing, and then I have to stop. Like, for me, it’s easier to get tunnel vision when I’m dieting and I just kind of eat pretty basic stuff and it’s fine. I don’t miss anything.
But the other thing is, when you get people on very low calories, to the extent that it’s like, how are we going to hit this calorie mark while still getting you enough fiber and vitamins and minerals from food sources into the diet. You know what I mean?
Mike : [00:26:43] I’m assuming that’s that’s mostly an issue with smaller women, right?
Eric: [00:26:46] Correct. Correct. But then you have to get more thoughtful about, “okay, do we need to rely on some supplementation from micronutrients and how are we getting the fiber?” We have to be more thoughtful about which vegetables we select. But again, that comes up when we’re talking about very small women, very late in a very extreme diet. For the most part, it just doesn’t matter.
Mike : [00:27:06] Yeah, really, for most of the women listening, that’s not going to be an issue for you. Because most women, you know, they just want to be it’s anywhere from 18 to 20 percent body fat, and they want to have, you know, maybe 10 or 15 pounds of muscle in the right places and look, lean, athletic, defined, toned, but not bodybuilder shredded, you know.
Eric: [00:27:25] Yeah. The stuff I’m talking about is not a huge concern until you’re under 15 percent body fat.
Mike : [00:27:31] Another point that I just thought of related to RMR is age. I hear from a fair amount of people in their 40s and beyond who think that because they haven’t been exercising much up until the point of reaching out to me that their metabolisms are just shot.
Mike : [00:27:50] Yeah, it’s a very clear pattern that we see when people get older. And, you know, it’s tough because you don’t want to, like, scold them for having the wrong idea or be like, “quit being lazy,” it’s nothing like that.
Mike : [00:28:03] Oh yeah. Often it’s just that they’re actually just concerned. It’s not that they’re trying to scapegoat their metabolism and say, “oh well, you know, I haven’t even tried because of my metabolism.” It’s something they’re genuinely worried about, they’re like, “hey, I heard that …” Basically what their concern is regardless of how hard they work in the gym and how diligent they are with their meal planning, they’re not going to be able to get lean.
Like if we’re talking guys, usually we’re talking somewhere between 10 and 15 percent body fat. And for women, somewhere between 20 and 25 percent. I think that’s only for like, “those days have passed,” and, you know, they had a chance maybe when they were in their 20s, maybe 30s, but now it’s too late.
Eric: [00:28:43] Yeah. I mean, honestly, I look back at my days in high school like that already. But really what it is for the most part it’s just once we get into that, like, you know, you’re 35, you got two kids, you’re working the 9am -5pm plus overtime. The physical activity just goes down so much.
Mike : [00:29:02] And the sleep usually goes to some degree of shit, which then just makes it harder. It makes you just hungrier in general, just makes it harder to stay in really good shape.
Eric: [00:29:12] Yeah. When you look at that age range where we really start to see it happen, it’s that same age range where sleep sucks, which means stress and poor food choices are high. And it also is when exercise and non-exercise physical activity tend to take a pretty steep dive. So it’s not that it’s not harder at that age range, but it’s that all the difficulties that we’re working against are quite explainable and they’re quite actionable. And so, like for me, when I work with clients, the way I view the coach-client relationship for me is, you come to me with problems, I try to figure out what is happening, which of those things are actionable, and then we make a plan together.
So for something like that, you know some people will say, “it’s my resting metabolic rate, there’s nothing I can do.” And there’s this reaction some people have of like, “no, you’re making excuses, you’re being lazy.” And they get this, like, very negative tone. I show up and I say, “well, I’ve got some excellent news, we know exactly what’s going on here and we can actually change most of these things.” And so, like for me, I see a lot of value that when you can explain the phenomenon and there are things that can be acted upon, you’re like 90 percent of the way to solving it. You know?
Mike : [00:30:31] Yeah. Probably the only thing that, correct me if I’m wrong, but the only major factor, right, is muscle loss over time? So sure, somebody who hasn’t done anything to train their muscles, let’s say it’s a 45-year-old man or woman, they’re not going to be as naturally muscular as they were, maybe in their 20s. But even that is very small. It’s a small amount every year, and “okay, so let’s start training your muscles, and let’s get you to be more muscular than you ever were before.” And that’s very doable if they weren’t bodybuilders when they were younger, right?
Eric: [00:31:04] Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And the endocrine effects that happen with age, combined with a little bit of detraining, there’s going to be a change in body composition as we age. The question is, how severe is that change? So I turned 28 recently. I do not want to be the 28-year-old who’s lecturing people that are 50 and above about how easy it is to be 50 and above.
Mike : [00:31:26] Right. Right.
Eric: [00:31:27] [Laughing] You know what I mean, dude I can’t even imagine like, hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to experience that myself, but the endocrine changes are real. It’s an uphill battle and the incline of that hill gets steeper as we age. But what I like to reassure people is that it’s nothing that’s insurmountable. We’ve got these changes in primarily sex hormones that are dictating some of this detraining, some of this muscle loss.
So how do we use training and use our diet to try to mitigate or attenuate that decline to the best of our ability. And with a well-structured plan and with kind of expecting some of these challenges down the road, I think you can formulate a very good plan of attack so that those age-related reductions in muscle mass, and muscle function, and usually it comes along with a slight increase in body fat percentage, we can really attack those things head on and attenuate them quite successfully.
Mike : [00:32:20] Yeah, I totally agree.
Mike : [00:33:54] Let’s talk about some practical strategies to minimize metabolic adaptation when we’re cutting. Obviously, we can’t eliminate it altogether, there’s probably nothing we can do to go that far naturally, at least. But what can we do to make things as smooth as possible?
Eric : [00:34:11] I was going to say you threw in the naturally caveat there. So I’m a natural bodybuilder, but I’ve always found all the drug use stuff to just be interesting because I love physiology. So I took this like, very advanced physiology course during my Ph.D. And the professor would like to mention all these different systems and my hobby that semester was I would show her articles of all the really extreme bodybuilders who either almost died or died trying to exploit that physiological system with a drug.
You know what I mean? So, like, she was completely fascinated with it, even though she thought before that semester that bodybuilding was stupid. I was like, you actually might have quite an interest in what’s going on in bodybuilding.
Mike : [00:34:55] [Laughing] I mean, I joke that many enhanced bodybuilders are basically chemistry experiments. That’s more than anything else. Like drugs are at the top of the tier, you have drugs, genetics, and then like some training in nutrition at the bottom.
Eric : [00:35:09] Exactly, yeah. So the professor was known to be quite stern and everybody was a little intimidated by her. But like she and I were like best friends by the end of the semester, so …. the only reason I bring that up is because I wrote a big article about metabolic adaptation and somebody was like, “what if I’m on, like, all these different drugs?” And I’m like, “well, then you probably don’t have to worry about much at all.”
