The Most Important Meal Of The Day With Phil Learney!


For the vast majority of gym members the idea of increasing metabolic rate is something that ticks most of their physique boxes. Increasing the amount of fuel you burn on a daily basis means the likelihood of those little indulgences getting stored as insulation for winter is considerably less. In addition the increased turnover of nutrients means not only can the body adapt quicker and change compositionally but also the extra nutrients gained improve overall physiological health.

The old analogy of treating the metabolism like a burning fire still stands true but very few people have an understanding as to how this actually works. Add to this the fear instilled upon us by the media and hear say and we have a LOT of detrimental almost fatal errors being made when people pursue this metabolic stimulation.

When consulting I hear a lot of the same questions being asked and often these need clearing up to fully understand what’s happening.

Just as a note too. In 18 years of consulting I am yet to meet anyone who over eats. People eat the wrong quantities at the wrong times and disrupt systems such as metabolism so effectively that much like anything else the body adapts to this disruption permanently. People DO exist that overeat but in over 13,000 sessions (estimated) I havn’t dealt with one.

Here are a few that I will try to explain in greater detail.

Many people tell me they don’t eat breakfast as it makes them hungry for the rest of the day.

Exactly. Break-FAST is exactly that. The metabolism has a baseline, what we call the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is what we need to survive and is dictated by several factors. The most notable is the amount of active muscle tissue we have on the body (more muscle, faster metabolism).  This baseline may hypothetically be 2000 calories per day.

When we rest the body battles to find this baseline and slows the bodies systems down accordingly, when we sleep it does this very effectively.

Now this baseline has the ability to be stimulated as once we factor in activity this individual may have the potential to burn 3500 calories or more per day.

If we wake at 7 am the body starts to move and systems become active hence we now need fuel. The metabolism is slow and needs stimulated with this fuel to elevate to its daily level. We now have 2 scenarios and two outcomes.

A. Don’t eat breakfast.

If we don’t eat at this point the metabolic rate tries to slow down to preserve the body. In essence the body switches into survival mode.

It turns on fat storing mechanisms as it fears not acquiring food for some time. This means the next time we eat the body will try to preserve a large percentage of it as subcutaneous (body) fat.

The body now needs a fuel source. It has nothing coming in so it will take the most accessible ‘reserve’ fuel we have. In most cases this will be protein. This is a great option for the body as to convert protein to energy is a far simpler process the taking stored fat (which in survival it wont release as fuel anyhow).

All the muscle tissue you cardiovascular buffs don’t use on a regular basis (The stuff that resistance training hits) will be allocated as fuel.

“Use it or lose it”

The body is malnourished. There are no macro OR micro nutrients available for its systems to work effectively.

There has been no elevation or stabilisation of blood sugar so the likelihood of the next meal on the agenda being riddled with high calorie dense unhealthy food is VERY high.

Metabolically the body can only be stimulated so much. Because the 1500 calorie stimulation that could have started to occur hasn’t the first meal needs repaid. We can from that point only perhaps get the body to 2000 calories per day at best.

……or QUITE SIMPLY B) Eat it and do the opposite.

Your Mum or whoever told you it’s the most important meal of the day was pretty much right (I would always as ever say ‘Depends.'


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