The Metabolism Spectrum (Do You Have A Low Metabolism?)
By Christopher Walker
At the beginning of my journey to restore my metabolism and health, I didn’t have any idea what I was about to stumble upon.
I simply wanted to be able to lose fat again.
After getting incredibly lean by doing way too much exercise and dieting way too hard, I found myself quickly and uncontrollably gaining 4-5 pounds per week as my body’s biology took over my brain.
From that point on, it seemed practically impossible to lose fat. Every time I tried to diet again, even after taking a lot of time off, I would stall within 2-3 weeks and watch my health deteriorate.
I knew something needed to change, but I had no idea what it was, and I didn’t have the money to get expensive blood tests.
But in a search to fix my metabolism, I found the unbelievably profound understanding of true health.
Table Of Contents:
- Rising From The Ashes
- Metabolic Rate Is Subject To Change
- Tactics Vs. Strategy: Short-Term & Long-Term Physiological Change
- Everyone Is Somewhere On The Metabolism Spectrum
- The Stress Metabolism vs The Healthy Metabolism
- The High End Of The Metabolism Spectrum
Rising From The Ashes:
It was rock bottom for my health.
My eyes were bloodshot, wide open.
I tossed and turned on a hot summer night, buried under a pile of blankets to cope with my frigid body temperature and icicle feet.
I was hungry from hardly eating anything for months.
I was sore from excessive training and too much activity.
But what was worse, I was teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown, as I quickly rotated through panic, anxiety and depression on a consistent basis.
My days lacked motivation for anything.
Work. Music. Exercise. Hobbies. Friends… Even sex.
I couldn’t make myself care about anything, all while trying to ignore the fact that my skin looked terrible and my hair was falling out.
I was on the verge of breaking.
While this was certainly a low point for me, a milder version of this persisted for years following it as I was told repeatedly that “metabolic damage didn’t exist”.
The colors in my life had all been turned down and I accepted it as normal.
That is, until I found one simple truth:
Metabolic Rate Is Subject To Change:
Throughout this time of my life, I was the walking epitome of poor health (except I wasn’t walking much because I was so tired all the time).
My excessive dieting and training had led me to a point of complete exhaustion and low metabolism, where my body was simply doing its best to cope and survive – certainly not thriving.
All of this changed when I stepped into the underground world of metabolic health and learned that not only do you have control over your metabolic rate, but pushing it as high as possible will lead to exceptional health in every single area of your life.
But that wasn’t all.
I also learned that I wasn’t alone.
In fact, most natural physique and bodybuilding competitors have (or have had) a lowered metabolism from the stress of getting ready for the stage (this is especially true for women).
This isn’t reserved for just elite athletes however – most people who just want to lose weight and look better end up with a lowered metabolism, from a combination of bad dieting and poor mainstream health advice.
This is classic “yo-yo” dieting at its finest. You lose weight, only to gain back even more and have more trouble trying to lose it the next time around (fat loss is ALWAYS harder in a low metabolic state, usually impossible).
As it turns out, a lowered metabolism is MUCH more common than I thought. Most people are accepting their current levels of health (and all the ailments that come with it) as “normal”, when it’s anything but that.
Not only that, but science has certainly made it clear that intense dieting and training WILL lower your metabolism.
Most studies looking at metabolic rate during dieting will show a solid 10-15% drop, that they call “adaptive thermogenesis”.
There’s even the famous Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which showed a 40% reduction in metabolic rate (some of which was also due to the subjects losing body mass). And of course this came with a complimentary side platter of insanely terrible symptoms, like mental disturbances, poor sleep, etc.
Even after the diet is over, it’s been shown that the lowered metabolism sticks around “permanently”. A person who diets down to 175 pounds will have a slightly lower metabolism than someone who is naturally 175.
I’ve even heard stories of people with basal temperatures as low as 93 degrees F from following extremely low carb, low Calorie vegan diets.
However, this picture doesn’t have to be so grim.
There ARE in fact dietary and lifestyle strategies backed by biochemistry and physiology that will raise your body temperature and metabolism to normal levels and possibly beyond.
Strategies I’ve used myself to raise my waking underarm body temperature from 96 degrees F, all the way up to 98 and occasionally above.
If you want to know exactly what and how to eat in order to boost your metabolism and override your health then make sure to check out The Thermo Diet inside of UMZUfit!
Tactics Vs. Strategy - Short-Term & Long-Term Physiological Change:
One of the first difficulties I came across when dealing with metabolism is the discrepancy between short-term and long-term effects.
Often, the long-term effects of something in the body are completely opposite from their short-term effects.
For example, most people feel incredible when they initially cut out carbs, noticing improvements in energy, mood, thinking and physical ability.