Mike : [00:35:30] Well, yeah, until your body falls apart, but yeah. [Laughing]
Eric : [00:35:35] Oh yeah, long term you should be concerned. But in terms of the metabolic adaptation stuff, if you’re taking drugs that increase your muscle and reduce your fat and increase your metabolic rate. Yeah, I mean, you’ve got your bases covered for now. Again, I don’t recommend that at all. But so let’s say you’re natural, right, and you’re dieting to either lose a large total amount of body fat or you’re getting very, very lean.
So those are the two spots where we really have to focus in. So even if you’re not getting shredded, if you’re losing 50, 70, 100 pounds, just the sheer magnitude of weight loss probably indicates that we’re going to have to be pretty strategic about avoiding these things. The same thing goes even if you’re naturally quite lean. Let’s say you maintain year-round like 14 percent, if you’re cutting to four, for like a bodybuilding show, a lot of people don’t actually get to four.
But you know what I mean, the lowest you could possibly get, even though the magnitude of weight loss isn’t that severe in that case, just because you’re getting so lean, these things are probably going to be at the forefront of your mind. Now, before we talk about actually attenuating metabolic adaptation itself, one thing is like, are you just generally using best practices for your fat loss goal? And so one of the things that is really important is having a proper rate of weight loss.
So in a way, it probably affects the magnitude of these adaptations because like I mentioned, we’ve got two things causing the adaptations primarily. Short-term energy unavailability, so just a lack of energy day-to-day in terms of calories, and then the reductions in fat mass. Well, the reductions in fat mass are the goal, so there’s nothing we can do about that.
But if you take a slower rate of weight loss, your daily deficit is going to be smaller. It’s a fine balance because the deficit has to be large enough to make meaningful improvements in terms of fat loss. But if you make it too big, it’s quite possible that you’re going to exacerbate some of these effects just because the acute state of low energy is so extreme in those cases.
Mike : [00:37:44] Is kind of like an exponential type of relationship as opposed to just a linear? Like, or is there a point where you’d expect this much of a, let’s say, adaptive response at a 20 percent deficit, and if you go to a 30 percent deficit, it’s not necessarily going to be 50 percent more of an adaptive response, it might be larger than that?
Eric : [00:38:05] In terms of the shape of the curve …
Mike : [00:38:08] I mean, maybe I’m making things too abstract. I’m actually just genuinely curious because that’s something that I’m like, “that’s a good point. I’ve never looked into myself, actually.” Or is it very just individual? I could see that also. That some people – responses can vary a lot.
Eric : [00:38:24] I would say your initial response is probably more in line with where I’m thinking, where there is a certain range in which we’re generally going to be fine and we’re generally going to be losing. I certainly don’t expect it to be perfectly linear. I do think once the energy availability gets pretty huge, then we start to see bigger, you know, much more pronounced effect.
But at the same time, I think there’s got to be some kind of, basically a basement, where it’s like you’re just fully screwed right now. So that’s why I was hesitant to get into, like, the specifics of a trajectory, because I think there are some discrete ranges where it’s like, you’re in a pretty okay range, then below that, you’re pretty screwed. But like below that threshold, it’s just you’re completely screwed. I don’t know how much worse you can make it, if that makes sense.
I’ll have to draw a curve on a napkin tonight and figure out how to phrase that better. [Laughing] But so setting an appropriate rate of weight loss, which is basically code for having an appropriate size of your energy deficit. Another thing you want to make sure you’re doing when you’re doing this fat loss process is making sure that your macronutrient split is correct. So making sure you have plenty of protein to actually retain the lean mass that you have.
Making sure you have enough fat in your diet to support endocrine function. And then carbohydrate intake tends to be quite linked to leptin. So I mentioned that short term fluctuations in energy availability affect leptin. But more specifically, carbohydrate is most closely tied to leptin. So all things being equal, the more carbs you can squeeze into your diet, probably the better when it comes to attenuating metabolic adaptation.
However, if you’re at an energy deficit, it’s still going to be there to some extent and you have to weigh the pros and cons of the more you let carbohydrates get high. You certainly don’t want to displace protein beyond a certain point. And if you’re fat is too low, you’re going to have independent negative effects on things like testosterone production if you’re a male or, you know, just the sex hormone production in general.
Mike : [00:40:36] Do you want to put some specific numbers on these things, like, for example, how large of a deficit or if you wanna look at it the other way, what rate of weight loss should we be going for? In terms of macros, some general best practices. Like something I say often, I mean you may disagree, is shooting for somewhere between a half percent to one percent of body weight loss per week, 20 to 25 percent deficit is what that usually comes down to for most people.
Eric : [00:41:01] Yeah. Yeah. So depending on how lean they are, you know, if you’ve got a lot of fat to lose, I’ll be up closer to one percent. If you’re a little bit leaner, I might go to like .25 or .5 percent. In terms of calorie deficits, depending on body size I usually don’t like to go more than like, 300, 500 as like my start calories per day, it’s like my starting deficit and then I kind of see how body weight is responding. So yeah, going much over 500 for your first change to the diet, I think is a little bit farther than I usually like to go. For protein I usually start with like a gram per pound of body weight.
Mike : [00:41:38] And just to put that in perspective for people in terms of percentage, so my average daily energy expenditure is probably, when you factor in exercise and whatever, is probably around 2,800 or so. So if I were in a 20 percent deficit, I’d be a bit over 500 calories per day. So maybe that’ll be a little bit aggressive, I probably would start closer to … like I said, it depends. I mean, I don’t know, I’m not, gonna be gaining any muscle.
Like really when I’m cutting I’m just trying to preserve muscle. So my mindset has generally been, “I want to finish my cut as quickly as possible, I don’t want to get reckless, I don’t wanna make it worse than it needs to be.” But I also don’t want to drag it out because I’ve found, for myself, at least, that a smaller deficit does make for an easier dieting experience, but it’s not that much easier to where I’m not willing to go with a larger deficit, like a larger deficit, for me, again, it’s not linearly worse.
It’s maybe just a little bit worse but when I get to my goal, let’s say 20, 30 percent faster, there’s the benefit of then just getting it over with, but then also being able to get back to something a bit more productive and enjoyable, like maintaining or maybe going into a gaining phase.
Eric : [00:42:52] Yeah, I mean, when I am working with a client, I’ll basically try to get an idea of what their energy expenditure is likely to be. Another thing I keep in mind is realistically, how long do we intend to be cutting and how far do we have to go? As you’re saying, like depending on the client, if they’re like, “hey, I’m pretty lean, but I want to get very lean and I want to do it in twelve weeks,” just so that it’s done, there are certainly instances where I would say, “sure,” you know, 500 calories is not some magical deficit limit.
You can certainly go beyond that, especially depending on body size. But yeah, so it’s flexible, but I usually try to start – most of my clients I’m working with for pretty long-term goals. And so, like, I try to start out with a pretty gradual thing and only resort to bigger deficits when I need to, so that’s kind of how I frame it. But I mean, there’s a case study in the literature with a very good natural bodybuilder where they literally just like made an initial cut in calories and they just rolled with it for six months. Like no changes.
