We may also replace a long 45-50 minute session of cardio with a shorter but more intense cardio session of intervals. Remember from previous articles (“Cardio 101”), intervals are proven to be more effective for fat loss and muscle retention.
Ideally we get to a point where the client can maintain their weight on one to four 30-40 minute sessions of cardio per week and or one-three interval sessions per week.
Yes, you read right, again. The reason Kelly’s metabolism has slowed is due to the excessive energy output (cardio) and low energy input/intake (food). She has burned muscle tissue. Less muscle tissue means slow(er) metabolism. This cannot be stressed enough. We will very slowly add calories in. This may be as simple as adding a piece of fruit pre- or post-workout. This will help provide fuel for an intense workout or help recover from the workout itself.
So if Kelly is working out four times per week, she would have four more pieces of fruit that week. This process must be done very slowly or a drastic rebound (large amount of weight gain proportionate to weight loss) will occur. Assuming two to three weeks go by and there is no weight gain, we would consider this a success. I say that because Kelly has exercised less and eaten more. This means her metabolism is operating more efficiently. We would then add some more food, maybe more carbs for breakfast or lunch. This would be based on the individual, their workout times, work schedule, etc.
The main focus would be for this to be done very, very gradually.
Remember that everyone is different, has different calorie requirements and has varying metabolisms. If Kelly has been under-eating and over-exercising for a substantial amount of time, a three- to six-month time frame or longer to “repair” her metabolism would not be uncommon.