This has been called the “catecholamine honeymoon” by many, because when all the adrenaline and cortisol flood your system, it feels like you’ve found the answer to health… Until the long-term effects kick in.
In reality, you’re high on a cocktail of stimulating hormones that are slowly tearing down your long-term health.
It feels great when the stress system gets turned on. It feels far less great when it stays on for too long.
On the flip side, eating more carbs might make you feel sleepy and unmotivated initially, as your insulin sensitivity is decreased coming from a low carb diet. But continue eating carbs consistently and you will, in fact, raise your insulin sensitivity.
This means that eating carbs will boost your metabolic rate in the long-term, and end up making you feel incredible all the time, even though it might not initially feel amazing.
These are just examples of course, and there are many other things needed to increase metabolism besides just carbs.
It’s best to think of it this way:
Every action you take is either pro-metabolic or anti-metabolic:
There’s no way to cut out either completely, but it’s the balance of these actions over time that determine their long-term effects on your metabolism.
In the case of people with damaged metabolisms or even slightly lower-than-optimal metabolisms, they’re anti-metabolic actions each day are outweighing their pro-metabolic actions, leading to a decrease in metabolic rate.
Put another way, they’re taking more actions that put them in a stress state than they are to put them in a recovered state.
When this is extreme and goes on for long enough, you can certainly push yourself far into the damaged metabolism side of the spectrum, where your body is operating off of the “stress” metabolism. Then from that low metabolism state, even if you increase your pro-metabolic actions so the two are in balance, you’ll simply remain in balance at that lower state.
It’s only when you tip the scales in favor of pro-metabolic actions consistently and for long enough that you’ll see your temperature jump up, your health improve and your metabolism reach new heights.
Throughout this program, not only will we identify the anti- and pro-metabolic actions, we’ll explain why each has the effect it does within the spectrum of metabolism, and come up with an applicable and definitive plan for you to follow so you can see immediate and lasting results.
My goal is for you to see massive improvements in your body temperature, health and metabolism within 30 days, and then further improvements on up to 100+ days.
For a step by step nutrition guide on how to boost your metabolism make sure to heck out The Thermo Diet inside of UMZUfit!
My long-term vision is for you to shift the way you view health and fitness, looking at it through the lens of metabolism, so that the rest of your life will forever be improved.
Mainstream nutrition has repeated many ideas that have poor scientific backing and no critical thinking involved. You’ve undoubtedly heard much of this advice repeated many, many times, but that does not make it true. Part of this comes from companies marketing their products based off of poor science, and part of it comes from a lack of understanding as to why certain results were achieved.
But more importantly, there’s no overarching context that ties all of the science together.
The concept of bioenergetics - the ability of your cells to produce the energy they need to perform all their functions optimally and efficiently - ties the system together, and allows us a better overall understanding of how the human body works, and why.
Keep an open mind in this course, because it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before. But I promise - from my results, my clients’ results, the physiology, and the research - this stuff works.
And with that, let’s get started.
Everyone Is Somewhere On The Metabolism Spectrum:
Almost everything in life exists on a spectrum.
All physical aspects like light, sound and temperature have low ends and high ends, and phases in between that smoothly fade into each other. (For More information on this idea I recommend reading The Kybalion, specifically the principle of vibration.)
Metabolism and the underlying health field exist in the same way.
On one end, you have an extremely low metabolic state. As I mentioned, body temperatures down to 93 degrees have been recorded, and even touted as a good thing by a clearly misled vegan author (trust me, there’s nothing healthy or beneficial about your body being 5+ degrees colder than it’s supposed to be).
On the other end, you have the extremely high metabolic state with high natural body temperature, often hitting as hot as 99+ degrees after meals (this does NOT include the fever state, as this is a special reaction of your body to kill off a pathogen).
This is associated with tons of positive health benefits and resistance to stress, as your cells are producing so much energy that they can function at full force.
In between, we have all the various stages that blend into each other, from clearly hypometabolic or hypothyroid states of 95-97 degrees F, to more mild ones of 97-98 degrees F, and the “typical health” range in the lower 98’s.
But before we get into what each of these states might look like, let’s talk a bit more about the characteristics of the spectrum on the whole.
The Stress Metabolism vs The Healthy Metabolism:
While we may be focusing specifically on metabolic rate, this “Metabolism Spectrum” is more accurately a spectrum from the “Sickness Field” on up to the “Health Field”.
That’s because a high metabolism is actually more of a by-product of the health state than anything else. Meanwhile, a low metabolism is a symptom of the sickness state, caused by prolonged stress exposure from a huge variety of factors.
