Is weight loss really all about creating an energy deficit by eating less calories than you expend? Dr. John Berardi has challenged that notion with what he calls G-Flux. This concept involves energy flux, and Dr. Berardi argues that you are better off eating more and exercising more to generate a caloric deficit.
Essentially you influence your metabolic rate and ultimately increase your metabolism leading to a great number of calories burned than if you tried to simply eat less.
On the surface, G-Flux is a novel approach that makes sense when viewed over the long term.
Increase Your Metabolism
What’s the easiest, most time efficient way to cut calories? Simply remove them from your diet, right?
However, did you ever notice that your weight loss starts to level off as you get leaner and approach your target weight?
You could even get to the point where you’re eating less than 1,000 calories per day but still not seeing any results. It’s at this stage that your metabolism may be adversely affected.
Fortunately, this phenomenon can be reversed over time.
Don’t get me wrong, I think using aggressive dieting approaches can be successful in the short term (1-2 months max).
However, over the long term you have to establish a baseline level of eating an adequate number of calories to ensure your body has the proper vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to burn fat and maintain or build muscle (maybe 15x your body weight as a starting point).
Therefore, if possible, it’s better to increase the amount of exercise you perform rather than decrease your calories too much.
Done together, eating more and exercising more can lead to an increase in your metabolism and an overall better body.
Eat More, Exercise More
The fundamentals behind G-Flux are best explained through an example.
Let’s say you have 3 different people all trying to generate a 500 calorie per day deficit.
All 3 people burn 2,000 calories per day through their normal daily activities.
One person decides that they will cut 500 calories from their diet and only eat 1,500 calories per day.
Another person decides to burn 500 calories through exercise and eat 2,000 calories per day.
The final person decides to burn 1,000 calories per day through exercise and eat 2,500 calories per day.
As you can see, all these people generate a 500 calorie deficit. Therefore they should all lose the same amount of weight.
However, Dr. Berardi’s research has shown that the person who eats more and exercises more actually burns more calories because of the increased metabolic benefits.
An added benefit is that your diet does not feel restrictive so you can keep this up for the long term. The downside is that you have to spend more time exercising.
You’ll find plenty of other fitness experts who agree with Dr. Berardi as well. Tom Venuto’s Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle involves burning fat through exercise while limiting the potential negative metabolic impact of highly restrictive diets through proper nutrition.
Tom views the relationship between eating and exercising as synergistic and critical to gaining muscle and losing fat. He tackles his thoughts on metabolism in this article. You can also download that free report where he gives an interview that delves into further detail about his philosophy.
Joel Marion of Cheat Your Way Thin and the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet has touted Dr. Berardi’s advice as well.
Joel’s approaches focus on keeping your metabolism elevated primarily through controlling leptin levels with regular re-feedings.
The goal of a G-Flux routine is to find an appropriate energy balance that allows you to burn calories through proper training and nutrition.
As a baseline, Dr. Berardi recommends 5 hours of exercise per week and a healthy diet that includes 12-18 calories per pound of body weight.
Increasing your calories is easy, but ensuring that those calories are nutritious is critical. If you aren’t satisfied with your fat loss, then you could try increasing the amount of time you exercise.
Generally, Dr. Berardi doesn’t think you need to go beyond 10 hours per week but he’s worked with plenty of professional athletes who exercise well in excess of that amount of time.
If you’re still not achieving your goals, then you can slowly take your calories down by 10-20% per week.
The idea is to establish a baseline level of calories and exercise that allows you to lose fat without reducing your calories too far or overtraining.
That should help you maintain or increase your metabolism.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be afraid to eat more calories if you can offset them by exercising more.
In the short term, you can certainly eat less and exercise more, but over the long term, consider the implications of G-Flux.