Why you need to taper your diet as you train

So you start off on your new diet and goal of losing 40 lbs. You may or may not have a trainer. Your exercise program is followed as religiously as a Nun reading scripture at mass. The first 20 lbs. is finally achieved and the next goal is set, but something horrible happens. You literally start gaining weight.

Anyone who has watched competitive diet programs on TV often sees this as a constant experience. The weight comes off easy at first and then the show clearly shows a serious problem with almost everyone across the board. Most of them start gaining weight.

This simple phenomenon is explained by anyone with a back ground in nutrition, biochemistry, endocrinology, metabolic physiology and some psychology tossed in to the mix. The issue takes a little adaptation to food portion size selection.

Various formulas exist that allow nutritionist and others to determine the actual caloric intake that is best for someone based on their age, height, weight, exercise experience, body mass index and current exercise/activity level.

The issue is relative to the recalculation of the need for caloric intake based on the hormonal and digestive responses of the human body. Exercise stimulates this process and accelerates it.

A simple step is to watch the scale and when it stops lowering and you have an honest moment with yourself about cheating, then you can determine that your overall food intake can decrease.

Three things commonly happen relative to anyone attempting to lose weight. An increase of dietary enzymes occurs and a hormonal shift due to the need to store fats and water.

Your body increases the dietary absorption of calories and this is accelerated by improved protein metabolism related to exercise and results in a more complete digestion of foods.

So for example you took in a 300 calorie meal, consider that you would only absorb 200 calories. Exercise ups the absorption and now you are eating the same amount of food, but since your body is more efficient, then you will literally be gaining weight, unless you taper your diet and eat less food.

Next up is the dreaded hormonal response to exercise. As stress goes up so does Cortisol. This hormone causes your body to convert more food to storage fats and it also increases the intracellular fluids. That fluid in the cells is heavy, but is necessary to allow for heat disbursement and higher metabolism.

This is also commonly known as the runner’s response. As someone begins to run longer distances, the body starts holding water like a camel. If the diet isn’t altered, then the body stores fuel for the run. Since we burn fats for aerobic fitness, the body stores more fat.

If the athlete doesn’t eat less food and also eat cleaner (food choices that are raw and leaner) then the body will gain weight. This can be madding.

Simply be aware of this common occurrence and adjust the dietary intake appropriately. Consider also that the use of lifting exercise or sprints will result in the muscles becoming more dense and thus heavier.

About the Author

DrDavidRyanDr. David Ryan has an extensive background in both coaching and playing professional sports, and has been the team physician for several highly ranked teams. Dr. Ryan now serves as the current Co-Chairman of the Arnold Sports Festival (www.arnoldclassic.com) and is a former Medical Director of this internationally acclaimed event.

Dr. Ryans numerous articles have been published in International Medical Journals, Muscle & Fitness Magazine as well as on the popular BodyBuilding.com website. Visit Dr. Ryans home page on here: www.drdavidryan.com and his YouTube page here.