Body is a master of adaptation

This may surprise you but when it comes to changing your body, I feel you could dial it down to one key concept that will outperform and make more sense than any other. Your body is a master of adaptation and your job is to provide stimulus to which it must adapt.

This may surprise you but when it comes to changing your body, I feel you could dial it down to one key concept that will outperform and make more sense than any other.

Your body is a master of adaptation and your job is to provide stimulus to which it must adapt.

You may wonder why tonnes of fitness clients are losing weight and bodyfat by eating more (sometimes in excess of double what they were eating before), while the world seems to consistently agree that eating less or portion control is the answer.

In truth both are right for the simple fact they both force the body through a process of adaptation.

Eating less or smaller portions limits the body’s resources, forcing the body to adapt by finding a way to supplement the resource deficit internally.

Unfortunately this isn’t sustainable; you simply can’t create energy without energy.

If you’re not convinced, next time you fill up your car note the number of kilometres you travelled before requiring a fill and the number of litres of fuel you purchase.

Now each subsequent time you fill up your vehicle, I want you to travel the same number of kilometres but put one litre less fuel in than the previous refuelling, and keep repeating this process. Oh and by the way, please register for roadside assistance as I’m convinced you may require it in the near future.

The above example may seem silly, but essentially any form of restriction on your body, whether it be food intake, water intake or restful sleep, essentially has the same effect.

Lucky for us, our body is much more adaptive and resilient than our vehicle so you won’t be stranded as quickly.

My point is: it’s not sustainable.

By comparison, when you begin eating more, a different kind of adaptation occurs.

The initial assumption is that you would gain weight or bodyfat. This can be true if you’re consuming the wrong fuel.

We could compare this to our cars again as a mixture of fuel and air — our vehicle requires both in specific amounts and in changing conditions depending on whether you are accelerating, decelerating, or what the air temperature is.

We can generalize our body in the same way with one radical exception. Some foods actually require more energy to digest than can be extracted, creating an energy deficit.

To a personal trainer this is an ideal environment. You will ultimately benefit from the nutrients from the food but without any physical effort on your part, you can burn more energy than you took in.

You can see now the consistency of both examples is that additional energy is required by the body, and why both mechanisms may achieve a similar end result. Those eating more just tend to be happier, have more energy, and find it easier to sustain long term, but then I guess those feelings are a matter of personal preference.

This is just one example of the body’s ability to adapt.

Exercise functions in a similar way. If you have a pattern of exercising on the same days, for the same amount of time, using the same exercises, at approximately the same weight or resistance, there is little for your body to adapt to.

As a result there is little progress.

By changing just one of those variables in each workout, your body has no choice but to make progress because it must adapt.

Now this is usually where our good work ethic gets us into trouble. A flash of inspiration (like a New Year’s resolution) makes us leap forward and change a whole gambit of things. Our will-power subsequently breaks down after a short period because the required adaptation is too much all at once and the body resists.

It’s hard for us to believe but often the same or better results will be achieved with baby steps, implementing things at a pace that makes you say, think and feel that, “It’s no big deal.”

If you’re serious about reaching your goals once and for all, remember that losing just one pound a week adds up to 52 pounds this year. These would be great results for anyone and are absolutely achievable.

Determine your target, then work backwards choosing the “no big deal” babysteps, even if it means you can only handle exercising five minutes a day to start. (Example: An average New Year’s resolution may last 17 to 25 days and average exercise might be one hour per day, or a total of 25 hours of exercise. Just five minutes a day would be the equivalent of 30.75 hours of exercise over the course of a year, and no one will stay at five minutes for ever. This is why the tortoise won and so will you.)

Cabel McElderry is a local personal trainer and nutrition coach. For more information on fitness and nutrition, visit the Fitness F/X website at www.fitnessfx.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read