Another way of thinking of it is that your body can either run on the “stress” metabolism, where energy production is inefficient and destructive in the long-term, or on the “healthy” metabolism, where energy production is abundant and efficient, making you more resistant to stress because the cells are able to make all the energy they need.
The stress metabolism gets activated whenever the cell’s need for energy exceeds what it can create with normal metabolism.
So for example, exercise is a stress, since you need an elevated amount of energy to be produced to accomplish whatever it is you’re doing.
In something like exercise, however, this stress response is short-term. After the stress is over, your body slides back into the healthy, oxidative metabolism.
The problem is that once a stress becomes prolonged, it starts to more permanently shut down healthy metabolism, resulting in an overall decrease in total energy output and reduced ability to create energy.
And when I say “stress”, don’t confuse it with feeling stressed. What we’re talking about is activating the stress response in the body, characterized by elevated cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones, regardless of the cause.
Your body responds to different stressors - exercise, lack of sleep, sex, famine, injury, emotional trauma - with the same physiology. The only thing that differs is the intensity, duration and localized effects.
Activating a stress response will actually feel good in the short term, and this is similar to how going low carb can feel good initially because of the increase in the stimulating catecholamines.
Hell, one of the side effects of cortisol is a “powerful euphoria”, even though the long-term effect is shutting down your efficient energy metabolism while signaling your body to store fat and run on the stress metabolism. Just remember that this feeling is coming at the expense of your long-term health if you leave it turned on for too long.
The key is the duration. Short-term stress is incredibly important for your body adapting and becoming stronger in any area of health.
The problem, especially amongst health and fitness junkies, is that it’s all too easy to pile on too much stress in hopes of achieving health. We see exercise and low Calorie diets as healthy, when really these are stressors that are only healthy when kept very brief and short-term, followed by plenty of time for the body to adapt and recover from that stressor.
Continue for too long, as we so often do, and you dig a hole and move your body into the stress metabolism, where the only way out is an extended amount of time taking a break from those exact stressors.
But even more devastating and much more common is the non-adaptive dietary stresses from eating inappropriate foods. This type of stress doesn’t get turned on and off, but persists as long as these foods are in your system.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we dive into the effect of stress on metabolism, we need to look at what the slow metabolism side looks like.
The Colors of The Metabolic Spectrum:
So what are the characteristics of each end of the spectrum?
We’ve already briefly touched on the negative effects of what the low metabolism state looks like and how the high metabolism state compares.
But what exactly does each of these states look like?
Let’s start with the low metabolic state, and the wide-reaching symptoms associated with it.
The most obvious side effect is a cold body.
You have very poor tolerance for cold conditions. You shiver often and need to wear heavier clothes.
What’s most noticeable is constantly cold feet and hands most of the day, due to your blood vessels constricting (something we’ll talk about later on in this program).
Feeling cold is the least problematic symptom though.
You battle constant fatigue and brain fog. A low-grade anxiety is always present and frequently raises to uncomfortable levels.
It’s incredibly difficult to get the motivation to do anything, even though you want to in your mind. You have no drive, no passion, no lust for life.
Similarly, you have zero sex drive, which is alright because you wouldn’t physically be able to have sex if you tried. The machinery just doesn’t work when stress is high and energy is low. This makes a lot of sense since metabolism and the protective steroid hormones, like testosterone (for men) and progesterone (for women), are intimately connected to metabolism.
Your sleep is terrible, and that’s if you can even fall asleep. If you can, you usually wake up in the middle of the night at least once, if not multiple times. When the morning comes, you don’t feel rested at all.
You bloat incredibly easy and have a variety of food “allergies”. You have to be very careful to avoid certain foods or you’ll find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.
You get frequent headaches or migraines, and easily catch colds from a dead immune system. You recover incredibly slowly from any physical stress, and this includes workouts. A hard session leaves you wiped for days, and if you cut or bruise yourself, it takes over a week to heal.
That’s not all. Appearance-wise, you look like a sad shell of a human. The dark circles under your eyes. The dry, pale, rigid skin.
You store fat incredibly easily, but can’t seem to gain muscle no matter what you do.
Of course depression creeps in all the time. But then again, how would you not be depressed living like this?
And beneath all of these external symptoms, you age faster and have an increased likelihood of developing a longer-term disease like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, or cancer.
All in all, your health is terrible and your life expectancy is lowered.
Does this sound grim? Dark?
Good. It should.
Living with a low metabolism turns all the colors in your life down, making it bland and unenjoyable.
Low metabolism and hypothyroidism have so many wide reaching symptoms because the bioenergetic state of your body - the ability of your cells to produce energy - affects EVERYTHING. One book has 83 pages worth of hypothyroid symptoms.