Mike : [00:43:52] Holy shit.
Eric : [00:43:54] And he got in terrific shape. I think he either went pro or did a pro show. And yeah, I think they dropped him to like maybe 2,600 calories, give or take. He’s a big guy. He’s about as big as you see in natural bodybuilding. I mean, yeah, so off-season he was well over 200 pounds.
Mike : [00:44:09] Yeah. That’s, a big boy if he can … he obviously was exercising a lot to be able to eat that much.
Eric : [00:44:15] Yeah that’s true. Yeah. He was doing quite a bit of pretty high-intensity cardio. So there are some people that just say, “you know what? Instead of like a 500, give me like a 700 and let’s just not touch it. I’m just gonna go in diet mode and I’m going to lose all the weight and then when we’re done, we’re done.” So there’s a balance there where, again, I think there’s like a workable range where it’s big enough to promote weight loss, but not so big that you’re going to really back yourself into a corner when it comes to making more reductions down the road. I think there’s like a decent, workable range.
And then once you get below that, then you’re getting a little bit extreme. And more often than not, what we see once you get below that decent workable range is not that energy or that weight loss completely stops, it’s just that the person just hates it and just they’re like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And it’s because some of these feedback mechanisms with regard to sex drive, and hunger, and energy level, and mood.
Mike : [00:45:12] Workouts get really hard. That was the one thing I didn’t like when I was deeper into a cut was it just took more willpower, so to speak, to be like, “all right, it’s time to squat today. This is not gonna be fun. It’s time to deadlift today, this is not going to be fun.”
Eric : [00:45:28] Yeah, it’s pretty crazy how terrible workouts can get really late in the process, even if you do it pretty well. So, yeah, that’s kind of my viewpoint on the size of the deficit. It’s highly, highly individualized. Carbs you’d like to keep as high as you can. I never let my fans get below like, .6 or .7 grams per kilogram. And so usually what that means is when I’m down in contest shape, I usually rarely go below like 45 or 50 grams of fat a day.
Mike : [00:45:55] I was just going to say, that works out to like 0.3-ish grams per pound of body weight per day for people wondering about the kilograms.
Eric : [00:46:03] Yeah, give or take. But yeah, so when fat gets super, super low, you run into issues with endocrine function, you run into issues with – we’ve got these fat soluble vitamins that if we’re not eating fat, they’re absorption becomes quite minimal.
Mike : [00:46:19] It also makes a diet very unenjoyable. Fat makes things taste better. Even if you’re trying to eat things that you like, when you remove – let’s say you’re eating a salad and you go from some oil and maybe some avocado in the salad to take those fats out and save balsamic vinegar, right. So you’re keeping it real basic, just trying to get a little bit of good fat in, you take the fats out, that salad is – I mean, I’ve been there myself, you have to like, choke it down. It is not nice, whereas you might actually enjoy it with the fats.
Eric : [00:46:50] Yeah. So, obviously, like my buddy Greg Nuckols, like I eat dinner at his house every Sunday night and he’s a very, very good chef. But like he’s very straightforward. He’s like, “yeah, the more fat I put into it, the better it tastes,” so …
Mike : [00:47:05] That is why eating out is such a pain in the ass. Because, how do you make anything taste better? You add butter. How do you make any dessert taste better? You add butter and sugar. Just more. Just put more.
Eric : [00:47:16] Yes. Like, you know, Greg’s a powerlifter and I’m a bodybuilder. So like I’m not very particular about how I eat in the off season unless I need to be. My running joke is every time I go over, he’ll make some, like, ridiculously decadent cheesecake or something. I’ll just be like, “and you’re sure there’s no fat in this, right? Because it tastes really good.” And he’s like, “no, there’s like 50,000 grams of fat per serving in that.”
Mike : [00:47:41] Literally.
Eric : [00:47:42] Yeah. So like the fat is the flavor, but it’s also the mouthfeel. Like the salad example, like when you even just take out any source of lipid from a salad, even just the texture gets so unpalatable and terrible. Yeah. So fat has to be in there, protein has to be in there, and you really just want to get away with as many carbs as you can. Another thing to manage again is the training load.
When you look at some of these aspects of metabolic adaptation, like the downstream effects of them in terms of energy expenditure and energy level, in terms of your day to day, how lethargic you are, a lot of the things we see with metabolic adaptation are actually quite similar to certain aspects of like, pretty moderate overtraining type symptoms.
And I think a lot of people underestimate that most people are already on a pretty comprehensive resistance training program that I work with, and I would imagine many of your listeners are as well, so you already have like a full rigorous weight training program and a lot of people don’t realize that they’re subconsciously like, doing as much aerobic exercise as like a low-level marathon runner.
They just start layering so much cardio on top of an already rigorous training program and I think what that does in terms of energy availability and the cortisone to testosterone ratio, the ability to recover from training, the ability to sleep well at night, there’s a lot of compounding issues that come into play when you start loading a really excessive training stress on top of low energy availability. So whenever I work with clients and we’re worried about anything in the realm of metabolic adaptation, one of the first things I take a really close look at is how much excessive cardio are we doing and how do we scale that back to a more reasonable level?
Mike : [00:49:36] Definitely want you to touch on that, before you do I just wanted to interject on the weightlifting side of things. Do you have any sort of rule of thumb regarding volume? Like, for example, something that I often talk about or say and write about or mention in articles that I write is – because I just get asked a lot about volume, especially – it’s been interesting how frequency a year or two ago was touted as, “this is the new thing. Frequency is king.”
And then now we know, okay that’s actually not quite the case, that volume is more important than frequency, how you get there is kind of where frequency comes in. But my point I was saying is that, for most people out there wanting to get anywhere from fit to super fit, if you’re doing 10 to 20 hard sets, as Greg likes to say, per major muscle group per week, and if you’re taking those sets close to technical failure, you know, the standard bodybuilding, weightlifting approach on those sets, that’s pretty much it.
And on the lower end of that volume could be somebody who’s newer and doesn’t need so much volume to get all that they can out of their training. And then the higher end of that would be more applicable to intermediate or advanced people who have to work a lot harder for a lot less. And so when cutting, what I’ve often told people, is probably somewhere down on the lower end of that volume range makes sense.
Because if you’re in a state, if you’re new and you can gain muscle while cutting, then it’s gonna happen, period. And I don’t think going from like 10 to 12, maybe 15 hard sets per major muscle group per week, up to 20 is going to make that big of a difference in terms of progress and it’s going to make your workouts a lot harder and everything a lot harder.
And if you’re an intermediate or advanced, you’re not going to be gaining any muscle really to speak of or strength to speak of. So let’s make the workouts challenging, let’s make sure that we’re burning some energy, let’s make sure we are preserving as much muscle as we can, but let’s not take it too far. What are your thoughts on that?
Eric : [00:51:29] You know, there are different ways to operationalize volume.
