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      04-03-2015, 02:57 AM   #1
squishy
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The idea of "going catabolic"...

...is utterly the most stupidest and ill-informed misconception I've heard of since the day my beautiful mother popped me into this world!

Allow me to paint a picture: I'm walking on the treadmill, cruising at a slight incline. A friend approaches. "Cardio burns muscle. You're going to go catabolic". He leaves as quickly as he appeared. Do you all have any idea how hard I laughed my ass off at that idiotic statement? Was it just a coincidence this particular individual was significantly overweight and barely, hardly tapped into his genetic potential even after 10+ years of lifting heavy fucking shit?

Catabolism. CATABOLISM. "The set of metabolic pathways that breaks down [large] molecules into smaller units to release energy". LINK. LARGE MOLECULES...such as, for example, water.

Let's take a step back and consider the situation. You've worked your ass off for 18 months eating a shit ton of food, lifting heavy shit, and as a result, building muscle tissue. You decide to drop your calories below your maintenance, and shed some fat. Cardio, a tool used to aid in shedding fat, is now part of your workout regimen.

...OH NO! NOOOO NO NO! YOU'RE STARTING TO LOSE MUSCLE TISSUE BECAUSE YOU'RE PERFORMING CARDIOVASCULAR ACTIVITY! THE WORLD IS GOING TO COME TO AN END, YOU'RE LOSING ALLLLL YOUR GAINS, BRO!!

I hope I'm getting the point across.

18 months of building muscle, and one would be inclined to believe that he/she will be losing muscle tissue when going under their maintenance calories by about 400-500 cals? Laughable.

The human body's muscle fibers, specifically our glycogen storages, are composed of roughly 70% water...yes, you read that right, ~70% water.

What does it mean to look/feel flat? Guys, *what does it actually mean to look/feel flat*? It means your glycogen stores are depleted. If your glycogen stores are not depleted when you're on a caloric deficit in order to lose body fat, you're not losing body fat. Your glycogen stores must be depleted the majority of your "cut" in order to lose body fat. The human body first uses glycogen [composed of water - notice something? Hold on, I'll tell you in just a bit] for energy when performing physical activity, such as lifting heavy fucking shit, and/or performing cardiovascular work. Once your glycogen stores are depleted [do not mistake getting a "pump", or blood rushing into a specific muscle group, and depleting glycogen stores, by questioning why you don't look/feel flat during your workout] your body will tap into its fat stores for energy.

And now, you are shedding body fat. But, as I've said, your glycogen stores must be depleted in order to tap into your fat stores - it's the way our bodies were engineered to work.

So...catabolism. Where does it fit in? Once your body has maxed out on how much body fat it can break down as energy, your body will tap into your muscle storage and break down muscular tissue for energy. **But, your body must be in severe starvation mode in order to break down muscle tissue!** By "severe starvation mode", I mean having gone days without intaking an energy source, i.e., food. NOT just from performing an hour of cardiovascular activity.

Q: Why does our 1RM go down when we are on a caloric deficit and losing body fat?
A: Loss of intracellular water due to glycogen depletion and loss of fat cells which provide energy. Water provides energy [told you we'd come back to his]. Loss of energy = decrease in 1RM due to mechanical consequences of losing overall energy stores.

Q: Why can't we progress when "cutting", or on a caloric deficit?
A: On a caloric deficit, we degress rather than progress. This has to do with the body's mechanical properties; the less energy we possess within our bodies, the less energy we can exert onto a certain force, like moving stationary weight. Regarding a caloric surplus, or muscle building state, IF ONE DOES NOT DEGRESS, ONE WILL NOT PROGRESS. We MUST be in a *controlled* catabolic state, such as when lifting weights, in order to build new muscle tissue!

Q: Why do we lose size when "cutting"?
A: Because you are losing body fat, and your glycogen stores are depleted. To break down muscle tissue, as I've stated, one must be in a severe stage of starvation mode, where the body has no choice but to break down muscle tissue for energy. First, the body reaches to your glycogen stores for energy. Second, the body reaches for fat cells. Third, for muscle tissue. If your body fat is already low, you risk losing muscle tissue as you simply don't have enough body fat to support your energy expenditure requirements (assuming, you are still cutting even at a, say, 6% body fat level).