Even if you’re not at the darkest point where all these symptoms are on full-throttle, moving yourself towards the high metabolism, “health” side of the spectrum is still an absolute must if you care about living a high-quality life.
As it turns out, most people with “average” health aren’t optimizing the quality of their life through optimally functioning metabolisms.
But enough negativity. Let’s talk about something much more fun.
Learn More: 3 Natural Steroid Alternatives
The High End Of The Metabolism Spectrum
What does life look like when your metabolism is hot and roaring?
Obviously, your body temperature will be much higher, and your feet and hands will rarely get cold.
To handle this, your body will evaporate more water to keep your body cool, meaning you’ll pee a lot less, have better fluid balance and have no water retention problems.
When you’re awake, you’re wide awake. When you sleep, you sleep like a rock, often finding you need less than the average person. You wake up refreshed and excited for your day – no coffee needed.
You don’t ever deal with bloating issues and are able to digest all food incredibly well. Food “allergies” or “sensitivities” just don’t seem to affect you anymore, and your stomach feels like an incinerator.
You never get sick, which isn’t a surprise given how incredible you feel each and every day.
Your recovery is exceptionally fast and wounds heal with Wolverine-like speed. After a draining weight training session, you bounce back within a few hours and feel ready to get active again, since you’re always brimming with energy.
You’re hitting PRs every time you work out. You have a solid frame of muscle that’s been built up and continues to grow. Your body doesn’t seem to store fat, no matter how much you eat.
Mentally, you’re sharper than ever. You actually feel smarter and can recall information much easier since your memory and learning are at their maximum capacity.
You can work all day long if you decide to, never feeling like you need to take a break or nap. Your drive to chase your goals has never been higher and you feel downright powerful and capable.
On top of that, you’re relaxed and confident, letting the stress of life roll off your shoulder. You’re not so inwardly focused, but instead focused on bigger, more important things with more expansive thoughts.
Your skin glows, your hair is smooth and silky, and your nails grow so fast they need to be cut weekly. There almost seems to be an aura around you that others notice.
Your sex drive is incredible and you feel a strong pull towards people you find attractive. Sexually, you perform exceptionally well, and if you’re a guy, you wake up with a rock hard erection every morning.
Life is filled to the brim with passion and color and you feel as if you’re squeezing out every drop of juice it has to offer you.
Your health is simply RADIATING out of you.
This level of health, this quality of living, this rate of metabolism… It’s not a fairy tale.
It can be achieved through specific actions to propel you towards the health side of the spectrum, where metabolic rate is sky high.
Can you imagine what it will look like, for you personally, when your metabolism is elevated to those high levels?
“The physical energy of the adrenal type is seemingly inexhaustible, as is the nervous response of the sympathetic system, a result of perfect oxidation of phosphorous in the nerve tissue. Oxidation of carbon in the muscular system gives the adrenal type his great warmth. Thus, the temperature of his body is scarcely ever below 98.8, with hands and feet always pleasantly warm. As digestion and detoxication of food poisons depend greatly upon oxidation in the liver and intestines, it follows that the typical adrenal type, with his perfect oxidation, has thorough digestion. In fact, he may and often does boast that he can eat any and all kinds of food without discomfort. The exogenous uric acid products as well as the indoxyl compounds are completely detoxicated in the liver, do not accumulate in the blood, nor are they found in the urine.”
“The skeletal muscles are well developed and have splendid tone. Fatigue is practically unknown to the adrenal type. His muscular endurance is spectacular. And the perfect tone of the involuntary muscles is evidenced by complete and rapid peristalsis, resulting in several bowel evacuations daily. He can dine on the most impossible food combinations imaginable with no evil results…”
“The quality of the blood is characteristic. A slight to marked polycythemia (more red cells than usual) occurs; leucopenia, or abnormal white cell count on the low side, is never noted. The blood, which is of a rich, red color, clots quickly. Fatal hemorrhage seldom occurs. The immunity against bacterial invasion is spectacular. The typical adrenal type hardly ever becomes infected, even with venereal diseases…”
“A member of the adrenal-type group has a phlegmatic disposition – easygoing, jolly, slow to anger, never bothered with insomnia, fear or “cold feet.” He will often go out of his way to avoid a quarrel. Customarily, he has a wide circle of friends because he is warm-hearted and surrounded by an ‘aura’ of kindly sympathy.”
“Splendid circulation gives him warm, magnetic hands…”
“He never worries…His digestion is good and he is seldom constipated. It is possible for him to stand more treatments, operations and even more lung hemorrhages than any other type of patient. He is the patient most often discharged as arrested or cured. All the treatment necessary for his recovery is supplied by bed rest and fresh air.”
- Dr. Henry Bieler
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