Mike : [00:51:32] Yeah, I really like Greg. That’s why I’m just giving him credit for that. Because when I first read that from him, I was like, “I like that. That’s simple,” and to me, I thought it just gets straight to the point and it’s very practical, especially for my crowd, which I’m mostly speaking to, just everyday people who want to get into shape and they’re not a competitive bodybuilder for most of them or not.
Eric : [00:51:54] Yeah, yeah. I think that concept of hard sets, the other approach is to volume of just basically looking at a product of sets and reps and load. That premise really starts to break down when you throw some not super realistic scenarios at it. But like the fact that it’s not robust to various scenarios where like you could theoretically be like, “you know what, I could get a lot of volume and get really crappy adaptations if I arranged it this way.” I mean, it’s probably not the best, most comprehensive way to find volume. So I agree.
Mike : [00:52:26] It also requires a spreadsheet. Which for a lot of people, just adding that extra layer of complexity makes it less palatable.
Eric : [00:52:35] Yeah. So what I usually do when it comes to volume getting late into these types of fairly extreme weight loss programs or weight loss approaches, I lower volume in a way. So I’ve talked to Eric Helms about this a lot. Eric and I, we were like both talking at an event in Finland, I guess, several months ago. I don’t know where all the time went.
But yeah, we were just in Finland and it was like a very bodybuilding-focused academic event, which is like one in a million, so that was pretty cool. But we were hanging out talking about this a little bit and when it comes to maintaining training adaptations, you can actually get by with relatively low volume as long as you maintain intensity.
So when we look at the detraining literature as an example, like, you can maintain adaptations that took a lot of volume to build, even if you slash volume, assuming that you maintain decent intensity. Now, what I generally tend to do late in these types of diets is, the volume will drop, but it’s more because I’m focusing toward maintaining higher intensities and transitioning into some lower rep ranges. And I know that that’s not a particularly popular approach, but it makes sense to me in terms of what do we have to prioritize to actually maintain muscular adaptations to training? And I think maintaining intensity is a huge deal.
Mike : [00:54:01] How come? I think that’s worth diving into a little bit. We don’t have to get into the weeds on it.
Eric : [00:54:06] Yeah, I mean, there’s several examples quite literally showing it. Where we can train somebody up or just assess whatever training status they were at at the beginning of a study. And we’ve seen it with aerobic outcomes and with strength outcomes, but we can actually slash volume quite a lot and as long as intensity stays high, a lot of those adaptations are actually retained during a low volume block. Now, in terms of why for this scenario, if you can maintain your training volume and your intensity throughout this entire thing, great.
Mike : [00:54:37] Either you started with probably a relatively low volume or you’re a super freak.
Eric : [00:54:42] Right. So a lot of people cannot. And so for me, if I have to bend on either the volume or the intensity, knowing that we’re focusing on maintaining what we have, not building what we don’t have, I tend to air on the side of: why don’t we start transitioning to lower rep ranges so that we can maintain high load training without doing a level of training volume that you’re going to have no chance to recover from. So I actually try to get my clients to focus on maintaining their strength adaptations as a proxy for maintaining their muscle adaptations.
Mike : [00:55:18] Yeah, I agree. That’s what I’ve always done myself and I always tell people, “look, if we can keep you about as strong, I mean, you’re going to lose a little bit.” I mean, whenever I would cut to get fairly lean, I would usually end having lost a couple reps on my key lifts, maybe at five. My bench for some reason, always got hit the most, so I might have lost five pounds on that and a couple reps, but my squat and deadlift maybe lose a couple reps, maybe have to go down 5 max, 10 pounds.
Reassuring for people to know that if we can keep you more or less as strong as you started, the actual muscle tissue loss as opposed to just water and glycogen and things that might look, even if you’ve got DEXA scanned look scary, actual muscle loss is gonna be negligible, right?
Eric : [00:56:05] Yeah, yeah. And you mentioned glycogen. That’s another reason that I like to transition towards some of these lower rep ranges while trying to maintain higher loads is, you know, when you’re deep into a diet and you’re getting pretty lean, glycogen depletion is just part of your life now. That is your existence in a lot of cases. And what we see is that glycogen depletion is not uniform throughout the muscle.
Mike : [00:56:28] Sure.
Eric : [00:56:29] And what I mean by that is, we seem to preferentially lose glycogen from pockets of glycogen storage that are near the sarcoplasmic reticulum and that’s really important for calcium release during muscle contraction. And so that’s probably a little deeper than we need to get. But the general premise is when you’re deep in a diet and you’re pretty glycogen depleted, your performance on a set of three or a set of five is way less hindered than your ability to crank out 12 or 15 good reps with a given load. You know what I mean?
Mike : [00:56:58] Yep.
Eric : [00:56:59] What I look at when I’m talking about deep into the diet is, why am I going to keep focusing on a very glycogen dependent loading range when I know you don’t have the glycogen to actually carry this out?
Mike : [00:57:12] Yeah, that’s a good point. As a practical benefit of that is, you’re going to enjoy your workouts more. Period. You just will. And that matters too. I think it does matter.
Eric : [00:57:20] Of course.
Mike : [00:57:21] If you’re showing up to the gym and you already are not feeling so great because you’ve been in a deficit for however long. And if you have a workout that if you least are going, “okay, this is not going to be too bad.” Like, “I’m not dreading it,” versus feeling like this is the last thing you want to do, that matters.
Eric : [00:57:39] Yeah. And it’s so hard to explain to people that haven’t felt it because it’s such a terrible, demoralizing feeling. But I remember my last prep, it’s not that I just like, “oh, all I do is triples now,” I still had some high rep work in my program. But when you’re deep in prep and you get to that point where, when you lift weights, no pump at all.
It’s very difficult to even break a sweat lifting and then you’re trying to push a higher rep range and you get to like the ninth rep and it’s just not there. And it’s like it’s so weird because you’re used to normally hitting failure. You associate it with sensations, right? You’re sweaty and it burns and you have a pump. And, you know, there’s all these sensations.
Mike : [00:58:19] You know it’s coming.
Mike : [00:58:20] Exactly. And you’re like, “oh, that’s what hitting a 12th rep to near failure feels like.” But when you’re in that state and you have no thyroid hormone and no leptin and no testosterone, you don’t sweat when you work out anymore, you don’t get a pump, and you don’t even get far enough in the set to even feel that kind of burning, you just get to number nine and it doesn’t go up, and you’re like, “what the hell’s happening?”
So that’s kind of several reasons that I do cut volume in an effort to preserve intensity. But the cut in volume is not necessarily a drop in the number of sets. It’s more a shift in repetition range. The only caveat there is, sometimes I will drop the volume, the number of sets, when it comes to accessory exercises.
So if my client is feeling like crap in their workouts and they just don’t have the fuel to keep pushing through it, I’ll say, “you know what? That accessory exercise that you totally hate, let’s just drop it. We’ve got plenty of other stuff covered from your compounds, your primary movements.” So I do trim the accessory volume a little bit.
