• November 29, 2021

Adaptive Thermogenesis: Beating Your Body’s Set Point

Have you ever started a new weight loss program that was fantastic for the first two weeks and then nothing? These are called weight loss plateaus and can be frustrating enough that many people just quit, blaming the weight loss program for their lack of progress. In reality, it is your own body that has established a new body set point for weight.

The human body is a very efficient machine and once you have established a certain weight as a set point or standard operating weight, you will do everything possible to keep it there. Your body makes adjustments to metabolism and fat storage (among others) to maintain its set point and it seems like no matter what you do, you just can’t lose any more. This process is known as adaptive thermogenesis.

To get past these weight loss plateaus, you have to break the body set point and essentially shift it to a new body weight set point. The best place to start is to better understand the processes you are trying to change, which is the adaptive thermogenesis process. This is actually the body’s way of automatically reducing energy production when reducing intake through diet to maintain the body weight set point.

Take a diet example to help explain the process. You decide that if you can eliminate at least 500 calories from your diet, then losing weight should be a no-brainer, so you go ahead and do the 500 calorie reduction, but nothing happens. Your body has adjusted its energy needs to a level that is now 500 calories less than it used to be, so your weight remains stable. You despair and cut another 500 calories from your normal intake, thinking that 500 was not enough, so 1000 calories should be enough, but again, nothing happens. Adaptive thermogenesis has re-adjusted the body’s need for energy to accommodate the new level of caloric intake and the weight remains stable, even though the calorie reduction was extreme.

Out of luck fighting yourself? No, of course not, but it will take more than just dieting to prevent adaptive thermogenesis, continue to lose weight, and reach a new body weight set point.

What is the magic secret of all this? Granted, there is no magic secret, but it takes a combination of diet and exercise to do the trick, but not just any diet and exercise program will always work. Intense metabolic resistance training is the key to breaking adaptive thermogenesis and resetting the body weight set point.

Metabolic resistance training is a series of compound exercises with a very short rest between sets that is designed to literally shock the system into compliance. Combined with a serious weight loss diet, this technique will generally boost the body’s adaptive thermogenesis reaction to reduce your weight to the next body weight set point.

What you want to do now is continue your program in maintenance mode to reboot your system and make it think that your new (and lower) weight is where it’s supposed to be. Maintain this new weight for at least the next 4 weeks before trying to lose more weight. Now when you restart your weight loss efforts, you are starting at a new and lower normal body weight level. Use this step loss method when you’ve reached that level and you can’t seem to lose any more weight. This is very effective in overcoming adaptive thermogenesis and establishing a new body weight set point.

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