What I hope I've shown: My friend is a moron. Don't be a moron. Be informed. Understand what it means to be "catabolic" and what it actually takes to lose muscle tissue. In order to lose weight, i.e., body fat, you must be catabolic! Catabolism does NOT mean "losing only muscle tissue".

*One inconsistency that may be spotted: Please recognize that glycogen is stored within our muscle fibers as ~70% hydrated (water) form. Do not mistake depleting glycogen storage as losing muscle tissue.

Thank you for your time.

Last edited by squishy; 04-03-2015 at 03:25 AM.
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      04-03-2015, 09:21 AM   #2
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its too early for this , where are the cliffs??
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      04-03-2015, 09:38 AM   #3
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u mad bro?
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      04-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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I always heard that you aim to lose max 20% muscle on a good cut. So what you're saying is you really only lose glycogen (water) which makes muscles only APPEAR smaller. However your muscle fibers (ie. the actual muscle) actually STAY THE SAME IN SIZE. Well that's just fine and dandy if you're an athlete and are mostly concerned with strength and performance. However: if you're mostly concerned about appearance you don't want that glycogen depletion with the resulting "flat" look so you stay away from cardio.
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      04-03-2015, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelwright View Post
I always heard that you aim to lose max 20% muscle on a good cut. So what you're saying is you really only lose glycogen (water) which makes muscles only APPEAR smaller. However your muscle fibers (ie. the actual muscle) actually STAY THE SAME IN SIZE. Well that's just fine and dandy if you're an athlete and are mostly concerned with strength and performance. However: if you're mostly concerned about appearance you don't want that glycogen depletion with the resulting "flat" look so you stay away from cardio.
On a solid cut, you should only be losing glycogen stores and fat cells. It should be clear, though, losing muscular tissue is a difficult feat to accomplish, and you'd really have to be well under your daily caloric maintenance requirement and have a considerably low body fat percentage. A 300-400 caloric deficit, created by cardiovascular activity, for example, will not result in a loss of muscular tissue.

You cannot lose body fat without getting that "flat" look. The order by which the body utilizes its energy stores for immediate energy is as follows: (1) glycogen stores; (2) fat cells; and (3) muscular tissue. You cannot tap into your fat cells for energy unless first soaking up energy from your glycogen stores. Therefore, you will, and must, feel/look flat in order to lose weight (all of this is assuming you are not taking drugs).
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      04-03-2015, 01:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinbahnz View Post
its too early for this , where are the cliffs??
-Catabolism can be the state of using glycogen for energy, not just muscular tissue, as is commonly thought

-Our muscle fibers are composed of 70% intracellular water within glycogen stores. Water provides energy

-You cannot break down and build new muscle tissue without going catabolic

-The body utilizes (1) glycogen stores for energy, followed by (2) fat cells, and (3) muscular tissue

-It takes a SEVERE state of starvation for your body to utilize muscular tissue for energy. 4-5% body fat and 1200 calories under your maintenance daily caloric requirement would be such a state. Not eating for 4 days, even when starting at a 20% body fat percentage would be another such state
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      04-03-2015, 01:37 PM   #7
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I disagree with what your friend said but i do have a legitimate question. I've heard of 2 things;

1: Fat will only be utilized as a energy source if the need for energy is low(low intensity activities such as lower % cardio). However, you can still use high intensity activities(sprints, weight lifting) as the post-exercise recovery bumps your metabolic rate(and since you're technically resting/low intensity, it'll use far as an energy source to deplete).

2: Muscle is "expensive" for the body and therefore is the first to go when you're on a calorie deficit without any exercise(regardless of how much of a deficit). This is minimized when you induce muscle breakdown(such as exercising) as the body still sees a need to keep it around. Otherwise, the body prefers to break down muscle as it's not as required as fat.

Any truth in either?
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      04-03-2015, 04:03 PM   #8
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Yeah, I also wonder about it which makes me a bit apprehensive about doing too much cardio. squishy: any links to evidence supporting your position ? I heard on Youtube (scooby channel) that they tested extreme endurance runners for muscle loss and those runners didn't lose any muscle except a little bit in their legs. So you are probably right but I'd like more evidence (if you have any good links ready). Thanks in advance.
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      04-03-2015, 07:33 PM   #9
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So when Joe and Matt are days in the snow with only 3 trout the whole time they go cat?
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      04-09-2015, 02:53 PM   #10
squishy
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Haven't gotten a chance to gather sources, will do so soon.
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