Mike : [00:59:23] Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. I don’t want to turn this into like a three hour podcast. I have to admit, so I wrote an article for our site about this topic and I just started writing and it ended up being 22,000 words.
Mike : [00:59:35] So it’s a small book? [Laughing]
Eric : [00:59:35] I don’t want to do that. I mean, for fitness ebooks it’s just a book, basically. But I mean, so I don’t want to do that to your podcast and make it like a day long event. So I want to get into the stuff that actually directly tries to attenuate metabolic adaptation itself.
Mike : [00:59:52] Yeah. Sure. We got off on this tangent. We were on cardio. You started to talk about cardio and then I digressed us, but …
Eric : [01:00:01] It was a really productive conversation, so …
Mike : [01:00:04] Yeah, no, I totally agree.
Eric : [01:00:06] So when it comes to actually dealing with metabolic adaptation itself head on, there’s this concept of non linear energy deficits. So we talked earlier about the size of the deficit, but inherently we were making the assumption that that daily deficit was carried out essentially every day. Now the emerging area is, what if we did the deficit in a non-linear way?
And what that would look like could range from a short term refeed to a long term diet break. So let’s say you’re on a 500 calorie a day deficit. Let’s say you maintain that Monday through Saturday, but then every Sunday you eat maintenance calories. So there’s an extra 500 calories on Sundays. What that does is, it puts your body in a state where for that arbitrary 24 hour period, you’re no longer in a caloric deficit.
So the idea is, how can we use a concept like that to essentially – it’s almost like you’re trying to talk your body into recognizing like, “hey, it’s fine. There is energy out there somewhere. We don’t need to have this near starvation type approach to this because we’re gonna be just fine.” Now, looking at that literature the other end of the spectrum is the diet break and in some cases, you’ll see studies where they’ll do like, two weeks of a caloric deficit and then they will follow that with two weeks of just eating right at maintenance.
So it’s almost like, you’re not just going back to whatever you want, but it’s like, let’s do two weeks of weight loss and then very strictly maintain that for two weeks. But acutely during those two weeks, you are not in a caloric deficit. And so all the short term types of fluctuations in hormone levels theoretically have a little bit of an opportunity to reverse to some extent.
Mike : [01:02:00] And obviously, what you can’t reverse, for example, one of the things can’t reverse okay, your body fat levels are going down, leptin levels are just going to be lower. Like there are some things that just are what they are, right?
Eric : [01:02:09] Right. But the thing with the leptin, though, is that it is modified by both the fat loss and the acute energy deficit. So with leptin – I mean, you’re not going to completely attenuate the drop in leptin, that’s absolutely off the table. But could you maybe attenuate exactly how much it drops because you’re using this kind of manipulation of the energy deficit to, every so often, get a little tiny leptin recovery?
And the question is how long and how high, in terms of your caloric changes? So if you spend one day eating at caloric maintenance, you’re just wasting your time. I mean, from a physiological perspective, you’re getting nothing out of that. Now, if you do like a huge overfeeding and you eat like a huge caloric surplus, yeah, you’re going to see a recovery of like resting metabolic rate, maybe non exercise activity, certainly leptin.
But the problem is that the increase you see is going to be totally offset by your short term fat accumulation because you overfed so much. So it’s a very tricky balance where you have to get the calories high enough to matter and have them present long enough to matter. But if you go too far with it, you’re just going to restore fat.
And so one end of the spectrum is to do it like a short term refeed of, you know, right around maintenance, maybe just a touch above maintenance and doing that for like two or three days. I’m of the opinion that one day is probably not enough. Another approach would be to go just very conservatively, straight to maintenance, but no higher. And to do that for a week or two. I think within that range somewhere in there, there’s a sweet spot. I think the lower you go for duration, the higher you probably need to go with caloric intake to the extent that you might be in a very small surplus if you’re trying to use like a two day refeed.
Mike : [01:04:05] And as far as macros go on increasing calories, are you prioritizing carbs or?
Eric : [01:04:10] I would certainly prioritize carbs big time. And I would be very, very, very cautious about how much fat finds its way in.
Mike : [01:04:17] Yeah.
Eric : [01:04:17] Because people always say, “oh carbs, we turn them into fat.” Not really. Not that much.
Mike : [01:04:22] Not really. Not really at all. You have to eat a lot of carbs for several days in a row for DNL to contribute significantly to fat gain, right?
Eric : [01:04:34] Yeah, definitely. If you are in a weight-reduced state, you preferentially – like let’s say you finish a diet and you just go back to normal eating, and this is something that I’ve run it at least a couple studies on during grad school. If you go from, like being very lean and you diet down, and you lose a ton of weight, and you just go back to normal, you are preferentially going to regain fat.
The question is how preferentially? So if you’re in this dieting state and you just let a bunch of fat back into the diet. Fat from the diet is so readily stored in that state. When you look at the macros of a diet break or refeed, you want to be very cautious with the fat amount. I basically just say leave it alone.
Mike : [01:05:14] Yeah, that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve just eaten more carbs.
Eric : [01:05:18] Yeah. I mean, the only exception to that would be if you were still pretty early in the diet but implementing these breaks or refeed anyway, I could actually see maybe displacing some of the fat with carbohydrate, but I would still never get below that like 0.6 or 0.7 grams per kilogram. So those are the two approaches. My buddy Bill Campbell is a professor at USF. I say my buddy, but like it’s not an even relationship.
Like, I totally look up to him and like he’s like my mentor that I never directly worked under. But I’ve been lucky to get involved with some of his studies at USF. They recently, you know, a year or two ago did a study on two day refeeds and there was a little bit of an effect. More recently, there was a study with two week diet breaks from a different lab. And the two week diet break results were like, they were pretty huge.
Somewhere between two days and two weeks is going to be the sweet spot, I think. Where you’re there long enough to actually have a restorative benefit that attenuate some of these reductions in energy expenditure. But, you know, we can’t just pause our weight loss forever because we’re never gonna get there. So I think the one to two week diet break strategy seems to be really appealing and if you’re not at a part of your diet where you really need that yet, maybe a shorter like, two or three day refeed could make sense.
And I know that’s not fun to say like, “well, here’s all these different scenarios and circumstances,” but unfortunately, physiology is kind of difficult. [Laughing] You know, it doesn’t really lend itself to one size fits all, very simple statements. I should also mention, when I talk about whether or not these are effective, I haven’t really defined what effective is, which is a problem.
So when we look at a refeed study or a diet break study, the main things we’re really looking at is: do they have an effect on leptin, do they have an effect on some component of energy expenditure, either resting or non exercise or total, and then finally, in the long term, do they actually have a benefit when it comes to the fat loss that was achieved?
And generally what you see is – I know at least with a two week diet break study, it appeared to successfully reduce the adaptive reduction in energy expenditure, and it also had more favorable effects for long term fat loss outcomes. So right now the data pertaining to these nonlinear dieting strategies are preliminary. They’re certainly not set in stone yet, but they are quite promising.
And I think when it comes to metabolic adaptation, aside from just doing weight loss correctly with some of those things we talked about, a reasonable rate of weight loss, good macros, proper training load, trying to get sleep and minimize stress, this is kind of the one thing we can look at as being in our back pocket for like maybe this is a strategy to address this head on while still promoting forward progress toward the weight loss goal.
Mike : [01:08:13] Yeah, yeah.Just one thing I would add on the duration and the frequency of refeeds and diet breaks is for people listening who are in the middle of losing weight or about to start losing weight. I would say play it by year basically, you may or may not need to do either refeeds or diet breaks to get to your goal.
Let me know, Eric, if you disagree, but often what I’ve told people is: for people, let’s say, for example, people who want to get very lean then there’s a point where you’re going to want to do it, almost certainly for people who are starting out, let’s say, overweight, and they want to get to just a normal lean-ish kind of – let’s say it’s a guy who his first milestone is just to get around 15 percent body fat, say he’s starting at 25 or something, may or may not need to.
And so if you are moving along and everything is good, your workouts are good, you’re losing weight at the rate that you want, and you have really no complaints, I don’t know if it would make sense to add refeeds or diet brakes in that scenario because it will make things take a little bit longer. But if things are difficult and you’re running into a number of the issues Eric’s been talking about, then it may make sense to incorporate refeeding or diet braking to mitigate some of that.
Eric : [01:09:25] Yeah. I mean, if you remember all the way back, you know, I kind of mentioned there’s two key scenarios where all this metabolic adaptation stuff matters, and it’s either a large total amount of weight loss or getting super, super lean. So if I get a client who says, “I want to lose 100 pounds,” I’m already thinking we’re gonna take plenty of two week diet breaks because this is a long term goal and we’re gonna need it.
If I’ve got a client who says, “I want to do a show in 16 weeks and I want to get as lean as a human being can be while still being alive,” I’m saying, “okay, well, I’ve got 16 weeks. Two week diet breaks are probably off the table, but we might need some refeeds at some point during this.” But if you’re, you know, generally just doing a weight loss diet.
You know, “I want to get back to how I looked ten years ago, I want to lose 20 pounds over a reasonable timeframe,” I don’t think you’re going to need it. So I’m with you on that. And I also think for those types of clients, generally speaking, any time we take away from forward progress toward the goal, we often run the risk of threatening motivation and threatening just the general momentum.
Mike : [01:10:32] And just giving life more opportunity to get in the way.
Eric : [01:10:35] Yeah. Yeah. So I actually think for some people, these things would kind of be contraindicated. Like there are some people that I’d say, “no, don’t throw that wrinkle into the plan when you’re making great progress, there’s no physiological rationale for it.” You’re going bum them out because you’re putting their progress on pause for two weeks.
So I actually treat those types of things – sometimes I treat them a little bit like deloads. You’re really hitting your stride in the training block and you’re like, “well, theoretically, I should probably take a deload soon, but I’ll probably just wait and see when life throws a deload at me. You know what I mean?
Mike : [01:11:11] Yep. Especially when you have kids. When the inevitable cold or something comes.
Eric : [01:11:15] Yeah. I mean you’ll get sick or somebody will get sick or you’ll need to travel in a couple weeks for work and are like, “oh cool, I’ll just enjoy the city and not spend my travel time in a hotel gym.” I usually let life determine when my deloads occur and it’s usually just busy work weeks or, you know, fun things where I’m like, “oh, cool, I don’t have to train during that vacation now.” Yeah.
I mean, when it comes to a client who doesn’t really need it and it might threaten to mess with their motivation, it’s almost like one of those things that when you do hit a snag and it’s like, “oh man, things have been bad for the last three days,” you say, “okay, cool, we’ll call it a refeed, let’s get back to work. No big deal.”
Mike : [01:11:55] Yup, makes sense. Shall we quickly touch on – because we said we would do it, preventing the regain rebound.
Eric : [01:12:03] Yeah.
Mike : [01:12:04] You’ve actually already probably explained the fundamentals of it, right? But I think it’s worth just at least giving the practical take away of, okay, you’re done cutting. Good job. You reached your goal. Now, of course, you want to stay there for some period of time. You want to probably enjoy it at least for a little bit, even if you plan on transitioning into like, a lean bulking phase or whatever. What’s the best way of going about that?
Eric : [01:12:24] Yeah. So if you’ve run into some of these metabolic adaptations in that post diet phase, you might want to reverse some of these adaptations. You know, so if the weight loss has been extreme to the extent that you have, like, you know, low sex drive or different endocrine things that are a little bit out of whack, surely there’s an interest in restoring those and essentially recovering from the diet.
Now, if you’re like a general lifestyle client who has dieted to a very maintainable body weight, this stuff is a lot less serious. What I would say, though, is regardless of where you started and where you finish, the body tends to be quite susceptible to fat regain after the diet. And this has been shown in physique athletes, like bodybuilders, it’s been shown in people who were obese that dieted to a normal body weight, it’s been shown pretty much across the spectrum of human body compositions.
So things to focus on if you’re either – like, let’s say, just to make things simple, you actually intend to maintain most, if not all of this weight loss, the things that the literature would suggest are: you should probably ease back into a slightly higher caloric intake, you can probably accommodate getting out of the deficit, getting to maintenance, and maybe your maintenance drifts upward a little bit with time, that’s the thing that happens sometimes.
But either way, you don’t want to just go crazy and eat a ton. Another thing that seems to be really helpful – if you look at the behavioral research, like who successfully maintains fat loss and who doesn’t? The people who maintain fat loss really well are the people who do monitoring and the people who keep high energy flux. So when it comes to monitoring, even something as simple as continuing to track your food intake, however you track it.
You know, not everybody needs to weigh every leaf of spinach, but keeping some type of tracking on your general food or caloric intake and keeping an eye on your daily or weekly body weight. So I like daily assuming that there’s no underlying issue like, anytime you get into the realm of disordered eating, that’s when I refer clients out to a dietitian.
So I don’t work in that area. But assuming that it’s not a problem from a psychological perspective, monitoring your food intake and your body weight seems to correlate quite well with successfully maintaining fat loss.
Mike : [01:14:45] And daily are you just keeping an eye on like the 7 or 10 day average or are you literally just looking at the day to day? Which I guess I mean, if you understand the context and if you understand what you’re looking at, I guess it doesn’t really matter either way. It’s just often – I guess this is more, I’m thinking with people who are new and particularly women who have been so indoctrinated to live and die by the scale, and that if your weight ever goes up, that’s bad, and you always want it to go down.
I do say I think it’s smart to weigh yourself every day, assuming that there aren’t other issues. But don’t be too concerned with the slight fluctuations. Let’s pay closer attention to like a seven day average and see how that’s moving. But I guess the context is a little bit different there.
Eric : [01:15:30] No, absolutely. So just to put my biases on the table, like my main thing that people knew me for in grad school was that I love statistics and regression. So, yeah, there’s not a single body weight value, if you track it every day, there’s not a single value that I actually care about. For me, it’s what is our trend line look like? Is the slope positive and if so, how steep is the slope? I want to see that we are generally maintaining within a few pounds of normal and that it’s not getting too haywire. I also would say allow yourself to regain just a tiny bit off the bat if you’re dieting pretty hard.
Mike : [01:16:09] If you’re adding carbs you can expect that right away, right?
Eric : [01:16:12] Yeah. So give yourself a couple pounds right off the bat, depending on body size that will depend how many pounds you get. If you diet down to like 108 pounds, then you shouldn’t regain seven overnight. But yeah, just keep an eye on the trend and weight and like you said, a seven day average or just like, a running average and seeing the slope of that line, that’s how I usually do it.
But yeah, I don’t get too worried about any single value, look at the averages, don’t make any, you know, huge overreactions to any single value. The other aspect there, I said, is keeping high energy flux. And what that means is, for whatever reason, from a physiological perspective, there’s two ways to maintain energy balance. Right? So you can either have low energy expenditure and low food intake or you can have high energy expenditure and high food intake. See what I’m saying?
You know, you have that range of activity level and as long as it matches the intake of calories from food, you’re still going to be at energy balance. It’s just they could both be low or they could both be high. And for whatever reason, from a physiological perspective, people who have a high energy flux, so the people who tend to have higher energy expenditure, meaning that they’re staying active, they’re doing structured exercise, they’re doing non-exercise activities.
Those people seem to have much stronger success when it comes to maintaining their fat loss. So general population just, you know, normal weight loss, I would say those two things are huge: tracking and high energy flux. Which is basically code for: rely on staying active, don’t just keep restricting food forever. Now, I do want to talk about people in more severe situations.
So people think this only applies to bodybuilders, but in reality, we can see lasting hormonal effects of weight loss in people that have lost substantial way, even if they started as an obese individual. You know, you don’t have to get to like five percent body fat to get this stuff. But if you lost a lot of weight because you started, you know, fairly obese, you can still have some persistent symptoms related to metabolic adaptation for years on end.
And so in that stage, either because you got really, really lean or you lost a ton of total fat, you’re going to have to have a plan for what you do after that weight loss is over. And you basically recover from that dieting process. And there’s really three aspects of recovery. The easy one is just not being in a deficit anymore, okay. Literally you could solve that issue in about an hour. That’s just no longer being one.
Mike : [01:18:44] One tweet to Domino’s.
Eric : [01:18:46] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. The other thing is restoring fat mass and that’s something that we don’t – in most cases, we don’t want to do fully, but it is going to have some bearing on the recovery. I think there’s a fine line there, but if you’re getting to a weight that simply you are not going to be able to maintain, some small degree of fat loss is probably going to happen and it’s probably going to promote a little bit of endocrine system recovery.
Mike : [01:19:12] Fat gain, right?
Eric : [01:19:13] Fat gain, yeah. Now, fat free mass is the interesting one because when people end these diets and they’re like super lean or they’ve lost a ton of weight, when we start regaining some weight, which we’re probably gonna regain some, the evidence now suggests that you’re gonna preferentially gain fat. And I’ve done a couple studies with physique athletes where the first six, eight weeks after a competition, they just don’t regain any fat-free mass aside from the first couple days of just water weight.
And again, water weight counts as fat free mass because it’s not adipose tissue. And so what’s really tricky is we need to find a way to help people start restoring fat free mass earlier in the weight regain phase, because until you restore fat free mass to pre dieting levels, something called hyperphasia seems to really persist. And hyperphasia is the academic term for being really, really, really hungry.
There have been studies where people reduce body weight, they lose some mixture of fat mass and lean mass. Even after they’ve restored all the fat mass that they lost, they’re still really, really, really hungry. And it’s not until they’ve essentially regained all of their lean mass that they lost that that hunger starts to go away. Now, the problem there is, because you preferentially gain the fat first, there is a non-negligible chance that in your quest to restore fat-free mass, you actually regain more fat than you started with.
Because what’s happening there is the fat gain comes quite readily and easily and if you overdo it in terms of how quickly you’re regaining weight, I mean, regaining lean mass takes time. As anyone who’s touched a weight knows. So one of the problems there is that because the fat regained is so rapid and easy, you might still have a great deal of hunger even after that fat mass is restored because the lean mass hasn’t been restored yet.
So one of the things I try to focus on with people is we either got super lean because you’re a bodybuilder or you lost like 100 pounds or something like that, I say, “okay, first of all, let’s not expect that we’re going to maintain 100 percent of this weight loss.” If you’re a bodybuilder, frankly, I want to get you back to a normal human body weight, which as a male, I don’t want you really under eight percent in the off-season.
I mean, even that is way lower than I would ever maintain. I maintain like, usually like 14 or 15 in off season. But if you’re a bodybuilder I want to get you back to a normal body weight and I want to try to do it slow enough that we can gain lean mass as we’re regaining the fat. And that’s easier said than done, and I’ve done a couple studies out of a couple of different labs trying to figure out how we can do that.
For now, I think all I can say is, not that I’m withholding anything, we don’t know yet. I think trying to take a fairly linear approach to reintroducing calories to the diet while staying on a progressive, well-designed resistance training program with plenty of protein in the diet, I think that’s all I can really recommend now.
Mike : [01:22:15] And maybe incorporating some other strategies, dietary strategies that you would normally use while cutting to minimize hunger.
Eric : [01:22:24] Some of the strategies, yes. But I also would not recommend any of the non-linear stuff. So, like, I wouldn’t say like, oh yeah. As we’re redoing that, we should be doing refeeds or like …
Mike : [01:22:35] Sure, sure. But even simple stuff like making sure that you’re not only drinking enough water, hopefully, or maybe a non-caloric beverage if you don’t like drinking water, but drinking during meals, making sure that your fiber intake, maybe even bumping it up a little bit, prioritizing foods that are higher in volume but lower in calories. Stuff like that.
Eric : [01:22:58] Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s why I was like, “yeah. Not the non-linear stuff, but all of that stuff.
Mike : [01:23:04] Yes. Yeah.
Eric : [01:23:05] Because the nonlinear stuff is all about getting out of a deficit for a minute. And if you’re still in a deficit during this weight regain phase, just don’t do that. I think you should always look at maintenance or above, because we’re trying to promote that recovery. And so just to give people an idea, so reverse dieting was kind of the phrase that – I actually think I might be the first researcher who wrote that in an academic paper. I don’t know, I haven’t bothered to actually look that up, but I think I am.
Mike : [01:23:33] The glory is yours.
Eric : [01:23:35] And until somebody is like, nope, I gotcha. [Laughing] But frankly, I don’t really use the term that much so I don’t particularly care to have that stapled to my name forever. It’s a fine term.
Mike : [01:23:47] It’s kind of been co-opted at this point.
Eric : [01:23:48] Yeah. I’m afraid that people think it means something that it does not. So I kind of talk about that in the big article I wrote, which is on strongerbyscience.com. But there’s this thing with reverse dieting that people think it must necessarily be impossibly slow in nature. So like that, you’ll only add like five carbs a week until, you know, for the next 20 years and then eventually you’ll be at 3,000 calories someday.
Mike : [01:24:13] But you’ll still be shredded.
Eric : [01:24:14] Right.
Mike : [01:24:15] That’s the real kicker is that there’s that aspect that you’re making such slight increases that it’s gonna take you forever to get out of the damn deficit and just back to normal and then that you can keep going. But if you do it the payoff is you can keep going like that until you’re eating, you know, let’s say you’re a 120-pound woman able to eat 3,000 calories a day and maintain 15 percent body fat, how cool would that be?
Mike : [01:24:39] Yeah. And the answer is not cool. [Laughing] Because here’s the thing. Like, let’s say you somehow do that. All that really is telling me is that as you increase calories, you probably increase your non-exercise activity.
Mike : [01:24:53] Yeah, that’s the unsexy stuff, stop messing up my pitch. No, I’m talking about magic, I’m talking about voodoo, that’s how it works.
Eric : [01:25:01] [Laughing] Yeah, but yeah, it’s like you’re not rebuilding anything. People are like, “oh, my metabolism is new now.” No. You just …
Mike : [01:25:07] Yeah, it’s supercharged. What is it nowadays? It’s inefficient now and that’s even better because it just can waste these calories because it had so many.
Eric : [01:25:16] Yeah. And I mean so that’s kind of the explanation of how that happens sometimes. And not everyone has the capacity to increase their non-exercise activity to that degree. But when it happens that way, that’s why. And another thing that people don’t realize is that – what you said, like a 120-pound woman eating like 3,000 calories …
Mike : [01:25:36] You’ll see that stuff on Instagram sometimes. Whether it’s that or it’s the 200-pound dude saying that, you know, “I’m eating – I’ve got up to 4,000 calories today.” And he’s like, you know, seven percent body fat. And you’re like, “okay, buddy.”
Mike : [01:25:51] Yeah. Well, you know, 11 times out of 10, they still have no libido, they’re still cold all day, they’re still hungry all day, their workout still mostly suck.
Mike : [01:26:01] Unless they’re on the dedication, then everything changes. Which let’s say nine times out of ten or maybe it’s eleven times out of ten, they’re also on several grams of dedication a week.
Eric : [01:26:11] Yeah. So, I mean, the thing is, it’s just like how we talked about with people who lose weight on high calories, they’re still miserable. If you find yourself in a place where you’ve naturally been able to get to that caloric intake and you’re still that lean. I’ve talked to people and coaches who have done it, and I promise you, they all still feel terrible and they have not recovered yet in terms of getting their hormones back in order.
So, yeah, it’s not some kind of magic thing. But the reason that I like the concept, in general, is that, first of all, when you’re done with the diet and it’s on the maintenance phase, get the hell out of a deficit that day. You should not still be in a caloric deficit. But what you do is you get back to maintenance or a little bit above, and all you’re doing is taking a smart approach where you’re building up to like a normal human caloric intake that you can actually live your life on and still go to your kid’s birthday party and the thing at work where they’re going to have some food and beer out.
So you want to transition back into a pretty normal caloric intake, but you want to do it in a gradual manner because we know that regaining lean mass takes time and ideally, we would like to be regaining lean mass as we’re regaining a little bit of fat. Now, how much fat should you regain? It depends on who you are. If you got down to five percent body fat, get fatter. Like, now.
If you lost 100 pounds and now you’re like a healthy body weight that you’re proud of, you could take it a little slower. So it really depends on context a lot, but those are kind of the ends of the spectrum. Like if you’re at a near-fatal body fat because you are that lean, you need to take a more aggressive approach to getting back to essentially a healthy body weight.
Mike : [01:27:52] Makes sense. All right well, that was everything I had on my list, is there anything that is bouncing around in your head that you think we should cover before we wrap up?
Eric : [01:28:02] I think that does it. The thing I’d like to stress is that, so this question is so difficult to address, and that’s why a one hour podcast becomes a 90-minute podcast, is because, like, the answer to every question depends on what’s your goal, where did you start, and where did you finish? You know, so the difference between someone who’s kind of obese and gets to a healthy body weight versus someone who’s very, very much obese and gets, you know, 100 hundred pounds down, but they still have one to lose, and the person who’s competing in bodybuilding – like these are all very different circumstances with different approaches to not only the diet, but also the recovery from the diet.
So it’s really difficult to explain that in a very succinct, concise way, and so I don’t want to, like, plug this to plug it, but the last thing I want someone to do is to take something out of context and apply something that was intended for like a bodybuilder and say, “well, this is what Eric Trexler said my mother should do with her weight loss goal,” and it’s like, “well, these are very different circumstances.” So what I want to do is at least let people know if you’d like my fully nuanced take on these issues, if you go to strongerbyscience.com, there’s an article called the Metabolic Adaptation Manual, and it’s like 22,000 words.
It’s everything that I would care to write about the topic. This topic’s been at the forefront of my mind for basically the last six years up until like the day I finished my PhD, this was like one of my research focuses. And I’m still working on projects related to it. If you go to our website, it’s a really long article, but it’s split into three parts. Don’t try to read the whole thing at once, but it’s all there for you. And I kind of laid it out exactly how I wanted it phrased in that article.
So if you heard me say something that sounded stupid, at least check out the article before you yell at me, because I probably explained it better in the article. But just to give people an idea, the article is three parts. Part one is what is metabolic adaptation and why does it happen? Part two is what solutions do we have? And then part three is what do I do after weight loss? And so if you want more depth on the topic, that’s where you can find it.
Mike : [01:30:11] Awesome. Great. Thanks a lot for taking the time, Eric. And also, where can people find you, obviously, they can find you over a Stronger by Science, they can find you on Instagram, Trexlerfitness. right? Is there anything else that you want people to know about in terms of your properties and your work, do you have anything interesting coming that you want people to know about?
Mike : [01:30:31] Yeah, Stronger by Science is like my main thing right now. I’m the director of education there, so I’m in charge of our coaching. We take a very wide variety of clients, but I’m putting content out there, so that’s a great place to find me. Instagram and Facebook are good. Twitter I’m never on. If you messaged me on LinkedIn, I will never know. [Laughing]
Mike : [01:30:52] I’m with you on that, yeah. [Laughing]
Mike : [01:30:53] I was like, “oh, somebody wanted to get in touch nine months ago, great.” But no, Instagram’s the best way to do it, honestly, stronger by science and yeah, that’s pretty much it. I tend to be pretty friendly, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Mike : [01:31:09] Awesome. Well, thanks again for taking the time, Eric. This was a great discussion, great information, well explained, I like it.
Eric : [01:31:14] Yeah, thanks a lot.